Saturday, June 26, 2010

Natural vs. Neutral and Recipe

Recently I was pondering a new knitting project and what yarn I wanted to use.  After some consideration, I decided on a natural color.  I realized then, that when I think of 'natural' colors, what I really mean is neutral colored, or natural sheep and plant colors like the obvious and myriad shades of white, beige, brown, gray, black and green.   All colors I am particularly fond of.

But I am constantly amazed by the spectacular colors found in nature. This morning I came across such an abundance of wildflowers that I had to share some photos here. 

  The wild roses are about gone now, but this little beauty was still blooming brightly, scenting the cool morning air with a fresh, pleasant fragrance that invited you to stop and enjoy. 

I'm not sure what the name of this flower is, but it grows en masse here and the butterflies love it.  Talk about spectacular!  The next time you think of color in a yarn or knitting project, be sure to add these 'natural' colors to the list of possibilities!

In an attempt to eat more fresh, organic foods, we managed to put in a small vegetable and herb garden in our yard last fall.  Thinking we had better start small so as not to try to do too much the first season, we only built it to about 4 x 8 feet but the fecundity of the little patch has already overwhelmed us!  

It is only the end of June and we have harvested armloads of radishes, peas, onions, chives, lavender, rosemary, thyme, mint and cilantro.  And I can hardly believe how large the cucumbers have grown already.  So I thought it only fitting to share a favorite, simple recipe using some of these same ingredients.  

The cool fresh taste of the cucumber and cilantro is nicely balanced with the bite of the peppers.  Add as much or as little of the hot stuff as you like, and feel free to experiment with the other ingredients to your liking, perhaps omitting a flavor and substituting something fresh from your own garden.  Chill well to allow the flavors to meld before serving - if you can wait that long!  It's great as a dip, or fantastic as a topping for other dishes.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do. 

Cool Cucumber Salsa
2 cups cucumber, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp Poblano chili pepper, diced
1 cup sweet red bell pepper, diced
3 green onions, diced
2-3 tbsp cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp mint, chopped
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp lime zest, grated
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
1/2 tsp black pepper (to taste)

Combine cucumbers, garlic, peppers, onions and herbs, stir to blend.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well. 

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