Sunday, July 18, 2010

When life gives you cucumbers...

make soup,
and salad,
and drinks.

The soup is a new find, and much better than the one I had last year. If you find yourself with loads of cucumbers, here’s a great recipe. The 35 minute total time listed on the site is a lie; it will take much longer. The peeling and seeding is tedious, but worth it.

Cucumbers are good in any salad, but they typically play a supporting role. In these two salads, they are the main ingredient. I first had this salad, or a similar recipe in Latvia. It was after I tried a beer salad (I like beer, I like salad, what’s there not to love?). Uh, yeah, it was gross. Even the memory of the pressed, cubed ham and mayo causes me to wince. However, I did drink lots of beer after tasting it, so I guess that’s where it got the name. Anyway, back to the star – cucumbers. Slice and quarter cucumbers (you can leave the seeds or take them away), add a dollop of sour cream and chopped dill. You can use the exact same recipe for tomatoes, which I hope to be overrun with soon. And, you can have it with both cucumbers and tomatoes. Serve cold, and can store a couple of days tightly covered and in the refrigerator.

The other salad is much more traditional and I think that everyone I know grew up with it. Cucumbers (again, peeling and seeding is optional and to your taste), slice sweet onions, add vinegar, salt and pepper. I like it with a pinch of Old Bay, too. Let it sit for a bit, and serve cold.

Soups and salads are pretty traditional uses for cucumbers. To add a bit of summer to your cocktails, substitute thinly sliced cucumbers for the citrus in your vodka tonic. It’s refreshing and a definitely a conversation starter. It doesn’t use a lot of cucumber, but it certainly cuts the heat in Maryland.