Re-purposing . . . Part Two

Apparently this subject might turn into a theme of posts. Re-purposing is a skill that I’m proud of & I use it often. This tale is a continuation from the previous post and it deals with the same cast of ingredients. The quinoa salad is reprising its role in this feature, as it has so much to give (5 pounds left and counting).

Today I decided to play with the leftover cucumbers. They are one of my favorite foods and one of my favorite ingredients to play with. Crisp, refreshing, naturally a little sweet, and very versatile, cucumbers should be the new trendy food. One of the ways I like to use cucumbers is in Zeke Dip. This is a play on traditional tzatziki sauce. At my job I make Zeke Dip often since it is part of the Hummus Platter. There are a couple different ways I like to make Zeke. All of them use cucumbers (including the skin & seeds) and a blend of herbs (parsley, dill, chive/green onion). The difference is in the choice of herb (fresh parsley & dried dill), additional seasoning (coriander, fresh lemon, etc.), and the dairy base. At work I use Greek yogurt, as it’s the traditional ingredient. As I’m not a big fan of yogurt in general sometimes at home I mix the cucumber with cottage cheese. It provides a less acidic flavor and chunky texture. No matter the recipe, the thing that is important is that the cucumbers be DICED. I used to try to use a shortcut by pulsing the cucumbers in my food processor. This just led to cucumber puree which didn’t look appetizing when added to the dairy base. Plus the moisture level turned the dip into a sauce. No bueno.

In the fridge I already had a batch of Zeke Dip made with Greek yogurt. Lately I had been craving cottage cheese though, so I decided to use the leftover cucumbers to make a different batch of Zeke. Plus I realized that this was a great opportunity to use some of the quinoa salad because it already contained the herbs which go into Zeke. And the fresh tomatoes in the quinoa are a great match to cucumbers.

Once I got the cukes diced up I added an 8 oz container of cottage cheese. This ratio was a good start, however more dairy was needed. Usually my ratio is one larger normal cucumber to one quart of Greek yogurt or one 8 oz container of cottage cheese. To the bowl of cukes & cottage I added a little of the other Zeke Dip, plus a few tablespoons of sour cream & seasonings. Overall it was a good base. Then the final step of the experiment: in another smaller bowl I combined some of the cuke/cottage mix with a few tablespoons of the quinoa tabouli. After a little salt & pepper, it made for a pretty good lunch. Light, yet full of protein, creamy with lots of texture, it was a successful act of re-purposing.

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Now if I could only figure out what to do with the 15 pounds of cole slaw mix . . .             STAY TUNED!

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