Heck-to-the-yes! There is almost nothing better than a cold cucumber. Our preferable way to eat them is chopped into finger-sized spears lightly topped with some rice vinegar and salt. Cucumbers are crazy versatile. Here are some of our favorite recipes:
- Cucumber Margarita– if you are down with a refreshing tequila happy hour, this is the one for you! I would use less than half the agave called for, but it really depends on your tolerance for sweetness.
- Cucumber Cantaloupe Salad– this is truly a salad for a little later in the season, around September, when both cucumbers and melons are available, but this is where we chose to put cucumbers, so here we are in July! If you can find a ripe cantaloupe in the grocery, get it on board cause this salad is bomb and a perfect dinner for a hot day.
- Chilled Cucumbers– these could truly top anything, but they go really well with fish. We usually skip the ingredients that are hard to find, but if you’d like to go all in, CAM grocery in Hilliard or Saraga off of Morris and Maize will have everything you could need!
- Brown Rice and Cucumber Salad– we will often use left over rice for this dish and it works just as well with white rice. Whatever rice you’ve got!
Storage information: should keep for at least 1 week
- do not wash until you are ready to use the cucumber
- store it in the crisper or vegetable drawer of your fridge
Likely these juicy sweet treats won’t last long enough to transform them in one way or another, but if you are not a huge fan, like myself, of their raw form, there is almost nothing better than dehydrated cherry tomatoes as toppings for anything and everything! We often have a glut of these in the summer time and so we throw them on a baking sheet in the freezer and then once frozen we will store them in a ziplock for roasting use all winter.
- Oven Dried Cherry Tomatoes– we have a dehydrator that can passively run, which makes the job a little bit easier.
- Roasted Cherry Tomato Caprese– this is also great with burrata
- Real quick pasta dish– this makes a fabulous left over for lunch
Storage information: Store cherry tomatoes on your counter and eat or process them quickly to avoid fruit flies. Never put cherry tomatoes in the fridge unless you are planning to cook them after their sojourn in the cold. They will become mealy and start to lose flavor.
One time, we played a non-televised version of Chopped with 5 other friends. We each chose a secret ingredient for the competition and Kate’s parents judged the event (of course Kate won). One of the secret ingredients was fennel and people were really creative! One of the more surprising, and delicious, creations that came out of the event were fennel pancakes with ginger syrup. I couldn’t tell you how to re-create it, but shoooooooooooooot it’s worth a try!
- Fennel Celery Salad– I am not really a fan of blue cheese, so if you’re like me, a great substitute is parmesan.
- Sautéed Fennel and Garlic– get down with this on a buttery baked potato
- Hanger Steak and Fennel– every now and then, we crave a bit of red meat and this is the most perfect light summer dish.
Storage information: should for for 3-4 weeks
- cut the fronds from the bulb
- dry or freeze the fronds for use in soup
- do not wash the bulb until you decide to use it
- stick it in the vegetable or crisper drawer
Green beans and Red noodle beans
Green beans and Red Noodle Beans are some of my very favorite summer treats. If you’ve ever heard me talk about them, you know, the green bean sandwich is where it is at! Just recently, I discovered the green bean sandwich topped with baked beans and sauerkraut rather than cheese and mustard, but truly, either way you are setting yourself up for a scrumptious breakfast, lunch or dinner!
- Green Bean Sandwich– this one is a little more involved and potentially better than my normal approach. To simplify, I usually cut the beans to roughly the size of my bread, do a quick blanche, toast the bread, add mustard and any cheese I have available, and then put those green beans right on in (it can be nice to put some mayo in there too, if that’s your jam)!
- Garlic Lemon Green Beans
- Red Noodle Bean Curry– red noodle beans can be substituted in any green bean dish, but here is one specifically for them.
Storage information: should store for 10 days
- place green beans a a perforated ziplock bag
- store in your vegetable or crisper drawer
Garlic and Garlic scapes
Garlic, am I right?! Put it in everything- tea, stir fries, sautés, bakes, bbq’s- you can almost never go wrong with a little garlic. Sometimes, in the morning, we make some toast and rub 1 raw clove over the top before spreading some butter… yummmmmmm! Anytime we are baking some veggies we also toss a head or 2 of garlic on the sheet pan with the veggies for a whole week’s supply of roasted garlic. Can’t beat that! Garlic scapes only come once a year and as soon as they are gone, we are in anticipation for their arrival again. What a strange delicacy that is most often just wasted on the larger more industrial farms.
- Garlic Dill Soda Bread– yes and yes, make it once, have breakfast all week!
- 7 Things to do with Garlic Scapes
- Garlic Pasta and Green Olives
- Garlic Broth– the elixir of life for those cold and flu days
Storage information: store in a cool dark place. Garlic can be stored for 3-6 months.
Scallions, also known as green onions, are theoretically some of my favorite green items to use, but unfortunately I often forget I have them tucked in the veggie drawer. Once I started storing them in the fashion below, they became more visible and therefore more easily used! Some of my favorite ways to use them include cutting off the roots and putting the whole scallions in a pot with collards or adding the full scallion (minus the roots) to the food processor with steamed okra (this is an amazing topping for rice). There is also nothing like a full scallion rubbed with some olive oil and put directly on the BBQ until crisp.
- Easy 5 ways to use scallions
- Pickled Scallions– believe it or not, this is the first season I’ve pickled a scallion and there is no going back now! They are a great topper for almost anything you are cooking.
- Charred Scallion Dressing– Nothing better. Put this on salad, meat, tofu, fish, crackers… the sky is the limit with this!
- Scallion Salad– this is particularly good with some baked chicken thighs on top.
Storage information: you can store your scallions in the fridge as is, but if you plan to take more than a week to use them then do the following.
- stick your scallions in a cup of water and place a plastic bag over their tops
- you can use the full scallion, if you throw out the green half of the scallion you are wasting valuable and delicious oniony goodness
- change out the water every 3 days