Cucumbers Anyone?

So I have been slightly busy with school, work, husband and a 5 hour ride with the family last Sunday. (Don’t ask)

Too busy in fact to cook. My poor husband has been fending for himself while I lived on leftover pork pie and so forth!

But tonight I cook again!

Some sort of meat on the grill – that is a given. Marinate and grill: no problem. But what to serve on the side? It has to involve cucumbers!…and lots of them.

Every year I plant a WHOLE package of cucumber seeds in a 5 foot row in my little garden. I say to myself  “well even if all of them come up I will just thin them like the package says.”  But I never have the heart to thin and then I suddenly have 22 plants! TWENTY TWO! OK this year I only have 16 – but one year I had 22.  “Straight Eights” – the tried and true – never fail cucumber.

I looked one day this week and there were a few cute little “pickles-in-waiting” so I know the cucumber rush is about to hit. Then the next evening I take a look and yikes I have several baseball-bat-size cukes out there! Were they out there the whole time? They blend in with those big leaves.

You know how some people grow zucchini and then start giving them away – so much so that folks are swapping crazy recipes to use up the endless supply of them. So many zucchini that they avoid you for fear of being given yet another? That is how it is for me and cucumbers. I give them away, I eat tons and yet I still have more than I can deal with!

I know what you are thinking. Just pickle some!

Well I certainly love pickles and would boldly list them as my favorite food of all time! But making them is a different story. You have to have a dishwasher to sterilize the jars first. I don’t have one of those. Or you have to boil a lot of hot water and sterilize the jars like they did in the pioneer days. Yikes – that just isn’t happening for me – I’m already too hot when it is 70 degrees.

But I do make a pretty good “refrigerator pickle” – here is how I do it.

slice a cuke or 2 – about 1.5 cups of slices.  I usually peel them and dad taught me to run a fork along the length to give them a fun ridged edge.

a heaping tablespoon of fresh minced or dried dill

very generous pinches salt and pepper

Dash of dried tarragon

1/4 cup +/- apple cider vinegar (enough to have the slices in liquid but not floating)

Mix it all in a little bowl and refrigerate. It will store for about a week, covered.

(Be sure to eat a few every time you open the fridge to get something else out.)

Here is what else you can do with your pickle bowl:

  • You can added sliced tomatoes, fresh chopped basil and some leftover cooked pasta and maybe some bits of whatever salty, cured meat is hanging around – mix it with some good extra virgin olive oil  and call it “Italian inspired pasta salad.”
  • or add some cubed feta, sliced red onions and a hefty dose of dried oregano – now you have a “Greek salad.”
  • or add a tiny bit of sugar (or sweetener) – maybe chop the cuke slices a little finer and eat them on the side with your barbecue plate.

So yes… tonight’s dinner will involve a few cukes.

I think I will add some chopped raw mushrooms that were hanging around my crisper and some roasted red peppers from a jar collecting dust in the pantry – oh and of course some fresh basil from the garden. I just remembered that I have some of those little mozzarella balls. (Bocconcini) I will toss the whole thing with a little bit of cooked pasta.  I will add some EVOO and a hefty dose of S&P!

I will call it….

“Thursday night pasta salad”

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4 comments on “Cucumbers Anyone?

  1. michael says:

    this is a great article and was a great meal too

  2. […] since it is March in New England and there is no chance of fresh tomatoes, basil and cucumbers from the garden.. I made this “Mardi Gras” pasta salad from stuff already in my […]

  3. […] most under-used, under-appreciated herbs. So every chance I get to use it, I do. And not just for pickles! or for […]

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