With Morocco (Chronicle, June), author Jeff Koehler has produced a cookbook that’s almost too pretty to sully with crumbs. Almost. If only the recipes here, spanning iconic dishes to street foods, weren’t so darned appealing. The cucumber orange juice he describes as a cross between a salad and a dessert, seems especially appropriate for summer, what with its minimal preparation and reliance on fresh produce. Hard to go wrong here, though a high-speed blender will produce best results. Failing that, a run through a fine-mesh sieve can make the final product smoother, for those less pulp-inclined. In the end, the juice is a gorgeous green color, nicely balancing crisp and sweet flavors, with a shake of dried oregano adding just a hint of a floral accent. Pure refreshment.
2 lb./910 g medium cucumbers
2¼ cups/530 ml fresh orange or mandarin orange juice, preferably clementine
1½ tsp. superfine sugar, plus more as needed
½ tsp. dried oregano or zaâtar, plus more as needed
Trim the ends from the cucumbers and scrub the peels. Remove about half of the peels from each cucumber and remove the seeds if they are large. Cut the cucumber into chunks and put into a food processor or blender. Pour in the orange juice and sprinkle in the sugar and oregano. Blend for at least 1 minute or until very finely pureed. The drink should be a bit thick and slightly foamy. Taste for sweetness and seasoning and adjust as needed.
Pour into a pitcher, cover and refrigerate until chilled. Serve in tall glasses or in small bowls with spoons.
Elisa Ludwig is author of Pretty Crookedand Pretty Sly, due out March 2013