Tag Archives: cucumber

Smartini ~ Basil & Acai Berry Cocktail

My brother Martin is finally getting hitched, so I figured we needed a stout yet sassy beverage for his engagement party. In the name of printing up (completely unnecessary but adorable) little St. Patrick’s Day menu cards, this cocktail was named “the Smartini” as a Martin/Sarah mashup.

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As a general rule, I think most dudes will drink a fruity cocktail as long as it:

  1. isn’t bright pink
  2. uses some sort of unorthodox ingredient, and
  3. doesn’t come in a fancy cocktail glass that makes you inclined to raise a pinkie.

And this cocktail passes all of those tests. The Acai Berry liquor is a trendy new kind of booze we had in Charleston while dining at Cypress (the oysters, OH THE OYSTERS!), and The Chef and I are pretty much basil sluts on every level, so this was a no-brainer.

While I didn’t squeeze the 3 dozen lemons it would have required to make a pitcher of this stuff, if I were making smaller batches, I’d definitely use the fresh stuff. Also, this has agave nectar in it, which is just nature’s fancy-sounding answer to Splenda, so do not be afraid.

The bottom line: this was refreshing and delectable, so throw it in your spring rotation.

2 parts Acai berry liquor (Veev)
1 part fresh lemon juice
1 part agave nectar
2 parts club soda
1 package basil, roughly chopped
cucumbers and lemons, sliced for garnish

  1. Pour your Acai berry liquor in a pitcher or tupperware container. Add basil. Let steep for 1-4 days, depending on desired strength of basil flavor.
  2. Combine all ingredients and chill.

I made this in a much larger quantity – i.e. used two bottles of Veev and increased amounts of the other ingredients proportionally – and that worked very well. Put it in a pitcher and dress it up with the cucumbers and lemons, and you got one pretty and potent cocktail.

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Filed under Alcohol, Beverages, Special Occasion

Bacon Tomato Pasta Salad ~ a.k.a. Bogie’s Pasta Salad

So this pasta salad was originally called “BLT Pasta Salad” until The Chef rightly (and a little smugly) pointed out that there is not, in fact, an “L” in it. To which I replied, “Um yuh-huh! Little tiny cucumbers. So there. What do you think about that?!”

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Turns out he thought that was stupid, which it was, so I renamed it. Basically it’s my copyright-infringement version of Bogie’s pasta salad but with bacon. Because… you know what, no. It needs no explanation. Bacon is its own reason.

As per usual with my pasta salads, I am not entirely sure about the amount of mayo, so you’ll just have to taste and add to your desired level of saturation. (The ladies reading this will appreciate that I’ve avoided using the words “moist” or “wet” here. Yes, we all hate those words. They’re icky, so just shut up about it.)

Also, if you are firmly anti-cucumber as I am, do not fear – if you dice the little buggers up tiny enough, you will barely even notice them. (But they are an integral part of the “Bogie’s” taste and the “saturation” factor, so don’t leave them out completely.)

And there you have it. This pasta will make your transition from lake to tailgate smooth – and delicious – so make sure you have some on hand.

1 package rotini, cooked al dente*
5 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 large cucumber, seeded and minced**
5 green onions, chopped (white parts discarded)
1.5 cups mayo (Duke’s!)
6 strips bacon (preferably Wright), cooked and chopped
1 cup sour cream
juice of 2 lemons at serving time
chili powder
Cavender’s

  1. While the pasta is still hot, mix all ingredients in large bowl. (You actually don’t have to do it while it’s hot, but the mayo coats everything better that way, so proceed as you will.)
  2. Add chili power, Cavender’s or your favorite all-purpose seasoning to taste.
  3. Chill (at least a few hours, preferably over night). Before serving, check to make sure the pasta is not too dry and add more, ahem, “saturating” ingredients as necessary and the lemon juice.

*Make sure to cook the pasta a little under as it will sit and soften in the mayo. Also, don’t buy multicolored rotini for this because it’s much prettier red, white and green. But that might be the OCD talking, so you do what you want.
**Mince the life out of that little effer. I mean it. No big chunks of cucumber here. The slime will not stand.

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Filed under Comfort food, Party food, Pasta, Salad, Side dishes, Southern food

Cucumber Salad

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I want nothing to do with cucumbers… unless they’re part of some great-smelling lotion line by Dove, The texture, the seeds, the squishy texture – they are just not for me. Unless you pickle them.

I am a self-professed pickling junkie, and with this recipe The Chef proved that vinegar is so magical it can even make a cucumber palatable. He likes to serve these on top of Bulgogi (a truly delicious Korean taco alternative) or under grilled shrimp as an appetizer. Go. Make. Believe.

4 cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced thin
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tsp sugar
salt to taste
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tbsp chopped cilantro

  1. Start by making the dressing: Mix vinegar, sugar, salt, and oil.  Taste. If it’s too tart add sugar; if it’s too sweet add vinegar.
  2. Mix dressing and the rest of the ingredients together. Let sit in fridge for at least 2 hours.

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Filed under Salad, Toppings, Veggies

Tanya’s Tzatziki (Yogurt Dip)

This is a great dip or sauce to use with chicken, lamb or with pita chips.  I make mine with extra garlic.  This is especially good served along side Herb Rack of Lamb. -ts

2 small containers of Greek yogurt (such as FAGE or Oikos)
2 cloves garlic, very finely minced
5-7 mint leaves finely chopped (I guess you could get lazy and use dried; I would never)
2 small cucumbers peeled and finely chopped 
salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper (optional) to taste
a few squeezes from a lemon
a couple drops of olive oil

  1. Prepare ingredients
  2. Mix everything together in a bowl except; All measurements are best done by taste, so use more mint if you like things minty or more garlic if you prefer. This needs to be refrigerated for at least an hour before serving, but the longer the better.

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Filed under Dips, Sauces

Sweet and Sour Cucumber Relish

The Chef assures this is awesome over seared tuna or grilled salmon. While I usually shy away from cucumbers in general, I think the pickleyness (new word. check it.) of this could win me over like Caroline’s Cucumber Dip did. Try it on for size.

1/2 red onion, sliced thin
1 tablespoon of ginger, slice in half
1 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup of sugar
1/2 jalapeno, minced
1 lime, juice only
1 1/2 cucumber, peeled, sliced, and deseeded
1/8 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon cumin

  1. In a medium size sauce pot combine red onion, ginger, vinegar, and sugar.  Cook over medium heat until it becomes slightly thick (about 20 minutes)
  2. When thickened, remove from heat and let cool completely and remove ginger slices.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine jalapeno, lime juice, cucumbers , cilantro, salt, and cumin
  4. Once  the sauce has cooled completely pour over cucumbers and toss gently.

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Filed under Fish, Relishes, Sauces, Veggies