Friday, July 22, 2011

Dog Days of Summer

    I am taking off for 2 weeks of summer holiday. And considering the heat wave that is hitting the US, I imagine most of you would like to take a summer vacation too – from your stove. So in the spirit of needing to eat but not wanting to do much, I have recipes that require minimal effort. MINIMAL. Remember to stay hydrated, keep cool, and if you have plants, water in the evening. Also, if you can stand it, try to keep your AC down – brownouts are a real threat considering the weather. Don’t be the idiot that broke the electricity grid by turning up the air-conditioning full blast.    
        Stay cool and see you in August!

1.     Tomato sandwich. Take ripe tomato (homegrown, farmer’s market, or heirloom). Slice thinly. Salt and Pepper. Place on good bread with mayo on it.
2.     Take carrot out of ground. Wash. Eat.
3.     Gazpacho. Take 3 tomatoes, 1 cucumber, ½ onion, garlic clove, glug of olive oil, and 1 tbs. of sherry vinegar. Blend smooth or chunky. Add salt to taste.
4.     Borscht. Take 2 cooked beets, 1 c. stock (any kind) and blend. Add salt to taste. Top with sour cream.
5.     Cucumber Sandwich. Take English cucumber, peel and de-seed. Slice thinly. Spread cream cheese or butter on bread. Add cucumbers with salt and pepper.
6.     Pick fruit off neighborhood bush or tree. Eat.
7.     Vietnamese salad. Take coleslaw mix. Add 2 tbs. sesame oil, 1 tsp. fish sauce, juice 1 lime, pepper, and 1 tsp. sugar. Toss.
8.     Beet salad. Take pre-cooked beets. Slice into ½ in. rings. Crumble feta, walnuts and 1 finely chopped shallot on top. Dress with lemon/olive oil.
9.     Ceviche. Take any fresh, firm white-fleshed fish (cod, flounder, etc.-about ½ pound). Chop into bite-sized bits. Mix in juice of 1 lime, 1 lemon, ¼ chopped red onion, salt, some chili (optional and to taste) and 1 tbs. olive oil. Sit in fridge for 3-4 hours. Eat with bread or tortillas.
10. Tuna Salad. Mix 1 can tuna (packed in oil), 1 tbs. chopped capers, some chopped olives, and chopped scallion with juice of 1 lemon. Serve with crackers or on top of greens.
11. Pesto. Blend 1 c. packed herbs (parsley, basil, chives, etc.), with ¼ c. toasted pine nuts, ½ c. olive oil and 1 clove garlic. Add this to any cold leftovers on bread or greens.
12. Marinated Chickpeas with pita. Take 2 cans of chickpeas and toss with 4 tbs. of olive oil, juice of 1 lemon, chopped parsley and shallot, pinch of sugar and salt and pepper. Sit for an hour. Stuff into pit with greens and crumbled feta.
13. Salad rolls. Soak rice paper rolls with hot water for 20 seconds. Fill with greens and pre-cooked shrimp. Roll.
14. Take leftovers. Place in microwave. Eat standing up.
15. Watermelon salad. Cut watermelon into bite-sized cubes. Crumble feta on top. Add finely chopped parsley and shallot. Dress with olive oil and lemon juice.
16. Spinach Salad. Take bag of baby spinach. Dress with 2 tbs. sesame oil, 1 tbs. rice vinegar, pinch of sugar, salt and couple drops of Tabasco.  Can add tuna or cold chicken for protein.
17. Have tortilla? Wrap whatever you have into a roll. Tell your kids to stop whining.
18. Greek Salad. Toss together chopped tomatoes, cucumbers and red onion with black olives (kalmata, etc), feta, cucumber olive oil and lemon. Serve with pita chips or on top of greens.
19. Jicama salad. Peel and chop jicama into matchsticks. Chop 1 mango into bite-sized pieces. Mince ½ jalapeno pepper and ½ red onion. Toss with olive oil, lime juice and chopped cilantro. You can add a can of black beans as well.
20. Caprese salad. Get the best tomatoes and fresh mozzarella you can find. Slice into rounds and layer with basil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar. (Leftovers are great between crusty bread for instant sandwich).
21. Crack open cold beer. It was considered food in the Middle Ages. And today in Ireland.
22. 1 boozy peach. Take ripe peeled, pitted and halved peaches (3-4 peaches), 5 tbs. of brown sugar, pinch of salt, 3 tbs. of grappa, and the juice and zest of 1 lime. Sit in fridge for about 2-3 hours. Serve with mascarpone cheese or whipped cream.
23. Courgette spaghetti. Cut 1-2 courgettes (zucchini) into long matchstick strips, using a mandolin. Dress with pesto (see above) or with olive oil, bit of lemon, Parmesan or pecorino cheese.
24. Grill anything you have in your house. Make your husband do the grilling.
25. Cucumber soup (for 2). Peel and de-seed English cucumber. Reserve ¼ of cucumber. Blend the rest with 1 pint buttermilk, some dill and scallions. Season with salt and white pepper.  Scatter with thinly sliced cucumber. Serve with brown bread and butter.
26. Smoerbrod. Take any dark brown bread. Smear with butter. Put pickled herring on top. Add a couple of raw red onion rings.
27. My Favorite Roast Beef Sandwich. Take a good white bread. Place slices of roast beef. Spread with remoulade and crispy onions (like the ones they have from Vietnam).
28. Pile fresh berries. Add cream.
29. Take ice cube. Add 1 oz. Pastis. Add bit of water. Drink. Drink. Drink – until you forget about how damn hot it is.

Enjoy your summer!