L to R: Slicing cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, cabbage, parsley, zucchini, basil, kale, tomatoes, chile peppers.
The cucumbers have almost been vanquished. Here are the latest casualties.
First is a simple cucumber-tomato salad with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, all to taste.
Second is tzatziki, a Greek dip made with yogurt, cucumbers, mint and dill. It’s great with pita chips or flatbread, as well as served alongside grilled meats. I like it on top of potatoes, too.
Third is raita, an Indian/Middle Eastern yogurt cucumber salad or dip, depending on how finely you chop the cucumbers. It’s flavored with mint and cumin, and is also great served with grilled meats.
Tzatziki – The Joy of Cooking, Rombauer/Becker
makes 2 cups
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
1 T olive oil
1 T chopped dill
1 T chopped mint
1 T red wine vinegar or fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Serve immediately or chill, covered, in refrigerator until serving.
Raita (Indian Yogurt Salad) – Joy of Cooking, Rombauer/Becker
makes 1 3/4 cups
1 cucumber, peeled, halved, seeded, and finely chopped
1 C plain yogurt or 1/2 C yogurt plus 1/2 C sour cream
1 T finely chopped mint
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. salt
(1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced)
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Serve immediately, or chill, covered, in refrigerator until serving.
I used Greek yogurt in both recipes, and it works very well. Whether you choose to “finely dice” or “finely chop” your cucumber is dependent upon how you’re going to use it, as far as I’m concerned. Obviously, a dip is better with very finely chopped ingredients, while a salad is more pleasant with larger pieces in it. Why the word “mince” isn’t used in either of these recipes is anyone’s guess, but that’s how I would describe my treatment of the jalapeno pepper in the raita, and the cucumber in the tzatziki.
The lacto-fermented pickles are super garlicky, sour, and exactly as you expect if you are a fan of those big deli pickles in jars on deli counters. All I need now is a big Italian grinder from Rocky’s Deli in Millwood, NY, and I’d be all set. On an Arthur Ave. grinder roll. Good times.
I thought about posting the recipe for the deli pickles, but the method instructions are pretty extensive for this blog post. So instead, I offer you a few recommendations of books and websites who have already outlined, quite nicely, the procedures for canning all sorts of things you might a) have too much of to eat now, or b) would like to have after they have gone out of season.
In addition to my two favorite canning books, Stocking Up, by Carol Hupping and the Rodale Food Center, and Putting Food By, by Janet Greene, Ruth Hertzberg, and Beatrice Vaughan (links can be found under “Books I Love” at the top of this page), I can heartily recommend The DIY Cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen. To date, I have made strawberry jam, pickle relish, and the big deli pickles, and every recipe has been a great success. Each recipe has lots of color photos of the process, and the step-by-step is clear and easy to follow. Another thing I love about this book is the batches are quite small, much more easily managed, if you are a busy person, than the larger batches in the other two books. Canning does not have to be an all-day affair if you don’t want it to be.
At the Food52 website, there is an article titled, “Canning 101“. It’s a lovely step-by-step description of canning in general. If you are looking for specific recipes, check out Food In Jars. Recipes, guidelines, beautiful photos, it’s all there. There’s even a companion book. Definitely click on over there.
Well, that’s enough for now, I think. Plenty for you to think about, and some links to click on. Enjoy the season’s bounty; it’s really starting to roll in now, with squashes, corn, and tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes. Soak up the sun by eating your veg, no sunscreen necessary, and I’ll see you soon somewhere on down the Road.