Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Eating Omily: Staying Cool with Cucumbers

So, last week was a funny week for eating.  It involved a lot of frantic face stuffing, random restaurant braving, and less than healthy snacks.  I did manage to eat a sliced and peeled beat and a handful of raw green beans on the ferry...along with my fried mini chocolate chip cookies...which I would not share...

This week is turning into a preserving marathon!  With nearly two full shares to contend with, food had to get put up fast.  Yesterday I turned one head of cabbage into braised cabbage for the husband to take to lunch, and another half a head of cabbage into cabbage salad for nibbling.  I also blanched and froze a pound or so of green beans, and a handful of garlic scapes that had been sitting around too long.
 I picked all the dried leaves off two old basil plants and put them away to  be crumbled up and cooked with, and I threw together a batch of pesto to take care of a little more than half of this week's two basil plants.  That was a lot of time in a kitchen with two burners going!!  But it's totally worth it knowing I can throw together meals all week, and I've already got some green stuff in the freezer to carry us through the Winter.

I turned four cucumbers into a batch of beautiful green, refreshing granita, with lemon and mint, which was definitely my most delicious preservation activity of the day (though likely not of the week, hint hint, wink wink).

To replicate this icy treat at home, and if you aren't sure that you'll like it, imagine a subtley lemony refreshing snowcone, with just a hint of sweetness.  Nom.  So now that that's settled,

Take four cucumbers, the biggish ones, not the little kirbies, and peel them.  Slice off the ends, and cut them into four long wedges.  Cut the seeds out, leaving as much flesh as possible, by slicing off that part of each wedge.  You'll be left with a lot of cuke carnage.  Hope you compost!
Pile them all into a blender or food processor, and add up to one cup of water (I usually add lesss) a lime or lemon's worth of citrus juice (I used bottled because it was what I had, and it still tasted delicious), a couple teaspoons of sugar, and if you have it, a handful of mint leaves.
 You will probably have to use a spoon to push the cukes down into the blades at first; be very careful.  It shouldn't take long before everything whirring along just fine.  Crank it up to liquify, and let it go until it looks...liquified.  Pour it out into a shallow baking dish, tilt it till it's an even layer, slide it into your freezer, and set your timer for twenty minutes.

For the next two to three hours, keep pulling it out and scraping it down every twenty minutes.  This is what keeps it from freezing solid, so it's more like a slushy or snowcone in texture.  I always let it get more frozen than I actually want to eat it since it melts so fast at room temperature.  Dish it up, and enjoy!  It's none too bad shaken up with vodka either, for a pitch-perfect Summer cocktail.

 There's still a few Summer squash, another head of cabbage, two bunches of spring onions, spring garlic, another bag of green beans, a bunch of swiss chard, and a handful of hot peppers to contend with.  Cannot believe I'm being buried under an avalanche of delicious green stuff for only $20 a week!!  Get out to Union Square, and get on that Farm Share, you guys!  The Summer sunshine is nothing to be scared of now that you know how to stay cool as a cucumber, right?

~em

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