For the last 5 years we've lived in condos and apartments, so when we moved into a house this past year I was excited to finally have a yard where we can have a garden again. We went to the farmers market early in the season to buy herbs and vegetables to plant. One of the vegetables I was excited to grow was zucchini, I grew it a few years back and was rewarded with more zucchini than I could handle.
As the plants began to grow my anticipation also grew. Finally one day I saw a baby zucchini growing. A few days later it was ready to pick! I brought it in the house put it in on the cutting board and...wait a minute, what the... this is a cucumber! So instead of six zucchini plants I have six cucumber plants, they must have been mislabeled at the farmer's market. Don't get me wrong, I like cucumbers, but just not as much as I like the versatile zucchini. An when is the last time you cooked a cucumber?
So now I have 6 cucumber vines producing an average of 6-10 cucumbers a week, I needed recipes! I was thinking about making gazpacho, which would be great, but how much gazpacho could one family eat before revolting? Thankfully my friend Robin came through with a great recipe for Tangy Thai Cucumber Relish. This sweet and sour tasting relish is a great compliment for most Thai dishes. I served it with red curry chicken, the cool sweetness provided a great contrast for the hot spiciness of the curry dish. This recipe also makes a great cool side dish for just about any summer meal.
Tangy Thai Cucumber Relish
1/2 cup white vinegar 1/2 cup water 1/3 cup white sugar 1 tsp. salt 2-4 (depending on the size ) cucumbers -about 1 lb. 3 Tbsp. thinly sliced shallots 1 carrot, sliced into thin rounds 2 tsp. thinly sliced fresh hot red or green chilies, seeds removed 3 tsp chopped Thai basil
• In a medium saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, sugar and salt, Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the sugar and salt dissolve, 3-4 minutes • Remove from heat and let the dressing cool to room temperature.
• Peel cucumbers (optional)and cut them lengthwise into 4 long strips. Slice each strip crosswise into small triangles; you should have about 3 cups • Place in a bowl, toss with chopped shallots, carrots and chilies and pour the cooled dressing over the mixture • Cover and refrigerate, serve cold, best after 24 hours