17 June 2006
High Maintenance Cucumber Gimlets
One can divide most of human activity into two components: process and product…process being the manner in which an activity is carried out, and product being the result of that process. I like to take this description a step further and break down a process into high maintenance or low maintenance (HM and LM), these adjectives clarifying how much effort goes into said process. The resulting product is then described as a high quality product or a low quality product (HQ or LQ).
Allow me to present you with a visual explanation and some concrete examples of various process vs. product combinations:
(scroll down to the gimlet recipe below if you don't care about my theory and you just want to make the cucumber gimlets right now)
Many would agree that most advantageous quadrant to inhabit is Quadrant IV, in which one achieves fabulous results (HQ) with a minimal amount of effort (LM). Quadrant IV people are usually wildly successful beyond your dreams because everything they do comes naturally to them, and everything they touch turns beautiful, and they still have time leftover to exercise and sleep well. I wish I was a Quadrant IV person.
Those who dwell in the first two quadrants, I and II, are those who consistently attain low quality results, whether they are trying too hard (HM) or not trying at all (LM). Most Quadrant I folks, though, are content with not over-exerting themselves, so I wouldn't feel too bad for them.
I am happiest, however, to remain in Quadrant III, where things take way too long to do and I should probably be doing something else that is more productive. But when I am finished with whatever the HM activity is, I am happy because the glorious HQ product is wonderfully worth the effort.
Take these cucumber gimlets, for example. On a hot summer day when your friends are over, should you be spending fifteen minutes making a cocktail? Nooooo. That would be so HM.
But if that cocktail is a cucumber gimlet, then yes, you should spend fifteen minutes making said cocktail because the HQ product is so worth the HM effort. The extraordinary shade of green (not effectively captured in the photograph) will make you want to weep with joy. You probably won't weep, but you will want to. And the taste of the drink, sweet and refreshing, not unlike licking a cold cucumber, will make you so happy with you decision to go Quadrant III and make this HM cocktail.
-serves 4 (actually….serves 3 if you have friends who drink like mine)
-adapted from Bon Appétit
2 English seedless cucumbers (the long, skinny ones that you buy already wrapped in plastic…you could use the regular, chunkier cucumbers, but once I used those and the gimlets did not taste very cucumber-y.)
4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon sugar
½ cup gin (don’t add an extra lucky shot like I know you usually do…that will cover up the subtle taste of the cucumber)
Peel the cucumbers and cut into large pieces. If you would rather, you could swordfight with the cucumbers because English cucumbers break easily upon forceful contact with other cucumbers, and that method works just fine and is more fun for all involved, including spectators.
Blend the cucumbers until the mixture is very smooth. Here’s the high-maintenance part: strain the cucumber purée through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing on the sieve to push out every last drop of cucumber water. Discard the solids left in the sieve, or, let me know a good use for them, because they seem too lovely to discard.
Add the gin, sugar, and lime juice to one cup of the strained cucumber water. Stir until sugar has dissolved.
Shake with 6 or 7 ice cubes and pour into martini glasses.
A nice garnish, if you want to go even more Quadrant III, is to stick a toothpick through a slice of cucumber and a slice of lime.