Joe Writes . . .
Tom and I will be on the river again in mid-August. We planned four consecutive days of paddling to finish our quest but Tom’s butt has forced us to change our plans. He got so sore from our two consecutive days of paddling that we decided four days would be impossible. We will do two days – from Grand Rapids below the dams to halfway to the Big Lake – and then take some time off before finishing our trip. We still hope to finish in August, although I could see the conclusion of our trip sliding into early September.
I haven’t even been to a farmers market yet this year, a sad commentary on the depravations of The Great Isolation. I won’t be able to hold out forever, however; real tomatoes will call me to the Ann Arbor or Dexter market soon. One of my favorite summertime vegetable treats is this Danish Cucumber recipe from Robin Mather’s book ‘The Feast Nearby.’ My mom made something similar and usually served the cucumbers with cottage cheese or fresh tomatoes . . . or both!
Adapted from The Feast Nearby by Robin Mather
1 sweet onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1/2 cup white wine vinegar* (I use white vinegar)
1/2 cup water*
2 tablespoons sugar*
Freshly ground black pepper (this recipe benefits by lots of pepper)
Coarse salt, such as kosher salt (just a pinch at the end)
*I generally double these items in order to make enough liquid to cover the cucumbers in a large jar.
Before slicing the cucumbers, taste one slice to see if the peel is bitter. If so, or if the cucumber has been waxed, peel the cucumber before slicing. Fresh cucumbers from your local farmers market are best for this summertime treat.
Slice the cucumbers into thin slices and place into a non-reactive container—glass jar or bowl. I usually make these in a quart-sized Mason jar. Add the sliced onion.
In a separate bowl, mix together the vinegar, water, and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Add ground pepper to taste. Pour over the cucumbers and stir to combine. Add kosher salt to taste; not too much, just a pinch.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Tastes better the second day. Keep the cucumbers refrigerated and use within a few days.