Every other week, we get a box full of veggies from Johnson’s Backyard Garden, an organic farm only a few miles away from our house. We’re CSA subscribers and have been for a few years now. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and is an increasingly common arrangement between farmers and consumers who want fresh, local food. By becoming a CSA member, we pay in advance for a quarter’s worth of veggie boxes. Our membership goes to support the farm, and insures that the farmer has sales (and income) regardless of growing season conditions. Our box is always packed full of awesome produce and we’ve decided to keep up with our membership even though we grow some of our own food at home.
Today, Johnson’s posted a recipe challenge on their FaceBook page, asking for everyone’s favorite cucumber recipes. I immediately thought about the Cucumber Cup, an ingenious restructuring of the gherkin that is endlessly adaptable. Using a cuke from our most recent box, I set to work.
How to make Cucumber Cups
Cucumbers are so refreshing and surprisingly good in drinks (think of the ice water with lemon and cucumber slices available at many spas). Cukes can be cut and emptied out to make cups that hold drinks. Cucumber cups are also great containers for various hors d’oeuvres and salads. Here’s how to carve a cucumber cup:
Pick a fairly large cucumber that is relatively straight. Cut the ends off of the cuke. For drink cups, slice segments that are approximately three inches long, for cups that will hold food, cut pieces that are about an inch long.
Now, to make cups that will hold liquids, take the taller cucumbers and slice a thin piece of the skin off the edges. Do this on all sides, forming a tall rectangular cube (check out the picture!).
Scoop out the seeds and inside flesh with a paring knife and small spoon. Leave a good amount of flesh at the bottom (about a 1/2 inch), as you’ll want the cups to hold liquid without leaking.
Do basically the same thing for the shorter food cups. You can make ‘em rectangular by slicing off the sides, leave them fully skinned, or peel them into stripes (see the picture). I chose to make stripes with a peeler, alternating peeled section and stripes of skin. Hollow out the seeds and flesh leaving a thin layer of cucumber on the bottom.
Now you’re ready to fill your cucumber cups with delicious and refreshing goodness.
Continue reading this post after the jump for cucumber drink concoctions and a recipe for Cucumber Jalapeno Potato Salad.
There are lots of great recipes for boozy drinks that incorporate cucumber. I think these cuke cups are the perfect size to be sake glasses. Find a nice sake that is meant to be served chilled and serve it in your cuke cups.
Hendrick’s Gin is also a great choice as it’s a gin made with cucumbers.
There are also lots of great non-alcoholic cucumber drinks, here’s a favorite of mine:
Cucumber Lime Agua Fresca
6 cups water
3 cucumbers, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup sugar
Put 1/2 cup of water and 1 cup of sliced cucumber in a blender. Blend until smooth. Add more cucumbers and water as needed for it to blend smoothly. Puree all the cucumbers (you may have extra water).
Strain the cucumber juice into a pitcher and add the lime juice. Mix in sugar and water as needed to make a refreshing sweet drink. Serve chilled (and in cucumber cups!).
Variation: This is also good as Cucumber Melon Agua Fresca – just blend melon in with the cukes.
Now that drinks are taken care of, let’s get to the food! The shorter cucumber cups are great for serving tabooley, tuna, chicken, or egg salad, ceviche, etc. I wanted to fill mine with items from this week’s CSA box so I choose to make a cucumber potato salad.
Cucumber Jalapeno Potato Salad
2 cups potatoes – diced into 1/4 inch cubes
1 cup cucumber – diced into 1/4 inch cubes (I used the remnants from my sake glasses)
1 farm egg – hard boiled and diced
1 jalapeno – diced small
3 Tablespoons mayo (or mayo equivalent, I used Veganaise with Flax Seed and Olive Oil)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Boil the potatoes until soft (approximately 10 minutes). Strain and let cool.
Mix potatoes, cucumbers, jalapeno, egg, and mayo together in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
Now it’s time to fill the cucumber cups! Spoon the potato salad into the shorter cups. Sprinkle with dried dill.
The best thing about the cucumber cup is its versatility, so get creative! Oh, also, cucumber cups are edible making for a quick clean up.
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