Cucumber Toasts

There are few things that I find more inspiring and fulfilling (food-wise, of course) than strolling through the produce section at Wegman’s during the height of summer. The sweet scent of freshly picked berries and melons linger in the air and the wide array of crisp, colorful skins beg for simple, uncooked preparations. No other season’s harvests can compare to the simplistic perfection that summer’s bounty offers.
Ah, cukes; a natural in savory dishes, but just as at home in sweet salads, sorbets, and drinks. Convincing my family that cucumbers can be eaten in a variety of ways, other than sliced with a simple sprinkling of salt, has been somewhat challenging. This recipe, found in the July / August 2010 issue of Everyday Food is no exception.

Kris refused to try these toasts altogether, which caused me to cast a disappointed glance in his direction, but also prompted Landon and Shayne to feel guilty enough to become volunteer taste-testers. Shayne claimed that he enjoyed these toasts, but politely declined when offered a second piece – the true test when trying to determine if the kids really like what I have made, or they are just trying to avoid hurting my feelings.
I loved all of the tastes and textures going on with these toasts. The crunchy, toasted baguette; the creamy, slightly tangy cream cheese with the light, lingering onion flavor from the chives; the crisp snap of the sliced cucumber; and of course, the fresh, silky smooth qualities of the lemon infused olive oil. For me, this is the perfect afternoon snack or summertime side dish – light, but satisfying.

Cucumber Toasts
Adapted from Everyday Food : The original recipe calls for feta, smashed with far too much olive oil and fresh lemon juice. Not being a fan of the grainy texture feta lends, I opted to use cream cheese and added fresh chives for additional flavor.
  • ½ baguette
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened (I used reduced fat)
  • 2 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
  • 1 English cucumber, thinly sliced (I peeled it, although it’s not necessary)
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp lemon infused olive oil
  1. Preheat oven 450 degrees
  2. Slice baguette in half, lengthwise; drizzle 1 tsp lemon olive oil on the cut side of each slice
  3. Bake for 5 – 7 minutes, until golden; allow to cool slightly
  4. Meanwhile, combine softened cream cheese and fresh, chopped chives
  5. Spread cream cheese mixture over each toasted baguette; arrange cucumbers on top
  6. Generously sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  7. Drizzle with remaining 1 tsp lemon infused olive oil
  8. Slice into thick chunks and serve immediately

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