Saturday, August 1, 2015

Cucumber and Onion Salad - Food Processor Selection

Perfect in the hot summer weather, I had never posted this before because I had assumed everyone knew how to make it. But after several requests, that appears not be so.

Julian's Cucumber and Onion Salad
Really nothing could be more simple to make, especially if you are using a food processor. If you don't have one, a mandolin which I showed when I made a summer vegetable gratin, also works well. Of course a sharp knife can do the job but will take longer and unless you've been to a knife skills class, the cucumber will not be sliced quite as thin as I prefer.

Julian's new Cuisinart Food Processor
The recipe isn't really much. It's more about the technique and I'll review that below, then give you hints on food processor selection. You may think that this will make a large batch but really it will not. It certainly will make a salad (first course) for six people, but not much more. The method removes some of the water from the cucumbers and in the end you have less food than you might imagine.

Peeling or Striping the Cucumbers
While my recipe calls for the so-called 'seedless' cucumber (pictured above) you can use standard cucumbers as well. I suggest if you do that you slice them in half and run a spoon down the seed line removing most of the seeds. The seeds that remain the 'seedless' variety are soft and easy to digest.

Draining Cucumbers
2 large seedless cucumbers
1 medium red onion
3 tablespoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons simple syrup (or 1 tablespoon sugar)
pinch of dry dill weed
salt and pepper, to taste

Using a vegetable peeler or sharp knife, remove about half of the skin of the cucumbers leaving a striped pattern as shown. Using a food processor, mandolin or sharp knife, slice the cucumber very thin. Cut the onion in half, and slice the onion similarly.

Place the sliced cucumber in a strainer and toss with 2-3 tablespoons of salt. This will help to draw out the water in the cucumber. Place this in the sink or a bowl to drain for about one hour. Turn periodically and press out excess liquid.

Rinse the cucumbers in fresh water to remove salt. Drain again and place in a salad spinner if you have one, and spin off the liquid. Otherwise just ensure the water is well drained from the cucumbers.

Transfer to a mixing bowl with the onion and toss to combine. Add the vinegar, simple syrup/sugar, dill weed and salt/pepper. Taste and add more seasoning or vinegar if needed. Let sit for 15-30 minutes before serving, or over night.

Food Processor Selection

When my small food processor bowl broke, I decided I would prefer to have one device that could do both large and small batches. However, my 25 year old Cuisinart brand food processor was still going strong. I talked with friends and fellow cooks and found this to be routinely true. Everyone had an older device that just seemed to never quit. So I decided that I would go ahead and purchase the new combination unit, but that it would be Cuisinart.

I chose the Cuisinart (FP-12BC) 12-cup Elite Food Processor in brushed chrome.  I've been using it for a couple months now and really do think it has many design improvements over the older models. It's easy to assemble and clean. The nested bowl design that permits you to process smaller or larger batches works ideally. You can even pull out the smaller bowl filled with food, then use the larger bowl immediately. There are no longer multiple slicing blades with variable widths. Rather, they have one adjustable blade which works very well. The shredding blade is similarly designed.

Julian's New Cuisinart
If you're in the market for a new food processor, I think the above model is highly recommended.

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