Cool, Cool Cucumbers
Cucumber Basil Limeade & Chilled Indian Spiced Cucumber Soup
Oh lordy, but this heat makes Big Mary cranky! I understand how it must destroy your image of the nuturing, loving, considerate and pleasant, big bear of a love bug that I almost always am, but lately there's just not enough talcum, air conditioning or sno-cones to keep my mind and mood from chaffing.
Work's been slow, but I think that may be the good news. It only takes a few random freelance shifts in an un-air conditioned kitchen with a raging 12 foot gas grill to make you consider permanently taking up residence in the walk in freezer. And I do mean permanent. Talk about your quiescently frozen treat! (Side note here: Ever wondered about that term on the Popsicle box? Turns out it just means frozen at rest. Not frozen while being churned - as in ice cream. Frozen while at rest - as in my fat butt while resting in the walk in freezer.) But alas, a Creamsicle I was not meant to be, so here I sweat with the rest of you, looking for a little relief.
Perhaps this is why Mother Nature steps up her game in such a timely manner come July and August. A perfectly red ripe strawberry does pull my focus from the rising thermometer ... And I do know the hotter the summer, the sweeter the tomatoes about to arrive. As the Farmer's Market begins to swell with stone fruits, tender greens and fragrant herbs, I seem able to relax by surrendering to the coolingperfume of a local canteloupe. Nothing cuts through the heat like an ice cold wedge of watermelon or muskmelon? It's such an intense sweet wetness. No wonder melons have taken on a metaphoric sexiness.
Yet it's cucumbers than have thrown down the challenge of "Who's the coolest?" The answer it turns out, doesn't grow far from the vine. As I started working on this entry I discovered that a cucumber really is a melon, and with a little research learned it shares the same genus as a muskmelon. Like the tomato, the cucumber is really a fruit, not a vegetable.
And this "vegeruit" or "fruigetable" takes a chill like nobody's business. While I know there are recipes out there for warm cucumber side dishes, forget about those for now and get as cool as that cucumber. I'm offering two options for a cucumber chill down. The first is a crazy cool refresco - Cucumber Basil LimeAde. This refresher has also been known to curry the favor of some icy vodka. Then I like to call her "Down the Garden Path".
And why is it that cucumbers come off as such cool characters.
Copyright Big Mary's Kitchen
Photos by Yder Leon Laya