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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Cucumbers producing, so here's a recipe for Thai hot and sweet cucumber salad.

Cucumbers like well drained soil, but they also like consistent watering and that's what mine have been getting during these 100F and high 90's days. I have them on a 15 minute daily drip, but I give them and other plants extra water in the morning and sometimes a bit more in the evening on the super hot days. I must be doing everything right because my one mound which three days ago gave me my first, and only cucumber, now are producing two to three more a day!

Here's the recipe I use for the Thai Cucumber salad. It's really delicious. I suggest going light on the serranos even if you like heat as much as I do. You can always add more later. Our commercial serranos are quiet large, compared to the type I grew on my own years ago.

 Thai Cucumber salad:

3 large cucumbers, peeled and very thinly sliced.
1 T kosher salt
1/2 C rice vinegar
1/2 C or more of white sugar
1-2 Serrano chilies seeded and very finely minced
1/8 - 1/4 C finely chopped cilantro leaves (I probably just add the smaller amount so the cilantro isn't too dominant a flavor.
1/2 of a small red onion thinly sliced, then chopped into small pieces (about 1/2" long)
Add enough water to reduce the sharpness of the vinegar to your taste.

Put the cucumber in a colander in the sink and sprinkle with the T of salt. Toss to get the salt distributed and let the cucumber sit in the colander for a half an hour. Meantime you can mix the other ingredients for the dressing except the cilantro, whisking long enough to dissolve the sugar and blend all the ingredients well.After a half hour, drain the cucumbers well and press to drain the excess water. Add the cucumbers to the dressing,and adjust seasonings. I usually add a touch of salt and maybe a bit more of the minced serranos if it's not as hot as I like. Lastly, sprinkle on the cilantro and toss lightly.

OPTIONAL: you can add some finely minced peanuts right before you serve the cucumbers. If I don't have any on hand I skip it. They're perfectly fine without them.

These are a delicious side dish with BBQ, baked or broiled chicken and pork dishes or as a side with a sandwich, Thai or other S.E. Asian dishes. They're sweet, slightly hot, and so cooling.

If you're ambitious you can make pickles, or just peel them cut in half horizontally and the cut each half piece in half vertically, and then cut each vertical half into thirds and use them to dip into your favorite dip, or even Marie's ranch dressing which works well as a dip for these, baby carrots, raw cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, snow pea pods, etc. etc.

And then there's the old stand by of Cucumber with sour cream and dill leaves. In fact, you can use a classic cucumber dill sour cream recipe, but instead of using vinegar, use lemon juice and instead of slicing the peeled cucumber, dice them, and serve it as a topping for baked or grilled salmon. It is wonderful accompaniment for the salmon.

It's been a very busy garden morning prepping a couple of small areas and planting the lettuce seeds that I had sitting on wet hand towel paper and in a zip lock sandwich bag for two days. Then I fed most of the other veggies, other than the tomatoes, brussel sprouts, and three of the four various squash mounds. I'll get those tonight after dinner. After a bit of weeding and then hand watering all those beds and parts of my flower garden and deck planters, it was time to think about breakfast, which actually turned out to be an early lunch instead!

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