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It's Cucumber Time! Ideas?


Sony
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Kim,

I'm inspired by your post.  I will need to give this a try this summer.  Has anyone made less sweet pickles with this method? 

Love to see the recipe for bahn mi toppings.

The method I mentioned is a SE Asian inspired pickle, and it's not what one would call "sweet". I use just enough sugar to take the edge off, maybe a tablespoon for a cup of vinegar. It's a good balance of pickly, hot, with a bit of sweet, and salty, plus garlic for aromatics.

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I did a great pickle a few months ago, but not with cukes. I did some celery, radish, carrot pickles a while ago - added shredded candied ginger, whole coriander seeds and a pinch of red pepper flakes, along with a touch of sugar and a lot of cider vinegar (maybe a tbsp sugar to a cup of vinegar?) The pickles were awesome! Sweet & sour with a bit of a spicy kick.

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Awesome.  I'm on board.  Make with the recipe, please.  :biggrin:

I'm not much in the way of measuring, but, for each 1 cup of cider vinegar, I add half a cup of water, a clove of minced garlic, a teaspoon of salt, a tablespoon of sugar, and a huge pinch of red pepper flakes (or a whole dried bird chili). Basically all to taste. Little more or less of anything, depending on how you like it. Sometimes, I'll add a spoonful of minced onion.

Stir it till the salt and sugar dissolves, pour over paper thinly sliced cucumber, zucchini, or if you can get your hands on some green mango. Let it sit for anywhere from a few hours, to a few days in the fridge. For fancy, I use a mandoline and make cucumber ribbons.

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A favourite dish of ours (originating from Israel actually) is fast pickled carrots.

Take a veg peeler and shave long thin strips of carrots, then toss a bit of sea salt in them, add lemon juice and a touch of good olive oil. Pepper to taste.

This to me is the epitome of fresh, clean flavor.

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We went to a family reunion last weekend, way up in the state, and it was not even our family---our houseguests stay with us for a few days on the way up and back, and have asked Chris to photograph the festivities for the last couple of years.

It's like stepping into the park pavilion at any reunion in any Southern state, despite the location's being up pert nigh to Michigan. The ladies all did themselves proud with all sorts of homemade goodies, potato salads and Summer salads and many a Corning Ware of baked beans and of Corn Souffle---that new standby that calls for an artery-clogging ingredients list of canned cream corn, cornbread mix, a cup of sour cream, a stick of butter, eggs, an addiitonal can, drained, of Mexicorn or whole kernel, and whatever little extras are usual to the cook---jalapenos or green onions or pimiento.

But one lady---Bless her Heart in the BEST way. She came in bearing a gallon jug clutched to her bosom, and indeed I'd have hugged it, too. I almost did, when I saw that it was at least a peck of cucumbers, sliced into a golden brine. I like that stuff every way it's made, so I lined up---I don't care if it's straight vinegar and salt, or a sugar-vinegar concoction, or some and all of both, with additions of most anything that will complement.

These were most likely LAST YEAR'S cucumbers, because it seemed like a LOT to make for one lunch if they were "bought" cucumbers, and they were appreciably slumpy, though not limp. They still had a lot of crisp left in them, and had been peeled so that they all had eight or ten little flat edges, like pale octagonal cogs in the jug. I could just see my Mammaw and me, sitting in the shade of her front porch, dishpans in our laps, peeling and slicing those same flat-sided little slices.

And that's a paring-knife slice, the old way; no laying the cucumber on the board for a neat, quick chef's flurry. These were sliced with the same knife that pared the cucumber so flat, cutting from side to side of a cucumber held in the other hand, as the blade slid to a perilous stop a hairsbreadth short of the vulnerable thumb. The knife was always a paring knife or the long-blade, multi-purpose beauty that serves to cut the Easter ham, the cornbread, or a sweating, chilled watermelon ready to thunk open and yield its heart.

And the pickles were wonderful. We'd all been asked to bring a serving spoon for whatever we brought to the lunch, and her odd choice was a gray plastic, bulbously-unwieldy soup ladle, which made getting into the jug a breeze, but difficult getting OUT with a scoopful of bounty without sloshing the accompanying ladle of juice---the red plastic tablecloth sported a tidy little moat, all round the container, and little fruitflies were happily spending their lifespan drowning themselves in an ecstasy of sugary brine.

I'd brought little plastic bowls to set alongside the big banana pudding I made, and so I took the greedy approach: I scooped two ladles of the delicious stuff into my bowl, all the better to share with my tablemates, of course.

They were the perfect counterpoint to all that rich, starch-is-all food.

And you don't eat them by the bite, taking dainty nibbles from the edges; you open wide and encompass that whole cool slice, getting sugary vinegary watery juices all down your chin, but the resulting mouthful of crisp and sweet and tangy is just too much to eat dainty.

Kim, I agree: It IS Summer in a mouthful. And should last all year.

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Well I am enjoying round one- thank you Kim! And you were so right- I added more sweet/salt/and pepper to round 2. I see the corn behind the farm stand looking pretty good, and my dad's tomatoes are ripening, so I am looking forward to that same trilogy (with a little bacon) soon.

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  • 11 months later...

The cucumbers are popping up in the markets and looking good; firm and juicy. I was happy to see a large Japanese cuke hanging over the edge of the raised bed garden, but the morning I went to pick it the desert tortoise had beaten me to it. :angry: I am going to do the Japanese ones from the garden separate from the Kirby cukes because I think they have a more subtle taste.

