To Market, To Market
Stop by your local Farmers Market (I love the tacos and horchata at Logan Square) and you’ll see that the vegetables are plentiful. So plentiful, in fact, that we’re in bumper crop heaven. The economy may be in tatters but this summer’s bumper crop has yielded some lovely cucumbers, just perfect for your seasonal enjoyment.
I picked up a bushel full of cuces last weekend and began brainstorming!
Imagine kicking your feet up on a porch near Lake Michigan, Pink & Green in hand. Never heard of it before? It’s an EC original! The base of the cocktail is fresh juice made from watermelon, cucumber, and a sprig of mint. Simply seed your watermelon and cucumber and throw them in a blender, mint last. Add a shot of Grey Goose and a teaspoon of lime juice for heightened flavor and candy the rim of your martini glass with sugar or salt. Enjoy with the breeze blowing your hair and a Margaret Atwood novel at your feet.
If you’re coo coo for cucumbers and a cocktail isn’t enough, try Jackson Mississippi specialty of cucumber and tomato salad dressed with basil vinegar and avocado oil. For the global set, I recommend Jerusalem salad (a middle eastern melange of tomatoes, pickling cucumbers, scallions, mint, and yogurt), British salmon mouse piped onto cucumber rounds, and Indian cucumber raita! (I go to Devon for my Indian produce—marvelous samosas while you’re shopping too!).
And let’s not forget cucumber dessert. Blog SpicySaltySweet recommends peeled Persian cucumbers, lime juice, sugar, water and vanilla bean for the greenest of summertime treats, cucumber sorbet! And Food52 piqued my sweet tooth with their cucumber bread recipe.
Bumper crops are ruling foodie nation. Check out NY Times article “Last Call for Summer” (http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/08/31/dining/20110831-summer-cooking.html?ref=dining) for home grown delicacies. The writers use seasonal stock like peaches, blackberries, and corn, pairing b.c. fruits and veggies with their own global anecdotes. How about grilled peaches with Egyptian Dukkah and blueberries? Delish!
Chefs and foodies alike are turning back to nature as we strive to encompass today’s economic needs and bumper crop delights are timely and cost-effective. The best part? The necessary ingredients are in your backyard Farmer’s Market! You don’t have to travel to Holland, Michigan or the cornfields of Iowa. Just hop on the El with your straw hat flapping in the breeze and cash in hand. Get your bumper crop on this weekend!
I’ll be there with my beagle pulling me through the grass!