Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Cool cucumber recipes

Yesterday I received a windfall of cucumbers, if one could call it that: a friend was drowning in the excesses produced by her plants and gave me a big bagful. Normally I just chop the cucumbers, add some chopped tomatoes and basil, and dress the salad with oil and vinegar, but I can't have that every day of the week. Even if I did (and I might after all -- it's so delicious), I wouldn't finish up all these cukes!

John puts them in baloney sandwiches, which is good. And I've tried them in my BLT's -- definitely a nice touch. (I also use pesto instead of mayo -- seriously, try it.) But even that is not enough. I am wallowing in cucumber riches, and I want to mix it up a bit.

So I'm turning to a few other favorites. The first one is from my mom, who told me it was a favorite dish in Iran. It's terribly simple.

Peel and chop cucumbers into chunks. Mix with plain yogurt -- thick Greek yogurt is best, but any is fine. Add salt and dill to taste.

I don't know what you call it, but it's definitely a staple all around the Mediterranean.

The other one is a recipe I pulled out of The Joy of Cooking when, as a pre-teen, I hosted a Valentine's Day tea party. What's a traditional tea party without cucumber sandwiches?

Peel cucumbers and grate them. Put in a strainer, in a cheesecloth bag, or between paper towels and squeeze as much water out as you easily can. Move the grated cucumber to a bowl and add cream cheese until it's a thick, but spreadable consistency. Add grated onion -- say 1/4 onion for each cucumber. Season with a teeny dash of red pepper sauce (like Tabasco), salt, and white (or black) pepper. Spread on white bread and cut into triangles (or, as I did, hearts).

The Joy of Cooking has several cooked cucumber recipes, but I never tried them. What's the point of cooking something that is so fresh, delicious, and summery raw? I am going to rustle up a recipe for chilled cucumber soup, though. That sounds perfect.


Fidelio said...

Yum. I slice them and put the slices in about 1:3 parts white vinegar and water. Some salt, some pepper, and about a tablespoon of sugar per pint (usually the max I make at a time), and it makes a yummy salad. Keep it refrigerated! Also, since it's in vinegar, it'll keep for-ev-er.

Anonymous said...

Fidelio stole my thunder. I was about to suggest the same thing. Very good. Cucumber slices are also good for the skin if you really have an excess. And it's true they relieve puffy eyes if you have allergy problems. Have fun.

Meredith said...

In Greece it's called tsatsiki, but they also add garlic.

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