Bob Blumer's refreshing cucumber cocktails are quirky and fun, perfect for a backyard party.
8 cucumbers (field variety)
1/4 cup stemmed fresh mint
1 shallot, minced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeds discarded, minced
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
4 tbsp champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
Step 1: Cut 2-1/2" off both ends of the cucumbers. Reserve.
Step 2: Peel middle sections, cut in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scrape out seeds. Discard seeds.
Step 3: In a food processor, add the middle sections of the cucumbers along with the mint, shallot, jalapeño, lime juice and garlic. Purée.
Step 4: Strain puréed mixture through a fine strainer into a medium bowl. Use a rubber spatula to press out as much juice as possible from the mash. Discard solids. Whisk in oil and vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour.
Step 5: Take the 12 most aesthetically pleasing cucumber ends and slice off the bottom 1/4" so that they stand solidly on their ends. Use a zester, paring knife or vegetable peeler to create designs in the peel. Use a melon baller or a tiny spoon to scoop out the seeds and some of the surrounding cucumber, creating cucumber shot glasses. Serve the chilled cucumber gazpacho in the sculpted cups.
Reprinted with permission from Bob Blumer's Surreal Gourmet Bites: Showstoppers and Conversation Starters (2004 Chronicle Books).