Cucumbers are very easy to grow in this area, and once the vine gets started in production, with a minimum of care you will quickly be overwhelmed with a harvest. "What am I going to do with all of these cucumbers?" is the usual phone call I get in July.
With almost no calories, they are the perfect snack and diet food because they pack well and are crunchy. But with that crunch is an absence of taste. Cold sliced cucumbers are refreshing, but do not have a lot of flavor. That is where a good recipe comes to the rescue. (With smaller, picking cucumbers you can always make homemade pickles, but that is another article.)
Curt's Cold Cucumber Salad
(I use a mandolin to thin-slice the onion and cucumber)
4 cucumbers, thinly sliced
1 medium white onion, thin sliced then quartered into strips
1 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup sugar (or 3/8 c sugar and 9 Splenda packets for lower calorie version)
1 1/2 Tbsp. dried dill
Toss together cucumbers, onion and dill in large bowl. Bring vinegar, water and sugar to a boil. Pour over veggies. Add Splenda if using. Marinate at least 2 hours before serving, stirring occasionally.
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Juice from one whole lemon
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced finely
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1 cup Greek plain yogurt
1 cup sour cream
2 medium-large cucumbers, peeled, seeded
1 tsp. chopped dill, or, 1 tsp. chopped dried mint (your choice--see below)
Combine olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Mix until well combined. Using a whisk, blend the yogurt with the sour cream. Add the olive oil mixture to the yogurt mixture and mix well. Finally, gently pulse (a couple of times) the prepared cucumber in a food processor until it is pulpy but not pureed/soupy. Add to the yogurt mixture.
We divide our Tzatziki before adding the mint or dill. We make one half with half of the chopped dill, and one half with half of the chopped dried mint. We like both flavors. Chill for at least two hours before serving. Serve with plain pita chips. This is perfect on grilled meats or gyros. We have also made this using all Greek yogurt if there are people on low-fat diets, but the real sour cream adds a creamy richness to the flavor.
Joyce's Minted Cucumber Honeydew Soup
1 cucumber, peeled and seeded
2 cups honeydew pieces
1 cup 0% fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
Mint leaves, for garnish
Cut cucumber into 1-inch pieces. In a bowl, combine cucumber, honeydew, yogurt, mint leaves and lime juice. Purée batches in a blender for 30 seconds, pouring puréed mixture through a sieve into a bowl. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Cover and chill at least 2 hours, up to 6 hours. Serve, garnished with mint leaves. Makes about 5 cups.
Suzanne's Cold Tabouleh Salad
1 cup bulgur wheat
1 1/2 cups boiling water
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp. honey
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cucumber, chopped with skin on
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 Tbsp. chopped mint
1 lg. tomato, chopped
1 med. red onion, chopped
1 cup sliced black olives
1 cup crumbled Feta cheese
Mix bulgur wheat with boiling water in large bowl. Cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour. Mix lemon juice, honey, vinegar and oil, then set aside. Combine remaining ingredients, then pour vinegar and oil mixture all over, mixing well. Refrigerate until well chilled. Serve on beds of lettuce, with pita bread.