Crazy About Cucumbers

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Cucumbers are slowly showing up in Farmers Market and nothing says spring is on the way like the crunch of a fresh cucumbers. Cucumbers are a hydrating veggie. They’re 95 percent water and a good source of vitamin K, important for blood clotting. They also provide potassium (good for your blood pressure!) and immunity-boosting vitamin C. Most of us Southerners enjoy a plain cucumber in about any kind of salad, or in a bowl of vinegar and pepper, or made into a tiny sandwich, but here are some other ways to add the unique flavor to other tasty treats as well. Enjoy!!

Cucumber Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes

4 cherry tomatoes

3 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1/4 cup finely chopped peeled cucumber

1 tablespoon finely chopped green onion

2 teaspoons minced fresh dill

Cut a thin slice off the top of each tomato. Scoop out and discard pulp; invert tomatoes onto paper towels to drain.

In a small bowl, combine cream cheese and mayonnaise until smooth; stir in the cucumber, onion and dill. Spoon into tomatoes. Refrigerate until serving. Yield: 2 dozen.

Yields 24 servings, each serving contains; Calories 25, Fat 2 g, Protein 0 g, Carbohydrate 1 g,

Fiber 0 g, Cholesterol 4 mg, Sodium 18 mg.

Cucumber Gazpacho Bites

2 cucumbers

1pintgrape tomatoesfinely diced

1large red pepperfinely diced

1/2Spanish onionfinely diced

2garlic clovesminced

1tablespoonsherry vinegar

2tablespoonsextra virgin olive oil

1teaspoonkosher salt

1/4cupfresh parsleyfinely chopped

Finely dice 1/2 of one cucumber. Slice the remaining cucumber into 1/2 inch slices on the bias.

Add the diced cucumber to the tomatoes, red pepper, onion, garlic, vinegar, salt, olive oil, salt and parsley. Mix well.

At this point, I like to store the Gazpacho topping and the remaining sliced cucumber in the fridge until right before serving, up to 2 hours ahead of time.

To serve, spoon a bit of the Gazpacho mixture on top of each cucumber slice.

Cucumber Sandy’s

1 cup mayonnaise

3 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 tablespoon grated onion

1 tablespoon minced chives

1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/8 teaspoon curry powder

1/8 teaspoon each dried oregano, thyme, basil, parsley flakes and dill weed

1 loaf (1 pound) white or rye bread

2 medium cucumbers, scored and thinly sliced

Diced pimientos and additional dill weed

In a blender or food processor, combine the mayonnaise, cream cheese, onion, chives, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and seasonings. Cover and process until blended. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Using a 2-1/2-in. biscuit cutter cut out circles from bread slices. Spread mayonnaise mixture over bread; top with cucumber slices. Garnish with pimientos and dill. Yield: 2 dozen.

Yields 24 servings, each serving contains; Calories 120, Fat 9 g, Protein 2 g, Carbohydrate 8 g,

Fiber 1 g, Cholesterol 7 mg, Sodium 134 mg.

Cucumber Tomato Salad

1 large cucumber, cubed

1 -2 medium tomatoes, cubed

12 small onion, chopped

Fresh basil, chopped

Garlic salt

Pepper

Add cucumber, tomato and onion to a bowl with a cover.

Add garlic salt, pepper and basil to taste. Seal bowl and shake.

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Strawberry-Cucumber Salad with Lemon Cream

1 pound strawberries, hulled, quartered

3 cucumbers, sliced

½ teaspoon ground cardamom

Kosher salt

3 teaspoons sugar, divided

½ cup sour cream

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

¼ cup unsalted, roasted pistachios

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Toss strawberries, cucumbers, cardamom, a pinch of salt, and 1 tsp. sugar in a medium bowl and let sit 10 minutes to allow sugar to dissolve and flavors to meld.

Meanwhile, mix sour cream, lemon juice, remaining 2 tsp. sugar, and a pinch of salt in a small bowl; set lemon cream aside.

Pulse pistachios, cayenne, and a pinch of salt in a food processor until nuts are just finely ground (do not overprocess or you’ll end up with nut butter).

Divide fruit salad among plates and spoon reserved lemon cream over; sprinkle with ground seasoned pistachios.

 

Do Ahead: Lemon cream can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover and chill.

Pico de Gallo Verde

4 medium cucumbers, finely chopped

1 avocado, finely chopped

1 celery stalk, finely chopped, plus ¼ cup finely chopped celery leaves

2 scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced

1 small poblano chile, seeds removed, finely chopped

1 jalapeño, seeds removed, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, finely grated

¼ cup finely chopped unsalted, roasted pistachios

¼ cup fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons finely chopped mint

Olive oil (for drizzling)

Kosher salt

Tortilla chips (for serving)

Toss cucumbers, avocado, celery and celery leaves, scallions, poblano, jalapeño, garlic, pistachios, lime juice, cilantro, and mint in a large bowl. (Mixture should be coated just enough to look glossy.) Drizzle with oil, season with salt, and toss again. Cover salsa and chill 20 minutes before serving with chips.

Serves 8, each serving contains; Calories 90, Fat 6 g, Protein 3 g, Carbohydrate 11 g,

Fiber 3 g, Cholesterol 1 mg, Sodium 10 mg.

Cucumber and Cantaloupe Salad

½ cup olive oil

¼ cup white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom

½ large cantaloupe, rind and seeds removed, flesh cut into 1-inch pieces

1 large cucumber, sliced on a diagonal ½ inch thick

2 Fresno chiles, thinly sliced

½ cup unsalted, roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

¼ cup chopped cilantro

¼ cup chopped mint

Whisk oil, vinegar, coriander, salt, pepper, and cardamom in a large bowl. Add cantaloupe, cucumber, and chiles and toss to coat in dressing. Let sit, uncovered, 15 minutes.

To serve, add pumpkin seeds, cilantro, and mint to salad and toss gently to combine.

Cucumber Lime Sauce

(Great topping for salmon or tuna)

1 tablespoon grated lime zest

1/4 cup lime juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons rice vinegar or white wine vinegar

4 teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon finely chopped onion

2 teaspoons minced fresh gingerroot

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped

Place ingredients in a blender. Cover and process until pureed.