Last night I got together with Bonnie and Dawn for our monthly cooking night. We were all in the mood for something on the lighter side, and something that was nice and summery. Bonnie suggested shish kabab, which to me is one of those perfect summer dishes. Yum! I decided to bring a Creamy Cucumber Salad. It was one of my suggestions on the side bar (keep those coming guys! I love it!), plus it is an old family favorite. This salad always graced our dinner table throughout the summer while the cucumbers were fat and bountiful in the garden. My mom never really used a recipe, just adding ingredients a little at a time until the flavor was just right. I added some measurements, but please do as my mom does- you will know when it is the right flavor! Dawn chose to bring a dessert, and her Berry Cheesecake Parfaits were a HUGE hit! They were a very simple dessert to create, involving no cooking just the use of a hand mixer. We all agreed we will be making this recipe throughout the summer! Sooooo good!
Assortment of vegetables (last night we used tri-color bell peppers, onions and mushrooms, which are classic choices. But try using zuchini/yellow squash, potatoes, cherry tomatoes, or whatever looks good at the market that day. You really can't go wrong!), cut into one-inch chunks
salt and pepper
If you use wooden skewers, it is best to soak them in water for about 15-30 minutes before use because they can splinter and burn.
Marinate your meat/seafood in the Italian dressing for about 30 minutes. Thread the meats/seafoods and veggies onto the skewers, alternating. Top with additional Italian dressing and season with salt and pepper.
Grill kabobs directly over heat source for about 10 to 15 minutes, turning 1/4 rotation every 2 to 3 minutes, or until the meat and/or fish is cooked throughout. You want a nice pretty char.
Creamy Cucumber Salad
3 English Cucumbers (you can use regular cucumbers, but you will want to peel off the skin), very thinly sliced (I love to use my mandolin for this, but not necessary)
Salt and pepper
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
finely chopped fresh dill, flat leaf parsley or fresh chives (any or a combo of the three)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
a half a pint of cherry tomatoes, sliced
In a colander set over a bowl, toss the cucumbers with 2 teaspoons salt. Let drain for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours. This will help to break down the cucumbers to remove excess moisture, and will also tenderize the cucumbers.
In a large bowl, whisk together the sour cream, apple cider vinegar, and sugar. These measurements are pretty good, but honestly my mom always taught me this recipe by adding ingredients a little at a time until you get the taste you are looking for. She never used an actual recipe. So if you like it a little less sweet, then don't add as much sugar, etc. When you get the flavor you like, add the drained cucumbers, onion, fresh herbs and toss. Season with fresh ground black pepper.
Berry Cheesecake Parfaits
1 pkg. (8 oz.) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
1-1/2 cups cold milk
1 pkg. (3.4 oz.) Jell-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding
1-1/2 cups thawed Cool Whip Whipped Topping, divided
24 Nilla Wafers, coarsely chopped
1-1/2 cups mixed blueberries and sliced fresh strawberries
Beat cream cheese with mixer until creamy. Gradually beat in milk. Add dry pudding mix; mix well. Whisk in 1 cup Cool Whip.
Layer half each of wafers, berries and pudding mixture in 8 parfait glasses. Repeat layers.
Top with remaining Cool Whip.