Playing With Our Food

This is what happens when, despite some ungodly temperatures here in North Carolina, your garden decides to go forth & dispense some goodies.

I have 30 cucumbers in my crisper drawer right now, y'all. What. The. Heck.

Fortunately, I like a good cucumber challenge. (Get your mind out of the gutter.)

The first thing I did when our Seed Savers Exchange A&C and White Wonder cukes started showing up was to find a good pickling recipe. And with temperatures hanging in the 100 degree fun zone for nearly 2 weeks here, I needed one that didn't require processing them. Who could conceive of a hot water canning bath in that kind of weather?

Fortunately Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Practical Pantry had my back with this Quick Pickle recipe,  It's easy to double or triple and it can work for nearly any kind of vegetable you want to pickle. It's a mild recipe with a modest amount of salt & garlic and I customized the picking spice mix with dried dill, black peppercorns, and celery and coriander seed.

I hope to take advantage of the cooler-ish weather this week and can some dill pickles to enjoy later this fall & winter -- if we can keep our hands off them.

Not a canner? Consider making cucumber water. I was a little dubious that I'd enjoy this, but I drank the entire pitcher in less than a day. It's easy to make -- grab a water pitcher, add a few sliced and peeled cucumbers, add in some mint leaves and/or a few slices of ginger, and let it sit for a bit, Strain it or just drink it & eat up the cucumber as you drink (automatic snack!). 

Once I drained the cucumber water, I didn't want to trash the cucumbers. (Who am I kidding? Y'all know we compost.) So I removed the seeds, pressed all the liquid out, and added it to some plain yogurt with a minced garlic clove, a shake or four of dried dill, and a shake of salt. And then I have a quick dressing for a sliced tomato salad or a Greek-style sauce for the burgers I'm about to grill. 

(Speaking of burgers, I don't deep fry my potatoes. But I found this oven fries recipe that calls for soaking the potatoes first in salted water and makes very crispy potato wedges.)

What about tomatoes, you might ask? Scott and I planted six heirloom plants in late April and they're now starting to blush. Later this week I plan to make the Lee Bros.' White Gazpacho, which will use up a handful of cucumbers and some tomatoes. I might use this brainy guy here:


Looks can be deceiving when it comes to produce -- the uglier, the better.

Our okra is slowly starting to come in, we just planted a second row of provider green beans, and a few bell peppers are popping up. I've already stir fried one Italian eggplant and one small Japanese variety. And oh the squash... if you have good squash recipes, please let us know! 

What's growing in your gatden or showing up at your favorite market? Got a good summer recipe? Do tell, and I hope you're having a super-fabulous-amazingly-grand time.