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Summer heat getting to you just a little bit? Have I got the coolest, most refreshing ideas for you! Soundtrack included.? An excellent solution from the archives. Enjoy!
My friends, cucumbers have changed! When I was growing up, cucumbers were fat and stubby with waxy skins and big, blah seeds. They were relegated to three uses: a garnish on the plate, sliced in a salad, or finely sliced in little tea sandwiches with butter on white bread. Honestly not a major player, nothing spectacular. The texture was unexciting, the seeds were annoying, the skin was bitter. Meh.
Oh, there was one other cucumber use! Me and my friends all put them on our eyes :) We had sleepover dates, in which we would rummage through our mother’s beauty supplies, slather our faces with face masks and put cucumber slices over our eyelids to get rid of puffy eyes. (Really? Did we really need to worry about puffy eyes?) We listened to Seals and Crofts “Summer Breeze,” face masks hardening on our faces like cement. Straight out of a Patty Duke Show.
At some point I realized that you could EAT cucumbers. And in recent decades new varieties have emerged that are… delicious! And nutritious. They’re super high in vitamins A, B and C, making them count as immune boosters. They are, in fact, filled with skin-friendly minerals, especially magnesium and potassium, and they are intensely hydrating (one can easily replace a glass of water), making them excellent spa treatments.
These days they come in a variety of shapes and sizes, which I discovered at my Marin County farmers market.
I love cucumbers from the culinary point of view. The flavor and texture is crunchy but mild, and plays well with mint, parsley, chives, vinegar, chile, ginger, yogurt, seafood, and feta. Think fresh cucumber, mint and dill salad. Or tzaziki, the classic Lebanese dish with yogurt, cucumbers, mint, and lemon juice.
Here are some great ones!
Avocado lovers will go ga-ga over the taste and those of you into cool or room-temperature soups will embrace the clean, fresh feel of this blend. Avocados are one of those great superfoods, full of good fats and vitamins. They’re fun to work with, and all of the great shades of green in this soup are like preparing a beautiful watercolor that you can eat.
I love this salad. I dream about this salad. It’s a variation on fattoush, a fabulously named Mediterranean salad. This is the freshest, cleanest salad I can imagine, like a nice healthy workout for the tastebuds. Like most workouts, you’ll feel wonderful after you finish :)