Recently my grandfather passed away and it made me think back on all the items that he’d shared with me over the years. From instilling my love of computers and spreadsheets, to games and cooking. So I’d thought I’d share two of my favorite family recipes. The first a cucumber salad that anyone would loves a pickle will love, and second an old favorite open faced sandwich called “Cement” from my childhood summers up with my grandfather.
German Cucumber Salad
6 servings of 1 cup / Calories per Serving: 85 / 57% Carb, 28% Fat, 15% Protein
This is great on a hot day, cold day. Light, refreshing, and crisp, the only down side it takes at least 3 hours to make (although a full day makes it even better). Even better it’s very low calorie (assuming you don’t eat the whole batch in one sitting).
- 3 English Cucumbers (skinned or not)
- 1/2 to 1 medium red onion (or Vidalia onion works too)
- 1 teaspoon dill
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1/3 cup vinegar (aka 6T)
- 1/2 8oz container sour cream
- Salt & Pepper
- Take the onion and cucumbers and slice them thin. I tend to use my 12 cup food processor to do the quickly but a mandolin, cheese slicer, or even by hand (if you can do it thin enough) works too. The amount of onion you want depends on your tastes. I prefer a whole onion, most I’ve found prefer closer to half of one.
- Transfer to a strainer in a bowl (I perfer to use a salad spinner) in three layers, with salt added onto (about a teaspoon or so) onto each time. The point is to aid in removing water from the cumbers. Most of the salt will be removed when the water drains away, with enough left to add to the overall flavor later.
- After the first hour you’ll need to remove any water that is pooled at the bottom and the cucumbers have wilted drastically. You may need to do it ahead of an hour. The point is to keep the cucumbers out of the water.
- Repeat this a few times. Depending on amount of salt, temperature, and how much patience you have, this should be done at least for 3 hours (although overnight works even better). The less water in the cucumbers, the less watery the salad will be. The goal is to reduce the amount in the bowl by about half. The cucumbers are ready when you can easily bend them in half without any resistance or breaking.
- Mix together vinegar and sugar (1/3 cup is 6 Tablespoons, so looking at a 1 to 6 ratio). Add the sour cream, dill, and pepper (you won’t need to add salt… trust me). Put aside till your cucumber’s are ready.
- When your ready to combine, first taste the cucumbers to ensure it’s not too salty (if so, rinse slightly in water to rinse off excess salt). Add the sour cream mixture to the Cucumbers. Mix together. Let sit for 1 hour (although longer will help everything blend better). Serve cold.
- If you’ve managed to have it last long enough to make it to the fridge for a while, make sure to mix briefly before consuming.
I often will make more than 1 batch. I’ll transfer it to a plastic container for easy storage and consumption.
Bonus Recipe: Cement
4 servings of 2 Sandwiches / Calories per serving: 255 / 61% Carb, 10% Fat, 29% Protein
This one is incredible simply, but brings me back to the summers I spent at my grandfather’s. I’d be working outside and come in for a quick bite to eat. Often we’d have something my grandfather just called “cement”, due to its appearance and the way you’d just troll it onto the bread. It was quick to make, easy to eat and refreshing on those hot days. The tanginess of the onion and cottage cheese was balanced by the earthy nuttiness of the Rye bread. I’ve since upped the flavors a bit from the basics I learned those summers, and included those changes at the bottom.
- 1 8oz container cottage cheese (I use 1% low fat)
- 1 med red onion – Diced (although a Vidalia sweet onion works too)
- 8 slices Hearty Rye Bread
- Salt & Pepper
I often make it just for myself, so I place the other 3 servings back in the cottage cheese container to use later. Speaking of my own tweaks, here are the addition flavors I’ve added to it to spruce it up some: (per serving)
Mix the Dill, Chipotle Pepper, and garlic together and into the mixture. Once the sandwich is created, top with the tomatoes.