Tag Archives: cucumber

Customer Recipe: Cucumber Dill Soup

Here’s another great customer submitted recipe for a refreshing late summer soup. We love to share culinary inspiration, keep them coming!

Curah writes –

Had to pass on this recipe that I tried out last week when my girlfriends came over. We wanted to do a light dinner of cool salads and a summer soup .. so I decided to try my hand at a cool cucumber dill soup.  It was super EASY and very cool and refreshing.

Cucumber Dill Soup

4 large cucumbers — peeled, seeded and chopped. (reserve a small amount for garnish if desired)
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup milk
Juice of Half a Lemon (or lime)
2 tablespoons fresh dill chopped
1/2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp chopped parsley
Mint for garnish

Process cucumbers in blender or food processor until smooth. Add remaining ingredients (minus mint) and pulse to combine. Chill soup about 1 hour. Serve in chilled bowls and garnish with mint sprigs and chopped cucumber (optional)

Thanks for sharing Curah!

Advertisements

Venison Keftedes with Tzatziki

This meal is the result of two competing desires. The resolution of an epic struggle today between my compulsion to use up all the groceries in my fridge and what felt like the world’s strongest craving for Greek take-out from the restaurant down the street.

I was doing my Sunday chores like a responsible adult when I started craving pita bread and schawarma from Arpeggio Grill, the little Mediterranian spot down the street from my apartment complex. Their pita is so soft and light it practically floats up to your mouth, and it’s the perfect vehicle for spicy lamb.

My desire for pita was strong. However, we had a bunch of extra food in the house, and I just couldn’t bear to buy more while so many groceries went unused on the shelf. So I decided to approximate the pita and schawarma lunch special from Arpeggio Grill using ingredients that I had on hand in the kitchen.

Recreating their pita was pretty straightforward. I used the recipe and method from one of my favorite learn-to-bake blogs, “The Fresh Loaf.” That blog gives a comprehensive breakdown of each ingredient, plus specific step by step instruction with pictures. Perfect for a novice pita-maker like me.

To complement the keftedes and pita bread, I made tzatziki with an Indian cucumber from My Father’s Farm. Indian cucumbers are big, yellow vegetables that taste the same as green, English cucumbers. I like using them in recipes like raita or tzatziki because their bulbous shape yields a bit more flesh than green cucumbers once they are seeded.

c. swanksalot, http://www.flickr.com/photos/swanksalot/. Licensed for reuse under Creative Commons.

The schawarma portion of Arpeggio Grill’s lunch plate was more difficult to make at home than the pita or tzatziki, since the dish must be cooked on a rotissierie– not standard issue for any apartment kitchen I’ve ever seen! Since actual schawarma was out of the question, I turned to traditional fried meatballs called “keftedes” to recreate the Mediterranean flavors I was craving. I used ground venison hunted by my dad for the keftedes, along with eggs from Ringger farms and herbs from Pure Luck and My Father’s Farm. If you don’t have access to deer from a hunter, ground venison is available in Austin at Whole Foods or you can substitute a mixture of ground lamb and pork.

Although cooking three Mediterranean dishes from scratch was more time consuming than calling for take-out, I’m glad I put in the effort. I bought myself a big chunk of room in my crisper drawer, and I can rest easy tonight knowing that home cooked leftovers mean my lunch for tomorrow is already prepared!

Venison Keftedes (yields about 30, golf ball-sized meatballs)
3 slices bread
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons minced fresh basil
3 tablespoons minced fresh mint
1 tablespoon dried oregano (3 tablespoons if using fresh)
1 pound ground venison, can subtitute pork, turkey or beef
1/2 cup millk
2 eggs, beaten
Canola oil, for frying
All-purpose flour, for frying

In a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, combine the first six ingredients. Process for 3-4 minutes, until mixture is uniform and all the herbs are distributed evenly through the bread crumbs. In a large bowl, mix together the bread crumb mixture, ground meat, milk and beaten eggs. Shape the meat into meat balls and cook by frying or baking, instructions below.

Frying method: Heat an inch or two of oil in a deep skillet until it reaches 375 degrees, or a bit of the meat mixture sizzles in the hot oil. Line a plate with a few paper towels. Dredge the meatballs generously in all-purpose flour and cook them a few at a time in the hot oil until they are firm and deep brown, turning often. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon and set them on the towel-lined plate to drain.

