Monday, August 11, 2008

Cucumber Season

It's cucumber season, and after eating chicken and mutton, mutton and chicken, chicken and then some mutton, cucumbers are a gift from the gods! India and Kashmir are not really a foodie's destination. We had some good meals, but overall, I'd say I get better Indian food here in San Diego than we got in India. Strange, I know, but true. One of the exceptions was when we stayed on a houseboat on Dal Lake in Kashmir.(It was hot and humid - I tried keeping the lens wiped clean, but the moisture kept coming back - sorry!) Every day, Hilal, who managed the houseboat and was our "host", asked us what we wanted to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Every night, our choices were chicken or mutton, but at least he also offered veggies. The meals were home cooked, awesome, and eaten in the dining room.
After our breakfast, and before our guide showed up, we would often be told that "the tailor is here", or "if you need to change money, there is someone here". We'd go into the living room, and there would be someone who would fix our clothes, make us clothes, do the laundry, or change money for us. All in the comfort of the living room! (I can't remember ever having the bank show up in my living room before!)
But returning home meant returning to fresh vegetables, and lots of them. It also meant eating more salads. The markets were filled with cucumbers and their cool green beckoned me like a siren's song. I found myself buying them by the armload! But I'm only one person, and my cat doesn't particularly care for cucumbers. So when I found this recipe (and wonderful story!) on Katie's Thyme For Cooking I knew I had found the solution to my cucumber dilemma.

But then there's always another cucumber. And another. And oh - what's that in the back of the drawer? Another one? So when I found myself over at Bread & Cie the other day, I saw a new sandwich on their menu: Cucumber on fig and anise bread. They made it with an herbed cream cheese. I had neufchatel in the fridge, and thyme and mint growing right outside. I didn't have fig and anise bread, but I did have a fig spread and a multigrain bread. I was in! I slathered my home made herbed neufchatel on one side, the fig spread on the other and laid in the cukes. How simple is that? The play of the fig against the cukes and herbs worked well. I just might play around with this idea in a salad. Stay tuned....

9 comments:

Stella (Sweet Temptations) said...

I think it's crucial to knonw a local whenever we visit a country. Less time wasted to look for good places to eat!
Fresh veggies are so good for detox! Great salad!

white on rice couple said...

Where's the good Indian food in San Diego? I gotta know! We'll talk about it at the paaaaarty!
I love cucumbers, can't live without them. I've got some new ones in the garden, hope it's not too late fro them to fruit.
Fun houseboat trip! I don't do well on boats though , I just might lose all my meals!

toni said...

Hi Stella - So true! Not always possible, but so, so true. Knowing someone locally makes for a very different kind of experience when traveling - much better!

Todd and Diane - C'mon down and I'll take you to my fave....It's called Bombay. As for the houseboat, it didn't move. It was more like a floating hotel on a calm lake. Not even bobbing up and down. You'd be fine!

anya said...

Fig and cucumber, that's a combination really worth home-replicating! I would never have thought it up myself.

Sounds like you got very well pampered on that boat in India, what with tailor and money-excange services :)

katiez said...

Glad you liked the salad...
But that trip must have been fantastic! How fun to be staying on a boat and have the shops come to you!

Toni said...

Anya - I would never have thought it up myself either!

Katie - I LOVE the salad! And the trip, of course!

Kevin said...

That cucumber sandwich looks really good!

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

Wow! That sounds so good. I need to be more creative with my taste pairings.

Alvin Gill-Tapia said...

Love the Cucumber Sandwich - I'm going to try it with Lemon Cukes - of which I had way to many in the garden this year. :) Thanks - Alvin