Crunchy, Easy, Refrigerator Pickled Cucumbers & Red Onions

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(Becky, the Mama) Now that summertime is here in Colorado,  it is hard for me to stay away from the  perfect weather on our inviting back porch!

 

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We nap, visit and eat outside as much as humanly possible.  Yesterday, we hosted a group of young couples and little ones for an outdoor brunch.  A friend dropped by last night and we enjoyed a plate of nachos and cool drinks as we rocked and swung and chatted in the evening breeze. Tonight we had some dear friends and their little girls over for an old-fashioned supper-on-the-porch that brought back memories of meals around my own grandmother’s table.  I made garlic & lemon roast chicken, baked sweet potatoes, Asian peanut buttery green beans (recipe to come soon!), corn, and my simple rustic, pastry-style cherry-blueberry cobbler (a festive July 4 recipe, by the way, with a little scoop of vanilla ice cream and raspberrg sorbet).

But it was the refreshing side-dish that I prepared for tonight’s meal that made me wax nostalgic for potlucks and  picnic tables of my childhood: sweet n’ sour refrigerator pickled cucumbers & onions.  I updated this beloved Grandma dish by using the small Asian or Persian cucumbers that are often sold in little packages of six to twelve, and becoming increasingly popular in grocery stores everywhere.   Sliced a little on the thick side they hold their crunch for days in this pickling liquid. I like to keep a container of these marinated cucumbers and onions hand in the fridge all summer long to add a crisp, cold delightful punch to almost any meal.

You can get creative and  add some diced fresh tomatoes, olives, artichoke hearts or any kind of cooked beans and a handful of fresh chopped herbs to this basic dish to create a quick, pretty, refreshing marinated salad for potlucks, picnics and summertime side-dishes. Crunch on and enjoy!

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Crunchy, Easy, Refrigerator Pickled Cucumbers & Red Onions

 

 6 to 8 small Asian or Persian cucumbers, sliced about 3/4 inch (leave peel on)

1 small red onion, peeled and sliced thin, pulled apart in strands

1 cup white vinegar

1 cup water

1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar (depending on desired sweetness)

1 T. sea salt

T. dried dill (or 2 T. fresh chopped dill)

1 T. celery seed

1 T. black sesame seeds (optional)

 

Directions: Mix all of the above together in a dish with a lid.  Let the mixture sit on the counter , with lid on top, at room temperature for about an hour and then put in fridge to chill until ready to serve. (Let the veggies marinate at least 3 hours for the best flavor through-out.)  Will keep in fridge up to a week, maintaining its crunch.

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Crunchy Asian Cucumber & Tomatoes

Becky’s Crunchy Asian Cucumbers and Tomatoes

My husband Greg and I often travel together for business and fun; and this often yields a good bit of comic material.  On a recent trip home,  we were hauling around enough luggage to outfit the entire cast of Glee for a week, plus golf clubs.  (“Learning to pack light,” is on my To Do List.) As is often the case,  when we are in a hurry trying to catch a plane,  Greg exits the elevator with his suitcase and golf clubs, unaware that I am scrambling to get my suitcases turned around and facing the right direction — when the door closes and takes me to some strange floor, not of my choosing.  I always get tickled when this happens. Greg is patient, but doesn’t see as much humor in it as I do.

Last summer he was about to walk off the elevator in Arizona, and in some uncanny feat of timing, both of his lens popped out of his only pair of glasses and one lens rolled, then disappeared down a small crack near the elevator door.  Greg stood looking stunned, his eyes wide through his lens-less spectacles. I found this hysterical, could hardly stand up straight I was laughing so hard — but Greg… not so much. (He did however smile when he found a maintenance guy who was able to help him retrieve the lost lens from the basement.)

Last week we were on a plane together, but had to sit in separate seats. Upon descent, a rogue lap top computer went zipping down the aisle.  The limber and alert flight attendent expertly caught it right before it hit the cockpit door.   Guess who’s lap top it was?  The look on Greg’s face as his wife’s computer went whizzing by his seat, then looked over at me, was priceless.

