Open Faced Italian Beef Sandwiches with Baked Cucumbers in Basil Cream

Open Faced Italian Beef Sandwich with Baked cucumbers in Basil Cream served with roasted beet salad

The open faced beef sandwhich is really easy to make and quite tasty, though not necessarily the most beautiful creation.  The cucumbers baked in basil cream was a great use of the cucumbers and basil from our Ref Fire Farm CSA share this week.  Also, the beet salad was simple and delicious.

Open Faced Italian Beef Sandwhich:  It can be any type of sandwich, you just need bread, and a good meat.  I took 1 pound of stew beef, a tomato, lots of basil, dried oregano, one chopped onion, four cloves of garlic, and 1/4 cup of water, and simply stuck them in our crock pot to cook all day.

All of the Italian Meat sandwich filling in our crockpot

I made some fresh homemade bread to go with it.

Homemade whole wheat bread using Upinngil Farm's whole wheat flours

I decided to roast a lot of our beets this week for salads, and so I went about roasting them all since I had the oven on for baking bread.

We got only golden beets from the mix of regular and golden from our distribution. They are really gorgeous.

To bake, I simply wash them well, then wrap them in tin foil.

Cleaned beets ready to be......

... wrapped in tin foil.

I baked them at 375 F for about 30 minutes.  To check when they are done, I simply take them out, unwrap them, and poke with a fork.  Really simple.  I also roasted garlic (and thus you get to see more attractive pictures of produce…. as the lighting was really nice at the time) for the pizza we are making for dinner on Wednesday.

Some lovely garlic from Red Fire Farm, beginning to dry

For roasting garlic, I cut off the stems, and chop off the top of the garlic head.  I make sure to salvage the garlic bits I cut off the top…. garlic is some serious business to me.

Garlic bulbs with their tops cut off.

They too get wrapped in tin foil.

and put in muffin tins.... how cute.

Then I baked them at 375 F for about 20 minutes, until they were soft and looked like….

...this. Roasted garlic, lovely

I then took the garlic out of the papery casing and stuck it in a glass jar, covered it in olive oil and set in the fridge to keep until Wednesday.


The beet salad had lettuce, cut of roasted beets, and a garlic mayo dressing: (two cloved fresh garlic, pressed, 2 tbsp of vinegar, 1 tbsp of mayo, salt and pepper to taste) and it was delish.

Simple Roasted Beet Salad

The baked cucumbers in basil cream was delicious and velvety.  The recipe comes from Farmer John’s Cookbook with some alterations:

Baked Cucumbers in Basil Cream: (serves 4)

  • 10 cucumbers, halved lengthwise, with seeds scooped out, and then cut into 1 inch slices
  • 1 1/2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 3 big sprigs of basil, chopped
  • salt to taste and ground pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Mix salt, vinegar and sugar together and heat in a saucepan to dissolve.
  3. Mix vinegar solution with cucumbers so that the are well coated.
  4. Let marinate for ~30 minutes.
  5. Drain cucumbers.
  6. Put them in a baking dish.
  7. Pour melted butter over them with scallions.
  8. Toss to combine.
  9. Bake the cucumbers at 375 F for 45 minutes.
  10. Meanwhile, heat the cream in a small pot or saucepan until it comes to a light boil.
  11. Continue to cook the cream, stirring frequently until it is reduced to about 1/2 a cup (about ~20 minutes) .
  12. Stir in the basil and turn off the heat. Let is steep for a while.
  13. When the cucumbers are done, pour the cream sauce over the cucumber.
  14. Season with salt and pepper and serve!

The finished baked cucumbers.

The meal was a big success: Marion got so excited she climbed onto my plate to get good beakfuls of baked cucumber, beef and bread.

Marion-birdy approval at its finest.

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