Intro

cucumber

First of all let me apologize for my delay. We are embarking on the exciting roller coaster ride that is selling and then consequently buying a home. My husband and I decided to move back to Seattle for numerous reasons (this being one just for starters). Our life is on hiatus at the moment as our next move is to be determined by the selling of our current home. We are hopeful and trust that we will end up where we need to be but in the mean time we have moved out of our home, moved in with my wonderful in-laws and attempting to regain a bit of normalcy for our sanity and for our two young boys who are handling all of this extremely well.

cucumber2
Thanks for being patient with me and keep the comments/emails coming I love them and read them all even if I fail to respond in a timely fashion. And hang tight as Artisan Sweets is about to get a NEW name and a NEW killer design. Lots of change and excitement around here! In the meantime let’s talk about CUCUMBERS.

Maybe it’s just me.
cucumber3
During the winter months the variety of local produce dwindles. In my box of organic produce that gets delivered to my door every other Tuesday I begin to notice an abundance of greens, apples and cucumbers where I usually see immense variety, vibrant colors and unique products that eagerly await my creativity to put them to good use.

The apples get devoured by myself and my two boys before they ever have a chance to be covered by a flaky crust. The greens often get a brief saute with a myriad of vegetables then tossed with pasta, olive oil and parmesean.

But the cucumbers. What do I do with the cucumbers? Is it just me or are there others whose data bank of cucumber recipes merely involve tea sandwiches and perfect rounds for removing puffiness? Surely there is more to the slender, green vegetable than pickles and spa water.

After the last two cucumbers that once again sat in the fridge for a couple of days until I finally just sliced them and ate with a little vinegar and olive oil, I decided that they deserve more from me. But what?

Thus I began my Cucumber experiment. Well, not really an experiment, more like a search to seek out other recipes that highlight this misused or underused vegetable.
cucumber4

If you are not like me and you have recipes that make a lowly cucumber sing please let me know. I would love to try them. In the meantime I found a few recipes of interest and will be steadily posting them to the blog.

The first recipe I found most intriguing as I have never cooked and/or baked my cucumber. Cucumber au Gratin is a simple dish that involves boiling then layering the cucumbers with Gruyere and butter. The gratin is then baked and emerges from the oven bubbly and delicious. Please excuse the appearance of the dish. Had I used the correct baking pan I’m sure the results would have been a bit more attractive, but remember you are being patient with me because of the whole moving thing. I have absolutely no idea where my baking dishes are. Well, I have some idea – in an unlabeled box hidden behind the mountain of other unlabeled boxes.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and taste is really what’s important here. I won’t go on and on about how it was the most fantastic thing I’ve ever put into my mouth because it wasn’t. It was, however, surprisingly tasty and so simple that I can guarantee this dish will be making its way onto our table again.

Baked cucumber with gruyere? I had no idea.
cucumber5
Cucumber au Gratin

adapted from B’s Cucumber recipes

  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Gruyere cheese
  • salt & black pepper
  • 3-4 Tbs butter

Peel the cucumbers & cut them into 1 inch pieces. Slice each piece in half lengthwise & remove the seeds. Cook the cucumber in boiling salted water for 10 minutes, then drain & dry. Arrange a layer of cucumber in the base of a buttered ovenproof dish. Sprinkle with a third of the cheese, & season with salt & pepper. Repeat these layers, finishing with cheese. Dot the top with butter. Bake the cucumber gratin in the center of a preheated oven at 400 for 30 minutes.

 

14 Responses to “Cucumbers?”

  1. jamintburton

    My favorite Cucumber is always in Greek food. Gyros and their sauce spell out wonderful cucumber and mint. I would be happy to give you a turkey Gyro recipe complete with the sauce if you are interested. Delicious.

    Reply
  2. Rachel

    Longtime reader, don’t know if I’ve commented before.

    I’m only a teenager, but I’ve been around the public school system here if you need any input on school options – don’t know if you had school-age kids when you left, or how old your boys are (or if school is even an issue yet) – shoot me an email if you have any questions, though.

    Reply
  3. Steel Phoenix

    I was on a low carb diet about a decade ago (pre-Atkins) and I had to get creative to find things to eat. One of the things I came up with was slicing cucumbers into really thin long strips and making a spaghetti sauce (warm, not hot) to pour over them. They make a surprisingly passable spaghetti noodle, and are fresh and light compared to their wheaty counterpart.

    Reply
  4. artisansweets

    I guess I am the only one with cucumber recipe issues. Thanks for all the tips.
    Rachel – Thank you so much for commenting. I have a ways to go before my boys enter the school system.

    Reply
  5. Elyse

    Oh, man, what a wonderful yet hectic time! Good luck with the buy and the selling!! In the mean time, this gratin look so fabulous. What a totally unique dish. But, hey, I love cucumbers, so why not?! I can’t wait to try this!

    Reply
  6. Kelly

    Those look delicious – who knew!

    BTW – trying out some jalapeno pickles with my over abundance of cucumbers.

    Also – Lebanese Cucumber and Mint Yogurt Salad is soooo delicious. I have a great simpe recipe from my Lebanese Nana if you want it, just email me :)

    Reply
  7. webgenii

    I make the following cucumber salad with pickled ginger

    1 English cucumber thinly sliced
    1 grated carrot or 1 red/yellow/orange pepper diced
    3 green onions finely chopped
    2-3 tablespoons minced pickled ginger
    2 tablespoons sesame oil

    optional 2 – 3 tablespoons sunflower seeds

    Reply
  8. Melissa

    I like to make a pineapple mint salad with my cucumbers. if you can find it, use pineapple mint. If you can’t then regular mint works just fine, you’ll just want to add a little more pineapple juice than usual. the other key is lots of black pepper. I call it a black and green salad.

    Reply
  9. Scott

    I know we’re way out of garden season, and a year and a quarter since the last comment, but try this one. No reason it couldn’t be made with a grocery store cucumber also.

    Cucumber Agua Fresca (Mexican cucumber beverage)
    2 cucumbers, peel and chop roughly
    juice of 2 lemons
    sugar to taste (about 1/2 to 3/4 cup in my experience)
    water

    Put cucumbers into blender with water close to the top, blend at high speed for quite a few seconds, or even a minute or two. Pour through a fine strainer, maybe even through cheesecloth after that. Pour into a gallon jug, add lemon juice, sugar to taste, fill it up most of the way with water, shake until your sugar is dissolved, then top it up with water (use some ice if you wish.) (You could use lime instead of lemon, it’s probably a little more authentic Mexican.)

    It surprised me how good and refreshingly summery this was. My dad, before we told him what it was, thought it was honeydew melon!

    Reply
  10. Fran

    Responding a little late, but just discovered your site today and am loving many of the recipes. My favorite use for cucumers is Cucumber Soup. I crave this as we come into warm weather, it’s the perfect way to start a summer meal! I want to try the Cucumber Gratin but I think I will try making it with rounds more like a Potatoe Gratin . Thanks!

    Reply

Post a Comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>