Cool as a Cucumber

by Amanda Formaro


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Cucumbers! So cool and refreshing. What to do with all of those cucumbers now that harvest time has arrived? Put your fresh cucumbers to work with these great recipes.

SALADS

Aristocrat's Antipasto

  • unpeeled cucumber, thinly sliced
  • pitted ripe olives
  • sliced mushrooms
  • Italian-style dressing
  • cherry peppers
  • Swiss cheese slices, cut in strips

Marinate cucumber, olives, & mushrooms in dressing for several hours; drain. Arrange marinated vegetables on platter with cherry peppers & cheese strips.

Unusual Jell-O Salad

  • 1 cup water, boiled
  • 4 serving package of lime or lemon Jell-O
  • 1 cup Miracle Whip
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled & grated
  • 1 medium onion, chopped

Dissolve Jell-O in boiling water. Once dissolved, add Miracle Whip, cottage cheese, grated cucumber, and onion. Stir well and chill until firm. This is a very tasty salad to serve with ham.

Couscous Salad

  • 2 - 3 cups cooked couscous or other small pasta shape
  • 2 scallions , green and white parts, thinly sliced
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 medium tomato, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup seedless grapes, cut in half
  • 1/2 cup grated mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbs red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbs curry powder
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds

Combine the couscous, scallions, cucumber, tomato, grapes, and optional mozzarella in a bowl. Whisk together the oil, vinegar, curry powder, salt, and pepper, and pour over the couscous mixture. Toss gently to combine. Sprinkle with slivered almonds and serve chilled or at room temperature.

Serves 4 to 6.

APPETIZERS

Cucumber Dill Dip

  • 1 medium cucumber
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped OR 2 tsp dried dill, crushed
  • 1 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup green bell pepper, diced

Peel, seed and finely dice the cucumber. Using a colander, squeeze out any excess water from the cucumber chunks. Place in a bowl and blend will with the pepper and dill. Blend in the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Cover and chill. Makes about 3 cups of dip.

Dipper suggestions: Broccoli, Cauliflower, Radishes, Carrots, Onion Crackers

Decorative Cucumbers

Cut off both ends of a cucumber. With a potato peeler, peel one strip all the way down the cucumber Move over about the width of the strip you just peeled and leave the skin in tact. Then peel again, then leave the skin again, causing a striping effect all the way down the cucumber. Slice cucumber into 1/4 inch thick rounds.

Cored Cucumbers

Cut off both ends of a cucumber. With a potato peeler, peel entire cucumber. Slice in half lengthwise. Gently scoop out the seeds of the cucumber by loosening with a knife and removing with a spoon. Slice into 1/4 inch thick slices, creating half moons. You can also create slices similar to donut holes by cutting the ends off, peeling, then cutting in half, but not lengthwise. Then carefully remove the pulp with a knife. Slice as above.

MAIN DISH

Cold Cucumber Soup

  • 1 med. onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp. oil
  • 3 cucumbers, peeled, diced
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • salt & pepper

Saute onion in hot oil 5 minutes over medium heat. Add cucumber and cook 5 minutes more. Add broth, lemon juice, and sugar. Boil. Reduce heat and cover and cook for 20 minutes. Cool for a few minutes. Puree in a blender. Add half-and-half, salt and pepper to taste. Serves four.

Easily doubled.

Poached Salmon & Cucumber Sauce

SAUCE:

  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped

FISH:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp chicken bouillon or 1 bouillon cube
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 small onion, white or yellow, sliced in rings
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 parsley sprig, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dill weed or one fresh sprig
  • pinch freshly ground pepper
  • 2 small salmon steaks or fillets, about 3/4" thick

Combine sauce ingredients and refrigerate. (I often add a little prepared Ranch salad dressing to taste for extra flavor.) Heat water to boiling in large skillet (10-12"). Add bouillon, dissolve. Add remaining ingredients, except salmon, bring to a boil. Turn heat to medium-low and simmer 5 minutes. Add salmon, cover and simmer 6-8 minutes, or until fish is cooked through. Lift fish out, drain, and place on serving plates. Lift onions out, drain and lay over fish. Serve immediately with chilled cucumber sauce.

Serves 2.

OTHER

Dill Pickles

Clean cucumbers. Prick with fork

JUICE MIXTURE:

  • Boil 1/4 cup of salt
  • 2 cups of vinegar
  • 6 cups of water

PER JAR, ADD:

  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/4 tsp chilies
  • clump of dill

Pack in pickles, add juice mixture. Tighten lid, 1/4 turn back to allow steam to escape. Boil bottles for 8 minutes then tighten lids back up.


Amanda Formaro is the entrepreneurial mother of four children. She and her husband live in southern Nevada. She is also the owner of FamilyCorner.com Magazine at http://familycorner.com

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