Wednesday, July 24, 2019

July 25, 2019 - This Week's Box Contents, Featuring Cucumbers!

Cooking With This Week's Box

Green Scallions or White Spanish Onions: Korean Stir-Fried Cucumbers (see below);  Summer Vietnamese Noodle Salad (see below); Zucchini Enchiladas; Summer Farmer SkilletAloo GobiCreamy Broccoli Cauliflower CasseroleDiner Style Western Omelet

Green and/or Italian Zucchini: Zucchini Enchiladas; Summer Farmer Skillet

Green and/or Silver Slicer Cucumbers: Summer Vietnamese Noodle Salad (see below); Korean Stir-Fried Cucumbers (see below); Kale and Cucumber Salad with Roasted Ginger Dressing

Fresh Italian Garlic: Korean Stir-Fried Cucumbers (see below); Zucchini EnchiladasSummer Farmer SkilletAloo Gobi

Green Top Carrots: Summer Vietnamese Noodle Salad (see below); Summer Farmer SkilletCarrot TopsCarrot Top Hummus

Jalapeno Peppers:  Summer Vietnamese Noodle Salad (see below);  Indian Amaranth Stir-Fry

Since our second crop of cucumbers is starting to produce now, I thought this would be a good week to feature cucumbers!  Wondering what to do with the pile of cucumbers in this week’s box?  Our two feature recipes this week include Summer Vietnamese Noodle Salad (see below) and Korean Stir-Fried Cucumbers (see below).  If you aren’t in the mood for either of these recipes, perhaps you’ll find something to your liking on the list of 30 different recipes/recipe collections (see below) I’ve included with this week’s vegetable feature!   I’ve included recipes for everything from soups and salads to beverages and desserts!

Zucchini Enchiladas
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Once you’ve conquered the pile of cucumbers, it’s time to move on to the pile of zucchini!  I came across this recipe for Zucchini Enchiladas.  This recipe uses long, thin slices of zucchini in place of corn tortillas.  You use them to wrap up a filling, line them up in a pan and cover them with a flavorful enchilada sauce.  What a great idea!

Tis the season for Summer Farmer Skillet!  This is a recipe I featured back in 2017 and it’s a simple way to make a filling main course using a lot of different vegetables including potatoes, carrots, zucchini, onions, garlic, beans and either amaranth or kale.  You can vary the ingredients based on what you have available.  Leftovers also reheat very well for a nice next-day lunch or dinner option.  You can also eat it for breakfast with a fried egg on top!

Looking for something to do with the carrot tops instead of throwing them away?  How about Carrot Top Hummus? Make this on the weekend and keep it handy for a quick snack or light dinner. Eat it with slices of cucumber and carrot sticks, pita or chips.

Creamy Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole
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I haven’t made Aloo Gobi for awhile, but it’s always a delicious dish to make with new potatoes and summer cauliflower.  Aloo Gobi is an Indian curry one-pot meal that is pretty simple to make…and eat!  If you don’t use the cauliflower for aloo gobi, consider making Creamy Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole.  This is a simple recipe that’s sure to be a crowd pleaser!  While we’re talking casseroles, I think this would be a great week to make Cheesy Ham Green Bean Casserole.  This recipe calls for 2 pounds of beans and yields 8 servings.  There is only one pound of beans in the box this week, so you’ll have to cut the recipe in half.

Looking for another main dish dinner recipe?  This Greek Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner with Green Beans & Feta looks like a winner!  It includes not only green beans, but potatoes as well!

Kale and Cucumber Salad with Roasted Ginger Dressing
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If you receive the beautiful amaranth in your box, check out this recipe for Indian Amaranth Stir-Fry featuring amaranth, coconut and garlic.  If you receive the kale, consider making this Kale and Cucumber Salad with Roasted Ginger Dressing.

Last, but not least, if you still have a little onion and bell pepper hanging out at the end of the box, turn them into a Diner Style Western Omelet.  This is one of my favorite ways to use green bell peppers and it reminds me of those Sunday after-church lunches with my family when I was a kid.  We’d often go to The Waffle House or Bob Evans and I’d either get a stack of blueberry pancakes or a western omelet.  Aside from my brother pulling the chair out from me when I went to sit down, those were fun times with good memories!

That’s it for this week.  I’ll see you back again in one short week with more summer vegetables and more delicious recipes!—Chef Andrea

Vegetable Feature: Cucumbers

By Andrea Yoder

“Why Cucumbers? (Doesn’t everyone know about cucumbers?)”  This is the opening line to the chapter about cucumbers in Elizabeth Schneider’s book, Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini.  Cucumbers and zucchini are kind of staple summer crops, you just have to have them.  The thing about both of these crops that can sometimes be frightening is their ability to produce like crazy in the heat of the summer which leaves us with a pile of cucumbers and the question “What in the world am I going to do with all these cucumbers?!”  Don’t worry, I have some suggestions for you this week!

