Oh, those wacky curcurbits. How is it that you look your cucumber vines over at 8pm one evening, finding only little sprites of spikey cukes peeking out beneath the pretty yellow flowers, but the very next morning, as you’re hurrying to the car for work, you notice that the little sprites are now fully formed veggies. And by the time you get home, they’re almost beyond their perfect eating/pickling size? What’s up with that?
I’ve never been able to figure it out, how they grow so fast, but taste so good. So, the challenge becomes, what do you do with all these cukes (beside load up your unsuspecting neighbor’s front porch in the middle of the night)? Canning is always a good choice (dill pickles, bread and butter pickles, pickle relish, yum). Refrigerator pickles are another. I love adding cukes to my tomato and mozzarella salads. [Okay, let's see, one-two-three-four still left. Wow, those things are prolific....]
They’re also quite refreshing in a pasta salad with a dill-based dressing. 15 minutes of prep, 2 hours in the fridge, and you’ve got a great little side to go with whatever you’ve slapped on the grill.
|Garden Fresh Cucumber Pasta Salad|
|12||oz||cavatappi pasta (or elbows or fusilli, whatevah. It’s all good.)|
|1||cup||mayonnaise (I used Kraft’s new Olive Oil mayo)|
|1||cup||low-fat sour cream|
|1||tablespoon||apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar)|
|1||tablespoon||chopped fresh dill weed|
|1/2||teaspoon||coarse ground black pepper|
|1||large||cucumber, thinly sliced (it’s up to you whether you seed it; personally, I like the seeds)|
|1||cup||chopped fresh tomatoes (cherry tomatoes are particularly yummy and attractive)|
|1||small||sweet bell pepper, chopped|
Prepare the cavatappi according to instructions on the package. Rinse with cool water to take the heat off.
In a large bowl, stir the mayo, sour cream and milk together until well-blended. (A whisk can speed that process along.) Then add the vinegar and sugar, and blend well.
Add the dill, pepper and salt, and give another whirl or two. Then gently stir in the veggies, bringing up the dressing from the bottom to coat the veggies. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours (sometimes, when I haven’t planned as well as I should, I stick the bowl in the freezer for 15 minutes, then transfer to the fridge. That gives it a little jump on the cooling.) If the pasta salad is dry from cooling, add a little bit more of your favorite among the mayo, sour cream and milk, and stir again.