I’ve been doing this thing this winter that I feel immensely guilty about. So I’m just going to come clean and tell you all about it. I have been buying one or two cucumbers a week since we returned from vacation in late January.
As a vegetable farmer who knows the abundance of cucumbers I will have for not one, not two, but likely three months out of the year, and the sheer number that will go bad in my fridge come summer because I take home four from the field every day and somehow think I can get through them all, it kills me to buy an out of season cucumber. I mean it kills me to buy pretty much any out of season vegetable that is grown by a person who is not my husband, but because the quantity of cucumbers we grow on our farm is actually quite tremendous, buying an out of season cucumber really kills me. And yet, I find myself in the routine of throwing an English cucumber in my cart every time I stop at the store.
It has absolutely nothing to do with having a lack of vegetables around. I love my bags of root veggies, shallots and onions in the basement. I love our freezer full of berries, peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower and sweet corn. I love the pickled green beans and jars upon jars of charred salsa in our pantry. We eat well in the winter. Obviously. It has everything to do with that crunch.
That light, bright, crunchy bite of a cucumber that adds more summer to my dishes than even a tomato. It’s much more subtle than the summer you will find in a tomato, but it’s there. It’s like pure sunshine. And it’s a thing I’ve come to love. So this winter I’ve decided that I absolutely cannot (and will no longer) live without.
Sometimes I eat the cucumber raw. Often I find myself tossing them into a fattoush salad because Molly and Deb have a way of making me obsessed with things like fattoush that no one in the non-food blogger world has probably ever heard of. Sometimes I cut it up and toss it with yogurt and lemon juice to serve aside just about anything. But most frequently, I eat them with my breakfast.
An onion bagel slathered in cream cheese and topped with some sliced cucumber and Kosher salt is a thing of beauty. It’s just enough green in the morning to help me feel good about the way I start my day. Even if the rest of the meal is carbs and cream.
Then on Friday, I learned this trick. I learned that my favorite spice blend for avocado toast can just as easily top a bagel, and since I was already in the habit of throwing cucumbers on my morning bagel, it just felt right to add that to the mix. The end result was a succession of creamy, crunchy, salty, spicy, savory (messy) bites that were so damn good I just could not not tell you about them.
Which ultimately led to this public admission of guilt. I’m so ashamed. (But I guarantee it’s well worth it).
In other news, I wrote a piece this past week for my (semi-famous) friend Mariah Haberman who is a host for Discover Wisconsin. She asked me to do a guest post for her blog and because she’s a childhood friend, it felt right to bare my soul and dig deep into my decision to move back to the town where I was raised. This piece, titled Bloom Where You’re Planted, is the most heartfelt and vulnerable thing I have ever written. Check it out. I hope you enjoy it.
And now, some lovely meals to drool over.
March 12th meal plan:
- Leftover Molly on the Range Cauliflower Shwarma Tacos with leftover Smoky Lentils
- Two huge homemade deep dish pizzas in my cast-iron skillets with the leftover pudgie pie fixings
- Dinner at Wendigo during our farm’s biannual core group meeting. I got the Wendi Melt with prime rib. He got the Phorench Dip. Everyone had Fantasy Factory.
- Dishing up the Dirt’s Chickpea & Tatsoi Coconut Curry with bok choy instead of tatsoi and a whole bunch of fish sauce and sriracha added in
- This Herb Rice with crispy shallots and Cucumber Yogurt Walnut Sauce with about a billion substitutions because I didn’t have any of the things I was supposed to (and it was still 100% fantastic) alongside the yummiest broiled trout
- Date night at Culver’s because we had a gift card and it just felt right after a Badger victory
March 19th meal plan:
I’m leaving for a long weekend trip to Austin with my mom on Friday. This means I’m making lots of heavy hearty foods in massive quantities to leave behind in the fridge for my favorite farmer who works way too hard in the spring and burns more calories than you can possibly imagine
- Summer Vegetable Cobbler even though it’s not summer, because I need to retake the photos for Madison Magazine (!!!)
- Sesame Noodle Bowls with Lemongrass Meatballs. This is one of my top favorite recipes of all time. I have to try and resist making it weekly. I don’t make the cashew mayo and just sub in extra mayo which is certainly less healthy, but we love a good spicy mayo in this household and just cannot resist.
- Tomato-Glazed Meatloaves with Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes
- Some variation of these Cheddar Rice Fritters with all the leftover rice from last week and my favorite Warm Butternut Squash & Chickpea Salad
- A huge batch of lasagna, recipe TBD; any favorites?
Lots and lots of love,
AVOCADO BAGEL WITH CUCUMBER
Takes 10 minutes
4 onion bagels, sliced in half
2-4 avocados, depending how much you love them (I love them a lot)
1 English cucumber
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or less if you’re a heat lover like me)
- If you have a toaster oven, throw all the bagels in there to toast. If not, begin toasting one by one.
- While the bagel toasts, cut your avocados in half. Remove the pits and slice them while still in the rind.
- Then move onto the cucumber, slice into 1/8-inch slices.
- Mix the sesame seeds and spices together in a small bowl.
- One by one, start building your bagel. Scoop the avocado slices out with a spoon and put the slices onto the bagel half. I do half an avocado per half of a bagel because I’m crazy, but also because I’m a farmer and I burn a lot of calories. Smash it with a fork gently. Add cucumber slices. Again, I put a bunch on there, probably 7-8 slices per bagel half. Sprinkle with approximately a quarter of the spice mixture.
- Repeat with each bagel. And if there’s just one of you. Then I guess stop after one and save the rest for later!