There is a Polish cucumber salad, that I just love, “Mizeria.” It’s pronounced almost sounding like it would promise misery but I promise you it’s doesn’t. It’s oh-so-creamy, refreshing and is usually served alongside a typical hearty Polish meal, such as a deliciously pan-fried pork cutlet served with chunks of buttery yellow potatoes. It’s a nice salad served at a buffet as it compliments almost every meal. It’s just heaven on a plate and topped with lots of fresh dill, makes it herby and gives it a lightness. It’s such a simple dish consisting of cucumbers, sour cream and dill and I thought making it vegan would be a nice change. I thought that substituting coconut milk for the sour cream would give the salad that signature creaminess and it did. But when opening a can of coconut milk, it usually doesn’t have that sour cream texture of dense white clouds begging to be scooped up with kettle cooked chips, so I had to improvise and remembered a great tip that I came across on the blog, “Pastry Affair.” (An affair it is, decadent recipes accompanied by sexy pictures of heavenly, buttery richness. Go there now.) It was a recipe to make a sweet coconut cream and it requires refrigerating the can of coconut milk for at least eight hours and then carefully flipping the can over, opening it and pouring off the top and whipping the rest. I omitted the sugar and vanilla, added lemon juice and make a surprising bowl of sour cream. I think I need to experiment on this one a little bit but I loved it enough to make it again and it satisfied that mizeria craving. Enjoy!
- 3/4 pound kirby cucumbers (about 5), peeled and sliced thin, (a mandoline works great for this.)
- 1 can of coconut milk
- a little less than a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
- a handful of fresh dill, minced plus more for garnish
- sea salt
Begin by gently salting your cucumbers, tossing them and allow them to sit while you make your “sour cream.” As explained above, take your can out of the fridge and flip it over, open your can of coconut milk and pour off the top liquid which is more of a creamy coconut water and reserve for another use. What’s left is the consistency of a thick creamy soup with the bottom holding more of the coconut cream. I think it really depends of what kind of coconut milk you use. I’ve opened a can of coconut milk and it was very watery and some were oh-so-thick. The bottom should measure out about 3/4 of a cup. Using a hand held immersion blender, blend with the lemon juice, until it is about the thickness of sour cream. Take a paper towel and run it through the cucumbers, so you dry them. Combine the cucumbers, “sour cream” and minced dill. Season as needed with more salt and garnish with fresh dill. Serves about 4. Double the recipe as needed.