What did he want? Oh, my dulcet darlings, I've been pestering him for days and he cannot even begin to articulate what he wanted from buttered cucumbers. Except more butter flavor and less pepper. Which is maybe not quite enough to go by.
Browsing my cookbooks for cooked cucumber recipes, I found a recipe for "Hannoversches Gurkengemüse" in my mother's 1972 copy of German Cooking: Savory German Dishes Prepared in the Traditional Way, a volume in the collection 'Round the World Cooking Library. As far as I know, my mother never owned any of the other volumes ... nor did she ever cook from this book and, truth be told, I hadn't cooked from it in the five years since she passed it along to me.
But now I have! And while "Hannoversches Gurkengemüse" is nothing like The Husband's lamented buttered cucumbers or whatever it is he wants buttered cucumbers to be, he ate them all and said, without hesitation, he would eat them again. I thought they were surprisingly good ... although, at points, my tongue was pretty sure I was eating yellow squash so ymmv.
I tweaked the original recipe -- it wanted sugar, which was a definite no, and I thought the instructions were a bit vague. I tried to make my dish resemble the book's photo as much as possible but, frankly, without much success. Mine's definitely creamier looking, for instance, and my tomatoes broke down much more.
Braised Cucumbers with Sour Cream and Tomatoes
Serves 2 generously
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 English cucumber
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 small red onion, chopped
¼ cup water
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp dried dill weed [fresh would be better, of you have it]
½ cup sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
Peel, seed, and chop cucumber into 1-inch pieces.
Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add cucumbers and onions. Cook, stirring constantly, until onion is tender. Add tomatoes, water, lemon juice, and dill. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring regularly, until most of the tomato juices have evaporated.
Remove from heat, stir in sour cream, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
(German Cooking translates "Hannoversches Gurkengemüse" as "Braised Cucumbers," but it's more like "Hanovarian Cucumbers" which makes me harken back to the House of Hanover and "Her Majesty Victoria, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Queen, Defender of the Faith, Empress of India." Also, Google is pretty adamant it's "Hannoversche)."