07 July 2010

Tales from the CSA: Week 6

In this week's box:

3 ears of corn (!)
2 tomatoes (!)
1 zucchini
2 yellow summer squash
1 head Boston Bibb lettuce
pile o' green beans
6 cucumbers

OK, so the cucumber situation had gotten dire.  Including the ones left over from last week, we had 8 cucumbers.  Time to do more than eat them in salads.

I had ideas:  the mythic cucumber gin drink I've been pursuing and a cucumber sorbet.  So I made both.

The cucumber drink, aka "The Cuke" was a huge hit. I made a recipe and a half (my pitcher wasn't quite big enough to accommodate a double recipe) and took it to an Independence Day pool party.  I love a pitcher drink for parties, because then you don't end up getting stuck behind the bar rather than hanging out with your friends.  Bonus? The thin slices of cucumber that have marinated in cold gin for a few hours are delicious - crisp and lightly alcoholic.  One change I think I will make the next time (which will probably be this weekend, because I just got 4 more cucumbers this week) is to use double simple syrup rather than sugar, which didn't completely dissolve, because I didn't want to muddle/smash the cucumbers. Oh, and I did peel them first (contrary to the recipe), and I topped the drink with club soda rather than sparkling water.  I would think it would also be good topped with a splash of champagne.

The cucumber sorbet...less so.  I used this recipe from the Washington Post/(purportedly) The Inn at Little Washington, only I substituted basil rather than dill, since I have TONS for fresh basil.  I think Patrick O'Connell's not telling us everything, because it didn't turn out great.  In the first round, although I chopped the basil VERY finely, it all settled to the bottom of the sorbet as it froze, leaving large globs of basil down there, taking the corn syrup with it.  Now admittedly, had I used dill, that likely would not have happened.  But also, the egg white didn't really seem to incorporate properly, leaving an almost meringue-like topping.  So it ended up in at least 3 layers, none of which were really all that good, and all of which had an odd texture. 

So I decided to take another run at it.  I completely thawed it, ran it through a chinoise to pull out all those bits of basil, re-mixed it MUCH more thoroughly to try to flatten the egg whites a little and incorporate them more fully, and re-processed it in the ice cream maker.  I did all that tonight, so I'm still waiting for it to re-freeze, and I'll let you know if it improves.

Edited July 16 to add: it's better, but it's still not very good.  I suspect tossage is forthcoming.  You can't win 'em all. 

No comments: