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Teresa Hatchell 2005

Teresa Hatchell

For those of you who watered your gardens faithfully during our long spring drought, your vegetable bin is probably overflowing right now. As spring gives way to summer, cucumbers are one of the vegetables that seem to bear quite well. 

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When we grew a huge family garden, we often had more fresh garden vegetables than we knew what to do with and were happy to share with neighbors. We enjoyed bowls brimming with cucumber slices sprinkled with vinegar, salt and pepper, sweet corn on the cob, and plates filled with fresh, ripe tomato slices, etc. So, we came up with various recipes in which to use our vegetables. The culinary concoctions below will allow you to enjoy cucumbers in new and tasty ways. Feel free to add herbs and spices if you prefer.

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Marinated Bean and

Cucumber Salad

4 medium cucumbers

2 raw carrots, sliced thin

2 green bell peppers, seeded, chopped

16 ounce can whole green beans, rinsed, drained

16 ounce can red kidney beans, rinsed, drained

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup sweet onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Peel the cucumbers and slice them in quarters lengthwise. Use a sharp knife to cut the thin strip of seeds (lengthwise) from each quarter. Discard the seeds. Then dice the cucumber into a large salad bowl. Scrape and slice the carrots. Scrape the seeds from the peppers and chop them. Add the carrots and peppers to the salad bowl. Add both cans of rinsed, drained beans, sugar, onion, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper, and toss the ingredients until they are well combined. Cover this salad and refrigerate until time to serve it. Be sure to drain any extra liquid from the salad before serving it. This recipe makes six to eight servings.

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Spinach-Cucumber

Salad Supreme

Dressing

2/3 cup salad oil, your preference

1/4 cup white wine vinegar (optional)

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 teaspoons sugar

1-1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1/4 teaspoon curry powder (optional)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

Salad

2 bunches fresh spinach (enough to make about four cups after it is torn)

2 cups peeled, sliced, fresh cucumbers

8 slices of bacon

3 large hard-boiled eggs

In a large glass jar or bottle, combine the first eight ingredients to make a salad dressing, and shake it for about two minutes or so to make sure everything is combined. Set the dressing aside. Wash and dry the spinach. Tear it into small pieces and place it in a bowl. Add the two cups of sliced cucumbers and "toss" the salad to evenly distribute the ingredients. Refrigerate this mixture. Fry the bacon until it is crisp. Place the bacon on a plate lined with white paper towel to drain the excess fat. Chop the hard-boiled eggs and crumble the bacon into a small bowl together. Arrange the spinach-cucumber mixture in your nicest salad bowls. Shake the dressing bottle again, and drizzle the dressing over the salad. Top each salad with a dollop of the combined crumbled bacon and chopped eggs. This should yield six to eight nice servings.

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Cucumber-Yogurt

‘N Cheese Salad

1-1/2 cups plain yogurt

2 teaspoons dried dill weed, crushed

1 teaspoon sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

4 cups peeled, sliced, fresh cucumbers

1 cup shredded carrot

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/3 cup very thinly sliced white sweet onion

2 cups cheese, shredded (your favorite cheese)

In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, dill, sugar and salt. Add the cucumbers, carrot, onion and cheese. Stir the ingredients until everything is well coated with the yogurt mixture. This salad is best served right after you create it. If you are not going to serve it right away, you must refrigerate it until you are ready to serve it. This recipe makes six to eight delicious servings.

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Cucumber-Cabbage

'N Lime Salad

2 cups diced cucumber (peeled and seeded)

3-ounce package lime gelatin

1/4 cup hot water

1/2 cup cold water

1/2 tablespoon white vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 cup carrots (finely shredded)

2 cups cabbage (finely shredded)

1 heaping tablespoon sweet onion (finely chopped)

Peel two larges cucumber and slice them in quarters lengthwise. Use a sharp knife to cut the thin strip of seeds (lengthwise) from each quarter. Discard the seeds. Then dice the cucumbers and set them aside. In a large glass bowl, dissolve gelatin in 1/4 cup of hot water. Add 1/2 cup of cold water, vinegar, salt and pepper and stir well. Add the mayonnaise and use an electric mixer on slow speed to beat the mixture until it is well combined. Pour this into a shallow dish and freeze it for about 20 minutes. The mixture won’t be completely firm. Pour it back into the bowl and beat the mixture again until it is fluffy. Stir in the cucumbers, carrots, cabbage and onion bits and pour the "salad" into a nice glass serving dish. Chill it until the ingredients have completely congealed. This recipe makes 6 to 8 palate-pleasing servings.

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Contact the writer at tgmhatchell@yahoo.com.

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