Everyday Indulgences: Cucumbers

28 Jul 2010, Posted by Jennifer Iannolo in farm, indulgences

cucumber-girlOh, crunchy cucumber, how I love thee. And I love thee naked, pickled, puréed, sliced or diced. You give me reprieve from the disgusting heat of summer, and sometimes you just offer a little pick-me-up. That is why, when feasting on your natural beauty, with just a hint of sea salt, my 6-year-old niece approached, and I offered her a pony to go away. I needed you all to myself.

Yes, I dig the cucumber. I admit it shamelessly and with reckless abandon. In recent years, given how sensitive my palate has become, I’ve found it impossible to eat anything but organic cucumbers — otherwise I can taste the chemicals. This is not only good news for my body, but also for my eyes, because cukes are more than just a beauty treatment cliché. Rich with liquid, they offer soothing hydration to tired eyes (particularly the skin underneath). So the next time you need a little pick-me-up, have a seat, pour a cocktail, lean back and put a couple of cuke slices on your eyes. Please close them first. And bring a straw for the cocktail.

There are some other natural beauty treatments that can be crafted with cukes as well (including a cucumber body pizza for sunburned or itchy skin), which I stumbled upon at Vegetable Drawer Beauty. Here is my favorite:

Radiant Facial Treatment
If your complexion is dull and oily, this easy formula will help you look glowing and radiant.

1 teaspoon grated cucumber
splash of rosewater

Apply to face and allow to stay for 15 minutes, then rinse with warm water.

Now, if you are more interested in eating the actual cucumbers, my cohorts at Summer Fest 2010 have plenty of options for you, including what we’ve rustled up on The Gilded Fork | Culinary Media Network. I’m off to sit by the pool with my slices, but do feel free to bring me a dish of something tasty. Here’s what they have to offer:

The Gilded Fork | Culinary Media Network
Chilled Cucumber Mint Soup
Summer Squash: Delicious & Nutritious

Margaret Roach: Away to Garden
Why size matters — and smaller is better (includes pickling tips/tricks, and freezing the excess)

Michelle Buffardi: Cooking Channel’s Devour/The Blog (Scripps)
10 things you didn’t know you could make with zucchini

Alison Sickelka: Food2 blog (Scripps)
Zucchini Appetizers

Michelle Buffardi: Food Network
Paula Deen’s zucchini bread

Elizabeth Gray: Food Network
Cuke Salad & Lighter Cuke/Zuke Ideas

Cate O’Malley:
Indian Cucumber Wraps

Paige Smith Orloff: The Sister Project
On excess! Why I hate zucchini (plus pickling commentary).

Diane and Todd: White on Rice Couple
Stuffed Cucumbers with Prosciutto and Feta

Kelly Senyei: Just a Taste
Cucumber & Sesame Salad (includes step-by-step illustrations of slicing cucumbers on a mandoline)

Caroline Wright: The Wright Recipes
Cucumber Salad
Marinated Summer Squash Salad

Caron Golden: San Diego Foodstuff
Cucumber and Radish Confetti Soup

Tigress in a Jam
50 Ways with Cucurbits

Alana Chernila: Eating from the Ground Up
Cucumber Mint Sorbet with Lime Shortbread

Judy: Divina Cucina
Fried Zucchini Blossoms (and more!) from Italy

Shauna Ahern: Gluten-Free Girl
Cucumber, Dill & Mint Popsicles

Tara: Tea & Cookies
Stuffed Zucchini, Zucchini “Noodles” & Pickles

Nicole: Pinch My Salt
Grilled Zucchini with Lemon & Olive Oil

Each Wednesday for the rest of the summer (and probably longer), a group of blogging friends including those above will swap our recipes and tips about the following harvest-fresh ingredients. Here’s the schedule:

7/28: Cukes ‘n Zukes
8/4: Corn
8/11: Herbs, Greens and Beans
8/18: Stone Fruit
8/25 Tomatoes

We each post something and then link to one another, so that you can travel around the combined effort, gathering the goodies. Sharing makes the experience even better, so if you have a recipe or tip that fits any of our weekly themes, you can do either of the following:

  • Leave a comment on participating blogs with a link to your recipe/tip
  • Publish a post of your own, and grab the juicy Summer Fest 2010 tomato badge (illustrated by Matt Armendariz of Mattbites)

We hope to see you in the kitchen!