Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

Cook cucumbers? Why not!

Homemade sauces for beef and pork are simple and satisfying

Somewhere in my culinary experiences, I was taught “you can cook anything.” Add to that admonition was the caveat: how it tastes will tell you if you ever want to do that again!

Thus, when I was given the opportunity to braise cucumbers, I did it and was pleasantly pleased with the result. The cucumbers must not be overcooked. Remove from the heat while still crisp-tender and you’ll likely enjoy a “new” veggie. It also is an unusual veggie to accompany delicate foods such as grilled fish and roasted chicken. Guests may seem a wee bit surprised by the cooked cucumber. Simply reassure your guests that you, too, were once a skeptic.

Braised Cucumbers

3 medium cucumbers

1/3 cup water

1 tsp fresh chopped dill

1 chicken bouillon cube

Peel cucumbers and trim ends. Slice peeled cucumbers on the bias into medium-thick slices.

Bring water to a boil. Add bouillon cube. Add cucumbers and cook only until cucumbers are crisply tender (al dente). Drain and toss with dill. 3-4 servings

Food manufacturers keep coming up with so many new packaged foods, it seems the home cook doesn’t have to do anything but shop and buy their creations. The following two sauces repudiate that idea. Both have such interesting and intriguing flavors they’d likely to not appeal to the national palate.

At our house, the Smokey Sauce for Beef has probably been used with almost every cut of beef imaginable…from a beef brisket that is very slowly cooked at a very low temperature to a quickly seared steak. We simply love its flavor (I always double the recipe.)

Smokey Sauce for Beef

¼ cup vinegar

½ cup water

2 tsp. brown sugar

1 tsp. yellow mustard

½ tsp. pepper

1 ½ tsp. salt

2 thin slices lemon

1 thick slice onion

¼ cup butter

½ cup catsup

2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 ½ tsp. liquid smoke

Mix vinegar, water, brown sugar, mustard, pepper, salt, lemon, onion and butter. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Strain. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Use as a basting sauce or roasting sauce for beef. Makes about 1 ½ cups of sauce. (Recipe can be doubled.)

When my husband and I were dating, I made this BBQ sauce with the unlikely ingredient of apricot baby food. He loved it. We married and I am still making this sauce and he is still loving it. Need I say more?

Bob’s Favorite BBQ Sauce for Spareribs

2 (4 ½ ounce) jars apricot baby food

½ cup brown sugar

1/3 cup catsup

½ cup vinegar

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

2 tsp. soy sauce

2 tsp. ground ginger

½ tsp. salt

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup hickory-flavored bottled barbecue sauce (Open Pit recommended)

Combine baby food, brown sugar, catsup and vinegar. Heat and blend well. Remove from heat. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer. Use for pork spareribs or other grilled pork cuts. (Recipe can be doubled.)


Reader Comments(0)