As the weather gets hotter your food choices should start to change. First, the choices available at the market are going to be different than those from the winter season. Fresher, locally sourced Spring items such as asparagus, greens, radishes, herbs will make their awaited appearance. I personally count the days to that first trip to my local farmer’s market where I get to pick some beautiful vegetables and a jar or two of local honey.
The seasons exert some powerful effect on your eating habits (although year-round availability of sub-par fruits and veggies from far away places have dampened the effect) and your body starts to naturally crave lighter, more water rich foods as temperatures rise.
Nothing says summer like a juicy, cool cucumber full of water and a mild, pleasantly green flavor. They are not expensive, are very easy to use and combine well with so many other foods. One of my favorite ways to prepare it is as a Cool Cucumber Sauce that could even be considered a side dish in its own right. It takes but minutes to prepare and it is soothing and refreshing.
1 large English cucumber
2 cups thick, plain non fat yogurt
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 green onion
1 Tbs fresh dill
a pinch of ground cumin
Sea salt & pepper to taste
Peel the cucumber, slice it and remove the seeds. You can easily do that by scraping the inside of the cucumber with a spoon. Cube the meaty part of the cuke in small pieces.
In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, salt & pepper, cumin,lemon juice, finely chopped green onion and fresh dill.
To achieve a creamy, more substantial consistency, I like to strain my yogurt overnight. It is a hands off process that concentrates the flavor of the yogurt and gets rid of a lot of unnecessary liquid. Very simply, place some cheesecloth over a large sieve or colander and pour the yogurt over it. Place inside a large bowl in the refrigerator. You can use the liquid that collects at the bottom to ferment cabbage or other veggies when you feel audacious enough to make kimchi. Otherwise, discard it. The resulting yogurt will have the consistency of a light, tangy ricotta cheese.
Add the chopped cucumber to your blend of yogurt and spices. Fold well so that every piece of cucumber is covered with the yogurt mix. Serve chilled.