Sunday, August 7, 2011

Cucumbers and Rosemary

Cucumbers and Rosemary

These two things don’t go together, do they? I’m picky about what goes together and what doesn’t. You’ll know this if you’ve ever watched me order a custom hand-tossed salad at Trio Cafe on Market Square. If there’s a line of customers waiting, I do everyone a favor and order a chicken salad sandwich.

 My cucumber “problem” began when my friend Justin Fee, the photographer who shoots the “Local Flavors” feature I write for Knoxville Magazine, asked me if I wanted some cucumbers. “Sure!” I said. He showed up with a full bag. Here’s what’s left—only about half of them.

Sliced cucumbers with some dill-flavored cream cheese made a nice snack one afternoon last week, and marinated cucumbers keep well in the fridge, so I made a batch of those. Then I went searching for recipes.

This Asian Cucumber Ribbon Salad was a great find--the cucumber ribbons were easy and pretty. I used a vegetable peeler instead of a mandoline and simply created ribbons until I got down to the core. It looked like I was leaving a lot of cucumber on the cutting board, but trust me, it was all seeds. 

I modified the recipe a bit—using two homegrown cucumbers in place of the English ones, using plain rice vinegar in place of seasoned rice vinegar and omitting the sugar. I added a splash of apple cider vinegar, red pepper flakes, and toasted sesame seeds.

It was a great accompaniment to Schezuan Eggplant and Clean-Out-the Vegetable Bin Stir Fry (squash, sugar snap peas, red peppers, onions, and bean sprouts). Here's the eggplant.

I livened up the veggies by deglazing the pan with a mixture of soy sauce, freshly grated ginger, white wine, and red curry paste.

I don’t really have a rosemary problem; I just have a lot of it. Earlier in the year I asked my friend Melynda Whetsel to please, please help me find something maintenance-free for our “garden” in the mews at Kendrick Place.

I love what she came up with: seven rosemary plants (three in each long planter, one in the middle pot.). It’s easy, smells fabulous, and supplies me (heck—it could supply all of downtown) all the rosemary I need.

 All I have to do is buy a couple of hanging pots from Stanley's Greenhouse  every spring—and I’ve finished my “gardening” for the year.

I thought it’d be fun to see if I could find a way to combine the pile of cucumbers and the wall of rosemary. Mint, yes. Dill, yes. But rosemary?

Here’s what I found: Cucumber Rosemary Spa Water. I added lots more rosemary because I like bold flavors, and water, while good for you, is not exactly flavorful.  

Pretty, isn't it? I served it topped off with a little club soda in a champagne flute garnished with a rosemary sprig. Very refreshing! Bill liked it, too. I’m glad I’m married to a man who will drink Cucumber Rosemary Spa Water--without even being asked. He poured his into a mug, though, and didn't garnish.

With it I had a Fiber Bar, a brand new offering from one of my favorite vendors from Market Square Farmers' Market, Little Red Hen Breads. Fiber Bars are made with milled wheat berries and are full of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, oats, nuts, and raisins. Half of one makes a great snack. Here's a whole one.

That’s what we’re having.   

1 comment:

  1. Please excuse the varying font sizes while I figure out how to do this.