Cukes and Zukes

Cukes and Zukes

Summer finally swept through New York City, bringing with it a sticky wave of heat and humidity. The antidote? A dose of cool, fresh cucumbers and zucchinis.

Cucumbers are a boon for twenty-somethings: as long as you keep them wrapped, they’ll stay fresh in your refrigerator for two weeks! Finally, a vegetable that’ll still be good even after losing it in the back of the fridge for a week (it’s been known to happen).

Zucchinis, on the other hand, are a bit more unforgiving. You can refrigerate them in a plastic bag, but they’ll only last for 4 days. Don’t wash a zucchini until you’re ready to use it.

In this post, I’ve got a cukes or zukes recipe for everyone: the health nut, the international eater, the junk foodie, the meat-lover, and the over-21 crowd. First up:

Sardine & Noodle Salad

Sardine & Noodle Salad

Alicia from Bread & Honey has the right idea: “On a hot day I don’t really feel like chowing down mayo, so I like the lightly dressed salads with oils & vinegars.” I’m a big sardine fan, so this recipe struck a chord with me. Not only are sardines more flavorful than tuna, but they’re also more sustainable. This salad’s heart-healthy and earth-healthy!

Tod Mun Pla (Thai Fish Cakes)

Tod Mun Pla

Considering how delicious fish cakes are and how expensive they tend to be in restaurants, you might be surprised to learn that fish cakes are extraordinarily easy to make at home. Kevin from Closet Cooking offers up an exotic fish cake recipe that makes use of a simple Thai red curry paste. As accompaniment, he includes a recipe for a cucumber dipping sauce.

Lemony Zucchini Goat Cheese Pizza

Ha! Ok, I fooled you. This pizza isn’t junk food at all—it’s Smitten Kitchen‘s delicious twist on the Provençal tian that makes visually dazzling use of green and yellow zucchinis. Click through to see it!

Meatballs with Zucchini and Bulgur

Meatballs with Zucchini and Bulgur

The Atlantic’s Food Channel is one of my favorite new additions to the blogroll. They’ve shared a keftededes (that’s “meatballs” for the non-Greeks out there) recipe that substitutes a bulgur-and-zucchini mix for breadcrumbs. Luckily for me, these keftedes are served at Molyvos, which is one block away from the Knopf Doubleday offices!

Blue Smoke’s Porch Swing

Porch Swing

This cocktail has a fine pedigree: it’s the 2007 winner of the Annual Sidewalk Café Drink Mix-Off, as administered by NYC’s Department of Consumer Affairs and the New York State Restaurant Association. So, you know, it’s legit. Jay Doren, resident mixologist at Blue Smoke, created a summer classic that relies on the freshness of cucumber slices and the tartness of lemonade.

Finally, let’s consult with Julia Child. In Mastering the Art of French Cooking, she gives us recipes for baked cucumbers, creamed cucumbers (with and without mushrooms), and cucumbers with cheese sauce. Julia, how did I know you were going to smother cucumbers with something delicious? If you’ve got zucchinis on hand, I urge you to try your hand at that most famous of French dishes, at least among those of use who love Pixar movies: ratatouille. Pick up a copy of the cookbook, and post your cooking results as a comment on this post in order to enter our Be Like Julie, Cook From Julia contest. The deadline is August 15th, so get going!