Friday, July 9, 2010

My Antidote to 90-Degree Days

It's been hot here... I know that rural northern New England has it easy compared to urbanites in NYC, Philadelphia and DC. But still it's darn hot out.

It's been great for the weeds, most of the garden plants, but definitely hard on the peas. I've been working hard at doing very little, especially when it comes to moving around outside. But I've had to do a little bit of gardening...

Just to keep up with the cucumbers. In the first 9 days of July, I've picked over 2 pounds of cucumbers. It's even been too hot to do any pickling (and we didn't have any dill), so I took a cue from my childhood and made cucumber salad, very similar to how my mom makes it. This is a nice simple way to prepare cucumbers without needing to make a trip to the store. At some point, I'll have to try pureeing cukes up into a cold soup, but our blender has been dedicated to smoothie production.

The Cucumber Salad I grew up eating:
Cucumbers (1 lb makes enough for 3-4 servings)
Miracle Whip (for true childhood authenticity)

My version (for adults - kids may prefer the less tangy version.)
Substitute olive oil mayonnaise for Miracle Whip. (could also use yogurt)
Splash of white wine vinegar (I couldn't find the sherry vinegar)
Dried dill weed (use liberally)
Black pepper
(Salt, if you think you need it - taste it plain first)

Peel and thinly slice the cucumbers. In a bowl, scoop and plop two large forkfuls of mayo and pour in a small amount of milk and vinegar (1 Tbsp or so of eaach.) With the fork, mix together until smooth. Shake in 1-2 Tbsp dill and 1/2 tsp pepper, adjusting to taste - I prefer a lot of dill. Make sure the dressing tastes good now, as it's easy to distribute the flavors before putting in the cucumbers. Add the sliced cukes and stir together. I usually have to pull apart the cucumber slices by hand as they tend to stick together.

If you haven't already eaten the whole thing immediately, store this covered in the fridge for a day or two. It doesn't last terribly long as the cucumber will get soggy.

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