lunchtime chill: how to get it

I’m sure this is not going to get me any sympathy, but I am just not a girl of summer. Having my heaviest work load during the months when I’m personally the most cranky and uncomfortable is a bit of a downer. It’s hot outside, hot inside and no relief is in sight.

No way I’m complaining – I feel downright fortunate compared to those of you with 100+ degree drought conditions. We are way, way behind on rainfall, but compared to some of you out west, my pasture looks like an oasis and I am more than grateful.

My garden is kicking into high gear in spite of my mishaps and failures.  My zucchini are off the charts, tomatoes a little late but coming on fast and apparently I have a real talent for beets. And pumpkins? Well, let’s just say maybe pumpkins should be declared an invasive species.  I sure hope the cows like them…

I’m getting the bounty harvested, but admit I’ve been a little droopy about getting them put up. All that oven action and boiling water are putting a damper on my enthusiasm.  But I can’t resist for long. Seeing the jars lined up gives me such a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction I dig in any way. And nothing makes me feel worse than seeing that beautiful harvest withering away on the porch… It’s just taking me a little longer to get started… and the last thing I feel like doing is cooking a meal.

And how could I forget the cucumbers? Cucumbers, cucumbers, cucumbers everywhere! During peak season, cucumbers have a way of turning into oversized torpedoes overnight and  I’m always looking for a way to use them up when they’ve gone a little past their prime.

Lunch is an important meal here, but a too-heavy one just makes you feel slower, lazier and more miserable for the hottest part of the day. I need something ready to go, filling without weighing me down and hopefully cool & refreshing – am I asking too much?

Well, what do you know? A quick, on-the-go lunch really does exist that fills me up, cools me down and doesn’t make me dream of napping. I’ve had it at least once every day for a while now and – can you believe it –  I’m still not sick of it yet.

What is it? Cucumber-Buttermilk soup! I can’t get enough – yet I never drink buttermilk straight up. It’s a great marriage; the pairing of the cucumber and buttermilk makes this combination way better than the sum of its two parts. And did you know cucumbers  are so amazingly nutritious?

Love her or hate her, you can’t deny Martha knows a good thing – the recipe is from her website.

Of course nothing’s sacred to me – not even Martha. I like to add chopped fresh herbs too – whatever looks good in the garden that day. Or not, it’s not like the herbs are needed…

What is needed? Since there’s only two ingredients, you need the best milk you can get. I get my milk straight from Pasture Maid Creamery in New Castle. They make deliciously chilled buttermilk ready to go in glass bottles, perfect for making bread, cheese, chocolate cake and this soup. Did I say chocolate cake? One of these days I’m going to tell you about that… but not today. It’s too hot.

If you’re not from Pennsylvania, show your love for your own farmers and go to localharvest.org to find a local dairy selling their milk direct to the public. Keeping those food dollars close to home makes a huge difference to your community.

I mix up a double batch, ladle them into pint jars, cover each with a plastic lid or plastic wrap and lunch is made for several days. Drink them straight from the jars – why dirty an extra dish and the chilled jars are nice.

I promise you, after this lunch, you’ll feel ten degrees cooler and ready for another go…

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6 thoughts on “lunchtime chill: how to get it

  1. I am just going to have to take your word for it. Blech! Cucumbers. But hey, when we have a bountiful pumpkin crop, we feed the seconds and extras to our sheep. We make sure to lob them up high in the air so when they come down in the pasture they smash open, making them more accessible to the sheep. (This is where teenage boys come in handy. They think it’s cool.) The seeds of pumpkins are purported to be a natural wormer.

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