Sunday, August 10, 2008

Blondes have more fun

The Boothby Blonde is one of the fun heirloom vegetables you can find at the Portland Farmers' Market. The tiny cuke is grown from seeds saved by five generations of the Boothby family of Livermore, Maine. Each nugget is sweet and cold, with the crispness of approaching autumn.

For lunch today, I thinly sliced two cukes, laid them on a serving dish and drizzled them with red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. I finished with a sprinkle of salt and a few grinds of pepper. I left the skins on, but because they're so light they look like they've been peeled.

Eating cucumbers this way always reminds me of being in the spacious kitchen at my grandfather's dairy farm. I can see him sitting at the long table, skillfully slicing a garden-fresh cucumber into a white bowl. He liberally splashes vinegar over the coins, before shaking first the salt and then the pepper over the slices. The taste is absolutely delicious.

Today these vinegar blondes made the perfect accompaniment to the quick mujaddara salad I put together. As I've said before, I absolutely love mujaddara because it's so flexible. You can morph it into wraps, pitas, veggie burgers and tacos. Or you can serve it the traditional way, as the base for a salad. Here I paired it with market lettuce and a bruschetta made from juicy heirloom tomatoes, this season's garlic, Maine sea salt and fresh basil.

I love picking up basil at the market. Because most of the farmers sell it cut and tied together and sitting in fresh water, I take it home and let it do double-duty as a fragrant bouquet.


Celine said...

these cutes are so cuke! or something like that.

Meg Wolff said...

Hi Avery,
Your cukes cut and prepared look absolutely mouth-watering. I will look for them at the market on Wednesday. Have a few cukes in the refrigerator (not blondes) that I may prepare this way. Thanks!

Meg Wolff said...

p.s. Have you been out to the Little River Flower Farm in Buxton? They have U-pick organic strawberries still available. A rare find!

Avery Yale Kamila said...

Hey Meg,

Thanks for the heads up on the strawberries. I'll have to try to get out that way and get some!


J said...

Those cucumbers look and sound fantastic. Don't you love meals that take you back? :-)

Anonymous said...

What lovely cukes! I've never seen that color before. Good idea to splash them with oil and vinegar for a tasty, but simple lunch.

The basil bouquet is beautiful!

Bianca said...

I should try that with the basil I bought this weekend at the market. I'm using it for a pesto tomorrow, but I want it to stay fresh.