Thursday, June 17, 2010
Vegetables from the Farmers' Market: Cucumber Salad times 2
It is summer and here in my little town, that means the Farmers' Market is here. How I love to go, bag in hand, to the market to buy fresh vegetables. Presently, I am a girl without a garden. My little mint crop is flourishing and I have some nice blooming flowers, but no rows of green beans, corn, or onions grace my backyard. My husband and I tend my parent's garden when they are gone and reap the benefits even when they are not. When we moved into our present house, there was no garden plot but we do plan to change that because we find ourselves missing the benefits of growing and sowing.
If my mother taught me to find joy in the kitchen, my father taught me to find joy in the garden. There are so many memories of my dad planting, watering, and picking vegetables in his garden. He would beckon us, my brothers and I, from our play to come and help. I remember one summer when I was about 11, Dad walked me to a mysterious looking set of plants and said, "Here. This is your job this summer. Water these plants." "What are they?" I asked. "Rhubarb" he replied." I protested, "But I don't even like rhubarb." "That's okay, water it anyway." And so I did. The rhubarb flourished even under the reluctant beginnings of our relationship. As it grew, I developed a respect for its thick stalks and rosy color. When we finally harvested it, I was proud. I still didn't love the taste but after putting all that work into it, I for darn sure was going to partake! Smart man, my dad.
Last Saturday, I bought some lovely cucumbers from a local gardener. They looked so great on her stand reclining in a basket in fetal postions. I tried two recipes with them that I am going to share. One from Grandma's cookbook and one from a clipping I have from a magazine. They are both fantastic!
Cucumber Salad (Russian) from the Mennonite Community Cookbook
1 quart thick sour milk or buttermilk (I mixed sour cream and half and half)
4 medium cucumbers
1 T salt
2 T vinegar
Pare and slice cucumbers into thin rings.
Sprinkle with 1 1/8 tsp salt and let stand 3 minutes
Beat sour milk with an egg beater until smooth.
Add vinegar and remaining salt.
Drain cucumbers and add to milk.
Cucumbers with Oregano, Feta and Pine Nuts
1 shallot, minced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
8 cucumbers peeled and sliced
3 sprigs fresh oregano, stems removed
1/2 cup feta cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
Combine shallot and vinegar in a small bowl. Let stand about 10 minutes. Add olive oil and salt, whisking well. Pour vinaigrette over cucumbers and toss well. Sprinkle with oregano, cheese and pine nuts. Season with black pepper.
Happy (fresh) Eating!