Cucumber Mint Lemonade

Cucumber Mint Lemonade

Cucumber Mint Lemonade

I’m on a lemon roll today. Although, I’ve been obsessed with cucumber lemonade for a long time. I first tried it a few years ago at a local restaurant in Roswell, GA called Relish. Relish has since closed but the cucumber lemonade still lives on in my heart. I have dressed it up with some mint, which is something else I become obsessed with during the warmer months. I love adding it to my tea as well. I love it so much, in fact, that I bought this fantastic Prodyne Infusion Pitcher which allows for the infusion of your choice of herb, fruit, etc into your favorite drink. A lot of people use it to infuse water but I use it for tea and lemonade. Primarily lemonade these days. I’ve been making so much of it that I had to buy two new mint plants this weekend because my current one hasn’t been able to keep up with my mint consumption. It’s a problem, I know.  But it’s oh so good. The cucumber takes out some of the tartness of the lemon and makes it so refreshing and well, the mint just takes it over the top.

So, here’s how you make it (this makes 2.5 quarts):

1. Combine 2 cups sugar with 2 cups water in a saucepan over medium heat. Allow sugar to completely dissolve. This is your simple syrup.

2. Peel 3 large cucumber and roughly chop and add to blender. Liquefy completely, then strain into a large bowl through a colander lined with a paper towel (you could use cheesecloth, but a paper towel will work just fine). Drain completely. You want all juice in the bowl and no pulp.

3. At this point, if you have an infusion pitcher, pour simple syrup, cucumber juice and 3 cups of lemon juice into pitcher. Stir. If you have no infusion pitcher, go ahead and pour simple syrup into pitcher and muddle mint leaves in the bottom to release the oils and then pour in your cucumber and lemon juices.

4. If you have an infusion pitcher, add your mint leaves to the cylinder and you can either muddle slightly or not – muddling will release the oils a little quicker though.

5. Fill rest of pitcher with ice and refrigerate until cold.

Lemon Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese

I figure I’ll share a couple of food stuffs before I dig deep into my political opinions. Today, I made a wonderfully light orzo for lunch. My husband and I went to a local annual food festival, Taste of Marietta, yesterday that provides the opportunity to taste the best of the area restaurants. It’s a great way to find a new restaurant. One of the vendors, a food truck named Freckled & Blue was serving an orzo salad with tomato, basil and feta with a lemon vinaigrette. While I enjoy a good Mediterranean orzo salad and this one was excellent, I wanted something with goat cheese today. I enjoy goat cheese immensely. This is a great dish on its own for lunch or alongside an entrée.

Lemon Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese

Orzo salads are very versatile and can take on so many different forms, making them perfect for Spring and Summer. And they are super easy. To make my Lemon Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese, just follow these easy steps:

1. Cook 1 cup dry orzo according to package directions, drain, rinse to cool and toss in a bowl.

2. Toss in some crumbles of goat cheese (regular or flavored if you’re adventurous!)

3. Add in a tablespoon of Parmesan cheese, a teaspoon of thyme, a teaspoon of lemon pepper seasoning and a few leaves of lemon balm, torn into small pieces.

4. Pour in lemon vinaigrette (recipe below), toss together and enjoy!

Lemon Vinaigrette:

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Combine all four ingredients and whisk until combined. Taste before adding to orzo and adjust based on your preferences – you may want to add in more or less sugar, depending upon how tart you like your lemon.