One of our kids calls these “coonkumbers”…it’s shorthand to refer to them as “cukes”. The Normanator doesn’t care what you call them; he doesn’t like them.
Yesterday was a rare event in the life of your humble blogger. We treated ourselves to a double date with former neighbors, which involved a restaurant meal and a baseball game. It was so great not to have to think about shopping, chopping and presenting a meal. Better yet-I was not on the clean up committee!
I ordered a chicken fried steak, smothered in creamy white gravy, which was completely tender. I cut it with my fork, savoring each bite. I also ordered turnip greens which were drizzled with a lovely vinegar. Freshly sauteed green beans appeared on the plate, as well. My third choice was a delicious sounding salad that promised to cool and refresh: cucumbers with tomatoes and onion.
The salad was a train wreck! Thumbs down all the way! I suppose I was expecting the kind of cuke/tomato/onion yumminess that my dear mother always made. She peeled the cucumbers, chopped the tomatoes and cukes in to bite sized pieces and the onions were minced so as to be the background. She would save a few rings of onion for garnish. Then she bathed it all in a solution of vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. It was always delectable.
What our waitress delivered to the table were HUNKS of cucumber, whole tomatoes that were so pathetic they had NO juice and were wrinkly and unappealing. The onions? Oh, my, they were hunks of onion, too! CHUNKS, none of it was even chopped! It looked icky and tasted blah.
Complaining about food ordered in a restaurant is not my cup of tea but when asked directly how everything was, I suggested that they rethink their salad or remove it from the menu. I suspect they might take my idea under advisement, because even the manager got involved in salad conversation…
Here’s how cucumber salad should be prepared, in Mother Connie’s humble opinion:
Summery Cucumber Side Salad
1 medium cucumber, washed, peeled and diced into bite sized pieces
2 medium tomatoes, washed, peeled, chopped
1 small onion, peeled and diced
Place vegetables in a small bowl. Add a liberal amount of salt and let stand for 15 minutes or so, until there is juice in the bottom of the bowl.
Pour off the juice and salt. Add enough vinegar and cold water to cover the goods. Add a generous amount of salt, pepper and sugar to the mix and allow it to stand in the fridge so it has time to chill and the flavors can marry. Taste test the solution as you go.
Using rice vinegar or wine vinegar-if you have it-changes the taste of the brine and promises to delight the palate! This is refreshing on a hot end-of-summer day and will keep well in the fridge, so you could double or triple the recipe and save yourself some prep time!
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Plans are in the works for an offline cooking class…stay tuned! And do remember you are loved and appreciated!
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