01 October 2008

Gigi Louise's Cucumbers

I always thought this dish had an odd, monochromatic beauty about it when set out to "sweat a while" on Gigi's worn countertop -- a clear glass bowl of sparkly ice cubes holding submerged a bed of ivory discs that bore only the barest memory of having been green just moments before. Once bathed in the sweet vinegar brine, it becomes a shimmery sour sight that makes your mouth do that pickle-y puckery watery thing. I don't know whether to call it a salad or a relish -- it's somewhere in between, I guess -- but whatever it is, it was a hot weather staple on Gigi's table. She served it with everyday meals of fresh vegetables from the garden, big slabs of Granddaddy's organic tomatoes (oooh, how I miss them!), cornbread and iced tea.

My cousin Stephanie, who inherited far more of Grandmother's legendary cooking talents than I did, makes her own variation of this dish, which I've seen her serve chilled on a stifling hot day to happy multitudes at summer camp. Maybe I can persuade her sometime to let me append her version to this one.

Gigi Louise's Cucumbers

Put in a large glass bowl:
a couple of large cucumbers, peeled and sliced (1/4 inch thick or so)
water to cover, with 1 T salt per quart

Cover cucumbers with water/salt solution and 2 trays of ice until bowl sweats, up to an hour. Drain. (This step is vital as it makes the cucumbers crisp and crunchy.)

Mix together 1 cup each sugar and white vinegar, plus 1/2 cup water. Pour over cucumbers to cover.

Sprinkle liberally with black pepper. May stir in sliced rings of white onion if desired (we always do).

Serve cold. Stores well in a wide mouth canning jar in the refrigerator.



Robert said...

My wife's grandmother makes these and now we do too. Not many things more refreshing on a hot day. I think we call these quick pickles in our family.

Javamom said...

This blog is a good idea, QS! What a smart, not to mention neat way to share your family recipes with grown kids!

As for the cucumber dish ~ We at Javamom's cottage have to have these on hand every summer. Have you ever tried making them with Balsamic vinegar? We made the switch last summer and it works great. You can leave out the sugar, as well. I also like to add just a few onion slices to the water.

So refreshing, that!