The Potager

The Potager

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Convalescence and Cucumbers

Tomorrow marks the end of my two week post surgical convalescence. In my mind I thought I would be straightening up my garden or reading a book at the beach.
The first week I couldn't drive and I was in pain, so I sat inside in the air-conditioning.
The second week I was beginning to feel better, but I would get so tired from the littlest tasks.
Needless to say I never made it to the beach and only in the past two days have I done anything in the garden.
So what did I do with my time? I watched a lot of daytime TV and let me tell you, there is nothing good on TV during the day. I don't watch Soap Operas. I really don't care about celebrities, so talk shows were out. I began watching HGTV all day. HGTV is terrible! First of all, it should be renamed the Real Estate Channel, because every show is about buying or selling a house. Of its millions of viewers, how many do you think are actually doing that? 10%? Secondly, they play the same show all day long. One day, Property Virgins all day. The next, Property Brothers. All day. Then Love it or List It, all day. Get my point. It's awful! Thirdly, HGTV stands for Home and Garden Television. Garden? No. Early on the weekends there are landscaping shows, but they are entertainment. You really can't learn a thing from them.
This is what made me become a gardener 
This also taught me how to garden
I long for the days of Square Foot Gardening and the original Victory Garden. Practical information you could use. Hubby & I watched them every week when we were living in a rental and had no garden. They were great.

P. Allen Smith seems to be reruns cause I've seen them all. Victory Gardens hasn't been produced since 1992 and they only seem to replay the same bad ones.  I never saw any other gardening shows the whole two weeks in the TV listings.

Which leads me to today's post.

Having given up on Daytime TV, I began watching movies, and one day I was watching Julie and Julia. This would be the third time I had seen the movie. I also read the book and occasionally read the blog the book/movie are based on.
As I was watching it with my hubby, the scene came on where Julie is hosting a dinner party and lifts her fork and says, "Braised Cucumbers are a revelation!"
I sat up straight and said "Braised Cucumbers?"
Hubby said, "Eww, no. No."
But I had at the moment 12 cucumbers in my fridge and several more that could be picked. So I searched for Julia Child's Braised Cucumber recipe.
There were several braised cucumber recipes that people claimed were Julia's, but I eventually came across Concombres au Beurre, from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. If I remember my French right, that means Cucumbers in Butter. And they are baked, not braised. I guess that is why it took so long to find the recipe.
Take 6 cucumbers, about 8 inches long. Peel them, cut off the ends, and de-seed them. Cut them into 1" x 2" sections.
Place them in a bowl and sprinkle them with 2 Tbsp. white vinegar, 1 1/2 tsp. salt and a pinch of sugar and let them sit 30 to 60 minutes.
Drain the cucumbers and dry with a towel. Place dried cucumbers into a square baking dish. Preheat oven to 375.
Toss cucumbers with 3 Tbsp. melted butter, 1/2 tsp dill or basil (I used dill from the Potager), 3 minced green onions (I didn't have any green onions, but I did have an onion in my garden that hadn't bulbed out yet, so I used that. I was short on the onions.), and pepper to taste.
Bake for one hour, tossing occasionally.
How were they? Good. They had a definite squash taste, like a cooked zucchini, only with that freshness that cucumbers have. They were firm, not crunchy, but a velvety texture.
The four of us ate the entire dish. Even hubby liked them!
Cooked cucumbers! What a revelation!

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