While we’re only accustomed to seeing several different types of cucumbers in this country, there are many different shapes and colors of cucumbers world-wide.  They are thought to have originated in India or the surrounding area.  They then spread into other Asian countries as well as Europe and then made their way to the Americas where they were introduced to this part of the world by explorers.  Cucumbers, which thrive in warm climates and the heat of summer, are known to be very cooling and help us stay hydrated with their high water content.  This cooling characteristic also makes them a sensible condiment or accompaniment to counter spicy foods such as chiles and curries.  We grow the most familiar “green slicer” cucumbers as well as our favorite variety of cucumbers called silver slicers.  Silver slicers produce a smaller cucumber that has a white to pale yellow skin color with crispy, fruity flesh.  We have grown to prefer this variety because the flavor is more complex, the flesh maintains its crispness, and it doesn’t have any/many of the compounds in cucumbers that can cause burping or gastrointestinal consequences.

In addition to their high moisture content, cucumbers have other important nutritive qualities.  They are also high in vitamin K as well as a host of phytonutrients that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.  These nutrients are thought to be beneficial for heart and brain health as well as cancer prevention and perhaps are helpful in managing diabetes.  There’s a reason why cucumbers are often associated with skin treatments as well.  Cucumbers can help decrease swelling, puffiness, skin irritation and soothe a sunburn due to their cooling and anti-inflammatory properties.

Cucumbers pair well with a whole host of ingredients, but some of the most common pairings include herbs such as mint, basil, parsley and dill as well as other vegetables such as onions, tomatoes and garlic.  Cucumbers also pair well with other fruits such as melons, watermelon, limes, lemons, grapefruit and berries.  Of course they also play well with feta cheese, cream, buttermilk, sour cream and yogurt.

Cucumber Sorbet
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There are so many things you can make with cucumbers.  Of course, they are good to eat with just a little sprinkling of salt, but beyond this simple pleasure they are most often used in salads and pickled.  They can also be used in sandwiches, cold and hot soups, desserts such as sorbet and popsicles, refreshing drinks both with and without alcohol, and condiments such as Tzatziki and Raita.  But don’t think cucumbers are only for eating raw.  They can also be cooked!  That’s right, cucumbers can be stir-fried, sautéed, roasted and baked.

I hope you’ll check out the extensive list of 30 recipes/recipe collections that follow.  I hope you enjoy some of your old “go-to” ways of eating cucumbers this summer as well as experimenting with some different ways to use cucumbers!  Lastly, cucumbers are sensitive to cold temperatures and ideally should be stored at 45-50°F.  Thus, we recommend only short-term storage in your refrigerator or just keep them on the counter at room temperature until you use them within a few days.  Have fun and don’t forget to stay cool as a cucumber this summer!

Not Sure What To Do With Cucumbers....Here Are a Few Ideas!


Mexican Cucumber Snack
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Pickles, Salads & Snacks:

Summer Vietnamese Noodle Salad (see below)




Tuna Steaks with Cucumber Relish
photo from
Appetizers and/or Mains:

Cooked Cucumbers:

Korean Stir-Fried Cucumbers (see below)

Desserts & Refreshing Treats:


Summer Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad

Yield:  4 to 6 servings

Photo from
8 ounces thin rice noodles (roughly the width of linguine)
1 ½ cups cabbage, thinly sliced
2-3 medium carrots, shredded or cut into matchsticks
1 large or 2-3 medium cucumbers, halved, seeded, and thinly sliced 
1 cup chopped fresh herbs, preferably a combination of basil, cilantro, and mint
16 ounces cooked tofu, chicken, or shrimp, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces
1 cup roasted, salted peanuts or toasted almonds, coarsely chopped

⅓ cup fish sauce
⅓ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
¼ cup light brown sugar, plus more to taste
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
½ to 1 fresh jalapeño, minced

  1. To prepare the dressing, combine the fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, garlic, and the jalapeño. Whisk well.  Set aside.  (Note: The dressing will store in the refrigerator for 3 days to a week.)
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the rice noodles, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes (or according to package instructions), until tender but not mushy. Immediately drain the noodles into a colander, and rinse them well with cold water to cool them. Shake the colander to drain away excess water.
  3. When the noodles are well-drained, put them in a large bowl along with the vegetables, herbs and tofu or meat.  Spoon dressing over the entire mixture and toss well to combine.  
  4. Serve with chopped peanuts or almonds on top.
Recipe adapted from

Stir-Fried Cucumbers (Oi Bokkeum) "Quick and easy Korean cucumber side dish"

Yield:  4 servings

Photo from
1 pound cucumbers
1 ½ tsp salt
2 tsp vegetable oil
½ tsp minced garlic
1 scallion, finely chopped 
1 tsp sesame oil
½ tsp sesame seeds

  1. Cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise slightly diagonally.  If the cucumbers are thin, you can simply cut into thin rounds.
  2. Toss the cucumber slices with one and a half teaspoons of salt to coat evenly.  Let rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Squeeze as much water out from the cucumber slices as possible.  Don’t worry about bruising them.  They will recover when stir-fried.
  4. Heat a pan over high heat.  Add ½ tablespoon of cooking oil.  Quickly stir in the garlic.  Add the cucumbers.  Stir-fry for a minute until the cucumbers are slightly cooked.  Turn off the heat.  Toss well with the scallion, sesame oil, and sesame seeds.
Recipe borrowed from

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