not your grandmother’s cucumber salad

One of my favorite cucumber salads is made by Hu Nan Restaurant in Ardmore. It’s hot and sweet. They do a similar cabbage salad as well.

I have never been able to exactly replicate their cucumber salad, but they have inspired my updating a summer staple.

I take three English hothouse cucumbers and peel and slice them into thin rounds. These are the cucumbers considered “burpless”. If I don’t like the way they look at the grocery store, I will use regular cucumbers and peel and cut them in half and scoop out the seeds.

When my cucumbers are all sliced I put them in a bowl and toss them with salt to taste and about 4 tablespoons of white sugar and set aside.

Salt. I am in love with a locally made seasoning salt my husband found for me. It’s called Jake’s Prime Seasoning Salt. It’s a small batch salt from Wallingford, PA. You can order it on their website. It is the first seasoning salt that I think can give Jane’s Krazy Mixed Up Salt a run for her money.

Next I slice up thin one red onion and cut it into more bite size pieces. I add that to my bowl.

Sometimes I add a chopped up red bell pepper to this, but never a green bell pepper.

Following adding the red onion to the bowl, I add the fresh dill. I love dill and do not have a set pre-measured amount. I just chop up a healthy handful from my garden (if I have it and at present almost depleted thanks to the rain), or I buy a bunch at the grocery store.

Next comes the “dressing”. I usually just eyeball it but will attempt to write it down:

1/4 white wine vinegar (or half wine vinegar and half rice wine vinegar)

2 teaspoons of sesame seed oil

2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes or Hatch green chile flakes

I wisk the dressing together in a little bowl, pour it over the cucumbers and onions and dill in the larger bowl and mix it all up. Then I cover and refrigerate until it’s time for dinner (or lunch as it also makes a lovely luncheon salad.)

Enjoy!

summer salad x 2 = delicious

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I purchased some amazing produce at the West Chester Growers Market yesterday. So I decided to share with you some simple summer recipes to turn farm fresh veggies into delicious salads that were inspired by what I purchased and by the herbs growing in my garden.

Before I begin I am going to add a footnote about the parking. Last year, the lot adjacent to the market was open for parking. This year a lot of the spaces are marked off reserved….and are always empty. I don’t know whose parking lot that is adjacent to the public lot which the market sits upon but it would be nice if the Borough of West Chester maybe helped a bit more in the parking cooperativeness on Saturday mornings? After all, this market brings people to town every week.

Anyway, at the market I found the most beautiful red and yellow beets that were small and firm. I also found terrific young onions (sometimes known as spring onions) , and fresh cucumbers.

These ingredients have made two summer salads: old fashioned cucumber salad and mixed beet salad.

Mixed Beet Salad

2 bunches of smaller sized fresh beets
(Trim the tops and root ends off the beets after washing any dirt off the beet. Roast them at 350 degrees in a foil packet on a baking pan. All you do is salt and pepper the whole beets and sprinkle with olive oil. The beets take 30- 40 minutes to roast.)

1 red onion or large red spring onion chopped small

1 clove garlic minced fine

Dill (fresh), salt, pepper

4 tablespoons of olive oil

6 tablespoons red wine vinegar

After beets are roasted and cooled, peel them. Slice into thin, uniform slices. Add the onion and rest of ingredients and toss and chill.

Cucumber Salad

2 Cucumbers peeled and sliced thin

2 teaspoons of white sugar

Salt, pepper, fresh dill

1 red onion or large red spring onion chopped fine

7 or 8 tablespoons red wine vinegar

After you peel and slice the cucumbers dress with salt to taste and sprinkle the sugar over them. Toss.

Add the onion and dill to taste, add salt only if you think you need more and crack some fresh pepper over everything. Toss and chill.

Both of these recipes can be increased proportionately. Keep refrigerated and these salads are good for a few days.

Enjoy!