Thursday, September 15, 2022

Everyday Cucumbers

hick slices of cucumber pair up with red onion and a tart vinegar dressing. Add the ends of some fresh tomatoes that you need to use up if you like!
Thick slices of cucumber pair up with red onion and a tart vinegar dressing. Add the ends of some fresh tomatoes that you need to use up if you like!

Everyday Cucumbers


I'm constantly playing around with cucumber salads and while they may all look very similar, it's a bit surprising how minor changes in ratios, ingredient additions - such as with herbs - and even textures from different cut sizes, can actually make a big difference in taste.

The inspiration for this one came from Vivian Howard's mom's everyday summer salad featured in her book Deep Run Roots. This cucumber salad made a daily appearance at the table when she was growing up and while sometimes it was just cucumbers, other times it had red onion or included the leftover ends of tomatoes.

Intended to be very tart as an acidic balance against the sweetness of other summer veggies like sweet corn, squash and onions, and a salad that could easily be made in advance.

I found Vivian's ratio of sugar to vinegar to be just a bit too tart for my taste however, and even more tart the next day, so after a few trial runs, I settled on increasing the sugar from the recipe's original 2 teaspoons to 1/2 tablespoon and found that to still be tart, but with a perfect balance for me.

It's a simple salad - no herbs, no dill weed, nothing extra really - just simply cucumbers, tossed with a little sugar, salt and pepper and then dressed with cider vinegar, perfect for, well, everyday!
By the way.... I'm interrupting the post here to remind you that this is a blog, not just a "recipe site." If you aren't interested in the chit chat, info, tips and such in a post, as always, you'll find the complete recipe text with measurements and instructions, as well as a printable document, a little bit further down the page. Just swipe or scroll down to the bottom of the post!
Here's how to make these Everyday Cucumbers - with, or without tomatoes!

Simple. You'll need 2 nice sized cucumbers, a red onion, granulated sugar, salt, pepper and apple cider vinegar. That's it for this one y'all.


As to the cucumbers... to peel? Or not to peel? 

I think that's it's more of a personal preference really, but one rule I tend to follow is that when it is a homegrown garden cucumber from my backyard, a roadside stand, or the farmer's market, I often leave the peel on. Sometimes with grocery store cucumbers - even when purchased by the store from a local source - they have a waxy coating to enhance their appearance and make them last longer. I do recommend peeling those. So, sometimes I peel. Sometimes I don't!


Do you need a mandolin for slicing? Nope! However, does it make the process super easy? Yes!

I recently purchased a vertical version after a kitchen accident that sent me to the emergency room with my flat one.

I've been using them for years and you just don't think it'll happen to you, until after a nanosecond of inattentiveness, it does. I'm still trying to get used to the upright one because of the angle of the input to be honest, but it's super-fast, much safer and easy to clean. I used it to slice both the cucumbers and onions here. 


Place the cucumbers in a storage bowl and top with the red onion.


Give it a toss.


Now, this is how Vivian does things a little different. Instead of whisking together the dressing and mixing it with the salad, we add the sugar, salt and pepper to the cucumbers; toss and let rest 15 minutes.


If you have some tomato to use up, here's where to add them. If you don't, no worries! It's a good salad with or without.


Add the cider vinegar and toss.

Let rest at room temperature for 20 minutes while you finish up dinner, or seal tightly and refrigerate up to 4 hours, but let rest at room temperature a little bit before serving.


Everyday Cucumbers, with Tomato!





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Posted by on September 15, 2022
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