Fun with Cucumbers

Hot Off the Press: a new magazine start-up called Our Green Plate—focused on farm to table and food culture in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. #ourgreenplate

I had the opportunity to do some recipe photography for the magazine. It was so much fun to work with the art director Brian Donahue at BeDesign Inc. and Karla Spies the amazing food stylist and set design collaborator.  cucumberMartini_heroThe recipes are delicious and perfect for the bounty of cucumbers harvested from the garden.

 

Cucumber Martini

1 serving

7 1⁄2 tablespoons or a scant 1⁄2 cup vodka, preferably organic

1 1⁄2 teaspoons cucumber simple syrup*

1 cucumber 1 lime

lemon bitters (optional)

Peel and thinly slice the cucumber. Cut the lime into eighths. Place 4 cucumber slices in the bottom of a cocktail shaker and add the simple syrup. Squeeze in one of the lime pieces and muddle them together.

Fill the shaker with ice, add vodka, cover and shake for about 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Add 2 or 3 drops of lemon bitters and garnish with thin slices of cucumber.

*For cucumber simple syrup, mix 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water together in a small saucepan. Heat on low, stirring, until sugar is dissolved, about 5–8 minutes. Remove from heat, add 6 or so cucumber slices. Pour in glass jar and store in the refrigerator up to a week.

 

Tzatziki Dip

This is a very flexible recipe; you can make it with or without the herbs, and omit any herb you don’t like or don’t have. If you just have parsley, that’s delicious too. If you like it extra garlicky, add another clove. Bottom line: it’s basically impossible to mess this recipe up!

4 servings

1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt

  • 1⁄2  cucumber, English preferred
  • 1⁄2  tablespoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 clove garlic, mashed to a paste or put through a garlic press olive oil

Peel and grate the cucumber on the large holes of a grater. Place in a small sieve and sprinkle with 1/2 tablespoon of kosher salt. Let it sit for 10 minutes and then squeeze out all the excess water. Mix the cucumber in a small mixing bowl with the Greek yogurt, garlic, chopped herbs, and lemon juice. Allow to rest in refrigerator for an hour or more before serving to develop flavors. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. Serve on a plate or in a bowl with a little olive oil drizzled on top (optional).

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Grilled Baba Ganoush

babaganousheggplant2grillWhat do you do when your friend gives you some eggplants from his garden? Make Baba Ganoush. I find eggplant intimidating, I look at it and have no clue what to do. I do like Baba Ganoush and after looking up the recipe I decided to give it a try. I choose to grill it which was real easy since I asked my husband to grill it. The best part about the dip is the tahini anything with tahini is good for me, it’s like a sesame peanut butter.

The best Baba Ganoush is in the middle east, I have never had it as smokey and flavorful as there, I don’t know how they do it.  Perhaps I should request my neighbor smoke the eggplant next time he has his smoker going in the backyard. This is a simple and tasty dip, great for all those fall vegies.
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Edamame Sweet Pea Dip

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Edamame Sweet Pea Dip

It’s snowing outside in mid february and all I can think about is spring.  I have a craving for something fresh and green.  I heard about this sweet pea dip that sounded interesting, there are a lot of versions you will find, most of them with garlic mint and parmesan cheese. This one sounded good to me and low-calorie.  I mixed half edamame peas and half sweet peas, we really liked the combination. The Edamame gives it the rich base layer and the sweet peas give it some sweetness. It does have a very nice fresh flavor, thoughts of fresh spring peas in the garden.  Happy dipping

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