So my second most pressing problem after the snow peas was cucumbers. Pickling cucumbers (or those Armenian ‘seedless’ ones) might be my second most favorite vegetable. But I was maxing out on cucumber tomato salads and I still had a pound and a half to eat through. So I picked up my copy of Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian and at the bottom of the cucumber section in the index was sorbet, -honey, 893. Sorbet?!?!
I’ve had cucumber soup and cucumber cocktails (they are great foils for savory drinks particularly with vodka or gin, just ask Hendricks). I’ve had avocado ice cream and celery soda but I’ve never had cucumber sorbet. Which of course meant I had to try it.
Mr Bittman (or his editor) does not really provide the necessary cucumber purée advice on page 390 as advertised, and I don’t have an ice cream maker, so I turned to these here interwebs and with the help of David Lebovitz, Spicy Salty Sweet, and Healthy Green Kitchen, I came up with this:
- 1.5 pounds cucumbers peeled and seeded (You do not need to seed the Armenian ‘seedless’ ones) and roughly chopped
- 2 small apricots peeled, pitted and chopped (optional)
- 3 Tbl sliced almonds (optional)
- 2 Tbl Rum (optional)
- 2 Tbl fresh lime juice
- Pinch Nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon clove (optional)
- 1/2 C honey
Soak the almonds in rum while you are chopping.
Chop the almond rum mixture in the blender as best you can before adding the fruit and veg.
Put everything else in the blender (I recommend doing this in batches) and blend it as smooth as your blender will allow. An immersion blender will work well for this, also.
Taste it. If it is just sweet enough for you add a couple more Tbls of sweetener. The cold will drown the sweet so you want to overdo it a little bit.
Put it in a study bowl or deep pan (large surface area). Wait for it to start freezing around the edges (in my crowded freezer this took a long time). When it starts freezing, stir it thoroughly every 30-40 minutes to break up the ice crystals. This will keep it smooth. Total freeze time is usually a few hours. Garnish with basil, or mint, or fresh whipped cream, or crystallized ginger, or pomegranate syrup, or chopped roasted almonds, or all of the above, or nothing, and enjoy in good health.
-I used the apricots because they needed to be eaten.
-I wanted to use almond extract but I didn’t have any. Thus almonds and booze (following in the footsteps of Healthy Green Kitchen).
-If you don’t have a lime, use whatever fresh citrus you have. The pre-squeezed stuff is foul.
-I wanted to use ginger, but lacking that, I went for punchy bright fall spices.
-Bittman uses honey instead of simple syrup as the other recipes do. This saves you having to make simple syrup.