Baking method: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place rolled meatballs on a broiler pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, until they are no longer pink in the center. Serve keftedes with tzatziki and warm pita bread.

Tzatziki (yields 2 cups)
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and shredded
7 ounces Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon white vinegar (use lemon juice if you have that on hand. I didn’t)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
1 tablespoon minced fresh mint
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Mix the shredded cucumber and greek yogurt together in a small bowl, then transfer the mixture to a paper towel-lined strainer. Set the strainer over the bowl and let the mixture drain for an hour. Discard the liquid.

In a food processor, combine yogurt mixture with remaining ingredients. Process for a few minutes until tzatziki is creamy and well combined. Chill for at least an hour before serving.

Local Box Meal Plan: July 4-8

Hope everyone had a great holiday! I’ll be enjoying my melons simply cubed and raw, but here are some great recipes for the rest of our ingredients.

Yellow Peaches – Caskey Orchards
Blueberries – Berry Best
Assorted Summer Squash – Massey Farm
Yukon Potatoes – Tecolote Farm
Eggplant (Assorted) – Fruitful Hill Farm & Animal Farm
Armenian Cucumber – Fruitful Hill Farm
Juliet Tomatoes – Hillside Farm
Summer Peas – Just Peachy Farm
Cantaloupe OR Sugar Baby Watermelon – Massey Farm

Sun-dried Juliet tomatoes – This is a super-interesting recipe for sun-dried tomatoes dried using the heat inside your car, accompanied by a few recipes to use your newly dried tomatoes. If you’re more of a traditionalist, just pop the sliced tomatoes in your oven on its lowest setting for a couple of hours.

Cucumber-tomato salad – Make a simple salad with peeled Armenian cukes, sliced black olives (if you like them), tomatoes, Italian dressing, and salt/pepper.

Orecchiette with caramelized fennel and summer veggies – Orecchiette means “little ears” in Italian and refers to the shape of the pasta. It can be difficult to find (and expensive when you do find it) so sub spiral or wagon wheel pasta if you’d like.

Herbed summer squash and potato torte – From one of my favorites, Smitten Kitchen.

Baked blueberry-peach oatmeal – This calls for canned peaches, but just use sliced fresh ones instead. I wouldn’t bother peeling them, but I don’t mind a little peach fuzz.

Local Box Meal Plan: June 20-24

Peaches – Caskey Orchards 
Blueberries – JB Organic
Assorted Summer Squash – Gundermann Acres and Texas Natural 
Basil – Pure Luck 
Fennel – Bar W 
Avocado – G&S Groves 
Tomatoes – ABJ Farm and My Father’s Farm 
Black Radish – My Father’s Farm   
Summer Peas – Just Peachy Farm OR Engel Farms
Indian Cucumber – My Father’s Farm   

Peach-blueberry pie – Let me know if you’re getting tired of peach/blueberry combo recipes. I just love the two together in the summer. You can use store-bought pie crust here if you don’t want to make your own.

Chicken penne with basil

Spanish-style stuffed bell peppers

Cucumber, carrot, and radish salad with creamy avocado dressing – You can peel the Indian cucumbers and eat them in the salad raw, as you would a regular cucumber. If you don’t have crème fraiche on hand (and who usually does?) just sub sour cream. Or even whole milk.

– Stephanie

10 Things to Do With Cucumbers

Cucumbers are one of my favorite things about summer. They’re cool and easy to use and you can even grow them in space! (Don’t worry, the ones in the Local Box are from closer to home than that.) Still, unless I want to eat refrigerator pickles all summer I need to figure out what else I’m planning to make with all the cukes that come my way this season. Here are ten ideas:

1. Add thin slices of cucumber to a pitcher of water and refrigerate. After a few hours, voila! Refreshing cucumber water.

Cucumber Water© Quinn Dombrowski.

2. Make a Lean Green Smoothie by blending together a sliced cucumber, 3 cups of chopped honeydew melon, 3 cups of ice cubes, and a handful of fresh mint. Garnish with mint and a slice of cucumber.

3. Let the kids help make Cucumber Raita. Kids can grate half a cucumber and mix it with 8 ounces of yogurt and a sprinkle of garlic powder. Grown-up should slice the remaining cucumber, plus additional veggies such as radishes, carrots or squash. Dip the crudite in the raita for an inexpensive, healthy summer snack.

