The cucumber. I've been enjoying it's presence in my life lately. It's like the white button up oxford of the food wardrobe: somewhat boring but always adds a crispness that is at once cool and unassuming. Or like that smart girl in your class that was quiet but always had a timely answer. The cucumber sort of slides its way into so many dishes, but is rarely the flashy main attraction. So the other day at lunch, as I sliced away at a squeaky clean, crunchy cuke that just oozed freshness, I offered a small "I really like you!" under my breath. Maybe I should have said the same to that smart girl.
In China, the cucumber gets a lot of attention. You see people everywhere chomping on them like they are a bag of potato chips (and the bag of potato chips DOES indeed come in cucumber flavor if that suits your fancy). Workers on break, grandma's feeding little children, pretty young women on their way to the office, you name it young and old alike seem to love this simple veggie that can be picked up at any roadside stand (or basket). Countless Asian dishes use the cucumber as a tasty part of their ensemble. We eat it with more foods now than we used to, which says more about me and my need to grow in food exploration than it does anything else.
Cucumbers are an excellent complement to Indian Curry, chopped fresh with tomatoes or just sliced for finger food. Any Mediterranean inspired food needs cucumbers it seems... couscous and hummus, tomatoes, feta, olives, you name it, it needs some crunchy cuke. Even something like the boring ham and cheese sandwich can get a bit more exciting and summery with the freshness of a few summery green slices. If you're into Chinese fare, why not try it with scrambled egg? My sister-in-law Leah, who makes the best chunky guacamole salsa I've ever tasted in my life adds cucumber to her genius recipe. Here's a yummy looking recipe that I would love to try (I pretty much love all her food). When things like pine nuts, avocado, and cucumber are mentioned together, I get excited.
For me it's the cucumber, but there are so many wonderful summer foods available right now. What are you enjoying?