Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Cucumber Sandwiches with Feta and Champagne Cucumber Salad


We all say this but "Where did summer go?"!  I hope you don't mind me holding on just a bit.

It's always a shock when it's Labor Day and then the first day of Fall arrives. Granted, I missed a few weeks of summer enjoyment due to my injury, but I always got outside to inspect my garden and pick a tomato, cucumber or flower here and there, even with one hand :) Here in SE Wisconsin, we have been having gorgeous September weather.  It has been in the 80s this week, and reached 89F on Monday.

I'm still picking 2 or more cukes a day, which is down from 4-5 a day earlier this month. I've been blessed with a bumper crop from my small planting area. I planted seeds of a new variety this year that I ordered from Burpee called "Iznik Hybrid".  It's been a wonderful producer with delicious, thin-skinned cucumbers. I trained the vines to grow up a fence with velcro plant ties.


I've used cucumbers for my favorite Refrigerator Pickles and also in umpteen salads but I really needed more ways to use them so they wouldn't go to waste.  I'd like to bid farewell to summer with these recipes using cucumbers. 


Would you believe I had never made a cucumber sandwich?  I've eaten them at brunches and luncheons and always enjoyed them so I don't know what took me so long.  Slow learner? I prefer to point to my delicious and bountiful cucumber crop being the inspiration. My personal twist on the traditional recipe was adding a little crumbled feta to the cream cheese base. I think I would have preferred a thin-sliced whole wheat bread but wanted to stick with the traditional thin-sliced white for my first attempt to let the flavor of the filling shine.


Have you ever had cucumber water?  They say that cucumber water is a wonderful detoxifier and we all know that drinking water is good for you.  It's a simple process. Add cucumber slices to a pitcher of water and refrigerate. I made 'stripes' in the cucumber skin by running a dinner fork along the length of the cucumbers from top to bottom all around before slicing. The longer you allow the cucumber slices to 'marinate' in the water the better it tastes. Four hours would be optimal. You could also add a few lemon slices.  It's very refreshing!


Next, is a Champagne Cucumber salad that I really enjoyed. Another recipe I had never tried before, preferring to go with the simple sugar and vinegar preparation of my refrigerator pickles. There are many great recipes to be found on the Net.  The one I liked the best was adapted from Ina's which used of a splash of Champagne vinegar to which I added a little sugar for balance. The Champagne vinegar adds a delicious, fruity flavor to the cucumbers.  I love Champagne vinegar in salad dressings!


If you are faced with more cucumbers than you know what to do with, there is also a way to preserve cucumbers by making freezer pickles which will last in the freezer for up to a year.

Did you know that cucumbers are a valuable source of Vitamin K which is essential for bone health? Cucumbers also contain high levels of nutrients known as cucurbitacins and lignans, which early research indicates may have cancer fighting properties. Way to go, Cucumbers!

Cucumber Sandwiches with Feta

Printable Recipe

Serves 2 as a luncheon course (makes 4 small sandwiches cut into 16 wedges)

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 ounce Greek feta cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 cup of finely diced cucumber (I used 3 small garden cucumbers)
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 teaspoon fresh dill, snipped, for garnish
8 slices thin white sandwich bread, such as Pepperidge Farm

Slice cucumbers and place in a colander or strainer fitted over a bowl. Sprinkle the cucumber slices with salt and toss. Allow to drain for about 15-30 minutes, tossing occasionally (this will remove much of the water in the cucumbers so the spread will not become soggy). Turn out the cucumber slices onto a layer of paper toweling and pat dry. Dice cucumbers finely with a chef's knife.

While cucumbers are draining, mix together the cream cheese, feta and mayonnaise in a medium bowl. Blend thoroughly with a fork or use a hand mixer to blend. Add the minced garlic, pepper, dried dill, and diced cucumbers. (I would not add any additional salt as the cucumbers will have retained salt from the draining step.) Spread on 4 slices of sandwich bread to desired thickness and top with remaining 4 slices of bread. Cut the crusts off of the sandwiches and cut each sandwich into quarters diagonally, making 4 triangles each. Arrange triangles on serving plates or platter with points facing up and sprinkle with snipped fresh dill and serve.

Champagne Cucumber Salad

Printable Recipe

Serves 1-2

3-4 small garden cucumbers, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon red onion, thinly sliced and quartered
1/2 (4 ounces) sour cream
1 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon dried dill or 1 tablespoon freshly chopped dill
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Place the sliced cucumbers into a colander or strainer and place over a bowl. Sprinkle with salt, toss and allow to drain for about 30 minutes, tossing occasionally. This will remove much of the water content of the cucumbers so the salad will not become watery. Turn the drained cucumbers out onto a layer of paper toweling and pat dry.

