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Hail the Conquering Cucumber

July 27, 2010

I’m afraid I am becoming one of those garden missionaries, spending the later part of the summer hovering over family and friends, tediously reminding them that the food they are eating was GROWN in our GARDEN. “Are you enjoying the potato salad? Can you believe that we grew those potatoes ourselves? In the ground?”

The good news is that it can’t happen too often, because my gardening abilities only result in very scant yields from each plant. The bad news is that because the fruits of my labor are so sparse, each and every item that our 8-foot square garden produces is held up and admired like Simba in the Lion King, and so is each and every (small) dish that I make from the slender issue.

This week, it was a solitary cucumber that dangled from one of three somewhat bushy but otherwise fruit-free plants. I thought about slicing it up into a salad, my younger son Charlie was all for making one big pickle, but in the end I decided to make tzatziki, basically to stretch this lone cucumber into something that 8 people could share.

An entire meal was planned around this lone cucumber. What would tzatziki be good with? How about skewers of shrimp and chunks of chicken, seasoned with Greek-ish herbs? And orzo, and a green salad. Yes, all of these things would be befitting to the magical cucumber that had graced us with its presence.

Little green tomatoes are popping up all over the vines, the leaves on the zucchini plant are large enough to float a small puppy in a lake, and a few bushy heads of broccoli are appearing like corsages in the middle of dramatically large plants. Living of the land it ain’t, but it will be fun while it lasts.

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