4. Sandwich sliced cucumbers and cream cheese between slices of rye bread for pretty Cucumber Tea Sandwiches.

5. If you get tired of drinking cucumber water, switch to these Cucumber Basil Mojitos.

6.  Add chopped cucumber and a teaspoon of dried dill to your favorite salsa recipe for Cucumber Salsa. (Here’s a good place to start if you don’t have a favorite salsa recipe.)

7. Garnish something with Cucumber Flowers.

8. Use your cukes and some apples to make this exfoliating sugar bath scrub. Drink some cucumber water while you’re in the tub and place some chilled cucumber slices over your eyes for a complete spa experience!

9. Prepare Ellie Krieger’s recipe for Light Cucumber Salad with English cucumbers, red onions and fresh dill in a tangy sweet vinaigrette.

10. As soon as local watermelon come into season, use them along with cucumber to make Watermelon Cucumber Popsicles.

Black-Pepper Pork Banh Mi

I don’t usually think about eating sandwiches in the winter. Sandwiches usually = light, cool summer fare, at least in my mind. But when I was creating my weekly menu plan a few weeks ago, I came across a recipe for pickled daikon radishes and carrots (I’d just gotten a bunch of each in my Greenling box). At the end it said “Remove vegetables from liquid before using in banh mi.”

I’d never heard of banh mi before and did some googling. Turns out it’s a Vietnamese sandwich that has many, many variations, and many, many fans. There are entire websites devoted to cataloging the different types of banh mi you can make. Pickled daikon radishes and carrots are a common condiment, though, no matter which iteration you go with. So is cilantro, which I love. Mayonnaise is a typical spread, but since I think it’s disgusting (Mayo is Satan’s condiment. It’s true.) I ate my sandwich dry. The fillings were delicious enough without it. The site I link to below has many different meats and condiments you can use to create your own banh mi.

Black-Pepper Pork Banh Mi (adapted from Banh Mi Battle)

Pork:
1 lb pork tenderloin, thinly sliced
2 cloves crushed garlic
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp sugar
1-2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp finely chopped shallots or onion
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp sesame seed oil

6 bollilos (Mexican sandwich rolls) or other sandwich roll

Condiments:
Pickled daikon radishes and carrots
Cilantro sprigs
Thinly sliced cucumber
Thinly sliced red onion
Mayonnaise (optional)

For the pork, combine all ingredients in a zip-lock bag and let the pork marinate for at least an hour. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add pork and marinade. Cook 3-4 minutes per side, until pork is cooked through.

To assemble the sandwiches, cut a slit lengthwise into each bollilo. Pull out some of the bread from the inside (this gives you more room for fillings). Fill with pork and condiments of your choice.

– Stephanie

Local Box Meal Plan: Nov. 8-12

Lots of variety this week – looks like a good mix of summer, fall, and winter produce. We’re getting:

Granny Smith or Cameo Apples – Apple Country
Summer Squash- Texas Natural
Green Beans – Animal
Cucumbers – Acadian
Green Shallots – Acadian
Green Cabbage – Naegelin
Swiss Chard – Acadian
Grapefruit – G&S Groves
Basil – Urban Roots
Cilantro – My Father’s Farm
Sweet Potatoes – Naegelin

Here’s this week’s video if you need a visual:

I will be making:

Asian sweet potato chowder – Can you say YUM? Sweet potatoes, cilantro, green shallots (subbed for the green onions), and coconut milk form a creamy soup. If you don’t want to mess with fresh ginger, just use the jarred, minced ginger found in the Asian food aisle. Use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth here, and this is vegan.

Apple-cabbage slaw – Serve with pork chops.

Tortellini soup – Use trimmed fresh green beans instead of frozen, add chopped Swiss chard, and use fresh basil instead of dried. You’ll probably need to add some extra broth or water to account for the extra veggies, and simmer at least 15 minutes until the green beans are tender. Also, I think this would be good without the ground beef, or with sauteed chicken instead.

Couscous and cucumber salad – Serve with broiled chicken. You can easily leave out the parsley if you don’t have it – the basil will provide enough flavor on its own.

Broiled grapefruit – This tasty breakfast recipe uses brown sugar and butter to create a sweet, crunchy topping much like the top of creme brulee – perfect on a cool morning.