Add the cucumbers and remaining ingredients to a medium bowl. (I would not add any additional salt as the cucumbers will have retained salt from the draining process.) Toss well, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving (desirable but not necessary).

Garnish with freshly snipped fresh dill, if desired.

Loosely adapted from Ina Garten and Food Network

54 comments:

  1. your lovely garden is so relaxing and cucumbers seems delicious, I want to try these two recipes, thanks for sharing Susan, an warm hug

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    1. Thank you, Chiara! I hope you are enjoying some late summer weather in Italy also. xoxo

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  2. I am like you were..had them..never made them..so fresh tasting and I have to say your presentation is beautiful.I eat w/ my eyes first no question about it..so pretty Susan..and the addition of feta is spot on I bet..it's got a saltiness many don't have..and cukes need salt IMHO.
    We are having the same weather:) I should cut things back NOW,while it's warm..

    Your salad looks beautiful nestled in that platter..Bon après-midi mon amie!

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    1. Merci, Monique :) I hope this weather lasts into fall! I doubt that will happen but I did hear that it was supposed to be a milder one (fingers crossed). Many things could use a good trim here! The dahlias are blooming like crazy now. Bon après-midi à toi aussi ♥

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  3. They are prettiest cucumber sandwiches I have ever seen. And that cucumber salad with dill looks really fresh and crunchy. Excellent recipes and beautiful platter, Susan.

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    1. Thank you, Angie! I really enjoyed both of them and will definitely make them again.

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  4. Those are so beautiful! I love cucumber sandwiches! I feel so elegant when I eat them. The garnish of dill is gorgeous. What a way to celebrate the cukes!

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    1. I love them too and don't know why I never thought of making them for myself before. The hubby loves anything with cream cheese :) Thank you, Jacqueline!

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  5. Your sandwiches look like wonderful. I love cucumbers in water too, you're right the add such refreshing flavor and look so pretty! Love the salad too, I crave salads like this all winter long!

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    1. They were delicious - thank you, Chris! I think I mourn the cucumbers, tomatoes, fresh herbs and flowers in the garden the most when the weather gets cold.

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  6. I love that the variety you mentioned has thin skins. So many times the ones you buy in the grocery store are so thick and tough and have to be peeled. I bought some of that Colavita Champagne Vinegar for a bean salad. It's a great brand and delicious. Those sandwiches look beautiful and delicious. Makes me want to have a ladies luncheon.

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    1. Not sure if you have garden space at your new place but I hope you try growing this cucumber variety if you do. That is my favorite brand of Champagne vinegar too and readily available here. Thank you, Lea Ann~

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  7. Lovely sandwiches! I will miss the delicious cucumbers from the local markets. I haven't made sandwiches but, among other uses, we have enjoyed them in water. Welcome back! I hope your wrist is well mended.

    Best,
    Bonnie

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    1. Thank you, Bonnie! I will miss everything fresh from the garden and markets too. The wrist is getting there. Still have lots of PT to get range of motion back.

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  8. I love Ina's cucumber salad recipe...think I posted it on my side blog. When I make it again, I'll take your advice and change the recipe a bit.
    Is there anything more fun (and British) than delicate little sandwiches? I prefer a whole wheat bread too, but it's fun to have both. I remember the Two Fat Ladies did a show on little tea sandwiches. Their one rule: no crusts!

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    1. It's a great recipe, Barbara! I can't tell you how many times I had it for lunch this past month :) The sandwiches would be so pretty for a luncheon with both breads arranged on a platter. Yes, I felt very British while eating them :) Thank you!

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  9. I was most enthralled by your photos. Like Monique said, we eat with our eyes first. Makes me want cucumber sandwiches and a salad with champagne vinegar. One of my favorite tea sandwiches is one of James Beard's. It is tarragon chicken salad on rounds of white bread. The edges are smeared with mayo and rolled in finely chopped pecans.

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    1. Oh my, those James Beard sandwiches sound wonderful! I need to find that recipe ;) Thank you, Penny!

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  10. How I wish I had a garden. We travel in the summer so it never seemed like a good idea but I'd love to grow cucumber, basil, you name it. Your sandwiches are perfect for a light lunch or when friends are coming over. The salad is classic - love it! Haven't seen you posting in a while, hope all is well.

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    1. Thank you, Vicki! Yes, I've not been posting as much as I broke my wrist in an auto accident in July. Recovery has been a bit slow.

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  11. I've never eaten a cucumber sandwich but since I like everything in there and your plate looks so good, I'm now wondering what I've been missing.

