How is your week going? Truth be told, the first time I wrote that I typed "fall", but I couldn't bear to look at it and changed my mind.
Things have been moving quickly around here! Just last week it was hot, so when these two boys stopped by they needed watermelon popsicles.
I went to the Coralville farmer's market last week for a change of pace and picked up a bunch of very strange looking vegetables from a farmer who learned how to grow them from two Indian farmers. I confess I don't know the names for them, but they are beautiful. The long green thing is a bit like a zucchini, and the bumpy green things are bitter melon, but the one I love the most and can't wait to try again is the little yellow cucumber. In fact, I think I'm going to grow it next year, if I can manage to save the seeds. (Gardening is awesome!)
Ladies and gentlemen, meet the lemon cucumber. Google results for this beauty come up with articles titled "Weird Vegetables" and "It's New to Me"(the latter of which has an interesting comments section) but the facts are simple. This is a baseball shaped cucumber with thick yellow skin. The core of soft pulp and some seeds can easily be scraped out, and the flavor is much sweeter and less bitter than traditional cucumbers, thus it's also easier to digest. While it isn't much grown in the US, it does well in the Midwest and is prolific and easy to grow.
I first used it in a simple quick pickle using thinly sliced shallots, local honey, white vinegar, water, salt, pepper, and fresh basil. I left it in the fridge overnight, and it was a different take on the old school Midwestern cucumber, onion, and vinegar salad. Like that salad, this one improves with age in the fridge and lasts for days.
Next I tried peeling it and using it with the best of the garden: thinly sliced kale, 5-10 small tomatoes, a handful of green beans, garlic, and basil.
If this is perfect dressed up with just a basic vinaigrette (vinegar, olive oil, a dollop of mustard, salt, and pepper) but we added some shredded Parmesan we had on hand. It'd be far better with curls, but this hit the spot and combined the ingredients that are at their best right now.
We've also been grilling Missouri peaches with just honey and lime.
And we bought a picnic table! And a fire pit! It's like a second living room out there, and we're looking forward to enjoying it all season.
How are things around your homestead these days?