Tzatziki From The Organic Cook’s Bible by Jeff Cox Serves 6
“In Greece, this thick cucumber-yogurt dip is served with almost everything. It is great as a spread with pita bread, as a sauce for seafood, chicken, roast lamb, or goat, or as a dip for grilled slices of summer vegetables.
1 quart plain Greek yogurt 1 medium cucumber, peeled and grated 3 garlic cloves, minced 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil Salt and freshly ground black pepper In a bowl, mix together the yogurt, cucumber, garlic, vinegar, mint, and olive oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place in a serving dish, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for several hours to give the ingredients time to integrate.
My favorite summer salad I am not a measuring type of cook, so try to have an equal amount of cucumber and tomato, add basil and feta in amounts to your liking. 1 small or ½ medium onion, diced 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar ¼ cup olive oil Salt 1 cucumber, slightly peeled, seeded (if necessary), and cut into chunks Chopped tomatoes Torn basil leaves Feta cheese
Combine the onion, vinegar, olive oil, and salt in a mason jar and shake. Allow the dressing to sit for 15 minutes or so. Combine cucumber and tomato. Add dressing, then basil and feta. Serve in bowls and with bread to soak up the liquid left over (or just drink it!).
Melon and Cucumber Salad with Black Pepper and Mint From Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison For 4 to 6
1 ripe cantaloupe Several cucumbers 1 or more tablespoons chopped mint Grated zest of 1 lemon 2 teaspoons lemon juice Sea salt and ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper 2 tablespoons olive or avocado oil Mint sprigs, to finish
Halve and seed the melon, then slice into sections. Cut the flesh away from the skin, then cut into bite-size chunks. Chop the cucumbers without peeling them. Put the melon and cucumber in salad bowl.
Stir together the mint, lemon zest and juice, pepper, and ¼ teaspoon salt in a small bowl, then whisk in the oil. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
Toss the melon and cucumber with the dressing. Chill for 1 hour or longer. Grind pepper over the top and finish with mint sprigs. With Goat Cheese: Crumble over mild fresh goat or goat feta cheese
Best Gazpacho From cooking.nytimes.com
About 2 pounds ripe red tomatoes, cored and roughly cut into chunks 1 Italian frying (cubanelle) pepper or another long, light green pepper, such as Anaheim, cored, seeded and roughly cut into chunks 1 cucumber, about 8 inches long, peeled and roughly cut into chunks 1 small mild onion (white or red), peeled and roughly cut into chunks 1 clove garlic 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar, more to taste Salt ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, more to taste, plus more for drizzling
Combine tomatoes, pepper, cucumber, onion and garlic in a blender or, if using a hand blender, in a deep bowl. (If necessary, work in batches.) Blend at high speed until very smooth, at least 2 minutes, pausing occasionally to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula.
With the motor running, add the vinegar and 2 teaspoons salt. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil. The mixture will turn bright orange or dark pink and become smooth and emulsified, like a salad dressing. If it still seems watery, drizzle in more olive oil until texture is creamy.
Strain the mixture through a strainer or a food mill, pushing all the liquid through with a spatula or the back of a ladle. Discard the solids. Transfer to a large pitcher (preferably glass) and chill until very cold, at least 6 hours or overnight.
Before serving, adjust the seasonings with salt and vinegar. If soup is very thick, stir in a few tablespoons ice water. Serve in glasses, over ice if desired. A few drops of olive oil on top are a nice touch.
Melon and Cucumber Agua Fresca From Local Flavors by Deborah Madison 4 cups honeydew or other melon, cut into chunks 1 medium cucumber, peeled and chopped Simple Syrup zest and juice of 1 or 2 limes handful of mint leaves, lemon verbena, or pineapple sage 2 cups spring or mineral water (i just use plain old tap water to help with the blending) for garnish: sprigs of mint, lemon verbena, salad burnet, or borage flowers
Puree the melon and cucumber in a blender or food processor just enough to break the up w/o letting them get too foamy. Pour the juice into large pitcher; add the syrup to taste, lime zest and juice, and herbs. Chill well. Stir in the spring water and serve over ice. Garnish with any of the herbs or borage flowers. Both salad burnet and borage have overtones of cucumber.
*Note: I found that you need water/liquid to help blend the melon/cucumber
Serves 6-8. Best enjoyed the day that it is made.
Cucumber Cooler From Super Natural Everyday by Hiedi Swanson “Think of the coolers as refreshing, nonalcoholic slushies, punctuated with a pop of lime….You can make a pitcher and store it in the refrigerator up to an hour ahead of time; just give a good stir before serving.”
1 cucumber, partially peeled ½ cup cold water 3 cups ice cubes 1/3 cup mild honey Juice of ½ lime, or more to taste ¼ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt In a blender, combine the cucumber, water, ice, honey, lime juice, and salt. Pulse until completely smooth and frosty and free of any ice chunks or honey globs. Taste and add more lime juice, if you like. Serve in a large glass pitcher or individual glasses.
Cucumber Soup with Yogurt and Red Quinoa From Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison For 4 to 6 “Cucumbers can be a bit faint in a soup, so don’t be shy in the herb department. Use plenty so that you end up with a pale green soup that is flecked with green herbs and the red quinoa. Such a soup is easy to improvise, and it’s a boon to have a pitcher of this cooling mix waiting for you in the fridge.”
1 cup red quinoa, cooked Sea salt 4 teaspoons olive oil Freshly ground pepper 1 pound cucumbers 3 cups yogurt A big handful of mixed fresh herbs, such as mint, marjoram, loveage, parsley, dill, basil, or sorrel 1 avocado, halved and pitted 1 cup buttermilk or keifer, if needed Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon or 2 limes Snipped chives, to finish
Cook the quinoa first so it can cool. Chop the cucumbers coarsely. Put the cucumbers, yogurt, herbs, ½ teaspoon salt, and avocado in a blender. Puree until green, smooth, and flecked. If the soup seems too thick, stir in the buttermilk as needed to thin to a good consistency. Stir in the rest of the oil, the citrus zest and juice, then taste for salt and season with pepper and chill well. Ladle the soup into bowls. Divide the red quinoa among them and scatter the chives over each serving. Drizzle a few drops of oil over each serving.
Cucumber Salad with Smashed Garlic and Ginger From Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi
1 small red onion, very thinly sliced 1 ½ inches fresh ginger, peeled and sliced 1 tsp Maldon salt 2 large garlic cloves, peeled 1 ¼ lbs cucumber 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds 3 tbsp chopped cilantro
To make the dressing, whisk together all the dressing ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Add the sliced red onion, mix well and leave aside to marinate for about an hour. Place the ginger and salt in a mortar and pound well with a pestle. Add the garlic and continue pounding until it is also well crushed and broken into pieces (stop pounding before it disintegrates into a paste). Use a spatula to scrape the contents of the mortar into the bowl with the onion and dressing. Stir together. Cut the cucumbers lengthways in half, and then cut each half on an angle into ¼-inch-thick slices. Add the cucumber to the bowl, followed by the sesame seeds and cilantro. Stir well and leave to sit for 10 minutes. Before serving, stir the salad again, tip out some of the liquid that has accumulated at the bottom of the bowl and adjust the seasoning.