Tart & Sweet

Cucumbers dressed in a simple vinaigrette

Did you grow up in the sticks? With a bountiful garden, the fruits of which your mom would pickle and preserve, lining your cellar stairs with Ball jars filled with juiciness? Pickled cucumbers? Beets? Jams and jellies?
I did.
Sadly, my garden isn’t what my mother’s was back in the day. I’m trying, but I have yet to reach the stage where I have bounty to pickle and preserve. I’m at the staring-at-the-rocky-soil-wondering-if-anything-tasty-will-come-of-it stage.
Anyway, if you have a few cucumbers kicking around, try this simple way of serving them. It might not remind you of your childhood, as it does me, but it’s a fast and refreshing way to pound some cukes.
(My mother cooked her vinaigrette on the stovetop, as I recall. And she didn’t call it vinaigrette. Adapted from The Moosewood Collective’s Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites cookbook, this recipe is much simpler.)
Simple Cucumber Side
2 medium cucumbers, peeled (That is, peel them if they’re waxed. If not, do what you want with the peel; I used English cucumbers and left the skin on.)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground dried mustard
fresh cracked pepper to taste
Slice cucumbers as thinly as you can (I used a mandoline slicer —handy dandy). Set aside.
Make vinaigrette: Whisk together all other ingredients. 
Add the cucumbers and toss enthusiastically to make sure all slices get coated. Serve immediately or refrigerate for later. (Be sure to give cucumbers a good toss before serving.)