A Public Quest for Interesting Food Finds in Huntington

Join me on a journey for the best food finds in Huntington. Whether in restaurants, a deli-packed picnic
or a neighbor's back yard barbeque - we'll discover the best spots, secret recipes and where to find
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Wednesday, September 8, 2010


This time of year my father-in-law is usually stopping by with bag loads of cucumbers. RL has not one but two robust gardens and is very generous with the harvest. My son loves grilled cheese sandwiches with sliced cucumbers, a favorite from my own childhood.

My gardener friends have given mixed reviews of their gardens this season. The exceptional dryness changed things dramatically, with a general consensus that the potted tomatoes did better than in-ground plantings. RL did not stop by with any cucumbers this year. I missed them.

Receiving a large bag of cucumbers can keep you on your toes. Sure, you can eat them raw, slice them thin with onion into a summer-fresh vinegar dressing, or toss them in to a couscous with grilled chicken, garbanzo beans and feta cheese, seeded and chopped… the basics. Last year I made a point to find something new and came upon a recipe for a Cucumber Martini. Good Lord! It was made with gin which I normally avoid. (Forty years later, gin still reminds me of rubbing alcohol from my bi-weekly allergy shots.) This Cucumber Martini was the best use of gin ever. And what a labor of love; two cucumbers per drink. Peeled, seeded, chopped, through the food processor, then put through a sieve, capturing the very essence.

A few weeks ago I went to Black and Blue for the first time, across from Waldbaums. I was delighted to see a Cucumber Martini on the specialty drink menu and it was nearly as good as mine. What is it about one martini that makes the second seem like such a good idea? The food was surprisingly good. A simple, sensible menu, well executed. We ate outdoors, under the blue lights that magically minimize the street below. Next time I’m planning to eat inside; I always enjoy eating at a lively bar and this one was inviting.

My cucumber discovery this year (sadly with store-bought cucumbers) was a creamy, minted cucumber soup. It was one of the middle courses for a table of eight, put through the food processor with low fat yogurt, garlic, mint, etc. – then through the sieve. Served chilled, topped with diced radishes, cucumber bits and snipped mint. Oh, so refreshing on a hot night. Below is the exact recipe.

Minty Cucumber Soup
(serves 6)
7 Cucumbers, peeled, halved and seeded
1 clove garlic
2 cups chicken stock
3 cups plain low-fat yogurt
2 t salt
1 t white pepper
1 ¼ cups fresh mint leaves (reserve some for garnish)
1 t fresh lemon juice
3 radishes, diced for garnish

Cut 6 cucumbers into one inch pieces. Use the seventh to dice thin for garnish.
Combine the six cucumbers and the garlic in food processor. Add chicken stock, yogurt, salt, white pepper, ¾ cup of mint leaves and lemon juice. Process until smooth.

Pass the mixture through a sieve or fine strainer into a mixing bowl. Coarsely chop ¼ cup of mint leaves, fold into the soup. Chill for at least 3 hours.

Serve in individual bowls, garnish each with the chopped ¼ cup mint, diced radish and cucumber. Voila!