too hot to be in the kitchen...
- janet of reno Jul 14, 2005 02:48 AM
Well, maybe its global warming, but the week of triple digit temperatures we seem to get here every July is threatening to turn into two weeks....and the main floor of my house is not air-conditioned...so I'm not going anywhere NEAR the kitchen. Its just hubby and me this week (chowpup is in Mexico City and I'm jealous...) so what to cook??? I suppose we should just go to airconditioned restaurants....but hubby has been working late and I'd like to have food ready when he gets home hungry. Tonight we had salmon salad sandwiches, made with salmon canned from one we caught ourselves, and a fruit salad. Any ideas for tomorrow??? I could just grill, but its almost too hot to light up the grill, and hubby is NOT a meat and potatoes kind of guy...so would need some creative ideas there too....
ah-I'm thinking radishes and butter and a tall glass of dark beer; good bread layered with thick sliced tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, balsamic vinegar and olive oil with a glass of sauvignon blanc; cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches with dill with a glass of fresh carrot juice and tequila. Or, serve Hiya Somen: chilled somen noodles in a bowl of ice cubes and cold water and garnish with shiso, grated ginger, chopped green onion, julienned cucumber, shrimp...with a dipping sauce of mirin and shoyu diluted with water and katsuo-bushi; or a plate of cold tofu cubes with chopped green onion, katsuo-bushi, grated ginger and shoyu.
i sympathize...it's been unusually hot here this week, and besides that, i've recently moved to a new flat and haven't had a stove for two weeks!
the other day i made a vietnamese-style rice vermicelli salad, using only my electric kettle to boil the water for the noodles.
made a dressing of lime juice and zest, sugar, fish sauce, garlic, chili, ginger and a bit of sesame oil, tossed in shredded lettuce, scallions, carrot, cucumber, basil, mint, cilantro, and some roast chicken slices that i bought at the shop. it was very refreshing.
i also made sort of a combination salad nicoise/greek salad, with olives, feta, tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, onion, and some tuna. used the kettle to "blanch" some thin string beans.
On Sunday, I made a tofu salad I adapted from the first Moosewood cookbook. In a bowl, make a marinade of minced ginger, minced garlic, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, a little sugar, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Add firm tofu, shredded or thinly cut carrots, red pepper, Japanese eggplant, and mushrooms. Mix together and top with sesame seeds. Cover and let sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours. Refrigerate any leftovers--it will get even better with time.
What about having a picnic on the floor? I'm thinking a loaf of crusty french bread, some nice cheese or brie, a bottle of wine, and some sliced raw veggies with a simple dip.
If you add a few candles it could be very romantic...
my in-laws (also hailing from reno) bought us a two burner propane stove (it has detachable legs, so it stands waist high) for christmas last year. it is great for cooking outdoors... especially hot jobs like boiling water for corn, pasta, etc. made a great pasta pomodoro last night on it... which was great since I wasn't about to boil a pot of water in the house.
either that.. or you can pick up an electric griddle or skillet pretty reasonably. keeps the heat outside.
I'm in Sacramento. That said, I understand the hot kichen thing but I still like something warm for dinner. Soooo, I get a take away soup of choice and make a crab stuffed tomatoe (that was tuesday night). Last night I made an Italian sausage with peppers and onions dish served with pasta. It's cooked on the stove top for about 25 minutes. No oven. Good luck until October.
The answer to firing up the grill is to get a Wolfgang Puck electric grill outside - its amazing because it heats up to 400 deg in no time and does marvellous burgers and terrific chicken. We grilled on that for 14 on July 4th. Kitchen was cool and we ate hot food. This grill is so much faster/hotter/better and easier to clean than the other two electric grills we own (don't work for or have any interest in WPuck products, just a big fan).
How about some wraps? Maybe a chicken salad wrap?
Either store bought roasted chicken, cooked chicken breast strips, or even canned chicken, mixed with some fresh vegetables like bell peppers, red onions, celery and sweet pea. Toss together with a olive oil, salt and pepper, vinegar of your choices and maybe some herbs and garlic. Let it sit in the fridge for a while for the flavors to mix up. When you're ready to eat, just wrap them in a flour tortilla. You can add chesse, put it on pita bread or even wrap it in lettuce leaves. Come to think of it, you can even toss the chicken salad with a little pasta.
Well, I absolutely cannot STAND wraps, so that idea is out. OTOH, I used the store-roasted chicken idea and tonight made a chinese chicken salad. I was trying to duplicate the chicken salad that used to be served at the China Station in Berkeley (when it was the China Station) as that was my all-time favorite. I think I came fairly close: the secret ingredient is candied ginger.....and of course lots of cilantro...It was very good, and there was ice cold watermelon for desert....the real kind, with seeds....
Janet, I live in the Phoenix area ..... summer is a hot reality and sometimes, it really is just too hot to cook. I wouldn't dream of grilling outdoors when it's 115 degrees (today!) -- stand in front of a hot grill, are you nuts!!!
Researching geographic areas with similar climates - the Mediterranean, for example - has yielded many interesting recipe ideas for "cool food".
My best hint would be to do the minimal amount of cooking possible, but before you respond with "DUH!" let me explain what I mean.
In order to have the necessary foods available, I need to do some cooking. EX: I cannot abide all packaged or canned stuff and must have "real" food instead. I shoot for getting all the weeks worth of "basics" done at the same time, as early in the morning as possible. I cook an entire box of stubby pasta, drain it and toss with olive oil before refrigerating it for a week's worth of salads & dinner entrees. Use rice, wheat berries or bulgur instead of pasta. Steam a bunch of green beans over top of the boiling water - drain & shock the beans. IF you fire up the oven, do so only with a full load in there; roast one or two chickens while you bake a pan of brownies, cook a couple of potatoes (for both salad and re-stuffed), roast an eggplant and cook a pork tenderloin. You'll have meals for the next seven nights when you add fruit, vegetables and seasonings.
As much as I detest, abhor and hate the microwave for cooking, it is worthwhile for summertime re-heating.
Between what we call "Garbage Salads" (that do include almost anything including some of the afore-mentioned pork loin, green beans & pasta tossed with olives, tomatoes & cucumbers with a mustardy dressing) and cold "Stupe" (a cross between soup & stew), our summer eating is a joy when I remember to plan and execute well in advance.
"I shoot for getting all the weeks worth of "basics" done"
Oops -- should read: week's worth.
While I'm at it, forgot to mention using nuts & dried fruit during the summer. Both are packed with flavor and give a huge boost to meals. Simply sprinkling a handful of sunflower seeds or peanuts on an otherwise ho-hum salad lifts it to a higher flavor level.
In addition to the Mediterranean, look to Asia for inspiration. Vietnam, Thailand, the Phillipines are hot areas with wonderful food for summer eating. Don't forget Mexico either.