Sunday, August 9, 2009

Braised Cucumbers


Today a movie changed my life.

It's terrible and cliché but true just this once. But it gets worse. It was a Nora Ephron movie. And I cried at it. A lot. Like a shameful I shouldn't even be telling you this amount. Who is this person I have become that gives into trends and likes things that “everyone” else is talking about? Oh who cares.

Yes I went to see Julie and Julia and it was freaking fantastic. Not just because all the actors are amazing and perfectly cast. Not because it's about food and writers and being lost and finding your passion and the person that fits you best in the world. And not even because it's about a couple living through a crazy cooking project that felt exactly like my life. Though the movie is great for all those reasons. You should probably sit down before I tell you the best thing about the movie. Ready?

Braised cucumber.

No that isn't code for something. Cucumbers cooked in butter are orgasmic. I'm a convert. Never will I relegate cucumbers to salads and sushi, as nothing but an interesting texture. I may have found my new favorite vegetable. Hear that artichoke? You better shape up or you'll be replaced.

I've read about this recipe about a million times. First in the Julie and Julia Project that inspired the movie and I was quite skeptical. Then it kept coming up and I still didn't believe it even after many of my favorite food writers talked about cooked cucumbers. Meryl Streep however I couldn't ignore, I was too curious. So being the crazy foodie I am I came home from the movie, let the dog out, took the gianormous cucumber out of the fridge and braised that sucker.

Oh my good god! Ten minutes later I was wandering around in circles in the kitchen muttering to myself. It's really really good.

Obviously butter makes everything amazing but it was more than that. Somehow the heat completely changed the flavor profile of the crunchy tangy cucumber into a buttery slightly soft salty creation. It reminded me of one of those rare buttery chewy mouth filling Russian River Valley Chardonnays that you would gladly pay $30 a bottle for. And I say this as someone who usually abhors Chardonnay and only buys $10 wine. Braising cucumbers transforms something tolerable into something delicious. It doesn't seem possible.

Julia Child I can't believe I've ignored you this long. I'm getting Mastering the Art of French Cooking and going on an insane cooking binge. The fella wants to bone a duck and try an aspic. To which I say who is coming over to help me eat these insane creations? I'll make you braised cucumbers if you can talk me through a terrine.



Braised Cucumber

1 huge cucumber (or 2 regular sized)
1 tablespoon butter
1 dash salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 pinch dried mint

Peel cucumber. Cut into quarters and remove seeds. Cut into 1 inch pieces.

Melt butter in a pan and add cucumber. Cover and cook about 5 minutes on medium heat.

Stir in salt, lemon, and mint. Cover and cook another 2 minutes.

Enjoy eating heaven on a plate.




66 comments:

Monsignor Scott Rassbach said...

Talk you DOWN from a terrine.

Oh Lord, what have I done? Never should have taken you to see that movie. This is all my fault...

I'll live, somehow. Mmm, boned duck!

Danielle said...

I agree that the movie was AWESOME!! I promptly went to the store to buy the ingredients for beef bourginoun!!

Sharon said...

You guys should come over and we'll have a cook-fest.

Emily said...

That is an excellent idea, Sharon,

Sara said...

"Bone a duck" HEE!

I am twelve.

And I am so making these cucumbers.

Ruby said...

SO odd, i came away from that movie completely jazzed up to look online to find the braised cuke recipe and there you were with the same reaction I had and I have so many cukes in my garden. I am sending this on to my gardening friends with too many cukes....Thank you

Emily said...

Ruby, I aim to please. Glad I wasn't the only person in a hurry to make these after seeing the movie.

Zoe said...

I just saw the movie too and I loved it! The braised cucumbers intrigued me as well, I can't wait to try it!

Betty said...

I love cooking. I would cook all day just for the sheer pleasure of it. I never paid Julie much attention, though I love butter and cream and French cooking in general. Saw the movie Saturday night and wanted to go home and cook. Thanks for the recipe for braised cukes. I have a garden full and usually relegate them to salads. I'm going to the kitchen
to braise a bunch right now!

Emily said...

Betty, I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. Braising cucumbers totally changed my opinion of them. And it's so easy, which is not something that can usually be said of Julia Child recipes.

Student said...

OMG I just made this for breakfast and I am in heaven. I keep getting cucumbers from my CSA and was getting BORED! I made cucumber sandwiches, raita, cucumber smoothies, I thought I tried EVERYTHING. Then, like you, I was curious after seeing J&J (Great movie!) about braised cucumber. Actually, I didn't even know what braising meant before . . . .

Thank you thank you thank you! I have been vilifying butter for so long and have been eating Country Crock for years. Yuck! I totally forgot the beautiful, homey smell that butter gives off in a kitchen when heated up. Besides, if butter gets you to eat something healthy (like cucumber), it can't be THAT bad!

