Monthly Archives: August 2013

An Embarrassment of Cucumbers

These days the cucumbers just keep coming from our garden. And since cucumber salad is a good way to use a lot of them, I’ve been making it often lately, using this quick and easy recipe. It’s adapted from one that appears in Joy of Gardening Cookbook by Janet Ballantyne (Garden Way, 1984), a delightful combination of gardening manual and cookbook that I acquired many years ago, but have only recently begun to use.

Cucumber Salad


3 or more medium cucumbers (5-6 cups), peeled, seeded (if seeds are large) and cut into 1/4 inch slices

1/4 cup                 Fat-free Greek yogurt

1/4 cup                 Sour cream

1/4 cup.                Feta crumbles

1/4 to 1/2 cup     Apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon           Dijon mustard

1 clove                  Garlic, minced

1 teaspoon           Salt


Place cucumber slices in colander, toss with salt and allow to drain in the sink for an hour.

Meanwhile, combine remaining ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.

Rinse cucumbers to remove salt, pat dry with paper towels.

Combine cucumbers with dressing.

Cover. Chill for at least an hour.

Positive Pressure

You need to put pressure on salted eggplant or cucumbers slices in order to remove moisture and any bitterness. But what can you use for weight? I like to fill a gallon-sized storage bag with water, seal it and rest it atop the vegetables in the colander. Of course, you could grab a heavy pot or lid instead, but neither of those exerts the same kind of even pressure everywhere. Please, don’t forget to save the water when you’re through.

Fresh and Fast Veggie Dips

Watching Norwegian Chef Andreas Viestad prepare carrot, beet and green pea dips on his New Scandinavian Cooking show on WLIW21 in New York, I was struck by a strong desire to have company. I couldn’t wait to wow some people with these dips.

Partly, it was the simplicity of preparation and the promise of bold, interesting flavors that captured my attention. But mainly, it was the vibrant colors-orange, pink and bright green-looking absolutely gorgeous just set out together in separate bowls, that got me so excited. Unfortunately, I had to let the urge pass, since I was a visitor in someone else’s home at the time. But I plan to try them at the next opportunity.

Viestad served salted and dried smoked lamb ribs as dippers, which I won’t be making any time soon. However, another salty meat-perhaps, pepperoni rounds or prosciutto-wrapped breadsticks-would probably do nicely, and salted chips also undoubtedly would be fine.

A lot of Chef Viestad’s recipes may seem weird to you, but there are some gems and he’s really fun to watch. Meanwhile, here’s a link to the recipes for these dips: