Wednesday, July 29
Hot Salad in the City
I’m sitting out on my back deck, my flesh a feast for the mosquitoes, sipping some very drinkable sangria. And it’s 90 degrees. At eleven at night. Portland is in the middle of one of its worst heat waves in memory. Tomorrow we’re expected to tie our all-time high temperature of 107 degrees. All I can say is I am so, so grateful Aaron installed the A/C window unit in our bedroom this afternoon. Oh, yes, it’s true: many Portlanders don’t have A/C. There are even some, like us, who technically do have it, but never actually use it.
Earlier tonight we ate some quickly-thrown-together dish of rice spaghetti (at Iris’ request), garden zucchini fried in oil, leftover grilled chicken chunks and some torn basil. I tossed it all with some salt and pepper and a mayo-curry dressing I whipped up a few weeks ago when we ran out of salad dressing. It was fine, meaning everyone felt fed. But it wasn’t anything to get excited about.
As I was boiling the noodles, just that little bit of burner heat set off the emergency fan on my range (seriously) and the kitchen was almost inhabitable. And since I’ve just returned from BlogHer (more on that later) I hadn’t done any grocery shopping or meal planning and I’m literally just throwing protein together with veggies as quickly as I can.
(Oh, who am I kidding. I never do serious meal planning.)
I've got a few more quick dishes for hot nights in my repertoire, but not as many as The New York Time's Bitten columnist, Mark Bittman, who has 101 Simple Salads for the Season.
I love the way the recipes are divided. The first group is all vegan ingredients (unless you want to add the bacon Bittman suggests) so I know they're dairy-free, too. Then there are vegetarian salads, then seafood, then meat and then noodles. Most don't require any cooking, and best of all, almost all of the ingredients will be in season in the US at some point before October.
Here are a few standouts I want to try:
16 is really close to one of my favorites (fennel and apple).
28 is a revelation. I never would have thought to put figs and almond butter together.
38 is one of the many recipes with watermelon. I love watermelon in savory dishes.
They call 43 obvious, but I've never eaten raw beets. Have you?
50 may become my new lunch salad. Boiled eggs are a new staple.
78 sounds like something my sausage-loving, Midwestern husband would love and may force me to figure out how to make gluten-free bread.
79 could be a great one for impromptu dinner parties with grown-ups and kids.
I want to eat 81 right now. But the prune plums in my neighbor's tree are about a month out.
And 82 may work with all my arugula that's bolted.
94 Quinoa Tabbouleh!
I think even my quinoa-hating kids may love 99 since it calls for cherries (I'd make it with red quinoa, which is less bitter.)
There's a you can get even more ideas or offer some of your own at the Bitten blog's comments.
Tomorrow night, we may eat well. And not melt.