Keep up the great work! I just discovered your blog and am enjoying it.

Penny said...

I'm glad to know I'm not alone with the crying bit. Three times I've seen it, three times I've cried, each more than the last.

Cucumbers are on my grocery list today!

Thanks so much for your post! Can't wait to investigate the rest of your blog.

Anonymous said...

the movie was BEYOND great!! gonna def try the cucumbers!!

Jeanie said...

LOVED the movie and just as it is beginning to sprinkle outside, wondered, "Hmmm-what can I do? Oh-yes, I wanted to google 'braised cucumber' since seeing the movie." Yours was my first click and you cracked me up! I have a huge abundance of cukes in the garden this year! THANK-YOU for confirming what I hoped would be true!

Benedicta said...

I watched the movie over the weekend and I too was intrigued by Meryl Streep's Julia to finally take the action to look up and try a braised cucumber recipe. It's so awesome to see that others had the same reponse - brilliant! Thanks for the recipe, gonna try it out tonight.

klar4230 said...

Came across your blog searching for the recipe...and I totally know what you mean about the movie and Julia Child!

I'm making this tonight!

Spinnybunnyboo said...

I found you, too, by searching for a recipe for braised cucumbers ... and love your writing....will now emjoy following you!

rowena said...

A really inspirational recipe! Had a big glut of cucumbers in our greenhouse in Bath UK- did a google search and fantastic - found your recipe! Adapted it slightly with some finely diced chili as it was an accompaniment to venison sausages and thought mint maybe not the most appropriate - and just superb!
Must just get to see the film but will probably now have to be in DVD

Emily said...

Rowena I'm going to have to try this with a diced chili, that sounds like an amazing idea.

Emily said...

Spinny, thanks and welcome to the insanity and French food.

Perri said...

I too, am here because I just saw that fantastic movie (wondering what I should be blogging about) The movie lead me to searching for braised cucumber recipe. Will certainly be giving this a shot... as early as tomorrow, for a great gatehering with friends... bookmarking your page and though I rarely have time to hang out reading on the computer, I suspect I'll be back!
Best to you and Merry Christmas!
-Perri McDonald, Lakeland FL

Anonymous said...

I was just google'ing "braised cucumbers" after watching the movie last night....I didnt realize that so many people would be doing the same. I actually am willing to get fat trying most of the recipies in the movie. I love to cook and am very interested in this new way to love cucs.

kms said...

I JUST watched the movie this weekend, and I've been curious about the braised cucumbers. I'll definitely give them a try now, and hope to master poached eggs soon! Thanks for the post.

Kitt
http://kittskittchen.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Oh I think this is great! We watched that movie as well. I grew up watching Julia on PBS---and I have loved her forever! I have never tried the braised cucumbers but tomorrow---we are making them! :-)

Emile said...

I was looking on how to poached eggs after watching the movie. I love it so much, I was moved by it, total therapeutic for someone like me that don't want to be a kitchen goddess but in denial. I love to see a pure gratification from friends and families that enjoys my cooking (who doesn't want that). I love cucumber and I looked for the braised cucumber recipe and here I am, love to try it and serve it for new year's eve. I will surely bookmark and keep reading your blog.

emile

Emily said...

Welcome to the ride Emile. Hope you enjoy your braised cucumbers.

I've yet to master eggs, maybe that should be my next goal.

Susan from NC said...

I am watching Julia/Julia on DVD....WE paused and tooka break and I found this post by googling braised cucumbers..lol.honest...thanks for the recipe!!!! Gotta get back to the movie!!! Loving it!

silverloba said...

I was watching the movie and they were talking about braised cucumbers and had to come and google it and this was the first page that showed up. love the movie so far and cant wait to try the cucumbers

Anonymous said...

Has anyone used English cucumbers to make this receipe? Just curious...

Erin said...

I tried braising both English and regular this evening (eating them now). Both were equally tasty. Be careful not to put too much lemon juice in or they will taste more like a warm sour pickle. I tried a second batch and they were perfect. I recommend the dried mint. It added a hint of freshness without being too minty.

Emily said...

Thanks, Erin for letting us known about the English versus regular cucumbers. And you are very right on the lemon juice, I made that mistake once and the results were not very tasty.

ginaspung said...

I had to have bruschetta after seeing the movie!!!! Too funny! I loved the movie & just love Meryl. The scene where she reads the letter about her sister being pregnant made me cry too! Meryl is amazing!I kept meaning to look up braised cucumbers & finally did & found your blog. Thanks so much! Can't wait to go try them now!

Chelle said...

This is sort of a "me too" post, but I've seen J&J six times so far and still bawl my eyes out every time. I LOVE this movie. My honey surprised me with pearls for Christmas while we watched the movie. OMG! Major mascara emergency! Going to make braised cucumbers right now... (thanks!)

