Monday, July 26, 2010

I made it myself.

Yeah, that’s right.  I made this cucumber.  Pretty, innit?

I’m so proud of my garden this year – it’s thriving.  Cukes, summer squash, green peppers, ichiban eggplant, a million tomatoes, green beans, and tons of herbs including some of the most fragrant basil pretty much ever.  The Thai variety smells so good I almost want to wear it as perfume.  Yum.

As the cucumber vine grows out of control and my little garden plot keeps producing, my challenge is to find something to do with all this beauteous produce.  It’s tricky of course because you don’t want to cover up the natural succulent taste of the fresh veggies with too much sauce, or complicated preparations.  It’s really all about enhancement, making something that is already close to perfection even more heavenly.

To me, fresh cucumber is always begging to be dipped in some nice, garlicky hummus.  Hummus works because it’s not heavy, and its flavor is delicate enough that it doesn’t cover up the green crispness of veggies.  You can find a million flavors and textures at the store, but it’s also extremely easy to make yourself…and way better I would say, because you can put in as much tahini, garlic, paprika and olive oil as you want.  It’s much easier to make than cucumbers actually – no dirt, no moles, no weeds, no weeks of waiting.  So once you’ve “made” the fresh veggies, this is a snap.

5-Minute Hummus
adapted from Real Simple

15 oz cooked, rinsed chickpeas (canned are a-okay, try to find organic)
3 cloves garlic (original calls for 1 but COME ON)
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for serving
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste...again, original called for 2 tablespoons which you can totally do, but I loves me some smooth sesame flavor)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Sea salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika 

In a food processor, puree the chickpeas and garlic with olive oil, lemon juice, tahini, cumin, and 3/4 teaspoon salt, until smooth and creamy.  Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of water as necessary to achieve the desired consistency.

Transfer to a bowl.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with paprika before serving.  Makes about 1 1/2 cups.  

This recipe is very easily doubled, and it's great over the course of a few days as the flavors makes an amazing sandwich with the aforementioned cukes, and some fresh butter lettuce on whole simple and so good.

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