Friday, July 17, 2009

By The Sweat of My Brow - Cucumber Salad

I garden. 

Therefore I eat. 

If I were in charge of the world (someday, someday) I would make everyone grow at least one thing to eat.  It would do everyone much good to grow just one thing that nourished them.

Over the years my garden has taught me many things. 


Every year, before the first hint of spring, I start thinking about what I'm going to grow for the coming season. Now let me make this clear. I do not like digging, bending, yanking, back aches, bug bites, sweating, getting really dirty. Well, okay, I kind of don't mind getting dirty. 

It is the joy of the growing and the triumph of the harvest that keep drawing me back to the dirt. 

When you start the garden, it is cold. The earth is muddy and ungiving. It is only a good imagination that allows the gardener to "see" the garden. 

So you dig
And you plant
And you water
It helps if you have one of these:

A rain barrel collects all that spring melt and up coming rains. Plus it looks pretty cool in your yard.

So after a few weeks of looking at what appears to be pitiful wilted green things lounging around in the mud, one day you go outside to pull yet one more weed and you find something like this:

It's the hint of a cucumber. Not even big enough to be a gherkin.. a veritable Vlasic reject, a kosher pickle wannabe - but just big enough to spur you to bend over and  pull one more weed, one more time. 

A few weeks, some rain and sunshine later and you find that the little patch of cucumbers and squash, look like this:

By now your heart is racing because under these leaves you know (you hope) you are going to find what you've been waiting for, hoping for, sweating for:

Cucumber Salad with Yogurt and Mint: (serves 5)

4 large cucumbers, preferably home grown, thinly sliced.
1 cup greek style 0% fat yogurt 
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped fine
Sea Salt and freshly ground pepper

Whisk together the yogurt, honey, salt and pepper.
Toss the cucumbers with the mint. 
Stir in yogurt dressing and serve chilled. 

This goes great with lamb. Or simple grilled chicken. 

I just spotted this today - be still my pounding heart,  the cherry tomatoes are getting ripe, the eggplants are growing...
Time to weed... to bend, to sweat a little more. Hush my aching back...


  1. This sounds great! I will have to try it out!

  2. Loved this post and your rain barrel! Lucky you with the fresh veggies. Living in our condo, we only get lots of sun in front where there are flowers and shrubs. If we are still here next year, I might plan some veggies to mix in with the flowers. I will definitely make that cuke salad, however.

  3. Mama Nut,

    Welcome! I hope you enjoy the recipe. If you don't want a sweet salad, just omit the honey.


    Over the years I have cut back on flowers and replaced them with vegetables... the eggplants are growing in the front of my house nestled in with some perennials (daisies, butterfly bush, lilies and hydrangea). I'm quite sure my neighbors think I'm daft.

  4. OMG---I have that same rain barrel! Of course, love of my life has yet to actually connect the downspout and cap the end of the gutter...... mere details, you know. I have a soaker hose that nourishes my flowers gardens with this and I hope to install another barrel in my back yard for the vegetable garden. Of course, we haven't needed to water anything of late.

  5. This recipe looks so delicious, and your garden is beautiful. My mother had a rain barrel like yours and was gifted with a green thumb, also like yours.

  6. Kathy - get that rain barrel hooked up! Just remember in the winter to leave the spigot turned on or the water will freeze and break your barrel!


    I always smile when someone says I have a green thumb.. what a garden really needs is a lot of hard work and attention. Sometimes, when I'm tired or cranky, I just stand in front of my plants and yell GROW!


Wow. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I love feedback... what with being a cook and all. I will respond to your comments via email (if you do not have a "noreply" address or here, below your comment) As always, Bon Appetite!

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