Emily said...

ginaspung and Chelle, glad you both found the blog and hope you enjoyed your cucumbers. And I think it's about time I watch this movie again, hearing your favorite parts put me in the mood.

Jenny said...

Love your blog!!!!
I only just saw Julie and Julia and have now watched it 7 times on Netflix! I'm so glad I'm not a lone dork! I fell for the idea of Braised Cucumbers and that's how I found you. My husband and I are Vegan and I'm now on a mission to convert some of Julia's recipes to Vegan versions and see what happens. I'm going to record my progress....literally just set up the blog moments ago and I wanted to thank you for the inspiration. I'm going to follow what you're writing. :)

Emily said...

Welcome to the blog Jenny! You are very much not alone in your dorky love for the movie and braised cucumbers.

Making Julia Child vegan friendly sounds like a huge undertaking but I'm sure it can be done. I'd love to see what you come up with if you ever want to share your blog adventures.

Glad to have been an inspiration. Happy cooking I can just imagine Julia Child rolling over in her grave hearing her name mentioned in the same sentence as "vegan."

Tom said...

Watched the movie last night and cannot wait to try the cukes. Did anyone else find that Julie's boyfriend had the worst table manners. Esp. when eating the brushetta. LOL

Emily said...

I did notice that, Tom but at least it was bad manners in kind of an adorable way.

Hope you enjoy making the cucumbers one day.

christ said...

Anyway. I just saw ther movie loved it. Always used Q's as a salad . I can't wait to try braised. I have a full bag of "GOURMET" q's. So ": bon appetit"

Sarah said...

Today I realized I have too many cucumbers in the fridge and remembered that part of the movie. I Googled "braised cucumbers" and lo and behold I found your lovely blog! I'm Gluten-free too so I'll have to check out your other recipes.

Emily said...

Glad you found the site Sarah. Hope you find some gluten free recipes here that are up your alley.

Toni Lynn said...

HAHA! I just googled "braised cucumbers" because of that movie. Watched it the other day for the first time - guess I'm a day late and cucumber short, because after reading your blog post I feel the need to run out to the store and buy some cucumbers.

P.S. I just braised celery and am eating it while typing. Yum!

Stella said...

Okay - I learned that I have always crowded the mushrooms. and that drying the meat really WILL make it brown perfectly! The cukes I hadn't gotten around to... so THANK YOU!!! I have two hanging around so we're having them with left over pulled pork tomorrow - should be a wonderful contrast... YUM

Danielle said...

So I was watching julie and julia and i was curious about the braised cucumbers and I found this blog and I tried the recepie and all I can say is WOW!!! I don't think I will ever eat a cucumber raw again it was amazing and the butter gives it such a nutty taste and with the lemon juice and the mint it was amazing.

Danielle Marie said...

So I was watching julie and julia and i was curious about the braised cucumbers and I found this blog and I tried the recepie and all I can say is WOW!!! I don't think I will ever eat a cucumber raw again it was amazing and the butter gives it such a nutty taste and with the lemon juice and the mint it was amazing.

Terri said...

Funny. You see, I just watched "Julie and Julia" last night--grad school, no free time, catching up on things from a year ago and I really MUST be more attentive to things...and I (like you) loved the movie like stupid-crazy and also (like you) said, "Braised cucumbers? Really?" And here I am, the next day, looking for recipes and opinions. And NOW, I'm sorry I didn't buy a cucumber to cook tonight, because I suspect it would go well with crepes. Very cool. Psyched to try it!

Sean said...

Emily... Girl, you crack me up!!!I am enjoying some "Staycation" time and will be spending the next week experimenting with recipes. Thank you for posting the Braised Cucumber Recipe. I am going to make them tomorrow..! I, too, love the movie Julie and Julia and have watched it REPEATEDLY!!!! LOL I make Beef Bourguignon once every 2 weeks because it is so addicting... Cannot wait to follow you more..... Thank you

Marley said...

Just finished watching J&J for, I don't know, the upteenth time. And once again said to myself, "Have to make those braised cucumbers". Well, I did! Absolutely yummy. Ditto like every other posted comment, yours was the first site to be come up. Really like what you have to say. I plan to be a "regular" reader on your blog.

Anonymous said...

Yet another convert! I litterally just finished watching the movie... your recipe on my screen awaiting the ending credits. And here I am now, just listening to the final beeping of my 5 minute timer... awaiting my taste of what promises to be heaven! Can hardly wait!
Thank you for sharing the recipe!

Mikki said...

I am one who only likes cukes in the sauce on gyros. Oh My God!! They were pure heaven. Who would have thunk? Thank you so much for sharing. By the way, what was the fried bread and tomatoes they were devouring in the movie? Got that recipe?

