Summer has officially begun here in Southern California. It's presence is punctuated by a notable increase in grilling, the arrival of June gloom, and lazy evenings spent savoring the cool of the night breeze. Thankfully fire season has been kept at bay so far, and hopefully it will stay that way.
A recent hot spell last weekend kicked out little garden into overdrive. We decided in early April to use our teeny apartment patio as a container garden. A few tomato plants soon grew into a veritable produce stand, in a mere two weeks and three trips to Home Depot later. Our patio is happily overgrown with rolling planters, hanging baskets and one extremely creative hanging herb garden. We are loving being urban farmers, with tomatoes, blueberries, strawberries, herbs, five kinds of peppers, summer squash, snap peas and pickling cucumbers included in our backyard bounty. Not bad for two city kids and 30 square feet!
To show proper love to our homestead harvest, I've decided to post only dishes containing at least three items from our garden in them for the next two weeks. Why two weeks, you ask, when you have a whole summer of growing ahead of you? In two weeks I'll be heading back to my little slice of lakeside heaven for the summer. I hope to continue with the Porch to Plate posts along with others while I'm there. Until then, we will dine on the literal fruits of our labor, and enjoy the endless bounty of the SoCal summer.
This cool, refreshing starter features summer squash, pickling cucumbers and scallions plucked from the garden yesterday. It's designed to be served cold, in one satisfying bite. The couscous and squash make a pretty tasty cold salad on its own, but enjoy however you choose.
Couscous & Summer Squash Cucumber Cups
1/2 cup couscous
1 tsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup summer squash, diced
2 large cucumbers
1 tsp fresh scallions
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Prepare couscous as instructed, and chill in refrigerator. In a small saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute diced squash and garlic in olive oil for 4-5 minutes, until garlic is fragrant. Add squash mixture to chilled prepared couscous, and season with salt and pepper. Return couscous mixture to refrigerator to chill for 20-25 minutes.
Slice washed cucumbers into 3/4" inch rounds*. Scoop out seeded center area through 2/3 of the thickness of a slice. Heap rounded teaspoons of chilled couscous mixture atop the cucumber rounds. Garnish with sliced scallions, chill and serve.
* I left the skins on the cucumbers, and didn't fancy them up at all. You can run the tines of a fork down the sides of each cuke before slicing to add a festive stripey effect to each round as well.