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There's something about cucumbers

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

    ( The subject is a weak bit of humor which is supposed to remind you of that film, _There's Something About Mary_ ... )

 

 

    At this point in my life, ( fifty something ), I've all of a sudden noticed that I can't get enough of cucumbers.

 

 

    Pickles:  ( the big eat-me kind ) they're a glorious refreshment on a hot summer's night...  How did I ever forget these in my "youth"?

 

    "Cucumber Sandwiches":    I've been fascinated by this British allegation for years, and I've tried as best I can to recreate them, but it's been a tough slog.  For one thing, I think it takes a very special bread...  I live in Hollywood, CA, and we I don't have anything called a "bakery" here, at least not locally to me.  If anyone can help me get closer to the "true" cucumber sandwich, then *please* share what you know.

 

 

    Cucumber & Onion & vinegar & sugar & [???]  "side dish salads":  Recently, a restaurant called _Luv 2 Eat_ opened just one half block from my apartment.  It is beyond a shadow of a doubt the most authentic Thai restaurant I've ever experienced.  The Master Chef Lady was previously in charge of the kitchen of the Hilton in Beverly Hills or something...  Anyway, if I order something like the Chicken Satay, I will also get a tiny little cup of cucumber salad, the ingredients being what I guessed above.  Truth be told, I could eat cubic meters of this stuff if they sold it that way.  Can anyone help??

 

 

    Cucumber & Yogurt & & Lemon Juice & Dill ( & Raisins ) :   This is what I'm working on now.  I skin & slice the cuke..  In another bowl, I mix a *small* amount of yogurt, a heaping amount of lemon juice, tons of dill, and the only thing I've figgered out for myself to add to it, a bunch of chopped raisins.  I would like to add something more.  I though candied walnuts?  candied pecans?  But I can't even find either of those in the store...  But one other thing-- I'm happy with the taste of it, but it doesn't "toss" well.  I keep it a very watery salad, not the other kind I see on the web where it looks like I could plug leaks in my bathtub with it.  But then the problem is that nothing mixes well-- the raisins always end up on the bottom of the bowl... So a fork doesn't work for the raisins, a spoon doesn't work for the cucumbers...  Help ?!?

post #2 of 26

Gotta love a good cucumber sammich!

 

I personally don't either peel or deseed the cucumber as I love the taste and feel as is. If you want to, salt the cucumber slices for 10-20 minutes to get a firmer feel to them. I guess it depends on where you are as well, the ones we get here are quite firm already.

 

White bread, crust off (pain de mie, if you want to get all fancy), good unsalted (if you did the salting before) butter, thinly sliced cucumber and a bit of white pepper. Done!

 

Also depending on your levels of curiosity, cottage cheese with dill, chives and diced fresh cucumber is probably one of my most favorite things to eat on a balmy summer afternoon.

post #3 of 26
Welcome. Re the cuke sandwiches, you might try Canters deli or the Farmers market near Fairfax for the white bread. I won't tell anyone if you use party size rye or pumpernickel - open faced. Mix a little lemon zest and/or juice in with the cream cheese if you like. Fresh dill, and thinly sliced cukes. Butter instead of cream cheese is good too.

Cantersdeli.com
post #4 of 26

When I worked in Banquets on hot summer days, the kitchen easily reached 115.

The Mexicans would peel and slice cucumbers, squeeze fresh lime juice over them and sprinkle heavily with cayenne pepper.

It takes getting used to but it is refreshing and helps cool you off.

post #5 of 26
Are cucumbers Sensual or sensuous? Let's ask Otter and Mrs. Wormer.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=p9ZjOCSLYlc
post #6 of 26

For the cucumber sandwich, don't expect any great blast of flavor. Firm, very good white bread with the crusts cut off, good butter (find one of the high-fat European brands,) paper thin slices of cucumbers.

 

Personally, I prefer cucumber sandwiches with sliced hard-boiled egg and, if I have it, fresh dill.

 

For the Thai salad, the elusive flavor you are seeking is probably due to a splash of fish sauce. If you buy Red Boat, which is now the darling of fish sauce enthusiasts, use it with a light hand. Lots of times Thai cucumber salads are topped with chopped peanuts, as well.  There are lots of different Asian takes on cucumber salads, dressed with a sweet/sour- sometimes spiked with chilies- dressing. 

 

For the yogurt salad: you need to put your slices or chunks in a colander, salt them liberally with kosher salt. Distribute the salt evenly and let them drain, giving them a toss now and then. After 20-25 minutes, you need to take them out by the handful and squeeze as much liquid as you can out of them before you put them in the bowl to dress them. Don't rinse or you will undo what you have just done. Use a firm yogurt. Greek is good. Or, a mix of Greek and some other, looser yogurt. Don't salt the dressing until after you have mixed it with the already-salted cucumbers. Adjust accordingly.

