If you are lucky enough to have a garden, or live next to someone who does, its not unlikely that you have had quite a lot of cucumbers over the past couple of months. I don't have my own garden (sigh), but I have been positively loving all the crisp, huge cucumbers in the markets all summer.
But for someone reason I cannot even look at a cucumber without a scene from The Importance of Being Earnest playing in my head and laughing out loud (just skip ahead to 1:48). What can I say, I am a geek for Oscar Wilde (fun fact: when I was a kid my sister played Lady Bracknell in this play and in the final night changed it to Dime bar sandwiches, which I thought was just too funny).
The fact is, cucumber sandwiches are quite fantastic. The traditional variety are dainty little things made with soft white bread, butter and paper-thin sliced English cucumber. I kicked it up slightly (and made it ever so slightly better for you) with a dill cream cheese spread and whole wheat bread instead of white. They make great snacks or hors d'oeuvres (even a light lunch) and of course are just delightful with Afternoon Tea. I wish I hosted things like book clubs just so I had an excuse to fill a tray with them.
I enjoyed them instead with a homemade Mocha Frappuccino. I always have extra espresso in the mornings (because I cannot start my day without a Latte Macchiato). I simply freeze it in ziploc bag or ice trays and when I want an afternoon treat I break off a cube or two of it into the blender with some ice, milk and chocolate or caramel syrup - and voila - I just saved myself five bucks. My blender isn't the greatest so mine didn't quite have the consistency of the Starbucks variety (maybe you are lucky enough to have a nice blender), but they taste just as good and would make great after-school treats or even dessert.
makes 4 triangles or about 1 or 2 servings...increase the amounts as needed
1/4 cucumber, sliced medium thin, or around 1 cm thick (I recommend using a food processor or mandolin. Also cucumbers vary in size obviously - you need around 16 slices of cucumber)
3 tbs white wine vinegar
2 slices whole wheat sandwich bread, crusts removed (see photos above. Use a nice sharp knife and maybe a straight edge to make even squares)
about 1/4 cup low-fat cream cheese
2 tbs chopped fresh dill
coarsely ground black pepper
few pinches of sea salt
Place the cucumbers in a bowl and pour the vinegar over the top of them. Sprinkle with some salt and set aside for 10 or 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare your bread slices and the cream cheese spread. In a small bowl combine the cream cheese with the dill, a pinch of salt, and a few turns of black pepper. Stir to combine and make it a soft, spreadable consistency (if you are making a lot of these, you could make this in the food processor or stand mixer).
Lay out your slices of bread and spread the cream cheese mixture over the top of them (just a nice thin coating or the cream cheese over powers the cucumbers who are the star of this show).
Place your cucumber slices on a paper towel, place another paper towel over the top of them and press down slightly to drain the excess liquid off the slices. You don't want the sandwiches getting soggy.
Place 5 slices of cucumber on each slice of bread. Bring the sides together and press down so the 2 sides stick together nicely (but don't squish the sandwich!). Cut in half diagonally to make little triangles and serve (you could even cut again to make 4 triangles out of each sandwich instead of 2, depending on how you are serving them).
Save-Your-Money Homemade Frappuccino's
makes 1 very large or up to 4 small servings
about 2 shots espresso, frozen
around 1/2 cup milk
2 handfuls ice cubes ( I know - so exact...just taste and add ice or milk or coffee as necessary)
Heavy Cream, whipped (about 1 cup's worth, after its whipped)
Sweetened syrup of your choosing - chocolate, caramel etc (or you can use a dash vanilla extract and a few tbs sugar as well).
Put syrup, then frozen espresso, then ice in the blender. Pour milk over and blend until ice is mostly broken up. Add in a couple of spoonfuls of whipped cream. Continue blending until well mixed tasting and adding things as necessary.
Divide into glasses and top with a dollop of whipped cream and drizzle with syrup or sprinkle with chocolate or cinnamon sugar.
So easy right?
I heart film. - A little over a year ago I bought a Canon Ae-1 and last week I found the first roll of film I shot on it and finally had it processed (Its been a crazy year ...