Sunday, July 17, 2011
My brother Norman brought nine glorious cucumbers to me yesterday from his garden; I promptly sat on the couch with a salt shaker and devoured my first one of the season. For dinner I sliced cucumbers along with tomatoes; that has always been my favorite since I was a child; the melding of those two flavors is exquisite.
Tonight, the side dish was sliced cucumbers and sliced Vidalia onions drenched in Ranch Dressing. On our honeymoon 40 years ago we had that dish in a restaurant and I asked for the recipe. The waiter returned and had a tray with a cucumber, an onion, salt, pepper, and a bottle of Ranch Dressing on it. Laughing, he said the Chef had told him to do that! I have fixed cucumbers that way ever since. I prefer the packets of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix and then add the other ingedients rather than use the bottled dressing. Ranch Dressing was introduced in 1954. It had been created at the Hidden Valley Dude Ranch in Santa Barbara, CA. After a great number of visitors requested take-home bottles of the dressing, Steve and Gayle Henson, the owners of the ranch, started a small plant and manufactured the packets to sell retail. Years later the dressing was also bottled.
Tomorrow night we will have sliced cucumbers with sliced Vidalia onions which will be marinated in sweet pickle juice. Several times when people have looked in my refrigerator and have seen numerous jars of pickle juice, I have been quizzed about why I save pickle juice. "Waitin' for cucumbers!" is what I usually answer, but that's how we also pickle our beets.
WHAT A LITTLE GEM THE CUCUMBER IS!
1. Cucumbers contain nearly all of the vitamins needed daily. Cucumbers contain Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.
2. If you are feeling tired in the afternoon, put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a cucumber. Cucumbers are a good source of B Vitamins and Carbohydrates which can provide a quick pick-me-up which can last for hours.
3. Tired of your bathroom mirror fogging up after a shower? Try rubbing a cucumber slice along the mirror; it will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance.
4. Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds? Place a few cucumber slices in a small pie tin and place it in your garden and the garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area.
5. Looking for a fast and easy way to remove cellulite before going out or to the pool? Try rubbing a slice or two of cucumbers along your problem area for a few minutes; the phytochemicals in the cucumber cause the collagen in your skin to tighten, firming up the outer layer and reducing the visibility of cellulite. They work great on wrinkles too!
6. Want to avoid a hangover or terrible headache? Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache-free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and headache!
7. Looking to fight off that afternoon or evening snacking binge? Cucumbers have been used for centuries and are often used by European trappers, traders and explorers for quick meals to thwart off starvation.
8. Have an important meeting or job interview and you realize that you don't have enough time to polish your shoes? Rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoe; its chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water.
9. Out of WD 40 and need to fix a squeaky hinge? Take a cucumber slice and rub it along the problematic hinge and the squeak is gone!
10. Stressed out and don't have time for massage, facial or visit to the spa? Cut up an entire cucumber and place it in a boiling pot of water; the chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber with react with the boiling water and be released in the steam, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma that has been shown to reduce stress in new mothers and also to college students during final exams.
11. Just finish a business lunch and realize you don't have gum or mints? Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath; the phytochemcials will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.
12. Looking for a "green" way to clean your faucets, sinks or stainless steel? Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean; not only will it remove years of tarnish and bring back the shine, but is won't leave streaks and won't harm your fingers or fingernails while you clean.
13. Using a pen and made a mistake? Take the outside of the cucumber and slowly use it to erase the pen writing; also works great on crayons and markers that the kids have used to decorate the walls!