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  12. These are truly the prettiest tea sandwiches I've ever seen, makes me want to throw a tea party!

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  13. Yay! You are back! Fresh cucumbers are delightful. Your cucumber sandwiches and salad rock.
    Happy first day of Fall.

    Velva

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  14. Both recipes appeal to me. I do love a delicious salad and I am crazy about cucumber sandwiches.

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    1. And they're so much better with home grown cukes. Thank you, Vee!

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  15. What's not to like from these two recipes Susan? I love cucumber and of course I love feta!

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    1. I never had feta cheese growing up. I'm so glad it's a smaller world today :). Thank you, Katerina!

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  16. I've eaten but never made cucumber sandwiches either. I like the addition of feta in your recipe…it has to add lots of additional flavor.

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    1. Thank you, Karen! Fingers crossed for a mild fall and more cucumbers ;)

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  17. The English would be proud! Lovely and delicious. Hope your injury is healing up too!

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    1. I hope so ;). I still have some tendon and swelling issues but getter better gradually. Thank you, El!

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  18. Hi! I know, I'm sad that summer is over! Seems to go faster every year. I'm envious of all of your cucumbers! We need to try a different variety of cucumbers, our plant yielded ... two. I just had the last of last years pickles. So good to have in cold winter times. Everything looks beautiful. Love cucumber water!!!

    Hope your wrist is continuing to heal more each day!!!

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    1. Julie I picked 10 cucumber yesterday! It's a variety you might want to try. Slowly getting better, thank you!

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  19. firstly... that PLATE IS ADORABLE... secondly, yes, those finger sandwiches are divine and thirdly, that salad... what a brilliant idea! My grandma used to make a similar salad with an acid you had to purchase from the chemist but it was beautiful served with poached salmon... divine stuff!

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    1. You grandma's poached salmon and cucumber salad sound wonderful, Dom! Thanks so much for stopping in to comment.

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  20. A delightful farewell to summer! And your photographs are so inspiring! I've had to drink lotsa water during my cancer treatment and cucumber water has been a delightful change from lemon water. I can think of many times these little sandwiches would be just the ticket, and make people say, "Mmmmm, what's in here?"

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    1. Thanks very much, Rosemary! I hope you are doing well also!

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  21. Wonderful recipes and gorgeous photos! I love a cucumber sandwich and these are the prettiest I've ever seen! I can't say that I'm sad to see this dry hot summer depart - bring on the cool weather please!

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    1. Thank you, Tricia! We have been having quite a wet September here. It must be missing you and hitting us instead. Our grass is looking great :)

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  22. I'm not a fan of summer but I love the long day hours during summer - it's so nice to take food photography even at 8p.m.! Now the sun is setting so fast that we are eating earlier these days. These cucumber sandwiches look incredibly good. I love feta too, but have never thought of pairing them with cucumber together in a sandwich, brilliant!

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    1. Sadly, the evening hours have just gotten longer than the daylight hours :( Soon we'll be taking photos before 4:00 pm :) Thank you, Jasline!

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  23. Your weather sounds positively HEAVENLY - it is still hotter than Hades down here in South Florida! We are big fans of cukes here at Chez Miskew and I love your delicious trifecta of recipes. We always keep cucumber or lemon-infused water in the fridge and I can't wait to make your Champagne Cucumber Salad - YUM! Thanks so much for sharing these fabulous recipes, I only wish I could grow my own cucumbers xo

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    1. Thank you, Stephanie! I can't grow oranges or grapefruit either so I guess we're even :) I'll be envying you for your perfect weather in late October through winter!

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  24. Who knew that a cucumber sandwich could look this good? Yum.
    Amalia
    xo

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    1. I'm so glad I tried making them myself because they were so tasty! Thank you, Amalia :) xo

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  25. Summer is by far my favorite season and I'm happy to hang on to it for as long as I can. Such beautiful and sophisticated cucumber sandwiches would make me happy all year long.
    Sam

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    1. My too, Sam! I will dearly miss picking tomatoes, cucumbers and fresh herbs from the garden. Thanks so much!

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  26. Sue what a lovely idea for tea sandwiches!
    I too have never made them before!
    I love the other recipe too - it sounds delicious. We are So glad you are back and doing well. Life for us is getting more and more busy, it's hard to find the time to blog these days.....but we do our best to keep it going. It's so nice to see you re back.
    Have a great weekend, xoxo Anna and liz

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    1. Thank you, Ladies! It's good to be back, even though I still have some healing to go. Hope you are doing well! xo

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  27. These cucumber sandwich sure taste like sunshine...I love it! Refreshing and light...great flavors Susan!
    Hope you are enjoying your week :)

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