If you live in the Southeast and aren’t doing any gardening this summer, you’re really missing out! We’ve had afternoon rain showers almost daily, which have kept my vegetable garden quite happy. I planted my garden late this year because we had our garden boxes rebuilt and more organic soil brought in, delaying everything. But for whatever reason, the plants love the new soil and the weeds don’t. I’m so happy!
As a result of the good weather and healthy soil, our cucumber plants have been quite prolific. It seems like I’ve been picking an armful every other day! I figure many of you also have a preponderance of cucumbers, so I decided to create a fun and simple way to eat them as a snack: with a dollop of macadamia lemon dill ricotta!
After I made these, Abby and I sat down and ate the whole plate — 2 cucumbers worth! And as an added bonus, there was about a cup of ricotta left over for more cucumbers and salads throughout the week.
But before I give you the recipe, you must first scroll through some obligatory garden photos. Feel free to congratulate me on my success.
Now before you get too excited and start asking me gardening questions, please know that I’ve only been doing this 3 years and am by no means an expert vegetable farmer. I have learned a few tips by trial and error though, so I’ll share those with you.
My Gardening Tips for Beginners:
- Before planting, research when is the best time to plant in your region (in other words, when is an overnight frost unlikely?). In NC, early April to early May is a good time. The first year I planted one week too early and had to make tents out of pipes and plastic tarps to prevent freezing. It was quite a chore.
- Show some restraint when buying plants. I know gardening is exciting, but over-planting can make it really difficult to harvest your veggies once your plants get huge. I way over-planted the first year and considered buying a machete.
- This goes along with #2, but space your plants out more than it suggests on those little tags. Tomato plants one foot apart? Um, no. Try 3.
- When it starts to get really hot out, water your plants twice a day — once in the morning and once in the late afternoon/early evening. Irrigation systems are life savers, and are totally worth the money.
- For healthy plants, you need healthy soil. I use organic soil, add my own compost, and sprinkle organic plant food on the soil once a week or so.
- Small veggies = big flavor, and vice versa. My first year I thought I could feed a village with my bludgeon-sized zucchini, but quickly realized that bigger does not equal better when it comes to squash. Don’t wait too long to pick your squash and cucumbers unless you want them to taste like water.
- When buying plants from a farmers’ market, know that the plants may not be labeled correctly. Two years ago we ate the kale out of our garden all fall, then were perplexed when we noticed little broccoli crowns growing in the top of each plant that winter. It was a humbling experience.
And now it’s Cucumber Bite recipe time!
- 2-4 medium cucumbers, sliced ½-inch thick
- 1¼ cup raw macadamia nuts, soaked 2+ hrs, drained
- 1 lemon
- 3 T. water
- ½ t. sea salt
- 1 T. nutritional yeast
- 4+ sprigs fresh dill, plus more for garnish
- In a food processor, combine macadamia nuts, water, salt, nutritional yeast, dill, and the juice of half of the lemon. Pulse and scrape down the sides until a uniform ricotta-like texture is achieved. Add more water if mixture is too dry.
- Taste ricotta and add more lemon, dill, or salt as needed.
- Using a melon baller, scoop the seeds out of the top halves of the cucumber slices to create small bowls (see photo).
- Using the melon baller or a small spoon, scoop generous portions of ricotta into each cucumber bowl. Top each cucumber bite with a sprig of dill, then plate and serve!
These cute little cucumber bites would be great to serve at a baby shower or tea party! You could also use the ricotta and cucumber between slices of bread to make dairy-free tea sandwiches if you like.
I ate some of the leftover lemon dill ricotta on my lunch salad today, and it was delicious!
This cucumber bite recipe is so easy and tasty! It’s now my favorite way to use up those extra cucumbers!
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