July 26

Dill-Ranch Cucumber Chips

IMG_1678What do you do when you have an excess of cucumbers in the house?

After searching the internet for suggestions on what to do that wasn’t just a boring salad topper, I came across the idea to dehydrate them. Making zucchini chips is popular, and so apparently is cucumber. The instructions for the particular recipe I found didn’t sound appetizing. Salt on cucumbers? I don’t know. That seems counterproductive in the flavor department. I started thinking about what I could do a little differently. Vinegar? Barbecue? Do I attempt the salt and possibly waste a perfectly good cucumber? As I opened up my spice cabinet, thinking perhaps I could pull off the salt if I added pepper, maybe some sweet paprika, too. Then it hit me. No, really. I got hit in the fact. With one of those small mason jars. It was sitting precariously on top of a couple big spice containers and it managed to wiggle free and fall. Luckily, it didn’t have very far to go in order to stop on my face, but it was still a shock. In that mason jar is my homemade ranch dressing mix. It’s an MSG-free mix I made to use on the ranch oyster crackers I will be selling when my baking business takes off. Oh. Right. I don’t think I mentioned my business. That’s a large part of why I disappeared and stopped posting to this blog. But that’s a story for later. Right, now, we’re talking MSG-free ranch dressing mix.

So I started thinking, ranch dressing. That’s probably the number one dressing used on salads across the states, and what flavor goes best with ranch? MORE DILL. My recipe already has a bunch of dill in it, but what’s a little more, especially if you like dill as much as I do. I pulled my little shaker of dill out of the cupboard as well, and set to work. I busted out my mandolin, put on the super thin slice blade, and got to work making nearly-paper-thin slices of cucumber. I tossed them into a medium bowl, tossed a hefty amount of ranch dressing mix, sprinkled a bit of dill… then sprinkled a little more, and mixed well, making sure everything looked evenly coated. Because the cucumbers are already wet, the dressing mix and dill adhere beautifully.

I dusted off my dehydrator, set it up in an appropriate spot on the counter, and started laying out the cucumber slices. One large cucumber filled 2 1/2 trays of my little Nesco dehydrator. I skipped a very important step that I didn’t even think about until it was too late. When the ‘chips’ were done, they stuck to the trays like crazy. Almost a whole tray of them lost their middles, where the seeds are. So heed my advice: SPRAY YOUR TRAYS. Or use parchment or non-stick dehydrator inserts. Arrange your cucumber slices, and then turn on the dehydrator (mine does not have any way for me to set a temperature, or to even know what temperature mine dries at, but 125º seems to be pretty standard). About an hour into the drying, gently lift each of the cucumber slices to jostle them off the trays. Then you can let them dry until they’re completely done. Mine took about 3 hours.

The end result was a wonderful crispy, crunchy burst of concentrated cucumber flavor with a lot of dilly ranch. The Fellow™ doesn’t particularly care for ranch flavoring. He doesn’t really like salad dressing, either. He gets his salad plain. When I make salad to go with dinner, it has lettuce and carrots in it. That’s it. No dressing. I’m not obsessed with ranch by any means, but I eat it more than he ever does/will. That being said, he absolutely loved these chips. I even told him that I thought he wouldn’t even bother tasting them since they were so heavy in dill. When I worked at the bakery, we made a these dill scones and in the words of George Takei, ohhhh myyyy, they were a big fluffy slice of heaven. But The Fellow™ would not try them. He doesn’t know what he was missing out on! These, though, he liked. And I will make them again just so he can have his own healthy batch to take to work for a snack. Maybe he could even turn some of his co-workers onto them. I spoil those guys. I won’t lie – I love hearing the compliments :)

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Dill-Ranch Cucumber Chips

source: Apollo & Co.

Ingredients

2 large cucumbers
1 ounce ranch dressing mix packet
2 teaspoons dill weed

Directions

1. Thinly slice cucumbers. 1/8″ is pretty standard, but thinner is okay too.

2. In a medium bowl, toss together the sliced cucumbers, packet of ranch dressing mix, and dill weed. Make sure the cucumbers are coated well.

3. Spray the dehydrator trays with non-stick cooking spray, use parchment, or dehydrator inserts. Arrange the cucumbers in a single layer, without any overlapping. Turn on the dehydrator, around 125º.

4. About an hour into dehydrating, use a spatula to pick up the individual cucumbers and make sure they are not beginning to stick to the tray. Cover up and turn back on. Keep the dehydrator running until they are completely dried and crispy.

5. Store in an air-tight container. Leaving them out results in a soggy, wiggly chip.

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