Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Eating in the Green: Cucumber

     For many of us, fresh cucumbers bring to mind tangy pickles or briny cold salads. In our kitchen cucumbers are a versatile morsel eager to take on a variety of flavors and tasty treats. Yearly our canning shelves find a place for mouth watering bread and butter pickles as well as a few spicy dills. Satisfaction fills my heart when I see them waiting there to grace a sandwich or relish tray, but there's no need to stop at pickles.
    Cucumbers add crispy crunch to a tray of tomato and basil drizzled with fresh olive oil and a pinch of salt, or slipped inside the pocket of a stuffed pita sandwich. I love to stir dill into fresh Chevre to dollop atop cucumber slices for a cooling afternoon snack, but the farm boy has another plan for crispy cukes. Last year he worked through a salad recipe phase that brought us a wonderful 'Greek-style" creation. Based on a salad he read in an old magazine, he added roasted chickpeas to fresh greens..tossed some toasted pita wedges in and worked up a zippy, creamy dressing for a great 'end of a hot day' salad.

 Cucumber and Roasted Chickpea Salad

1 15.5-ounce can chickpeas, well rinsed
4 cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 medium-sized cucumber
3 tablespoons yogurt
juice of one lemon, about 2 tablespoons
3 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
greens (leaf lettuce or spring mix)
whole wheat pita bread
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place chickpeas in a shallow roasting dish and cover with olive oil. Place unpeeled garlic cloves at edge of pan. Roast for 30 minutes, or until golden brown, stirring occasionally.
  2. Slice cucumber.
  3. Whisk remaining teaspoon of oil with peeled roasted garlic and lemon juice. Stir in yogurt adding salt and pepper to taste. Toss with cucumbers.
  4. When chickpeas are cool, add to cucumbers.
  5. Place a hearty amount of greens onto four plates; top with cucumber-chickpea mixture. Serve with toasted whole wheat pita wedges.
    This salad has become a staple in our summer meal plan paring well with seared steak, grilled fish or a little roasted chicken. Frozen berries with honey-sweet yogurt as a finishing tough and the farm boy has done it again. Have I mentioned that boy can cook?
     As we seek to use the fresh produce available to us, let us not forget to be creative..have fun in the kitchen..and never hinder the valiant efforts of an ambitious youth..you never know what they may stir up!


Michelle said...

The salad looks great. Unfortunately I am the only one that likes chickpeas.

Simply Scaife Family said...

I'm sure they could be left out or substituted. We have added leftover chicken to it and it was great..Thanks for stopping by.