It’s July and it’s hot. No newsflash there but for some reason, it always seems to surprise me when it gets this hot. It’s not like I live at the Arctic Circle or anything, it’s sort of expected around here. But, I’m not a really big fan of heat (see April turn into a sloth) so when it does appear, it always seems annoying because in my mind it should never really get this hot. And the gods aren’t reading my mind because?
So yes, it’s hot. Hot enough to make you not want to eat anything except popsicles and just opening that freezer door is a major thrill. Hot enough to make you look in your closet and try to find the smallest piece of clothing that you can wear in public that won’t lead to arrest. Hot, hot, hot. Blech.
Not to be a complainer, but I really don’t care for hot.
At my first job out of college, I remember working with this guy who loved the heat. The hotter the better. AND, he was a runner. Give him 100 degrees and a long run and he was in heaven. Pure crazy as far as I’m concerned. The funny part of the story is that he lived in Chicago which is, of course, known for it’s brutal winters. Why he never flew South was never revealed.
Seeing as we can’t all survive the next 60 or so days on popsicles and Italian ices (although I would sort of like to try), here are a couple of cool recipes for you. Eat to beat the heat. Just don’t swim for 1/2 hour after. Or so your Mama says.
Pita Bread Salad (Fattoush), courtesy of Cook’s Illustrated
4 (8 inch) pita breads, torn into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup juice from 2 lemons
3 scallions, sliced thin
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped medium
1 small head romaine lettuce, cut or torn into 1-inch pieces
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375. Spread bread out over rimmed baking sheet and bake until crisp but not brown, 7-10 minutes. Cool to room temp.
Pulse oil, mint, parsley, and lemon juice in blender until mint and parsley are finely chopped, about 20 pulses. Add salt to taste. Toss cooled bread, herb dressing, scallions, tomatoes, cucumber, and lettuce together in large bowl and serve immediately. Serve with grilled meat, poultry or fish for a light lunch or dinner.
Tabbouleh, courtesy of Cook’s Illustrated
1/2 cup fine or medium-grain bulgur wheat
1/3 cups juice from 2-3 lemons
2 cups minced fresh parsley leaves
2 medium tomatoes, cored, seeded and chopped medium
4 scallions, minced
2 Tb. minced fresh mint leaves
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
Rinse bulgur thoroughly in fine-mesh strainer under running water, then set aside to drain, about 5 minutes. Toss bulgur with 1/4 cup lemon juice in large bowl and set aside until grains are tender and fluffy, 20-40 minutes.
Stir in parsley, tomatoes, scallions, and mint to combine. In separate bowl whisk remaining 4 tsp. lemon juice, olive oil, 1/4 tsp. salt, and cayenne (if using) together, then pour over bulgur mixture and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate to let flavors blend, 1-2 hours. Season with salt to taste and serve.
Nice cool things to eat (follow with popsicles)!