Mom's Cucumber Salad

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Vintage Cookery

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15 minutes
Mom's Cucumber Salad

Even if you have the best quality ingredients and top-of-the-line kitchen tools to use, your recipes can sometimes flop. I've learned this the hard way, using my tools incorrectly or inefficiently. Last week I thought it would be a good idea to use the crockpot to make some vegetable lasagna. I've seen it done before, should be no problem! Well... Instead of individual layers of ricotta, tomato sauce, and mushrooms & spinach, it turned into a giant indiscernible pot of vegetable mush. Apparently zucchini noodles I made with my mandolin don't hold up as well as real lasagna noodles.. But lesson learned! Oven vegetable lasagna probably works better than the crockpot version.

Technique is important to learn. One of the best examples I've learned was from my mom's sweet and sour cucumber salad. She always told me the secret to this dish wasn't in the ingredients, but how thin you cut all your veggies. That is what made it delicious. This recipe focuses on technique!


The mandolin is one of my favorite kitchen tools, it make simple slices so easy, saves time, and is perfect every time. A mandolin makes perfect slices of whatever you run over it, making it ideal for cucumber slices, super thin onion slices (paper thin onion slices are divine if you've never had any!), zucchini, and more.

This mandolin by Kyocera is my favorite to use, It has a porcelain blade so it stays sharp and does not rust. Look for that if you're shopping in the market for one. The Kyocera also has adjustable settings for thickness, a must have feature.  This is a handheld unit, there are table top units with more attachments and different blades for making shoe strings, and more, you can spend hundreds of dollars on a big  stainless steel set, but this one has the price set right, and I mostly only ever need the slice setting anyway. 

~Chef Austin Merath


Few ingredients makes technique important

2-3 Fresh Cucumbers, Peeled and Sliced at a 1.3mm Thickness on a Mandoline (or very sharp knife if you have the knife skills ;)

1 Onion, Halved and Sliced Paper Thin at 0.5mm Thickness on a Mandoline

1 C of Apple Cider Vinegar

1 C of Natural Sugar

1 C of Water

1-3 Tsp of Freshly Cracked Black Peppercorns (this really flavors the dish)

1/4 Tsp Sea Salt, to taste


Step 1
In a large bowl, combine the sugar, water and vinegar and whisk to dissolve the sugar. Add your mandolined cucumbers and onions and stir with a spoon to cover all with the juice.

Step 2
Season with the salt and cracked black pepper.

Step 3
Let sit for at least 3 hours in the fridge to infuse the flavors, this salad is best served the next day and only gets better as it sits.

Because the cucumbers and onion are sliced so thin, the sweet & sour dressing easily flavors them and vise versa, the dressing is flavored by the onions and cucumber. If your onion is particularly strong, feel free to add less than the recipe calls for.


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