After weeks of me fussing and fretting over it, the potager (vegetable garden) has finally started to produce. I can hear the garden gods laughing "you wanted it; here it is". Now comes the eternal question: What do I do with all of it? The freezer is slowly filling up with courgette: (zucchini), freezer bags full of shredded, boxes full of soup; and tomatoes: baggies of sauce and peeled chunks; and herbs of all sorts. But cucumbers don't really take to being frozen, and it seems a shame to box up all of those cute little cherry tomatoes.
I make lots of Tomato Salad with the little yellow and red cherry and grape tomatoes – that I always plant too many of. With lots of garlic, fresh basil and sea salt, It's great the first day and keeps getting better. Cucumber salad has always been a summer staple in my family, usually for Sunday dinner along side a pot roast. But when the cucumber plants are producing in full swing it's not enough. It's no use trying to be generous with the neighbors in rural France; everyone is walking around with produce in aprons and bags, trying to pawn it off on unsuspecting victims. Time to hit the family archives for another tried and true summer hit: Refrigerator Pickles!
These are 'not-quite cucumber salad; not-quite pickles'. They keep for a month, are great on sandwiches or on their own, and are so easy to make it's almost embarrassing. Here's the recipe:
3 – 4 cucumbers, thinly sliced – but with a knife, about 1/16th" thick (.2cm)
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 1/2 tsp celery salt
1 1/2 tsp regular, sea or pickling salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
Put cucumbers, peppers and onions in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salts, mix well and allow to site at room temperature for 1 – 3 hours. At the same time mix sugar and vinegar and set aside – it takes awhile for the sugar to dissolve into the vinegar, so it's best to do it ahead. After a couple of hours add the sugar/vinegar to the cucumbers, mix well and refrigerate. They are ready in a day and keep for a month.
We won't even talk about the zucchini….but if you are looking for more recipes (can one ever have enough?) try my vegetable recipe archives.
Enjoy the bounty of the season…..it's so fleeting….