Perfect picnic dishes that can be made in minutes

Summery brown sugar cherry dip

Ingredients:

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar (approx. — more or less to taste and texture)
1 cup sour cream
1-2 tbs Kirsch

Directions:

Combine the ingredients above, then add a little whipped cream for presentation (optional), garnish with brown sugar (also optional, but irresistible), and you’re done. This is a little nutty, really sweet, and more than a little boozy…a perfect accompaniment to fresh summer cherries.

Variations:

  • Add 8-oz. of softened cream cheese to the sour cream for a denser texture
  • Using Kirsch is ideal if serving this dip with cherries; but especially with other fruits, replace the kirsch with 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, or 2-3 tbs of coffee liqueur

Addictive cucumber salad

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 cucumbers (any, but Lebanese cucumbers work great since they are essentially seedless) skin on & washed
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2-3 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs rice wine vinegar
  • 1 - 1 1/2 tsp ponzu sauce
  • 1 - 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • garnish with sesame seeds, preferably toasted

Directions:

1) Slice or shred cucumbers to taste, removing seeds if preferred; or, for exercise and to get out any frustrations, place them on a cutting board and smash them with a kitchen mallet, the flat side of a cleaver, or a heavy pan, to split them and mash them slightly, then chop them into small pieces

2) Sprinkle them with a generous amount of salt, then let them drain through a colander into a bowl in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, to release water

3) Take the cucumbers, squeeze out any remaining water, Place the colander over a bowl and in the fridge for 20 minutes. The cucumbers will release water during this time.

4) Remove cucumbers from the fridge and give them a slight squeeze to remove more liquid. In a bowl, toss the cukes with the garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, ponzu and sesame oil.

5) Allow some time for the flavors to combine in the refrigerator, about 30 minutes (and this dish tastes best when the cucumbers are really chilled).

6) Garnish with toasted sesame seeds, and serve happily.

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