Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What do you do with too many cucumbers?

A week ago, the DH brought home a hoard of cucumbers. I don't know what came over him! I might buy one, two or three. He bought SEVEN!!!

While I love them, too many can be problematic. If you leave them alone too long, you might return to a puddle of green slime. Unless you like that sort of thing.

There is only one family I can think of  who have a refrigerator nazi who patrols for bits of leftovers and fruit and veg and brooks NO WASTE or decline in that neighborhood. I think I would cautiously welcome him near my unit, but also have a whole lotta fear. BTW, I have NO idea what he does with all those bits we all accumulate.

The two slices of onion and half a pear and half an orange. Yes, I can see them on a lovely composed salad with beets on a bed of spinach or arugula (neither of which I have at the moment) and some feta or goat cheese. With a light lemon/orange vinaigrette.

Does the refer nazi hoover these up willy-nilly, or does he stand over the family until THEY do? Or do they get blended up into some healthy slurry? (On a side note, I have heard wonderful things about the Vitamix blender, but had no clue these COST MORE THAN $400.) Sorry, I am the person who thought long and hard before spending $50 on an immersion blender, and $15-$20 on a microplane grater.

After veering WAY off topic, I'm returning to that hoard of cucumbers. Some of them were made into that quick cucumber pickle. That recipe gets even better if you stir in about half a teaspoon of ume (pickled plum) paste, and a teaspoon or more of sesame seeds. Other cucumbers were eaten with sliced tomatoes, a sprinkle of sea salt and vinaigrette.

I haven't seen Julie and Julia. Didn't want to. I grew up watching the real Julia Child drop chickens, cut her finger and celebrate food. I could not bring myself to watch the wonderful Meryl Streep ape the incomparable Julia. (Yet I accepted Dan Ackroyd's version! I think because it was LOVING.) There was much talk about the BRAISED cucumbers she favored, so I gave these ago.

EPIC FAIL! These were not good. Not a Celebration of Cucumbers as far as this family felt! You would THINK anything is better with butter, including cucumbers. No, foodies, not IMHO. But here's the recipe, if you must try it: peel and deseed 2 large cucumbers and cut into batons roughly 1/2 x 1/2 x 1 inch. Saute in 2 Tbsps butter. Season with sea salt and cracked black pepper and cook until translucent. Add a teaspoon or two of lemon juice.

Some say this tastes like artichokes. No. This tastes like it's not cucumbers and not zucchini, but NOT something good.

The last 3 cucumbers will be made into namasu, Japanese marinated cucumbers. The recipe: cut the ends off 2 to 3 cucumbers. Note: we've been talking about the "burpless" English cucumbers all along. Cut off strips of skin with a vegetable peeler. Cut in half and scoop out any seeds, then slice thinly. Sprinkle with about 1 Tbsp. salt and let stand 15 minutes to half an hour. Rinse, drain and squeeze out excess water. Combine 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. salt and I tsp grated or finely slivered fresh ginger root. Pour mixture over cucumbers and chill. You can add fresh crabmeat, slivered fishcake or thin pieces of reconstituted wakame or hijiki seaweed.

Yum! Happy eating!

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