Cool Cucumbers with Sour Cream & Mint with a Yogurt Variation

I’m always looking for ways to use the endless supply of cucumbers growing in my garden. This recipe is just right on a hot summer day. It combines slices of cucumbers and white onions with a sour cream dressing. I added in just a little dried dill and fresh mint from my garden. And finally, a way to use my garden mint. For a variation, I made the recipe using non-fat plain yogurt for a healthy alternative.

Growing Mint in Louisiana Garden

Mint grows very well in a Louisiana garden; I have both peppermint and spearmint. In fact, mint is sort of like a weed and grows without any attention. The plants spread along runners and can quickly overtake a garden bed and everything in its way. On the positive side, mint grows best in a shady area of the garden–and I have several shady gardens. It is nice to step outside and pick a few aromatic leaves to add to a half-gallon of ice tea.

I don’t run across many recipes which use mint as an ingredient — cucumbers and sour cream is a good one and the mint adds a surprising and refreshing flavor. This is some of the spearmint growing in my garden.

Cucumbers

Cucumbers also grow well in Louisiana. I planted these in early April and the began to get ripe cucumbers in May. (The cucumbers are the plants in the foreground of this photo.) I always get carried away and purchase too many seedling plants — but I want to make sure I have some to harvest. Most of these cucumbers became pickles. And we pick a few every night for salads.

Recipe Ingredients

This recipe is very easy to make. Here are the ingredients for “Cool Cucumbers with Sour Cream & Mint.” I like to use smaller cucumbers, if possible, in this salad. And an onion? I like to add a small, sweet white onion. Why? Well, I love onions and this adds a flavorful contrast to the cucumbers.

To make the recipe, slice the cucumbers and onion. A mandoline slicer makes this task much easier and the cucumbers come out evenly sliced. I especially like the hand holder on the slicer — it prevents your fingers from getting nicked, too. How many times has that happened?

Should you peel the cucumbers? Cucumbers purchased at a grocery store are sometimes waxed for longer preservation. These should definitely be pared (or peeled). And for cucumbers from a garden or farmer’s market, peeling them is optional. Towards the end of the season when the cucumbers are larger with many seeds, I prefer to peel them and hollow out the seeds. I find that paring also helps remove the bitter taste which is sometimes found with cucumbers late in the season which were subjected to dry growing conditions.

Yogurt Variation

I made a tasty variation to this salad using non-fat plain yogurt replacing the sour cream. I added a little olive oil to the dressing. It makes a very healthy and low-fat alternative and tasted just as good. Couldn’t tell the difference.

Here’s “Cool Cucumbers with Sour Cream & Mint.” This is a flavorful way to use cucumbers. In the summer months, when cucumbers are easily found in farmers markets and grocery stores, its a good time to use fresh vegetables.

Cool Cucumbers with Sour Cream & Mint with a Yogurt Variation

  • Servings: 4 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 2 medium cucumbers (12 oz or 2 cups peeled and sliced)
  • 1 small sweet, white onion
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or plain non-fat yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil (omit if using sour cream)
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp fresh mint leaves, finely torn, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tsp dried dill seeds
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Method and Steps:

  1. Wash the cucumbers and remove any rough nubs. Cut off about 1/4 inch from each end and discard., If desired, pare skin from cucumbers and hollow out removing seeds.
  2. Using mandoline slicer, slice cucumber into thin slices. Place in medium size bowl. Set aside.
  3. Peel onion, slice thinly using mandoline slicer, separate into individual rings and add to cucumbers, alternating layers.
  4. In small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients–sour cream, dill, finely minced mint and salt. (If using non-fat plain yogurt, add olive oil.)
  5. Pour dressing over cucumber and onion slices, carefully toss to combine.
  6. Cover with lid or plastic wrap, place in refrigerator and chill for several hours.
  7. Prior to serving, remove from refrigerator and garnish with fresh mint.

Heirloom Tomatoes with Classic French Vinaigrette

Once again, I’m attempting to grow tomatoes in my backyard garden. I love fresh, ripe tomatoes in the summertime and am not giving up as a gardener. This time I have a few green Heirloom tomatoes on my tomato vines. Hurrah! I’ll add a few more tomatoes from the market for a grand tomato salad because I’m getting tired of waiting for my tomatoes to ripen. I’m serving the tomatoes with my favorite salad dressing, “Classic French Vinaigrette.” This vinaigrette recipe has been my “go to” dressing for years for any type of salad greens or tomatoes. My dressing is “light” in flavor, adds just enough pizzazz to dress up the tomatoes and salad and includes one “secret ingredient.”

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Cookin’ in the Kitchen: Carrot Salad with Golden Raisins & Pineapple

A recent survey showed that carrots are our country’s third most popular vegetable after corn and potatoes. (I wonder if this could refer to raw carrots rather than cooked carrots?) I do remember that carrot sticks were packed in practically every brown bag lunch that I ever ate when growing up. I can’t say that I loved the carrots, but I did tolerate them. Recently, Marie made a delightful carrot salad which is a delicious way to serve this vegetable. Marie’s recipe combines carrots with golden raisins and pineapple for a flavorful combination. And I used pre-shredded carrots to make this an easy “one-bowl” recipe. So while we are cookin’ at home, here is an easy variation of Marie’s recipe.

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Cookin’ in the Kitchen: Easy Classic Coleslaw

While we are “cookin’ in the kitchen” and staying home rather than eating out in restaurants, let’s make coleslaw. This vegetable salad is very nutritious and we all need to try to boost the Vitamin A and C content of our meals to keep up immune resistance. Plus, my husband declares that this is the best coleslaw that he has eaten. We decided that this is due to a “secret ingredient.” The recipe has a couple of twists and is easy to make in one bowl without any fuss. Continue reading

Cajun Hash Browns at Louie’s Cafe — an LSU Tradition

If you are an LSU football fan; this is the year to celebrate. And if you follow college football in general, then you should know that the undefeated LSU football team is top-ranked in the country. We’re going to the national championship playoff game on Monday at the New Orleans’ Superdome. LSU vs. Clemson. To commemorate the successful year of LSU Tiger football, I’m going to make the signature dish of Louie’s Cafe — hash browns. This small diner is located next to LSU’s campus and is a favorite eating place of LSU students  Louie’s hash browns are both unique and delicious. Here we go. This is my copycat attempt.

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Garden-Fresh Cottage Cheese Salad

This summer, I’ve started on a mission to eat more fruits and vegetables each day. Here’s one way to meet that goal. This recipe features cottage cheese — which was a staple in our meals when I was growing up — and pairs it with fresh summer vegetables. I’d forgotten how tasty this combination was –cottage cheese and garden vegetables.  It is one way to meet my goal.

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