Judith Hausman
July 25, 2012

Photo by Judith Hausman

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Garden-bounty dinners are my favorite.

After two hot weeks and two rainstorms, the cukes have popped. We raided the vines last weekend, uncovering a few giant specimens lurking under the prickly leaves. Still, I was sure they could be salvaged. Overgrown cucurbits require just a little more care unless they are hopelessly dry, woody and bitter.

I peeled these big cucumbers, which I normally don’t need to do. I even scooped out the seedy, but still juicy, centers, which I halved and sliced. (Using a food processor will make even thinner slices.) I could have salted and drained the slices and mixed them into sour cream, but instead, I splashed on a dressing that I could make the fastest and let the cucumber salad sit while I dashed through the quick prep for the rest of our sunset dinner. These garden-bounty dinners are my favorites of the year.

Recipe: Sweet and Sour Cucumber Salad

Servings: About 4


  • 1 to 3 large cucumbers, peeled, seeded and sliced thinly
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons rice vinegar or other mild, white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • splash of fish sauce
  • splash of soy sauce
  • splash of sesame oil
  • several grinds of black pepper

Seasoning variations:

  • toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon minced hot pepper or a dash of red pepper flakes
  • 4 to 6 Italian or Thai basil leaves, torn
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons dill, minced (omit sesame oil, fish sauce and soy sauce)


Mix all ingredients. Let marinate and chill for about 20 to 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

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