Garden Bounty: Cucumber and Grape Gazpacho

So amidst all the garden produce, the cucumbers have been standing out the most – piles of them. I pride myself on getting down to the bottom of the pile only to find a new pile next time I come into the kitchen. I can’t even name all the cucumber recipes I’ve tried this last month.

How can you complain about too much garden produce? I can’t…at least I’m trying not to. However, I am about to enforce a household law that each person shall eat cucumber at every meal. Penalty of not eating cucumber is washing dishes for a week by hand because we’re out of dishwasher soap.

I’m thinking that won’t go over very well…

Plan B – throw a bunch of them into the blender and make this delicious gazpacho.

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Recipe is adapted from White Gazpacho over at Playin’ With My Food

Cucumber and Grape Gazpacho

Serves 6-8

  • 4 large cucumbers, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 c. green grapes, washed and stemmed
  • 3 T. fresh cilantro leaves
  • 3 T. red wine vinegar (I really wanted to use some white wine instead, but couldn’t  justify opening a bottle for a few tablespoons…just a hint though. :)
  • 2 T. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 3 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup almonds, blanched and sliced (I buy them that way)
  • sour cream or crème fraîche

Combine all ingredients in the blender except for the almonds and cream. Blend until smooth and creamy. Chill an hour or so to meld flavors.

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Toast almond slices in a hot skillet with a little olive oil and salt. Let cool and serve on the side with sour cream or crème fraîche.

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Did you know a cucumber’s internal temperature is 20 degrees cooler than it is outside the cucumber? Cucumbers are also high in Vitamin K, fiber, and magnesium which helps lower blood pressure. No wonder calm and unruffled people are referred to as being “cool as a cucumber”.

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Featuring Sage’s pottery today, folks. I love this bowl!

Ironically, it was one year and a month ago that I posted about another delicious chilled soup and the braces I had to get because of an impacted canine. Last week I finally got that chain I’ve been waiting for that will hopefully pull my tooth down into place. The chain however was making my life miserable rubbing the inside of my mouth raw and giving me a nice swollen lip. I was going through the wax they give you at the dentist like crazy and nothing was helping until…Guess what came to my aid? A cucumber slice! I’m serious! I peeled it, sliced it thin, and tucked it between the offending chain and the very offended lip and we’re just hangin’ out as cool as a cucumber gets!

Now I better get this chain off before our cucumber plants stop producing…

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What’s your best cucumber recipe? I’d love to try it. :)

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Recipe Review: Spicy Cantaloupe Salad

It’s been a very long time since I’ve seen Oklahoma so lush and green from all the rain we’ve been getting throughout the summer. The grass (and weeds) are growing like crazy and the mowing has to be done almost once a week.

Mom’s garden is producing some fabulous produce as well, which has been SO nice! We’re finally getting sun ripened tomatoes and they are mouthwatering delicious. One day, she arranged Anaheim peppers, tomatoes of different varieties, eggplant,  cucumbers and chili peppers on the counter and it looked so pretty I didn’t even want to move them. That feeling didn’t last long as the Anaheims got roasted, the tomatoes and a hot pepper found it’s way into fresh salsa (We could eat this by the gallon!), the eggplant to baba ganoush, and I made Roasted Pineapple, Basil and Cucumber Salad , refrigerator pickles, and tried a Cucumber, Mint and Lime Chiller with the cukes. The salad was amazing, the chiller, not so much.

My favorite recipe of the week, however, involved a very HOT black chili pepper Mom brought in from the garden. It’s purple-black on the outside and green within and it smells hot when you cut it open. I found Lan’s recipe for Spicy Cantaloupe Salad while browsing through Tastespotting and had to try this pepper out in it.

Spicy Cantaloupe Salad

photo from morestomach.com

Review Spotlight: Lan’s Spicy Cantaloupe Salad over at morestomach.com

My first thought: Fish sauce on cantaloupe? No way!

I bought my first bottle of fish sauce just to try this recipe and I’m so glad I did! The salty fish sauce with the tangy lime and the sweet cantaloupe were stupendously matched in this lovely summer salad. The chili and the ribbons of basil added color and topped off the flavors nicely.

Changes I made or will make later: I thinly sliced one whole (small) black chili pepper, instead of a diced red chili pepper the recipe calls for, and the heat intensified to almost too hot by the end of the meal (we weren’t even eating the slices of chili!), so if I was making the salad in advance, I’d wait to add the chili and, depending on the crowd, maybe not so much chili. I’m pretty sure if there were any leftovers for the next day it would have been way too hot! Alternatively, a milder chili pepper or jalapeno would probably work fine.

Health rating: 5 stars

Taste rating: 5 stars

Make it again? Oh yeah! Like, today and tomorrow and the next day!

If this recipe suites your fancy head on over to morestomach for the ingredients and instructions.

If it doesn’t suite your fancy…well, you’re missing out, but you should still head over to morestomach for other delicious looking recipes. I know I’ll be heading back for more!