|My score this weekend from local vendors...|
|My summer staples... water and lemonade fueled and lightly flavored with cucumber.|
2 quarts prepared lemonade ( I use Crystal Light to avoid the calories/sugar)
1 medium cucumber, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds (peel on)
1 lemon sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
Steep the cucumber and lemon slices in lemonade in a tightly sealed pitcher in the refrigerator overnight. It will keep well for up to 10 days. Enjoy it as a no-calorie refresher, or when friends visit, mix 4oz with 1oz of gin (I like Tanqueray or Hendrick's) over ice and garnish with a mint sprig and/or cucumber round. It's such a refreshing cocktail, and a true crowd pleaser.
*You can also make a natural lemonade with lemon juice, water and agave nectar/sugar in place of the Crystal Light, or use your own favorite recipe.
Aside from liquid uses, I'm all about incorporating this light veggie into recipes whenever possible, and I have a couple of go-to options. It's a natural fit into the dip that my friends always ask for, and also a star in one of my husband's favorite side-dishes. The dip works for veggies or crackers and the salad is perfect with fish, chicken or anything spicy that needs a cooling compliment.
|Cucumber and yogurt dip is perfect on a sampler appetizer tray, |
and usually the top choice above other sauces or dips
CUCUMBER YOGURT DIP
8oz light greek yogurt
1/4 cup light sour cream
1 medium cucumber, peeled and diced into small squares
1/4 cup finely crumbled feta cheese
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp finely chopped dill (optional)
Fresh cracked pepper and kosher salt to taste (I'm generous with the pepper)
Stir all ingredients together in a small bowl. Refrigerate in an airtight container for at least 2 hours prior to serving. Play with the portions and feel free to add other herbs. This is just my current version, but I change it up, adding/changing spices depending on my mood. Keeps well for 5-7 days.
|Our staple side dish/salad. Also delicious with red onions if you want more of a kick.|
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (I always use Lucini)
Juice from 1/4 ripe lemon
2 Tbsp white wine
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp Truvia sweeter (stevia, or 1/4 tsp sugar)
1.5 tsp apple cider or sherry vinegar (use what you have/like)
1/2 shallot, finely sliced
1 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced in rounds
1 large or 2 small cucumbers sliced 1/4" thick
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
Mix all ingredients with a whisk in a bowl, add cucumber, red bell peppr and parsley. Lightly toss. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours. Serve with your favorite summer entree or as a topping on lettuce for a flavorful salad. Make ahead, as it is even better after a couple of days.
|Served with my foil salmon (recipe to come in a future post), the cucumber salad is the ideal, healthy side.|
What is your favorite early summer vegetable? If you adore cucumber, I would love to have you share your recipes on the Southern Sophisticate? Keep following and do dish about what you are serving, loving and wanting to try next...