Poem with a Cucumber in It
Sometimes from this hillside just after sunset The rim of the sky takes on a tinge Of the palest green, like the flesh of a cucumber When you peel it carefully. * In Crete once, in the summer, When it was still hot at midnight, We sat in a taverna by the water Watching the squid boats rocking in the moonlight, Drinking retsina and eating salads Of cool, chopped cucumber and yogurt and a little dill. * A hint of salt, something like starch, something Like an attar of grasses or green leaves On the tongue is the tongue And the cucumber Evolving toward each other. * Since cumbersome is a word, Cumber must have been a word, Lost to us now, and even then, For a person feeling encumbered, It must have felt orderly and right-minded To stand at a sink and slice a cucumber. * If you think I am going to make A sexual joke in this poem, you are mistaken. * In the old torment of the earth When the fires were cooling and disposing themselves Into granite and limestone and serpentine and shale, It is possible to imagine that, under yellowish chemical clouds, The molten froth, having burned long enough, Was already dreaming of release, And that the dream, dimly But with increasingly distinctness, took the form Of water, and that it was then, still more dimly, that it imagined The dark green skin and opal green flesh of cucumbers.
Japanese Pickled Cucumbers
Adapted from Eating Well
2 medium cucumbers
¼ cup rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
Peel cucumbers to leave alternating green stripes. Slice the cucumbers in half lengthwise; scrape the seeds out with a spoon. Using a food processor or sharp knife, cut into very thin slices. Place in a double layer of paper towel and squeeze gently to remove any excess moisture. Combine vinegar, sugar and salt in a medium bowl, stirring to dissolve. Add the cucumbers and sesame seeds; toss well to combine. Serve immediately.
Swiss Chard Tzatziki
Adapted from Martha Stewart
1 cup Swiss chard, stemmed and finely chopped
1 garlic clove
¼ teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 whole-wheat pitas, cut into wedges and toasted
Prepare an ice bath; set aside. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add chard; cook until just tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain. Immediately plunge into ice bath to stop the cooking. Drain.Using a mortar and pestle, grind garlic and salt into a paste. Stir chard, yogurt, garlic paste, oil, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper in a medium bowl. Serve with pita wedges. Tzatziki can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1 week.