Wednesday, August 21, 2013

In Season NW: This Diva is No Diva

If you want to have an eye-opening experience at the farmers' market, go with a friend, especially one who's a terrific cook. In this case, my friend Michel called one Saturday morning and said she was heading to the Portland Farmers' Market at PSU to pick up a few things for the week ahead…would I like to go with?

Having just been thinking I wanted to get some Viridian Farms padron peppers from Manuel and Leslie before the season passed me by, I jumped at the chance. Once there, we prowled the market, losing each other once or twice in the crowds thronging the aisles as we stopped to fondle a particularly extraordinary specimen of peppers or eggplant.

I caught up with her under the Groundwork Organics canopy, picking through a pile of smooth-skinned green cucumbers labeled "Diva Cucumbers." New to me, Michel said she loved using them for a quick pickle, marinating them in cider vinegar for an hour or so. When I got home, I looked them up and it turns out they're a seedless variety known for their tender, crisp, sweetness.

Cool. And something I'd never have learned if I'd been by myself.

Grandma Harriet's Marinated Diva Cucumbers

Michel says:

"In the summer, my grandma Harriet put sliced marinated cukes on the dinner table most days.

"The marinade is just Bragg's organic apple cider vinegar, some cold water, sea salt and sugar with sliced red onion and ice cubes. Just peel the cukes, slice thick and add them to the marinade. Pop 'em in the fridge for an hour or so and serve.

"I also use them in Greek Salad, gazpacho and cuke-mint raita. They are so super crunchy!"

Check out Michel's other super recipes for lamb, pork, crab cakes and hash. Yum!

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