Another smitten foodie.

Anonymous said...

Yes! To the person who commented on the husband in the movie. He eats like a pig!

SimplySaid said...

IN reply to Mikki who asked about the fried bread and tomatoes, that's bruschetta. It is an Italian dish made by toasting the bread, in olive oil (but I add butter of course) and always do so on the stove. A cast iron pan works best! The tomatoes are made by mixing in a bowl: chopped tomatoes, (use a variety) garlic, olive oil, parsley, basil and salt and pepper to taste. It is usually served as a first course, appetizer or just when you need something great to eat. A staple in my home but modifications can certainly be made with roasted peppers, etc.. I'm not quite sure why that was their dinner. Although, makes for a great lunch too. It's so easy so everyone should make it and serve it to guests. Funny how no matter how long ago or how many times we've seen the movie Julie and Julia, somehow the "revelation" of braised cucumbers brinsg everyone here. I'm new but will be back. I'm so obsessed with cooking, I literally got cable so I could watch the following: Food Network, The Cooking Channel and PBS Create. An occasional movie makes it through, but it's usually always about cooking. Try 'No Reservations', 'Osso Bucco' (not a great film), 'Under the Tuscan Sun', etc... See you in the thread. Here is Mikki's original post:
Mikki said...

I am one who only likes cukes in the sauce on gyros. Oh My God!! They were pure heaven. Who would have thunk? Thank you so much for sharing. By the way, what was the fried bread and tomatoes they were devouring in the movie? Got that recipe?

Another smitten foodie.

November 19, 2010 10:02 PM

Anonymous said...

I have watched Julie and Julia at least a million times since it has been out..Every time I watch it I end up at the store, in the kitchen, and then I gain a pound!! OMG!! I just can't figure it out!! Tonight is Beef B...(ok can't spell worth beans but you know what I'm talking about) and these wonderful little gems, braised cucumbers...Yummmm!! I will pay tribute to Julia Child as I eat a second bowl of this wonderful Beef mixture and munch my veggies too!!!

jude said...

I had to pick the last of my cukes as our growing season ended abruptly going from warm to threatening snow overnight. I knew it was short but jeeze..when I saw the movie, the braised cukes also got my attention and I'm going to cook them up tomorrow. thanks for having the recipe up, I'm missing mint, but may be able to get some from a neighbor, if not, will they still turn out you think? I'm gonna try either way

marsue.it@gmail.com said...

I wonder if this recipe or one like it would work on marrows? Our zuchini run wild here in Italy as soon as my back is turned and it seems a pity jut to compost them....Ah well will have a go next year, this season is over.

ccironwood said...

All I can say is "try it" ... who knows?

Dawn said...

Haha, just saw the movie for the first time...and of course, googled the recipe for Braised Cucumbers and found you! Thanks, fun and yummy....:-)

Unknown said...

I love Julie & Julia! It's such a sweet movie I've probably watched 20 times now and I tried braised cucumbers with dill which was how I found it in some other recipe but dried mint sounds really good too. Will try it tomorrow! :)

Anonymous said...

Years after your original post: I've been a fan of Julia since her show first appeared on public television in the '60s and I was just a kid. She is my kitchen goddess, and I now own most of her cookbooks, even though I now live in Germany. I've done her braised cucumbers, but tonight I'm going to try your simpler recipe and see what my German husband thinks of them.

Nell said...

I just watched Julie&Julia such a great movie! And the braised cucumbers caught my eye. I'm literally in the middle of making them but I don't have any dried mint does anyone know if fresh works? Or can I dry it myself?

Nell said...

Ok so I made it and It was super super delicious!!!!!! I used fresh mint not a very prominent mint flavor so if u use fresh u should use more because dryed has a stronger flavor.

Linda - Grumpycat Creations said...

Thank you for posting the recipe! Like others, the thought of Braised Cucumbers was intriguing. We have a garden and our cucumbers are out of control. I made these last night and they were great! I can't wait to experiment with different spices & herbs. bon appetite!

Sara Cunningham said...

this post was a long-ass time ago, but i just watched Julie and Julia on TV and having already read the book i didn't pay too much attention... but the thing that stuck in my mind with huge thorns was braised cucumbers. and since my mom just visited with her boyfriend and he brought me a huge bag of them from his garden... yeah, that's what i'm making tonight. thanks for the recipe!!

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Here it is 1:38 am and I just watched Julie & Julia.... And I decided to make those Braised Cucumbers as a snack......well I must say they're to die for! OMGGGGG who would've thought that they would taste so heavenly. I loved the movie and now I'm in love with braised cucumbers....I don't know which one I love the most? Thanks so much for sharing. :)

susan said...

Just watching the film now and can,t wait to get a cucumber tomorrow so I can try it braised. Thank you for the recipe.