Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Spicy and Sweet Pickling Cucumber Salad

This should have been a Charcutepalooza post. In fact, that post should have been yesterday. My brain is fuzzy, my body tired, I'm completely off my clock.


If you follow this blog at all, you may know I work in television news. In fact, you also may know that, in general, I work nights. The start of my work day is three o'clock in the afternoon; I end at eleven-thirty at night.

Not this week, not until after Labor Day again.

I'm filling in on our station's morning news. Five and a half hours, starting at four-thirty in the morning. That means I'm getting to work around 3-4 a.m. and going to bed while you are all sitting down for dinner. My body clock is a mess. It doesn't really know when to sleep, eat, or even speak. I'm confident it will find its way before the end of these three weeks, and by then, I'll be back to working nights. I miss my husband. We are two ships passing in the night right now. It makes me sad.

It's a pretty bizarre shift. So, what does this have to do with this blog?

I meant to make a beautiful seafood mousseline for this month's Charcutepalooza challenge. I couldn't muster the energy. However, to be honest. All month, I struggled with it. Neither making headcheese (I've tried, I hated, no thank you) or the mousseline sounded appetizing. I struggled with buying the ingredients for something that might go to waste. In the end, it was my sleepy brain that did me in. It just wasn't happening.

I resolve to rejoin my Charcutepalooza friends next month. Until then, I give you pickles.

Sweet-End-of-Summer-Pickles. Sadly, the recipe isn't mine to share with all of you. That belongs to my lovely canning mentor, Robin, over at Doves and Figs. No, what I want to share with you today is leftovers.

Aren't I sweet? You get leftovers.

These are good leftovers, though. I was lucky enough to hit up my local farm, Tendercrop Farm in Newbury, Ma., the other weekend at just the right time. They were *giving away* 10 pickling cucumbers for free to every customer. This is perfect. My little cucumber vine didn't give me enough to really do a good batch of pickles, so this was my chance at pickling glory.

Here's the deal though, I didn't want to do big quarts of pickles, so I hauled out my pint jars. They're perfect, except for one thing. The pickle spears are too long. No problem, right, I chop off the tops. Next issue, I have a ton of small pieces of pickling cucumbers. I also have a few random spears that just didn't fit in the jars. I chop those up too. I'm sure you're thinking, oh well, she can just pickle the chopped pieces, right? Next problem, no brine leftover. Sigh.

I don't like to waste things, so I invented this salad. You can always eat pickling cucumbers like a normal salad cucumber, but it's better drenched in vinegar. This is a perfect way to use up whatever you have leftover so there's no waste. It makes a perfect little side dish!

Spicy and Sweet Pickling Cucumber Salad
(printable recipe)
Serves: 4

  • 2 cups roughly chopped pickling cucumbers
  • 1/4 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, toss until everything is well-coated in the vinegar.
  2. Cover and place in the refrigerator for two hours or overnight.
  3. Serve and enjoy!

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Isabelle @ Crumb said...

I decided not to make homemade pickles this year, but I'm still going to make this salad... I love me some fresh cucumber salad, especially with the gorgeous local cucumbers at the market right now.

Christy @ The Daily Dish said...

Girl, I LOVE your leftovers!  And the best part (for me at least)?  They're salt free!  So I can eat as many honkin pickles as I want.  I am definitely making and sharing this on my site.  Thanks so much!

Erin @ A Nesting Experience said...

Yum! This looks so delicious, light, fresh, and totally flavorful. Thanks for posting!

Cabot Creamery RD said...

Well I for one like the pickles better. I love my cheese, but not headcheese ;-)

And hats off to you for the hours you're keeping. I used to do a lot of morning TV work and the hours are so tough! Not sure how so many people do it for so many years. 

Anne Maxfield said...

That's how I felt about last month's Charcutepalooza challenge...didn't want to be spending the rest of the summer working through a hunk of bologna or a mess of hot dogs, luckily it's pretty flexible. Still have a kirby or two so will give this a try!

Celia said...

Ohhh, Kim, I so feel you!  I'm totally bummed I missed terrine this month, too - I was going to do headcheese, but I wasn't in one kitchen for long enough to get it together.  These pickles are lovely, though, and I'm looking forward to your pate when things calm down! :-)

Kimmy @ Lighter and Local said...

Sometimes life gets in the way, right? I'll catch up at some point!

Kimmy @ Lighter and Local said...

It's so simple and refreshing. It goes with nearly anything!

Kimmy @ Lighter and Local said...

It's fairly new, and something I could see doing for a couple of years, but beyond that, it would be really rough! It is nice having afternoons off, however!

Kimmy @ Lighter and Local said...

Salt free and super tasty! Enjoy!

Kimmy @ Lighter and Local said...

I used pickling, but you could use any sort of cucumber. There's so many out there right now!

Christy @ The Daily Dish said...

Just posted your recipe on The Daily Dish.  Thanks so much for sharing, Kimmy!!  These salt-free "pickles" are amazing. :)