One of the hobbies I have is reading old cookbooks. I have a review of a classic gem from the 19th Century by Mrs. Owens elsewhere on this site. I find many interesting recipes and rediscover ideas and solutions to problems that have been long forgotten. Although sometimes I laugh when I see them on “life hack” links on my social media. Don’t know what I mean? Like rubbing a walnut on scratched furniture to make the scratch less noticeable. So as the cucumbers started filling out on the vines, and piling up at the markets, I went back to an old recipe that I adapted from The Searchlight Cookbook (mine is the 23rd edition, published in 1952). This is not your run of the mill cucumber salad that uses vinegar and onions.
I went back to the original recipe to see how many changes I made, and there were quite a few. While I was looking through the book, I saw recipes for other cucumber dishes, including scalloped cucumbers and creamed cucumbers, both of which sounded rather unappealing. But I realized that may be because the only cooked cucumber I ever ate was a pickle. I might just have to try one of those recipes and get back to you next week. But for now, a really unusual side for a hot summer evening.
Cucumber and Cheese Salad
- 2 medium cucumbers, cut length-wise, seeded and diced
- ¾ C sharp cheddar cheese, cubed small
- ¾ C diced celery
- 1 C grated carrots
- 1 sweet pepper, diced
- 1 jalapeño, diced (optional)
- ¼ C relish
- 1 t salt
- ¼ to ½ C mayo or creamy dressing, such as the Cooked Dressing below
- In a colander, combine the cucumber, celery, carrots, pepper(s), and salt. Put a plate on top and weigh it down to press out some of the water. Let rest for about 20 minutes. While you are waiting you can make the cooked dressing below.
- After 20 minutes, press out as much water as you can. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the cheese, relish and about ½ of dressing (you can use mayo or the dressing below). Toss to combine and evenly distribute the dressing.
Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.
In addition to using this as a side, it makes a great stuffing for fresh tomatoes: cut the tops off and scoop out the seeds. Fill the cavity with the salad. A light refreshing lunch or dinner.
(this is good on coleslaw, potato salad, cucumber salad, or a garden salad)
- 2 eggs, well beaten
- 1/4 C melted butter
- 1/2 C white vinegar
- 1 t salt
- 1 t dry mustard
- ¼ t paprika
- 1 T arrowroot powder
- 2 T honey
- In the top of a double boiler, or a metal bowl, combine all ingredients EXCEPT the honey, and mix until it is smooth.
- Place the metal bowl on top of a pot of simmering water, being sure that the water is not boiling up to the level of the bottom of the bowl. Stir constantly until it is thick and very smooth. This may take a few minutes. Be patient.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the honey. Adjust for sweet and salt until you achieve the desired balance.
- Cool and transfer to a glass jar. Store in the refrigerator.