These next side dishes have a lot of meaning to me. We were big cucumber lovers in my family when I was growing up. I have such vivid memories of my Mom fixing supper on nights when she was off work. She would always give us a little something to munch on before dinner. Nothing that would fill us up before we ate but would keep us from bugging her every two minutes about when we would be eating. She would slice up some cukes, put them in a bowl and add some cold vinegar on top (Mom always kept her vinegar cold) and then she sprinkled it all with a bit of salt. She always kept those vinegar cucumbers on the kitchen counter while making supper. My whole family would be a walking parade in and out of the kitchen to come get more cucumbers to eat. And my Mom got to make dinner in relative peace since we were temporarily satisfied.
I just adore cucumbers and slicing them up brings back a flood of memories of my childhood years. If you've never eaten cucumber in vinegar or in a creamed salad before, these recipes might sound really weird or strange. I guess it is one of those things that you just gotta grow up eating to truly appreciate. But I'm thinking, if you give them a try, you just might grow to love these simple but tasty cucumber dishes.
A couple of words on cucumbers first. In recent years, I've become a huge lover of English or hothouse cucumbers (in picture above). You can eat the skins on those and they are so tasty. But unless I can get them on sale or for a good price at the farmer's market, I just use the traditional cucumber variety (just be sure to peel those first before using).
1 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 tbsp. table salt (more or less to taste)
1 whole English cucumber (or 2 traditional cucumbers), thinly sliced
½ small red onion, sliced (optional)
If using traditional cucumbers, you’ll need to peel them first before slicing. English (or hothouse) cucumbers do not need to be peeled. In a medium bowl combine vinegars. Add in sliced cucumbers and onion (if using). Sprinkle with salt and stir slightly. Put cover or plastic wrap over bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour. Or do like Mom and keep your vinegar cold before making these.Here they are with onions.
Cook's Note: If all you have is the white vinegar, then just use that. No need to go out and buy apple vinegar special for this.
1 large English (hothouse) cucumber, or 2 traditional cucumbers
1 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. salt
½ red onion, thinly sliced
½ cup Sour Cream (or plain yogurt)
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. mayonnaise
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar (or white)
½ tsp. ground black pepper
½ tsp. dried dill weed (or fresh if you have it)
Slice cucumbers (thick or thin, depending how you like it.) If using traditional cucumbers, you’ll need to peel them before slicing. Put cucumbers in colander in sink. Sprinkle with one tablespoon of salt and gently toss. Let cucumbers sit in colander for at least an hour or more to remove excess moisture from cucumber (longer if you have the time).
Rinse cucumbers when ready to use and pat dry with paper towel to remove excess water and salt. This will help keep your salad from getting too runny.
In a medium bowl combine sour cream, sugar, mayo, vinegar, pepper and dill weed. Stir well. Toss in cucumbers and onion and stir to coat thoroughly. Cover bowl and put into fridge. Chill for at least an hour before serving. Gently stir before serving.
Cook's note: Cucumbers are mostly made up of water. You will be able to get some of the excess moisture out of the cukes, but not all. A bit of the dressing will settle to the bottom of this dish along with a bit of the moisture from the cucumbers. That's perfectly normal. Just give it a gentle stir before serving and all will be right with the world again.