My brother Norman brought nine glorious cucumbers to me the other day from his garden; I promptly sat on the couch with a salt shaker and devoured my first one of the season. For dinner I sliced cucumbers along with tomatoes; that has always been my favorite since I was a child; the melding of those two flavors is exquisite.
Tonight’s side dish was sliced cucumbers and Vidalia onions drenched in Ranch Dressing. On our honeymoon, 40 years ago, we had that dish in a restaurant and I asked for the recipe. The waiter returned and had a tray with a cucumber, an onion, salt, pepper, and a bottle of Ranch Dressing on it. Laughing, he said the Chef had told him to do that! I have fixed cucumbers that way ever since. I prefer the packets of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix and then add the other ingredients and not use the bottled dressing. Ranch dressing, introduced in 1954, was created at the Hidden Valley Dude Ranch in Santa Barbara, CA. After a great number of visitors requested take-home bottles of the dressing, Steve and Gayle Henson, the owners of the ranch, started a small plant and manufactured the packets to sell retail. Years later the dressing was also bottled.
Tomorrow night we will have sliced cucumbers with sliced Vidalia onions which will be marinated in sweet pickle juice. Several times when people have looked in my refrigerator and have seen many jars of pickle juice, I have been quizzed about why I save pickle juice. “Waitin’ for cucumbers!” is what I usually answer, but that’s how we also pickle our beets.