 

Dill is one idea. Fresh. And, you will want to use more than you think. I don't know about raisins. Wouldn't be at all to my taste. Cucumber-yogurt  salads are all about the smooth creaminess. I like cilantro and garlic. One cucumber salad that I eat all summer is made with a garlic- lemon-tahini-yogurt dressing.

post #7 of 26

Ducks like them:

 

 

In other uses, the bagel shop on the corner has a big thing of ice water available, which usually has slices of lemon and cukes in it. The cucumber adds a nice touch.

 

mjb.

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #8 of 26

I love cucumbers. I'd eat them all day as well. One of my favorite of course is the thai cucumber salad, but fish sauce, palm sugar, chili, and lime are crucial. 

 

I also love cucumber and watermelon "smoothie." Cut into cubes the watermelon and freeze. Throw in a blender with chopped cuke and blend. About 1 part cuke to 3 parts melon. Ahhhh. refreshing and wonderful in the summer heat. The best thing evar after a long bike ride. 

post #9 of 26
@jake t buds I'm going to have to try that smoothie, can't believe I've never thought of that combo before, makes perfect sense. I drink a green juice everyday and it has spinach kale cucumber celery parsley cucumber and green apple.

Greek salad would not be Greek salad without cukes. My recent favorite salad is slice cucumber, thinly sliced red onion, and avocado. Perfectly refreshing.

I have a big bowl of tiny cukes in the fridge washed and ready to eat at all times. We are all constantly munching on them especially my kid.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #10 of 26

For the yoghurt-cucumber combination, you can look at cucumber-raita.

Grate the cucumber (I don't peel them), squeeze out the liquid and mix with yoghurt, garlic, lemon juice, mint and cumin. Very refreshing.

 

Similar the this is Tzatziki (but Greek instead of Indian): You know mix the grated squeezed cucumber with yoghurt, garlic, some salt and dill and lemon juice.

 

As for the Thai cucumber side dish: here is a nice recipe (I don't like just posting links but this is a site with lots of nice recipes anyway): http://shesimmers.com/2010/09/cucumber-relish-for-satay-ajat-ajad-achad-%E0%B8%AD%E0%B8%B2%E0%B8%88%E0%B8%B2%E0%B8%94.html

 

And then I recently came accross a stir fry dish that uses cucumber. It looks like it is worth a try.

Going to try find it back.

And found it: http://www.seriouseats.com/2015/05/how-to-stir-fry-cucumbers.html

 

Madhur Jaffrey has some good (and simple) Indian recipes with cucumber as well.

 

At home we always had cucumber with our nasi goreng, sliced in long sticks. My brother likes to eat them sprinkled with sale.

Definitely, however you eat them, they were a good remedy if the chili's my dad used to make the nasi goreng were hotter than expected :D

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post #11 of 26

Then, there's Gazpacho...

 

Change it out as you wish, top with crab or shrimp. sliced avocado, serve as shooters, or pour over hot fettuccine.

 

http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/ba/98/f0/ba98f0dfef02daec308bc1fcd53aca9a.jpg

post #12 of 26

Actually, the west has appropriated the word “gazpacho” to be any cold vegetable soup, but it’s more complicated that that. Cucumber is an ingredient, but the fundamental and most basic recipe begins with garlic, olive oil, stale bread, vinegar, and very ripe tomatoes. Tomato as a base, not cucumber, is the most widely used, and most ubiquitous. There are variations, but just as french food or italian food has variations, gazpacho should be respected the same manner. You just can’t call any vegetable puree with whatever ingredients on top and call it “gazpacho.” Call it cold vegetable soup, not gazpacho, the same way you wouldn’t call "carbonara" made with spanish chorizo, rice vermicelli, cream and no egg, carbonara. I've had a "chef" with a culinary institute degree, who has won awards for his food, use V8 and vegetables other than cucumber and bell pepper and call it "gazpacho."

 

International variations have veered so far away from its original intent that its flavors and aromas no longer resemble gazpacho. Those new variations are tailored to the individual tastes of the countries where they are interpreted, or by the “capricho de los cocineros.” Loosely translated as “at the whim and whimsy of the chef.” From here : https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gazpacho

post #13 of 26
O
Quote:
Originally Posted by jake t buds View Post

Actually, the west has appropriated the word “gazpacho” to be any cold vegetable soup, but it’s more complicated that that. Cucumber is an ingredient, but the fundamental and most basic recipe begins with garlic, olive oil, stale bread, vinegar, and very ripe tomatoes. Tomato as a base, not cucumber, is the most widely used, and most ubiquitous. There are variations, but just as french food or italian food has variations, gazpacho should be respected the same manner. You just can’t call any vegetable puree with whatever ingredients on top and call it “gazpacho.” Call it cold vegetable soup, not gazpacho, the same way you wouldn’t call "carbonara" made with spanish chorizo, rice vermicelli, cream and no egg, carbonara. I've had a "chef" with a culinary institute degree, who has won awards for his food, use V8 and vegetables other than cucumber and bell pepper and call it "gazpacho."

