My husband makes fun of me because I have an uncanny ability to remember seemingly minute (and perhaps useless) details related to important life events. Like, he’ll say, “Sara remember the time we went on that amazing date and I got you that super awesome gift and shared all of the inner most parts of my soul with you?” And I’ll instantly know what he’s referring to and say “Um..ya, you mean that one time when I was wearing that gray sweater and my red heels and I had my hair up, but not all the way up, but casually-messy up, and you wore those one pants with the hole in the knee and the flip-flops I bought you in Cali and on the way to the car I dropped my chap-stick?”
And that’s when he just stares at me.
I’m convinced this talent will some day win me lots of money on a random game show or something, but in the mean time it can also provide us with some good recipes. See I remember a family bbq from about 2 years ago. I know where we were, but I can’t even list the people that were there. What I do remember, and I remember it well, was that my sister-in-law Monica showed up (and yes, I do know what she was wearing) with a little plastic container of awesome cucumbers.
Husband: “Hey Sara, remember that really important family bbq we had where all of those earth-shattering things happened?”
Sara: “Um, ya, you mean the one where Monica brought those awesome cucumbers? Totally remember that.”
I’ve remembered that for two years and even though that was the only time I tasted them, I found myself craving them a few weeks ago. So I got the recipe from her and here we are! See? I knew my talent was useful.
These are tangy and sweet with a little bit of a kick. It makes a great side-dish for summer bbq’s. There’s something incredibly refreshing about cold cucumbers, right? And if you have cukes coming out of your ears garden, then this is especially for you.
You only need cucumbers and the stuff below- easy!
Peel those cukes and slice them up. If you have small cucumbers you can slice them whole, if they’re larger sized, slice cucumber in half length-wise first like in my picture below.
Next you’ll salt the cucumbers- don’t skip this step! Salting cucumbers draws out the moisture. If you don’t do this step, then all of this moisture will come out in the final dish and water it down. I actually salt my cucumbers before making tzatziki as well because otherwise it tends to get watery after sitting in the fridge. So there’s a good tip for ya!
While your cucumbers are draining you can prepare the simple marinade. Heat up rice vinegar, sugar, and red pepper flakes in a pan and after it’s reduced add some minced red onion. I used a gorgeous red onion from my garden!
(On that note- any local friends need onions?? I have more than I know what to do with. Skip the store and come to my house!)
I love the flecks of color from the red pepper flakes and the red onions. Pretty, right? Just pour on the sauce and toss the cucumbers in it.
You can serve this immediately, but I think it’s best when it’s really really chilled so I recommend leaving it in the fridge for a few hours. It also allows time for the cukes to soak up all of the flavors.
It’s a great side-dish for any bbq meal, or just along side grilled chicken or steak. Try it out at a pot-luck and listen for the oohs and aahs.
Sweet and Spicy Cucumber Slices
1-1/2 lbs cucumber (about 3 medium), peeled, halved lengthwise & thinly sliced
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 c rice vinegar, seasoned or regular
1/2 c water
3 Tbs sugar*
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 Tbs minced red onion
*I’ve even made this with Splenda and they turned out great!
Place cucumber slices in a colander sitting over a bowl, sprinkle with salt and toss well. Let sit for 1 hour refrigerated. Toss the cukes a few times while they drain as well. While cucumber slices are draining, prepare marinade below.
Combine vinegar, water, sugar and red pepper in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cook until reduced to a 1/3 cup (about 10 minutes). If for some reason you boil for too long, just add a little water until you have 1/3 C. Remove reduction from heat and add onion. Let mixture cool to room temp.
When cucumbers are done resting, pat them dry with a few paper towels and then combine with the vinegar reduction. This can be served immediately, but for best results refrigerate until well chilled.