Traveling is not only great for gathering funny material, but it affords me the opportunity to try new foods in new cities that I often try to duplicate at home. On a trip to California, we went out for sushi, and the restaurant served the tastiest crunchy cucumbers as appetizers before the meal. They were small cukes, but sliced thick, peel left on, which gave them a great crunch. This is my version of those yummy Asian cucumbers, with the addition of red tomatoes.  It would also be fabulous with thinly sliced red onions if you are a fan of onions. (I am, but alas, Greg is not.)

It makes a nice alternative to green salads, especially for picnics or potlocks.

Becky’s Crunchy Asian Cucumbers and Tomatoes

Ingredients:

I got the small cucumbers at Sprouts, but have also seen them at Whole Foods and Sam’s Club. There’s only a small amount of sesame oil, but it really packs a punch of flavor.

4 small cucumbers sliced thick, peel on

2 Roma tomatoes, cut in chunky slices

1 T. fresh dill or 1 t. dried dill

1/4 c. rice or other light vinegar

1 t. sesame oil

1 T. water

1 T. sugar

1 t. salt

1/2 t. pepper

1 T. sesame seeds, toasted

Directions:

Place chopped cucumbers and tomatoes in a bowl.  Mix the rest of the ingredients in another small bowl and whisk.  Pour dressing over cukes and tomatoes  Let set for about 30 minutes in the fridge before serving.  Keeps well in a Tupperware-like container for at least one more day.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Crunchy Asian Cucumber and Tomatoes
The URL: https://welaughwecrywecook.com/2012/05/03/crispy-oriental-cucumber-tomato-salad


Refreshing “Lemon Drop” Berries, Walnut & Greens Salad

Not long ago, I enthusiastically wound up my Cuisinart salad spinner, a gift from my efficient salad-loving daughter. What I did not do was read the instructions, which I’m now guessing said something like, “Wait until the inner whirling colander comes to a complete halt before removing the lid.” If you remove the lid early in the spinning process, I can testify that you will immediately give your entire kitchen, including ceiling and floor, a certain lettuce-based Rain Forest look. However, if you use it correctly, a salad spinner is quite the nifty item to dry the lettuce mix for this recipe below, one of my favorite salads.

The “dressing” is mixed as you toss the salad, no need for a separate bowl.

Becky’s
Refreshing “Lemon Drop” Berries, Walnut & Greens Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 to 6 cups of early spring mix lettuce (rinsed, patted, or spun dry)
½ c. toasted walnuts or pecans

1/2 c. fresh blueberries
1/2 c. sliced fresh strawberries
Juice of one small lemon or ½ large lemon
Olive oil (about 2 T. or to taste)
Sea salt (to taste)
Organic sugar (to taste)
(Blue cheese , feta, goat cheese or  Gorgonzola crumbles can also be added if you want a heartier salad.)

Directions

In a large salad bowl place the greens, berries and toasted nuts. Squeeze juice of one small lemon over all. Toss. Sprinkle the leaves with sea salt and sugar to taste.  (Hint from professional chefs: salad always tastes better and you use less dressing if you lightly salt the greens just before serving.) Toss. Finally squiggle about 1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil. (My good friend Lucille gave me a bottle of Meyer Lemon Olive Oil featured in the picture- so good in this recipe!) Toss gently again. This is a taste-as-you-go salad. The dressing should taste sweet & sour — like lemonade or “lemon drops” — with just enough salt and olive oil to make it savory.

This salad is a light go-to side dish that goes especially well with heavier main dishes. Once you get the method down, it is also one of the fastest, easiest salads you can throw together – and everyone loves it!  Try using sliced green or red apples or sliced peaches in place place of berries, for a salad that refreshes in all seasons.

I made a huge version of this salad on a big oval platter fothe holiday. Not a drop of salad left, and it was so beautiful. Looked like a Spring garden! Added some goat cheese to this version. Yum!

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Refreshing “Lemon Drop” Berries, Walnut & Greens Salad
The URL: https://welaughwecrywecook.wordpress.com/2012/03/16/refreshing-lemon-drop-apple-walnut-greens-salad/
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