News from Windflower Farm: Versatile Cucumbers

CSA Delivery 7, July 19, 2010.

This week’s share of the harvest includes slicing and pickling cucumbers, assorted yellow and green squashes, a miscellany of tomatoes or sweet peppers (depending on your site), green snap beans, white cipollini onions, dark red beets, and your choice of Swiss chard, Red Russian kale or Mei Qing Choi.  We may be sending too many cucumbers, but, according to Martha Stewart, they are a surprisingly versatile vegetables, and very good for you.  Cucumber and jicama slaw is excellent.  Cucumber and feta toasts are easy, and go well with any meat dish.  Quick pickled cucumber salads are great as a side with tacos or fajitas.  Martha has provided the first three of this week’s four recipes.  And, just when you think there is nothing left to do with your cucumbers, there are cucumber-lime pops with gin.  You might try these the next time the Mercury tops 90.  We hope to begin sending corn in the next week or two.  In the weeks ahead you can also expect a steady supply of cucumbers and squashes, beans of a variety of types, the return of lettuces, more onions, the first of our potatoes and carrots, and an increase in our tomato harvest.

Save the date: our open house on the farm is the weekend of August 28-29.  Details to come.

Have a great week,

Ted

CUCUMBER & JICAMA SLAW

Cut a cucumber into 3” lengths, then thinly slice lengthwise, avoiding the center.  Cut slices into matchsticks.  Peel 1 small jicama and thinly slice.  Stack and cut it, too, into matchsticks.  In a bowl, toss the cucumber and jicama matchsticks with 1 ½ tsp. honey and 2 tbs. fresh lime juice until combined.  Season with coarse salt and ¼ tsp. chile powder.

CUCUMBER & FETA TOASTS

Preheat oven to 450 F.  Split ½ baguettes lengthwise and brush with olive oil.  Bake until golden around edges.  In a small bowl, mash together 3 oz. feta, 4 tsp. oil, and ½ tsp. lemon juice with a fork.  Season with coarse salt and ground pepper.  Spread the feta mixture evenly over the toasted baguette and top with thin slices of cucumbers.  Season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice, and drizzle with oil.  Cut into pieces and serve.

QUICK PICKLED CUCUMBER SALAD

In a large bowl, combine 2 large cucumbers, peeled and thinly slice crosswise, ½ medium red onion (or try your cipollinis), thinly sliced, 1 tsp. sugar, and ¼ rice vinegar.  Season with coarse salt and ground pepper and toss to combine.  The salad can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 hours.

CUCUMBER, LIME & GIN POPS

You’ll need ½ cup sugar, ¼ cup plus 1 tbs. water, ¼ cup coarsely chopped mint leaves, 2 tbs. finely grated lime zest, ¼ cup fresh lime juice, ¼ cup gin, 1 12-oz. cucumber peeled, seeded and pureed, ½ tsp. unflavored gelatin (to slow melting).  Combine the sugar, ¼ cup water and mint in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Cover, remove from heat, and let stand for 15 minutes.  Strain the mint syrup into a large bowl and let cool to room temperature.  Whisk in the lime zest, lime juice, gin and cucumber puree.  Sprinkle the gelatin over 1 tsp. water and let stand until softened.  Microwave the gelatin solution for 8 seconds and the whisk into the cucumber mixture.  Arrange 10 paper cups on a baking sheet.  Pour the mixture into the cups and freeze for 1 hour, until partially frozen.  Insert a stick in the center of each and then freeze fully.  Serve when desired.

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