Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Chilled Cucumber-Mint Soup and Greek Salad: 99 problems and a cuke ain't one

Remember all those cucumbers we got in my last entry? Multiply that by 4 or 5 and that's our fridge the last few weeks. My husband actually ate a cucumber for dinner one night while I was out.

Having a surplus of one vegetable (or fruit, if you're one of THOSE people) forces you to get creative. Thankfully, Justine at our CSA does that for me. She e-mails us yummy recipes each week.

My first cucumber experiment was Chilled Cucumber-Mint Soup (scroll down about halfway to get the recipe). It was also my first go-round with our big food processor. Woo!

Chilled Cucumber-Mint Soup with Yogurt or Sour Cream
Serves 4-6

4 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped (about 4 cups)
1 to 2 cups water
2 cups plain yogurt (You can use 1 cup plain yogurt and 1 cup of sour cream instead. I used 2 cups of nonfat Greek yogurt!)
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
fresh mint, several leaves (Don't go too crazy, a little goes a long way.)
2 tbsp fresh dill OR 1 tsp dried dill
1 tbsp honey
1 to 2 tbsp salt
2 scallions, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
  1. Combine the chopped cucumber, 1 cup water, yogurt, garlic, mint, dill, honey, and 1 tbsp salt in a blender or food processor.
    Ingredients for Chilled Cucumber-Mint Soup in food processor
  2. Puree the ingredients, adding more water until the soup is a consistency you like. Season with more salt to taste.
    (Side note: Cucumbers are really watery. You can probably do without the extra water, unless you like soupy soup. Whatever floats your boat!)
  3. Transfer soup to large bowl and chill for several hours. Garnish with chopped scallions.
I didn't chill it for long because I was hungry! It hung out in the fridge while I made the Greek salad, which took about 10 minutes. It was flavorful and refreshing. I only used 4 mint leaves, which were enough to get a taste, but not overpower. Husband could taste the dill (which he's not a big fan of), but the combination of everything else made him not mind as much. Small victories!

However, it definitely tasted better the next day after being chilled. Recipes are meant to be followed sometimes, I guess :P

The soup took care of half of our cucumbers, so I threw together a Greek salad to use the rest. Super easy.

Good for You Greek Salad
Serves 6

3 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 cucumbers, peeled and chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
4 teaspoons lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano (Surprised it didn't ask for fresh, but I didn't have fresh anyway.)
salt and pepper to taste (Unnecessary! The feta is salty enough.)
1 cup crumbled feta cheese (Get the nonfat kind if you can!)
6 black Greek olives, pitted and sliced (6?! Screw that. Throw in as many as you want! I got half a pound from the supermarket's olive bar.)
  1. In shallow salad bowl, or on serving platter, combine tomatoes, cucumber, and onion.
  2. Sprinkle with oil, lemon juice, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. (I'm serious, you really don't need salt.)
  3. Sprinkle feta cheese and olives over salad.
  4. Serve!
Greek salad, pre-feta cheese
No feta yet.

Unlike the soup, the salad tastes better if eaten right away. The leftovers were ok, but the tomatoes were mushy. I never cared for cold tomatoes though, so it could just be a preference thing. Throw some more olives and feta in and you won't notice :)

And with that, cucumber dinner is served!

Chilled Cucumber-Mint Soup and Greek salad
Of course I used the one chipped plate for this picture.

This was the fastest I'd ever turned out a meal. Granted they weren't the most difficult of recipes, but I'm admittedly slow when it comes to preparing. I need to learn to not care as much about how big my chopped pieces and other little details are.

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