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CSA Week 10, plus two tasty cucumber salads

August 16, 2008

A not-insignificant portion of my time lately has been spent looking for new ways to eat cucumbers. As you can probably tell, we get a few in our share each week — which is fantastic — but that always motivates me a bit to do something different with them besides just slicing them up over a salad. We had cucumbers in our garden, but I’m afraid they have fallen ill…the vines have wilted and yellowed, and the poor little cucumber nubbins have just stopped growing. Sigh. It’s probably not a surprise to you that we don’t use any chemicals in our garden — so I just try to maintain a Zen-like approach, be happy with the amount that we harvested so far (still in pickle jars, haven’t opened them yet), and go with it.

But in any case, that’s one of the reasons I’m glad we get them in our share. I tried two new cucumber salads this week, which are positively addictive: more on those after we do the rundown!

This week’s share included:

  • two slim, absolutely gorgeous japanese eggplant — one white, one a combination of white streaked with purple. They are pure art!
  • 3 cucumbers
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 bunch spinach (which, by the way, I am very impressed that they can grow over the summer…maybe it’s the cooler temperatures here, but I always thought spinach bolted like lettuce when the temps got hot. Lucky for us!)
  • more beets!
  • 2 big, fat yellow onions
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 2 green peppers
  • baby greens

So, onto those cucumber salads. They’re both similar — sweet and sour, crunchy, and positively addictive. I’ve served them as a side dish with dinner, and eaten them as a snack mid-afternoon…so delicious. The first is a sweet-and-sour cucumber dill salad I found on (where else) epicurious. Thinly sliced cucumbers are bathed for about an hour in a dressing of white vinegar, sugar, and fresh dill. They’re tangy, crunchy, with sweet notes…and the cucumbers and dill are BFFs, of course.

I’m making this salad for a baby shower I’m going to this weekend, and I hope it’s a hit!

Next up, the Japanese Cucumber Salad from Jen’s blog. I snacked on this mid-afternoon this week…again, the cucumbers are sliced thinly (this time I sliced them in half-moons and scraped out the seeds) and tossed with rice vinegar and sugar, then they sit in the vinegar mixture for an hour to soak up all the yummy juices. When I was ready to eat the cucumbers, I sprinkled some toasted sesame seeds on top along with a few drops of toasted sesame oil. Mmmmmm.

I’ll send you over to Jen’s blog for the latter recipe, and the dill recipe is below. Enjoy those cucumbers!

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Sweet-and-Sour Cucumbers with Dill

From Bon Appetit, July 2004

Ingredients
1 1/2 pounds cucumbers (about 2 large), unpeeled, very thinly sliced [next time I make this I might scrape out the seeds. You can always use English hothouse cucumbers, which have fewer seeds, but I wanted to use my local ones.)
1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar [I used a combination of white vinegar and white wine vinegar]
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh dill
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions
Place the slices of cucumber in a colander in your sink. Sprinkle the kosher salt over them and toss to coat, then let them stand for about 15 minutes to drain. Shake the colander to drain them well, then squeeze or blot them dry with a paper towel, just to get any excess liquid out. Transfer them to a large bowl.

Meanwhile, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, dill and ground black pepper until the sugar dissolves.

Pour the dressing over the drained cucumbers and toss to combine. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours; serve cold. (Note: some liquid might accumulate on the bottom of the bowl, but that’s fine. You can serve them with a slotted spoon if you like.)

Makes 4-6 servings.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. August 16, 2008 10:54 pm

    I’ve been wondering I can do with the local cucumbers I picked up from the market the other day. These salads look great!

  2. August 17, 2008 1:03 pm

    My favorite thing about cucumbers is how easy they are to work with – a little slice or shred and your done! I am looking forward to giving these recipes a try – the sweet and sour dill recipe reminds me of one that my mom picks up at her country store – she’s been asking for a recipe so I will pass this along – thanks for the help!

  3. August 18, 2008 5:55 am

    Looks like another delicious week for you! I am not crazy about dill, but the flavors of Jen’s salad sound absolutely delicious.

  4. August 18, 2008 6:00 am

    I’d just like to take a moment to thank you for introducing me to CSA. I had never heard of it until yesterday when I stumbled upon your blog. What a great idea that supports local farms and provides members with fresh foods. I’ve added my name to the waiting list for one of my (who knew there were several!) local farm’s 2009 season!

  5. August 19, 2008 3:39 pm

    js – thanks!

    sue bette – i love that about cucumbers, too. Minimal prep for maximum taste!

    Kristin – Jen’s salad was really delicious; I bet you’d really like it.

    Holly – your comment just made my day! I am so happy to hear that you’ve decided to try a CSA next year; we really love supporting the local farms and find that the produce is just unbelievably good. I hope you have a great experience with yours.

  6. August 20, 2008 2:26 pm

    Oooh, I love finding different ways to use cucumbers! These both look and sound so good. I recently made a great potato salad that had a main ingredient of cucumbers…I’ll post it soon, I think you’d like it! As for CSA, I’ve heard alot about this and it seems like such a great way to learn about different types of produce!

  7. January 13, 2014 1:56 pm

    I am also looking forward to giving these recipes a try – the sweet and sour dill recipe reminds me of one that my mom picks up at her country store – she’s been asking for a recipe so I will pass this along – thanks for the help! What a great idea that supports local farms and provides members with fresh foods.

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