This year I am attempting growing cucumbers for the first time. Cucumbers can be somewhat finicky to grow for some reason–can’t be too hot, can’t be too cold, can’t be too wet, can’t be too dry–you get the picture. I have been pleasantly surprised that the plant is actually growing very well. Before I went on vacation I even noticed some flowers and the start of some cucumbers, about the size of my pinky finger.
Friends of ours, Mindy and Andy, took care of our dog, home and garden while we were away. Mindy shared some apprehension regarding taking care of the garden. She lamented, “Just so you know, I kill things all the time…well not dogs or kids, just plants!”
This is what I returned to…
I knew exactly what I wanted to do with these cucumbers. Make Mizeria! Mizeria is Polish Cucumber Salad. Mizeria means misery in Polish. I’m not sure why, because this salad is anything but miserable. It has been said that it is to reflect the difficulties of peasant life in Poland, but it is also attributed to Queen Bona Sforza, who was an Italian princess who married the Polish King Sigismund I. Legend has it that she brought vegetables to Poland that had never been used before, cucumbers being one of them. Apparently whenever she ate this dish she cried because the cucumbers reminded her of her home in Italy, hence Mizeria.
I did a little online research and called my Mizeria expert, my mom. She said no to the garlic and onion, but said I could add some chives or scallions if I wanted. Some online recipes add onions, but my mom thinks it overpowers the rest of the flavors. She uses apple cider vinegar, but plain old white vinegar is just fine, which is what I used today. She also uses canola oil instead of olive oil, because olive oil gels up in the fridge, ruining the consistency of the dressing.
A few recipes also add a touch of lemon and sugar, which I tried in my salad today. I liked that option because the lemon juice gave it a layer of brightness in the flavor and the sugar cut the acid of the lemon and vinegar, so it wasn’t so biting.
This salad is a favorite of mine because it’s seasonal, light and cool on a hot day. I can go right out to the garden and pick most of the ingredients anytime throughout the summer! Enjoy!
2 Large Cucumbers
1 Tbls Chopped Dill
1 Tbls Chopped Chives (optional)
1 Squeeze of Half a Lemon (optional)
2-3 Tbls Sour Cream
1-2 Tbls Canola oil
1-2 Tbls White Vinegar or Apple cider vinegar
Pinch or two of sugar (optional)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Skin and thinly slice cucumbers. Set aside in a medium size mixing bowl.
Whisk together in a small bowl, the sour cream, lemon juice, vinegar, sugar, and canola oil. Mix in the dill and chives.
Pour sour cream dressing over cucumbers and mix until well incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve very cold.
Note: I know the ingredient measurements are fairly vague, but this salad is all about personal preference, play around with the flavors to see what you like best! Serves 4-6. Enjoy!