Raita Jeremy and I eat raita a surprising amount. We also eat a lot of lentils, and the two dishes pair so well together – maybe it’s not that surprising. Raita makes for a great side-dish to accompany pretty much anything. Here is a recipe modified from the Moosewood folks, but of course no one makes raita like Mom does.
- 1/2 cup yogurt, plain
- 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
- scant 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cups cucumber, 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces
Combine all of these; stir, and serve. Here are some tips, some things that Trish’s mother does: she will lightly roast the cumin seeds in a dry skillet ahead of time. She also sprinkles salt on the chopped cucumbers, sets them in a colander, and lets them drain a bit (about 20 minutes), rinse and pat dry with a dish towel – before mixing in with roasted cumin and yogurt. Sometimes, depending on what’s right available, she’ll add in a little something else (e.g. mint, parsley, cilantro).
Smashed cucumbers with sesame oil and garlic For when you never want to see another cucumber in your life. Smash them. A recipe from NYTimes.
Blended Cucumber Margaritas. This is a tasty and refreshing treat popularized by Bon Appetit, perfected by Trish’s father. Using a blender, blend 1/4-1/2 cucumber to slop, add and blend ice. Add 2 parts tequila to 1 part triple sec (or orange juice and simple syrup), a squeeze of lime (2-3 limes/4 servings), pour into glass rimmed with salt (or salt and chile powder blend). Garnish with thin slice of cucumber. From dad, “The good thing about this is you can experiment on your ratios and have fun doing it.” This can also be made on the rocks.
Chilled Cucumber-Yogurt Soup, adapted from Molly Katzen’s New Moosewood Cookbook
- 4 c cucumber, peeled and grated
- 2 c water
- 2 c yogurt
- ½ – 1 tsp salt
- small clove garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp fresh dill
- 1 Tbsp honey (optional)
- fresh herbs for garnish (e.g., mint, chives, basil), minced
Mix everything but the garnish in a bowl. Chill for at least an hour, then serve topped with herbs.
Jeremy’s cucumber basil salad Divine. Especially good for lunch when it’s so hot out, you’re melting.
- 3 cucumbers, sliced lengthwise in ¼s, then in ¼-inch chunks
- a handful of basil, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, chopped
- scant 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp olive oil
Mix/toss ingredients, enjoy as refreshing side salad.
Pickles We recommend setting aside a few* cucumbers for lacto fermented cucumber pickles from Sandor Katz’s excellent and inspiring book, The Art of Fermentation. Or, if you prefer, here is a quick and simple recipe for Bread and Butter fridge pickles.
*we typically do pickles in +20lb batches and we highly recommend checking out Colin Dykes beautiful and functional Mudslide Stoneware crocks.