Tag Archives: Pickles

That’s a big cucumber you’ve got there

Just wait for it; it’s coming.  (Which is what…someone said.)

A couple of weeks ago, I had a cucumber salad at a friend’s house that was surprisingly delicious, in spite of the fact that it was filled with chunks of what would become – after a long soak in embalming fluid vinegar – pickles.

In case you were unaware, I hate pickles.  No, hate isn’t strong enough.  It’s actually an irrational fear.

What I am learning, though, is that cucumbers =/= pickles.  And I might be able to enjoy the former while loathing the latter.

A few days ago, I came across a recipe for cucumber gazpacho. It sounded delicious and refreshing and cool as…well, a cucumber.  I figured it could be Step Two in my plan to make friends with the fresh, non-slimy version of my nemesis.

At the store, I selected the largest gourd I could find.  Because I’ve never seen a pickle this big before (thank god – I’d probably faint) and therefore the connection was somehow less obvious.

But the connection to something else….yeah, yeah, I know.

Brief aside: the other day at work I had to call a customer to inform him that the “Stiff Stick” we had special ordered for him had arrived.  I can’t believe I did it with a straight face.  Ah, the challenges of specialty running retail.

Anyway.  I peeled and chopped that big boy and once the blender had its way with it, all thoughts of pickles (and Stiff Sticks) were long gone.

I made a couple of changes to the recipe (mango instead of melon; Greek yogurt + a little milk instead of regular yogurt) but for the most part stayed true to it.  Topped with a drizzle of olive oil and served with a side of bread, it made a perfect light dinner on a warm summer night!

Recipe: Cucumber Gazpacho with Shrimp and Melon [via Epicurious]

The soup practically jumped out of its bowl and demanded that I pour a glass of crisp white wine to accompany it.

This 2010 Vega Sindoa blend was comprised primarily of a grape I was not familiar with – the Viura.   If not for the 25% Chard, I might have passed it over. Because you know how much I love my Chardonnay.

It’s a Spanish wine, but the Viura (also known as Macabeu) grape is grown in both Spain and France.  According to Wiki:

The grape is used to make mildly acidic and young white wines mostly suitable for early consumption or blending with other varieties, both red and white. It is often the main grape of white Rioja and is sometimes blended in small amounts with Tempranillo and red Garnacha, both in unoaked and oaked versions.

Macabeu is traditionally blended with Xarel·lo and Parellada to make a sparkling Cava, the best known sparkling wine of Spain.

I adore Cava.  And while this blend wasn’t quite as nice as a glass of bubbles, I enjoyed it thoroughly.  Lots of fruity apples and a bit of tart lemon/lime, which was a lovely complement to the shrimp.  Light-bodied enough to sip on a warm summer evening, but definitely heftier than something like a Sauv Blanc.  I believe it would go best with food of some sort.

Bottom line: For $8 (at Whole Foods), this bottle was definitely a great buy!

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