International variations have veered so far away from its original intent that its flavors and aromas no longer resemble gazpacho. Those new variations are tailored to the individual tastes of the countries where they are interpreted, or by the “capricho de los cocineros.” Loosely translated as “at the whim and whimsy of the chef.” From here : https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gazpacho

Wiki points well taken. I was going for the tomato based cucumber/veggie version, since there's also a white gazpacho(w grapes, bread and almonds as I recall). Hence, my suggestions to serve as shooters, over pasta, addition of seafood, etc. My post/choice was meant to inspire to take a classic with many versions, and make it your own. Don't care to go down the same .beaten to death "original" path.
Edited by Cerise - 6/1/16 at 10:52am
post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeppenwolf View Post
 

    ( The subject is a weak bit of humor which is supposed to remind you of that film, _There's Something About Mary_ ... )

 

 

    At this point in my life, ( fifty something ), I've all of a sudden noticed that I can't get enough of cucumbers.

 

 

    Pickles:  ( the big eat-me kind ) they're a glorious refreshment on a hot summer's night...  How did I ever forget these in my "youth"?

 

    "Cucumber Sandwiches":    I've been fascinated by this British allegation for years, and I've tried as best I can to recreate them, but it's been a tough slog.  For one thing, I think it takes a very special bread...  I live in Hollywood, CA, and we I don't have anything called a "bakery" here, at least not locally to me.  If anyone can help me get closer to the "true" cucumber sandwich, then *please* share what you know.

 

I love a good cucumber sandwich but they are tricky... the best analysis I've come across is here: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/jun/13/how-to-make-perfect-cucumber-sandwiches. The correct bread is crucial. 

post #15 of 26
Made a cucumber salad today using english cucumbers and they were bitter. I hate that.

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post #16 of 26
What makes them go bitter? Any way to tell at the market?
post #17 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by MillionsKnives View Post

What makes them go bitter? Any way to tell at the market?

I wish I knew the answer to this.  The cukes my family grows in Greece are wonderful, sweet and crunchy and flavorful.  The cukes in the supermarkets here are a gamble.  Sometimes they're good and other times they are bitter or tasteless and I can't account for the reason because I've tried regular, organic, from farmers markets, and from fancy supermarkets.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koukouvagia View Post
 

I wish I knew the answer to this.  The cukes my family grows in Greece are wonderful, sweet and crunchy and flavorful.  The cukes in the supermarkets here are a gamble.  Sometimes they're good and other times they are bitter or tasteless and I can't account for the reason because I've tried regular, organic, from farmers markets, and from fancy supermarkets.

  I grow cucumbers on our farm at work. When they lie on the ground and are exposed to too much time, they over ripen and turn a yellow hue. Bitter bitter bitter......Yikes

post #19 of 26

 

Not that distinct in this photo from a week or so back, but the nearest plants are my cucumbers. They are covered by a hoop of concrete mesh, and the plants on the left already had started wrapping tendrils around the wires of this trellis within a few hours of me installing it. Plants have grown a bit since then, and there are a couple of new ones added to the dry spot on the right.

 

We'll see how well this trellis works at growing cukes in the air instead of on the ground.

 

mjb.

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #20 of 26

MJB.... Last year I trained my cukes to grow up the greenhouse wall (2x4 wire) They liked it. They still shot tendrils out and grabbed anything else they could, but I didn't have to step on them every time I went in.

post #21 of 26


If your cucumbers turned yellow then you can make SENFGURKEN, .Very popular in Germany years ago. The fact is that you need them to be yellow to get the right taste.

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Every smoker quits smoking sooner or later!

Only the smart ones are doing it while they are still alive.

Wer den Pfennig nicht ehrt,

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post #22 of 26

You definitely have to try cucumbers water!!! My wife family is half latin, and cucumbers freshwater is never missing in summer meetings. This is a great recipe, check it out

post #23 of 26

@teamfat --I love your garden!

post #24 of 26

"Cucumber water for paying customers only!"

 

In all seriousness though, cucumber water is the best part of a hot summer day. You gotta love it!

post #25 of 26


You can cook cucumbers too. Delicate and delicious stir fried in butter with dill seeds, white pepper and a sprinkling of salt .Very good with fish.

post #26 of 26

Progress - getting some blossoms, can hardly wait for the first cukes:

 

 

Did I mention that The Bagel Project on the corner of my block has a big dispenser of cucumber lemon water?

 

mjb.

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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