Market Fresh: Russian Zucchini Dill Casserole

This is another Kazakh/Russian dish. My husband didn’t love this one as much as I did. I liked the flavors and textures together a lot! It is healthy and hearty. Dill is such a big part of many of the Kazakh dishes I’ve enjoyed. I will be growing it in my garden this year for sure!

RUSSIAN ZUCCHINI DILL CASSEROLE
adapted from Cooking for Kaz: Meals for Hope, Volume 2
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6 zucchini, sliced
3 med. carrots, peeled & chopped
2 c. onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 Tb. tomato paste
 3 T. fresh parsley, chopped
 2 Tb. fresh dill, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
2 c. tomato juice
¾ tsp. sugar
1 ½ Tb. cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large skillet or dutch oven, sauté carrots in water or vegetable stock over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. Add the onion, celery, and zucchini and sauté, stirring, until all the vegetables are starting to tenderize.

Stir in the tomato paste and sauté for 3-4 minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in the parsley and dill. Mix the tomato juice with the sugar, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Stir this mixture in as well and just bring to a boil. Pour the mixture into a flat-bottomed heatproof casserole that will accommodate the entire amount. Bake in the oven until tender – about 40 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley before serving if desired.

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Market Fresh: Cucumbers

Cucumbers are one of my favorite raw vegetables. I especially like the English cucumbers – they are the seedless ones that are usually wrapped in plastic. I’ve noticed that cucumbers are generally the first to go on a vegetable platters and they make a great addition to lettuce salad.

We always grow cucumbers in our garden and I enjoy coming up with different use for them. One of the simplest ways to serve it is sliced on a platter with salt, pepper, and vinegar. Today, I’m sharing a couple of other recipes that we enjoy.

 The inspiration for the first is a combination of my love tomatoes & cucumber together (I’ve been combining them in salads for years!) and the salads we ate in Kazakhstan which included lots and lots of dill. We ate something very similar to this and I loved it!

CUCUMBER-TOMATO SALAD
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1 english cucumber, cubed
2 tomatoes, diced (olr a 1/2 pint of tomatoes halved)
1/4 c. fresh dill, chopped
2 Tb. Olive oil
2 Tb. Vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
salt & pepper to taste

Combine cucumber, tomato, and dill. Sprinkle on sugar. Add salt & pepper to taste. Dress with olive oil and vinegar. Can be served chilled or at room temperature. The flavors develop if you allow the salad to marinate for at least 2 hours before serving. Serves 4.

My mom has made cucumber onion salad for as long as I can remember. It frequents our family gatherings. It’s also wonderful dressed with vinegar and oil.

CUCUMBER ONION SALAD
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1 Cucumber, thinly sliced
1 Onion, thinly sliced into rings
1/3 c. Mayonnaise
2 Tb. white vinegar or lemon juice 
Seasoned Salt or regular salt
Pepper 

Combine cucumber and onion. Season with seasoned salt and pepper. Dress with mayonnaise & vinegar. Serve chilled and allow to marinate for 1-2 hours before serving. Serves 4.