Thursday, January 3, 2008

viennese cucumber salad

viennese cucumber salad

My first day back to work after New Years started with my laptop flat lining, having to clean the office pantry microwave after my oatmeal blew up in it, finding myself completely and frantically over my head in a new bit of work I personally requested the week before and a wind-tunneled trip to the new Apple store to gaze at the shiny brightness. In short, I had hoped to be gently eased into 2008, but since that wasn’t in the cards for me, I ended it with a dinner of French Toast. What? Tell me that you’re not jealous.

But you know what else I did, you know, in my maple syrup haze? I completed one half of one of my smittenkitchen new years resolutions! See that over there in the sidebar? Yup, that would be a cooking or kitchen Tip of the Day from little old me. (Hat tip to problogdesign.com for spelling this method out so clearly!) I’ve got a few kinks to work out–like an RSS feed for that category, as I’ve realized these aren’t working–but as I populate the archives, you should start seeing bits of information I’ve picked up over the years spit out to you in bytes. Comments are open, so if you find my Buttermilk Recipe, for example, to be totally off its rocker, feel free to tell me so. It wouldn’t be the first time.

Enough of this, however: I know what you holiday detoxing and highly-resolved people want really want–something healthy, fresh, guilt-free and completely delicious, thus I have for you today the best cucumber salad I have ever made, and hoo boy, I have made a lot. It’s even better than the pickled slices that go in that beloved potato salad, because the pickling is more faint, the hint of garlic makes it more complex and–here’s the best part–it doesn’t take as long to get the flavor out that you want. I made this bowl for us last week, and we ate it in one sitting. (We’re serious about our cukes here, in case that’s not clear.) And my second batch will be what this old lady, still moving slowly after the weekend, needs.

Viennese cucumber salad

Not what you were craving? Here are some our other salad favorites:

Just Dressings:

One Year Ago Balthazar Cream of Mushroom Soup

Viennese Cucumber Salad
Adapted from Gourmet, December 2004

Makes about 4 cups

2 large seedless cucumbers (about 2 pounds)
1 tablespoon salt
1/3 cup white-wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons sugar
1 garlic clove, forced through a garlic press
1 teaspoon dill seed

Score cucumbers lengthwise with a fork (I used a zester tool) and slice thin, preferably with slicing disk of a food processor. In a large bowl toss cucumbers with salt and let stand 1 hour.

In a small saucepan bring vinegar and water to a boil with sugar, garlic, and dill seed, stirring until sugar is dissolved, and let dressing cool. In a colander drain cucumbers and rinse under cold water.

Drain cucumbers well, squeezing out excess liquid. In a bowl combine cucumbers with dressing and marinate, covered and chilled, at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours. (After about two hours cucumber skin will discolor, but there will be no effect on flavor.)


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