Tag Archives: Cucumber

Farmer’s market the community hub

It was a pretty typical August Saturday morning in Bluffton, Ohio. The sun was shining and by 9:30 a.m., the local farmer’s market was bustling. As I waited for a vendor to wrap my sunflowers ($3 for 15 stems) in newspaper and twine, the woman next to me asked if the market was always this full of vendors and buyers.  She’d come to town to visit the local quilt store and just happened to see the market.

photo (10)How can you not love a good farmer’s market? It’s not just the food — which is the best around — but the camaraderie, seeing lots of friends, sharing ideas of what to do with unusual produce like the lemon cucumber I picked up today.

It’ll be a week of veggies again — and trying out some new recipes. And while the sunflowers make me smile every time I look at them, my best purchase of the day was an eggplant. Not just any eggplant — this one was just begging for a face. Not sure what this one will become but for now, it’s also making us laugh.

photo (12)So here’s what I picked up today. Brown eggs, cucumbers, squash, cabbage, swiss chard, lettuce, white carrots, red and green sweet peppers, muskmelon, and a loaf of the best hearty, whole wheat bread (saves me from having to bake immediately).

Any suggestions for what we should be cooking?photo (11)

Send me some recipes! I love trying new things.






Farm to table: Cucumber yogurt salad on ours

Farm to table” is one of those buzzwords that is a bit irritating in that those who live in farming communities or small towns where large gardens are the norm, have been eating “farm to table” or garden to table for generations past. But in the sense that it has suggests a growing movement that promotes sustainability even in urban areas, it’s a good thing.

My brothers and I grew up in the same small town where I live today. Our parents had a huge garden which helped to feed the seven of us year round. Our basement (dusty cellar is a better description) had shelves lined with canned vegetables and fruit, jellies, ketchup (the real stuff), and later, a large chest freezer filled with more vegetables and fruits.

When we weren’t swimming or playing, we were snapping beans, shelling peas, husking corn, and peeling apples. This was not always done with a smile, but some resignation. Looking back, those chores taught us to be hard workers. Today all five — even the two in Tucson — have some sort of garden.

Because of time constraints, my edible garden consists mostly of lettuce, cucumbers, squash, tomatoes and herbs. Instead, I lean heavily on the local farmer’s market, as well as several farm stands, to eat “farm to table.”  Yesterday’s stop at the farmer’s market produced this take:

IMG_0136[1]Sweet corn, yellow and green sweet peppers, seedless cucumbers, zucchini and yellow squash of several varieties, white carrots, tiny red potatoes, green beans and brown eggs.

This will hold us for at least a few days until my own cukes and tomatoes are ready or I have to hit up the farm stand.

Yesterday, while figuring out what I wanted for lunch, the cucumbers produced a memory of a favorite salad. In the 70s, my mom began making her own yogurt, which became the basis of a dressing for cucumber salad. IMG_0146[1]

It’s still a favorite, and the fresh dill in my herb garden adds the perfect touch. I vary this, depending on what kind of vinegar is handy. Yesterday it was rice vinegar. Slice the cukes very thin — best done with a Bluffton (Ohio) Slaw Cutter, but a knife or food processor also works. This is a small recipe — perfect for one or two, but you can double or triple as necessary.

Cucumber Salad
1 long seedless cucumber, sliced thin
1/3 c. plain yogurt
1 tbsp. (or more) rice vinegar
1/3 tsp. lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped fresh dill to taste

Whisk together the yogurt, vinegar, and dill and pour over the sliced cucumbers. Mix, then add salt and pepper to taste. If you can wait, refrigerate for an hour. It’s also really good a day later — if there is any left over.

Variations: Add chopped sweet peppers (any color) or onions.

Popsicles can’t compete with watermelon/cucumber/mint granita

Long ago and far away in the land known as “when the girls were little,” our kitchen table became the production area for some pretty interesting concoctions. This usually happened when we were in some sort of extended food preparation, such as freezing strawberry jam in large batches.

Here’s how I remember it…no doubt their version is different. To keep them occupied, I gave them blended berries and let them create away. They added salt, sugar, artificial sweetener, food coloring, and I’d rather not know what else. What I remember is that the final color was what they finally identified as “puce”. Fortunately, they didn’t expect anyone except their dolls and stuffed animals to participate in a taste test.

In the intervening years, the two of them have developed their own cooking skills and tastes. Once in awhile, they take over our kitchen while visiting.

So I wasn’t surprised the other day when I came home and discovered that part of a huge watermelon had disappeared from the fridge. Initially, I thought maybe the two of them had engaged in a backyard game of spitting seeds. But no….such was not the case.

Feeling sorry for her sister, who had cut the inside of her mouth in a car accident, daughter number 1 decided to concoct something cold, sort of an adult version of a popsicle.

What did she come up with? Watermelon sorbet, which she described as more of a granita or shaved ice, because it was “chippy” rather than smooth like a sorbet. Check out her photo, followed by the recipe.

Watermelon, Cucumber, and Spearmint Granita/Sorbet
3 cups water

1 cup sugar
Large bunch of fresh mint
3 cups seedless watermelon chunks
1 cut peeled and seedless cucumber chunks
Stir the sugar and water together in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil, stirring a few times, just until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and steep 3 stems of mint. Leave to cool and then remove the mint stems.

Process the watermelon and cucumber chunks, 1/4 cup mint leaves, and the mint sugar syrup in a blender or food processor. It may be necessary to do this in smaller batches rather than all at once.

Strain the blended mix through a mesh strainer or cheesecloth into a bowl. Press/squeeze out as much pulp as possible. Discard the leftover pulp. Chill for a few hours in a glass or metal 9″ pan. Stir the icy mixture every hour until all is frozen – it will be chippy.
*I don’t know if an ice-cream maker would produce a smoother result, but it couldn’t hurt to try. 

Other potential flavors:
Cantaloupe and mint
Cantaloupe and basil
Lemon verbena and orange
Herbal (mints, lemon balm, etc.)
Mint (spearmint, peppermint, etc.)
Apple and maple syrup

Recipe from: http://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/Food/Stir-It-Up/2012/0803/Watermelon-cucumber-and-mint-sorbet