At times, I can be a “crunchy granola” kind of girl… The gluten-free variety, of course!
Exhibit A: I have a peculiar obsession with Goji Berries.
Exhibit B: I can compost with the best of them!
Exhibit C: I enjoy a cup of Yerba Mate and Pi Lo Chun (don’t ask, it’s some kind of green tea).
Last year, I had joined a local CSA (community supported agriculture). Unfortunately, I ended up with too many veggies that I just didn’t know how to cook or really wanted to ingest (who the heck eats Dinosaur Kale?!). So, in my mission to find local, organic produce, I happened upon DanLynn Organic Farms, a certified organic farm in Pedricktown, NJ. The kiddies (affectionately dubbed Thing 1 and Thing 2) had a blast on our outing. They were fascinated with the chickens, guinea hens, and tractors. I purchased (quite reasonably!) a bunch of cucumbers, some zucchini, yellow squash, and scallions. The owner actually dug the scallions right from the ground. You can’t get much fresher than that, huh?
I absolutely love cucumbers. They remind me of my childhood. Ok, that sounds like a strange statement, so let me explain. My grandparents were backyard farmers and gardeners. With almost an acre of land, they cultivated the most amazing vegetable gardens each year. I remember helping them shuck corn, pick peas and gooseberries, and harvest loads of cucumbers. At many a summer meal, my grandmother would make her simple but tasty “cucumber salad”. As a child I loved it and I still love it today.
So, I’d like to share with you my Grandmother’s recipe for cucumbery goodness. I’ve altered it ever so slightly to make it a healthier meal. My family could have kept the Hellman’s Corporation in stock based on our consumption of their mayonnaise alone. Back in the “old days” we put Hellman’s in everything (including cucumber salad!). In this recipe, the light sour cream makes the salad satisfying, but not heavy.
1 & 1/2 teaspoons of sea salt
1/2 Vidalia onion
1/4 to 1/2 cup Light Sour Cream (I love the Daisy brand – you can’t tell it’s lowfat)
8 fresh mint leaves
Black Pepper to taste
Mint leaves for garnish
Use a vegetable peeler to remove the cucumber peel. Note – remove less peel for more fiber and Vitamin A. Using the “thin slice” side of large grater (or just slice them really thin by hand), slice all cucumbers. In a colander, place all sliced cucumbers and mix in 1 & 1/2 teaspoons of sea salt. Allow the cucumbers to “drain” for 10 minutes. Cucumbers are naturally high in water content, so adding the sea salt actually draws some of the water out. After 10 minutes, take a handful of the cucumbers and squeeze in your hands to remove additional water. Repeat until you have squeezed all of the cucumbers :) Put cucumbers in a serving bowl and set aside. Peel a Vidalia onion and again use the “thin slice” side of your grater. The onion slices should be paper thin so not to overpower the cucumber. After slicing 1/2 an onion, allow this to “drain” in the colander. Pat dry with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. Then chop slices into small pieces. Add onion to serving bowl (with cucumbers). Then fold in 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of Light Sour Cream. Start off on the low end — you can always add more. Chop the 8 fresh mint leaves and fold into salad. Add fresh cracked pepper to your taste. Note – do not add salt to this salad. It will make it watery! Refrigerate until chilled. Garnish with mint leaves and additional cracked black pepper and serve. Note – use your discretion as to how much onion, mint, or sour cream your prefer. The mint adds a very mild hint of flavor, but can definitely be omitted. If you are not a huge onion fan, lessen the amount and be sure to chop into tiny pieces.