This year I started first with a large wide mouth jar. After a few days I started another one. Basically I am staggering them. I will experiment with re-using the liquid a few times and compare to "fresh". I went the Splenda route and am using plain old white vinegar cut with a little water. I feel like I am getting a more clear cucumber taste versus cider vinegar.

Has anyone else started up for the season?

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We do the same with our garden now kicking cucumbers at a pretty good rate.

We do the thai style condiment with rice vinegar, fish sauce, pepper flakes, carrot shavings and pinch of sugar. Maybe a drop of lime.

Makes both a pickle and dipping sauce for spring rolls.

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We do the same with our garden now kicking cucumbers at a pretty good rate.

We do the thai style condiment with rice vinegar, fish sauce, pepper flakes, carrot shavings and pinch of sugar.  Maybe a drop of lime.

Makes both a pickle and dipping sauce for spring rolls.

Ooh. Ooh. ooh. That's excellent. I'd forgotten that condiment. I'll be making that for my Dad for Father's Day, I think.

I use a little rice vinegar and fresh grated ginger on my cukes usually, but it's also fun to add a teaspoon or so of sesame oil and Korean chili flakes for interest.

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Here in the midwest, we make them exactly like Kim does, but after a few days of chilling in the brine, we drain them well, and stir in some sour cream before serving.

this is actually so popular, I was served this in the hospital after giving birth to my daughter.

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Here in the midwest, we make them exactly like Kim does, but after a few days of chilling in the brine, we drain them well, and stir in some sour cream before serving.

this is actually so popular, I was served this in the hospital after giving birth to my daughter.

Christine, that's a great idea! I'll be trying that! I started mine this past weekend and they should be ready for tasting/reseasoning today or tomorrow! Now if the tomatoes would just come in!

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Here in the midwest, we make them exactly like Kim does, but after a few days of chilling in the brine, we drain them well, and stir in some sour cream before serving.

this is actually so popular, I was served this in the hospital after giving birth to my daughter.

Christine, that's a great idea! I'll be trying that! I started mine this past weekend and they should be ready for tasting/reseasoning today or tomorrow! Now if the tomatoes would just come in!

:biggrin:

let me know what you think, we think it takes them to a whole nother level, kind of almost a competely different dish.

I've heard it called Russian salad.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Here in the midwest, we make them exactly like Kim does, but after a few days of chilling in the brine, we drain them well, and stir in some sour cream before serving.

this is actually so popular, I was served this in the hospital after giving birth to my daughter.

Christine, that's a great idea! I'll be trying that! I started mine this past weekend and they should be ready for tasting/reseasoning today or tomorrow! Now if the tomatoes would just come in!

:biggrin:

let me know what you think, we think it takes them to a whole nother level, kind of almost a competely different dish.

I've heard it called Russian salad.

Christine, I did this tonight and it was wonderful! Thank you so much for the idea! I do something similar at Christmas with labne and mustard, but this was so easy and quick - with the cucumbers I have around all summer long!

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Haha, nicely done christine! As I was reading downward, I kept wondering "Wow, I wonder why they haven't thrown in some sour cream..." This was a summer staple at my house, and quite possibly began my love interest with cucumbers! Can't wait to hit up the Farmer's Market on Sat. and start rocking some of these salads!! :biggrin:

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Haha, nicely done christine!  As I was reading downward, I kept wondering "Wow, I wonder why they haven't thrown in some sour cream..."  This was a summer staple at my house, and quite possibly began my love interest with cucumbers!  Can't wait to hit up the Farmer's Market on Sat. and start rocking some of these salads!!  :biggrin:

Right you are! During my few years of residence in Wisconsin in the mid '50s, I developed a taste for Gurkensalat which was a staple on almost every table from early summer to late fall.

There are numerous variations but I loved them all. There are numerous recipes online but this one is pretty close to the one I use.

I often add celery seed in addition to the dill weed.

I also like thinly sliced shallots instead of the onion.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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gallery_24065_1826_69873.jpg

Quick pickled cukes were a delicious crunchy topping for a teriyaki chicken burger with pineapple. I used rice wine vinegar, sugar, chili flakes and a couple dashes of soy sauce and let them marinate for a bit. Yum!

Edited by monavano (log)
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Newly invented dish - a rift on flavours from a Japanese restaurant.

Thinly sliced Cucumber - add chili flakes, roughly chopped spring garlic, couple dashes of rice wine vinegar, some light soy, little sugar, and finished with smoked Spanish paprika...awesome stuff!

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  • 11 months later...

Quick pickling seems to be everywhere! I harvested two little Kirby cucumbers yesterday. One is being sliced lengthwise in strips for lettuce wraps, but the other is going into "the bowl" which for me is a small wide mouth jar. As the years pass I find that I prefer rice vinegar or even industrial strength white with some water because, to my taste, the cucumber flavor is more pure than with cider vinegar or white wine vinegar.

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Quick pickling seems to be everywhere! I harvested two little Kirby cucumbers yesterday. One is being sliced lengthwise in strips for lettuce wraps, but the other is going into "the bowl" which for me is a small wide mouth jar. As the years pass I find that I prefer rice vinegar or even industrial strength white with some water because, to my taste, the cucumber flavor is more pure than with cider vinegar or white wine vinegar.

That sounds good - I'll try a batch with white or rice vinegar this year!

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If you do them in rice vinegar, and nice trick once you've pulled them out would be to toss them in a little crushed raw garlic and sesame oil. Even better: add a drizzle of good Chingkiang vinegar. Very, very nice with rice or similar.

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