Giant cucumbers picked recently: 10. Cucumbers left at the end of the day yesterday: 0. Whew! Lucky for us, our cleaning lady likes cucumbers and took a few off of our hands. We delivered a couple more–along with a monster zucchini–to some friends. (Bonus: Got some homemade blackberry jam in return that we can’t wait to break into!) Bill made some experimental pickles with a couple more, and finally, we finished them off by using making some cucumber-based recipes for dinner with Bill’s parents.
To serve with our appetizers, we prepared Tzatziki sauce for the first time. We followed the recipe on that one exactly, except that our cucumbers are not English cucumbers. I wrangled as much water as I could out of the shredded cuke by salting it and mashing it between paper towels and then using centrifugal force in the salad spinner. We were glad that we chose to add the optional dill, since that really enhanced the taste. The sauce turned out nice and thick, and we paired it with both mini pita breads and Fried Zucchini “Crab” Cakes. Just a tip: Unless you are actively trying to repel vampires, it is not advisable to use Garlic Cloves of Unusual Size, like we did. Regular sized cloves would be quite sufficient. Although, we did sit outside all evening and I didn’t get a single mosquito bite, so perhaps the pungent garlic scent emanating from my every pore kept those blood-sucking demons at bay.
The Fried Zucchini “Crab” Cakes were a spur-of-the-moment decision by Bill, who wisely began preparing them without my knowledge while I was on the computer blogging. By the time his parents arrived and I saw that he had a pan of EXTREMELY FLAMMABLE oil on the barbecue with fire licking up around it, there was not much I could do except for whimper softly and internally berate myself for always forgetting to buy a fire extinguisher. Fortunately, all turned out well. The cakes were crispy and delicious, and we did not have to bother the nice men at the fire department. When making the cakes, Bill used Panko breadcrumbs and seasoned them with paprika, garlic powder, cayenne, salt and pepper–rather than Old Bay.
For our dinner, Bill grilled up some steaks and I put together a Quinoa Greek Salad. Quinoa (keen-wa) is such an intriguing little grain. It has a good deal of protein, which I love, since I am prone to getting dizzy and shaky between meals if I eat too many carbs. So, I actively seek out sources of protein such as Greek yogurt (used in the Tzatziki), nuts, and soy-enhanced cereal and meal replacement bars. This salad was lemony and refreshing, and I definitely will be adding it to our regular rotation. I stuck to the recipe fairly closely, except that rather than red and green bell peppers, I used a purple pepper from the garden. I also added some of our cherry tomatoes, but served the feta cheese on the side, since Bill’s parents are not big on it. Also, I lightly browned the quinoa in a bit of butter before adding the chicken stock in order give it a bit of a toasted flavor.
FRIED ZUCCHINI “CRAB” CAKES: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/connies-zucchini-crab-cakes/detail.aspx
QUINOA GREEK SALAD: http://www.food.com/recipe/quinoa-greek-salad-97764