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Cucumber recipes

by Trisha Shirey

Aguas Frescas with Cucumbers
Aguas frescas are popular in Mexico. It means fresh water and is typically a sweetened beverage made with fruit or cucumbers, whatever is in season. Street vendors often sell them made from mango, melon, peaches or papayas.? Here is how I make them:

3-4 cucumbers, any type, chopped into one to two inch pieces (peel them if they are waxed)
Water
Sweetener, if desired
Fresh mint, if desired
Lime juice to taste

Put the cucumber chunks in a blender and cover with water. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of sugar or a teaspoon of agave nectar if you wish. I don't add sweeteners to cucumber blends. Add the mint to the blender if desired. Chop or grate with the blender, then blend at a higher speed until liquefied. Strain through a fine strainer and add a teaspoon or two of lemon or lime juice if you like. Add more water if desired. Compost the pulp and cover and refrigerate the liquid for up to three days. You can also add a few ice cubes to the blender for a thicker finished product.

It is immensely refreshing on a hot summer day. I often make it a gallon at a time. Add a little tequila or vodka for a refreshing adult beverage.

Lemon Cucumber Salad

2 cucumbers, peeled if waxed, and sliced
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
4-5 ice cubes
1 tablespoon sugar or 2 teaspoons agave nectar
1 teaspoon celery seed
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons thinly sliced red onion or shallot
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Mix all ingredients well. Cover and refrigerate for several hours before serving.

Summer Cucumber Salad

4 ounces low fat cottage cheese (or substitute low fat feta, plain yogurt or parmesan cheese)
4 to 6 Roma tomatoes, chopped or halved cherry tomatoes
2 green onions, chopped (or 1 tbsp. chopped chives)
2 medium cucumbers, peeled if waxed, and diced
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil (or use fresh dill or oregano)
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients and serve. This is a staple in my kitchen in summer and I often take it to work for lunch.

Mint and Cucumber Salad

2 fresh cucumbers, sliced thickly (peel them if they are waxed)
Mint vinegar (see herbal vinegar recipes for instructions)
Ice cubes
1/2 small red or 1015 onion, sliced thinly
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped coarsely
Sea salt to taste

Layer cucumbers, onion, mint and ice in a bowl. Pour a little mint vinegar over each layer. (The ice makes the cucumbers crispy.) Marinate in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours. Serve chilled. Makes four servings, 22 calories each.

Avocado Tzatziki

1 large avocado, pitted and peeled
1 clove of garlic, minced
Juice of one lemon
1/4 cup low fat sour cream (or plain yogurt)
1/2 cup chopped, seeded cucumber
1 teaspoon finely minced Serrano pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
Salt and pepper to taste

Mash the avocado and add remaining ingredients and mix well. Add to pita sandwiches or serve as a dip.

Cucumber and Fennel Salad

2 cucumbers, diced (peel if desired)
2 fennel bulbs, cores removed and thinly sliced
1/2 cup Sungold tomatoes cut in half
Juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon each minced mint, fennel leaves, Italian parsley
Mix all ingredients and allow to chill for several hours before serving.

Article Type: Recipe