As m'friend Roger always says, those who say they don't like Bob Dylan are doomed to spend the rest of their lives listening to Bob Dylan, as their friends all fall over themselves crying "Oh, but you've got to like this one! Wait, and this, d'you see how different this is, and yet still essentially..." etc.
I was cheerfully agreeing with everything you said, and remembering the days when I fed veggie students on a stir-fry that had significant elements of cucumber in it, and so forth - and then I stumbled over yr last paragraph and was suddenly all "Oh, but have you tried celeriac in a soup? Or in a potato mash? Or in a slaw, it makes a fabulous addition to a slaw..." and so forth. But I speak as one who used to loathe celery and all its works, and learned to like it late in life, and so have that evangelical convert mentality, at least a little. (Also, you are not alone; Val McDermid still hates celery. One has to furnish her with bloody marys sans the dreaded thing.)
Hee. Yes. And the thing is, I do try celery and celeriac every few years. I try everything I don't like every few years, because there was this glorious period of my early 20s when I started liking things I had previously not liked, and so it seems worth it to try.
But. I just can't.
What a neat idea!
When I make tzatziki, I grate the cucumber on the large holes of a box grater, and then I gather it up in a big double-handful and squeeze as much of the water out of it as I can. In theory, this keeps the water from the cucumbers from diluting the yogurt as much, although it's probably more fussy than is absolutely necessary. But it's kind of fun to squish a big double handful of cucumber.
I'll have to try the food processor method and see how it compares.
I have an unreasoning dislike of box graters. I know they are no big deal to use, I just...I don't like 'em. They are the number one reason I have never tried to replicate the vegan carrot cake from the New Riverside Cafe, may it rest in peace.
I love tzatziki, but I wish I could figure out how to make it without having to make soup. It is entirely my own fault, is the thing. Because I learned that after chopping/grating/slicing the cucumber I could salt and squeeze it, and then fifteen generations of my ancestors, as portrayed by Ibsen, leaned over me ominously and said 'what, you're just going to throw all that nicely seasoned water laden with nutrients down the drain? That is a component of a vegetarian stock if we have ever seen one!' Only it doesn't really keep, so I wind up having to make soup within the next couple of days, or else feel annoyed about my use percentages again, which is a quick way to madness.
In other news, the salted water one squeezes out of cucumbers goes well in soup, assuming the other things in the soup have been salted by a human being personally and not by a large corporation who put terrible sodium percentages in everything. Saute a few carrots and shallots or onions and garlic in a little olive oil at the bottom of the soup pot, and then whatever else one is souping, and then drown in a little white wine and the cucumber water: I consider that stock without having to pre-make it. Have never actually put the cucumber in the soup, but I could see that as a plan, maybe, in summer, if there were tomatoes involved and the eventual product is meant to be served cold.
The things you have to make on the way to the thing you wanted to make because there's perfectly good food left can be kind of a lot of work. Both my strawberry cake and my hazelnut cake involve doing something with leftover egg yolks (usually scrambling them for the dog, but still), and the strawberry cake involves leftover strawberry puree going into things also, since guessing how many strawberries will make exactly a cup and a half of puree is not one of my talents.
Also, fifteen generations of my ancestors as portrayed by Ibsen is a problem for me also. (But better than when I get them portrayed by Munch.)
Oh! I would not have thought of the fruit salad-y thing, even though I have already come across strawberry-cucumber-mint in Pimm's. Hmmm...
MMM, I've never been able to make Tzadziki as good as I get in the local Middle Eastern restaurant but this recipe looks good. We've had some kind of cucumber blight this year, cucumbers get planted and the plants turn to mush.
Thanks for this. I like produce too, and if I could find more creative ways to prepare it maybe I'd eat more of it.
I am so sad about your cucumber blight. That would be just awful.
I have put green beans on the list. I'm going to do a post before too long about how I was defeated by wax beans, but green beans are more robust in flavor.
Huh-- I am fond of celery as a thing that goes in things (soup, stir fry, stew, anything for which I also chop up carrots...) Possibly this is because I don't consider onions to be food, and so celery has stepped in as the substitute.
Ok, suggestions-- have you things to do with red currants? (or gooseberries, or elderberries?) I got a thing of them at the farmers' market and then we discovered that our ideal serving size was about two, so only half of them got eaten before they all died. It was very sad.
Other things I would be interested to read about should you feel inspired include swiss chard, and summer squash of the not-cucumber varieties.
I don't like onions, either, so I'm not sure that's it.
I have added the others to the list. I know that a friend of mine has a currant recipe she says tastes amazing but looks like the least appetizing thing ever, but eating with your eyes closed is an option, so if/when I get to currants, I'll ask her.
Oh yes, please post many recipes for veggies! I have a CSA membership and veggies to eat but very limited ideas on how to cook them. My mother only cooked canned veggies when I was a kid. When I was in high school we upgraded to frozen veggies. Heat and add butter is the only method she used. My cooking skills are fine by my repertoire needs help.
I like the cucumber salad (#1
). I am looking forward to trying #3
. I have cucumbers, basil and mint in the fridge. I bet I can get strawberries and mangos to go with it.
I am so glad this is useful to you. I hear a lot of people saying that about their CSA, or expressing that they are daunted by the prospect of what to do with x or y veggie (or fruit), so that's what I'm hoping to help with.
I tried braising cucumbers in butter. It was good enough that I did it more than once. The only problem is that Mirth can't eat cukes and La Jeune Hatbox won't eat them, so I had to eat them all. Which in itself wasn't a bad thing, but if I'm making something just for me in cucumber season, I'll make horiatiki instead. Mmmm, horiatiki....
I see that someone else asked about Swiss chard, and I'll second the question. LJH decided the only salad green she likes is baby chard, so I planted lots of chard plants, but they turned out to be the wrong kind of chard (too tough!) for eating raw.
Do I need a recipe for this, or is it just "slice cucumber, melt butter, braise"?
I like stir-fried cucumber with black bean sauce or with hot spices. And it's good popped into a dhal for the last ten minutes of cooking before you putthe tarka in.
I wanted to tell you that my co-worker was so enamored of the recipe for the strawberry mango cucumber salad, she went home and tried it out on her family. She made two additions - some chopped walnuts and chicken. It looked delicious. I'm not a mango fan, but I think peaches might be a substitution.
Edited at 2013-08-07 08:14 pm (UTC)
I am so glad to hear it! The proteins make it pretty much a meal salad instead of a side salad. Sounds great.
Also, yes, peaches and mangoes are often substitutable, considering how structurally different they are. Weird but true.
That cucumber salad sounds delicious, and we have CSA cucumber that should be used up soon.
Beets, please? I have CSA beets, and I can eat some of them roasted in goat cheese, but I haven't yet found anything that the rest of the household likes.
I like roasted in goat cheese too! With walnuts even. But I will think further about beets.
I love cucumbers in sesame oil and rice wine vinegar. Then a little beef teriyake and sticky rice to go with them. But really, it's all about the cucumbers.
Inspired by this, I have now made tzatziki for the first time. I diced the cukes small enough that it's in the condiment/sauce direction rather than the cucumber salad direction, so now I need to decide what to put under or next to it.
As far as cucumbers go, I am very fond of Midsummer Green Bean Salad (also good for zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and, well, green beans): http://cloudscudding.livejournal.com/1073355.html
Quantities of vegetables called for are more of a guideline.
Good, so I can opt for "quantity of zucchini and onions = zero" and go forward with it!
Just tried the cucumber salad tonight--delicious, and thank you for the suggestion! We added a little bit of lime juice and some salt.