Saturday, August 27, 2016

Hot as a cucumber

Summer's starting to wind down. Some days, I'm all clammy by the time I'm done with my walk, the heat and humidity making me feel like I might be mistaken for the creature from the Black Lagoon. Other days, the early chill in the air means I can almost feel the onset of the Halloween season, even if I'm not ready to break out a Michael Myers mask just yet.

What cliche immediately springs to mind when I say cucumber? Cool as a cucumber, right? Somehow, I've never felt quite right about hot cucumber recipes, even though I've never actually tried one. They must be all right if I run across them with some regularity, but they just seem wrong somehow. Cukes are supposed to be cool, dammit! So today, in honor of that seasonal blending of hot and cold (You wondered how I'd tie that intro in, didn't you?), here are some hot cucumber recipes.

A lot of hot cucumber recipes pretty simple, like this one from Weight Watchers International Cookbook (Weight Watchers International, 1977):

This is a '70s Weight Watchers recipe for sure: a non-starchy vegetable, some buttermilk, seasoning, and not much else. I'm just surprised there's no dehydrated minced onion.

This recipe from the Rosicrucian Fellowship's New Age Vegetarian Cookbook (copyright 1968, 1975 edition) turns the hot cucumber and dairy mixture into a soup:

It's pureed and thickened with soybean flour because that's just what vegetarians did back then. Yay for hot, thick cucumber-y baby food.

Stuffed cucumbers were pretty popular, too. Favorite Recipes of Home Economics Teachers: Vegetables (Including Fruits) (1966) offers a simple tomato-pulp-and-breadcrumb filling:

I know it wouldn't sound weird at all if it were a zucchini recipe, but there's something about the flavor of cucumbers that makes this whole thing sound inexplicably "off" to me...

Family Circle's Vegetables and Meatless Meals Cookbook (1978) gets more elaborate:

The cucumbers are stuffed with sauteed radishes and bread crumbs, partially baked, then finished in a pool of custard and with a Swiss cheese topping. That seems like a lot of work when I imagine peppers (or once again, zucchini) would taste way better (especially if the radishes were swapped out for something yummier-- like the tomatoes in the last recipe)!

If you want your cucumbers really, really cooked, then Rival Crock-Pot Cooking (1975) has the recipe for you:

Cook those cukes for up to ten hours with some condensed cream of chicken soup and additional broth! You can garnish the soup with reserved cucumbers to get some of the fresh cucumber taste with that long-simmered cucumber flavor (whatever that may be)...

I'm going to stick to my favorite cucumber recipe: slice fresh cucumber into rounds or wedges. Sprinkle on some salt. Eat. Then forget about cucumbers for another year.


  1. This reminds me of grandma wondering if you can cook kohlrabi, "it tastes like cabbage so you must be able to". Never mind that cabbage shouldn't be cooked as far as I'm concerned.

    1. I don't even remember the kohlrabi, but I have a feeling I'm glad about that. I'm not really a cabbage person, but it's fine if there are a few shreds of it mixed in with other salad greens.

    2. That was a recent idea, that thankfully happened at the very end of my visit.

    3. That was a recent idea, that thankfully happened at the very end of my visit.

    4. Sounds like you got lucky on that count...

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  3. Those cukes never stood a chance! In my experience, cucumbers get bland and soggy once you've cooked them. Still, I would have LOVED to have been the test kitchen when they were concocting these recipes

    1. I'm glad to know I don't seem to be missing out on anything! The slow cooker one seems especially egregious.