Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Braised Cucumbers- Not All They're Cracked Up To Be.

Ok, I saw Julie and Julia, I'm sure I've mentioned this before because I absolutely loved it. Now, in that movie I distinctly remember Julie saying "braised cucumbers are a revelation".

So, for some reason I got it in my head this week that I was going to make them. I had a cucumber, why not! When I googled it, I realized that not only had half of the people writing food blogs had the same idea I did, but that I was also pretty late to the party. And, as I read, things came up like "heaven on a plate" and "amazing" and "a classic". I have to say, I don't know WHAT these people are thinking.

This was not the grossest thing I've ever made- that prize goes to the Dulce de Leche I screwed up a while back (newly filed in my growing "disasters" category). But, it was, lets just say, not good.

Here is what everyone says to do....

1 big cucumber (or 2 regular sized)
1 tbsp butter
1 dash salt
1 tsp lemon juice
1 pinch dried mint
squeeze lemon juice

Peel cucumber, cut into quarters and remove seeds. Then, cut it into 1 inch pieces (note: mine were bigger. I have no even remote inkling that cutting them smaller would have helped). Melt butter (note: I used Earth Balance. it does make them vegan, which only matters if you actually eat them. I don't think butter would have saved these things, I really don't) in a pan and add the cucumber. Cover and cook about 10 minutes on medium heat. Stir in salt, lemon, and mint. Cover and cook another 2 minutes.

 Looks so promising, right? At this point I was wildly optimistic and fantasizing about this becoming my new secret recipe.

 Now, I'm not even going to TELL you about the chicken, which was a mediocre mustard crusted chicken tender concoction. I will tell you about the cucumbers, but let me tell you- I ate the mediocre chicken (hey, a girls gotta eat something, and everything can't be perfect), and I only ate 2 cucumbers (one to see how it tasted, another to verify, and the rest weren't long for this world).

They tasted like hot soggy cucumbers. That is all. They weren't transformed, they weren't magical, they were exactly what they sound like if you imagine slowly cooking a cucumber. Sadly, they are not my new secret recipe, to say the least.

To rescue this, if you want my ACTUAL favorite cucumber recipe, it is super easy, and here you go: very thinly slice one large English cucumber. Sprinkle on either seasoned rice vinegar and salt and pepper OR seasoned rice vinegar, a little sesame oil, and red pepper flakes. That on is good, I swear.


Thomas Joseph said...

Doing anything with cucumbers, other than serving them raw and as close to their natural state as possible, is impossible.

I tried making a cold cucumber soup once ... tasted like how I would imagine ass tastes.

Cucumbers sliced with salt, pepper, a bit of garlic powder and your favorite hot sauce (I use Cackalacky) is the best route to go IMO.

yellowfish said...

Yes, 'ass' just about sums it up... your recipe sounds good, I agree, clearly with cucumbers simpler is better!


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