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).



Rhubarb Cocktails

It’s time to harvest the rhubarb, and I am looking for something new to try.  I had tried a friends rhubarbtini last summer, so after some research I came up with this rhubarb simple syrup.  And then use the rhubarb simple syrup as your mixology base, the combinations are endless-have fun.  We tried several different recipes and I will share with you the top two, and they are equally fabulous.

The first is a version of the Farm Girl Cosmo ..from The Huffington post but with a twist.

Farm Girl Martini

  • 3/4 cup vodka
  • 1 cup Rhubarb Syrup
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons orange liqueur
  • Thin slices of lime twists, for garnish
  • Shake over ice and serve straight up in a chilled martini glass

The next cocktail I would not have imagined I would have liked it, since it is made with Gin. But I really enjoyed the sweet and spicy combination of this cocktail.

Rhubarb – Ginger Cocktail

1oz rhubarb syrup,  1oz ginger liqueur and 1 shot of Gin  served over ice

this cocktail was from  this web site has endless information on rhubarb and recipes:)  I’m already waiting for my next batch of rhubarb to grow so I can get mixing up some more. enjoy