Friday, July 23, 2010

Summer Cooking

Last week it was so hot here that I vowed to not to even walk near the stove.   So to accomplish that I was going the have to get creative with my menu planning.    I could cook on the grill or make salads, period.    I did pretty well not turning on the oven, of course until I got the great idea that I needed to try Smitten Kitchen's Bourbon Peach Handpies... and on the oven went (I am not very good at following rules).   Here is what we ate last week.

Taco's with a Mexican Chopped Salad with honey lime dressing
Dorie's Banh Mi Chicken Sandwich with Confetti Coleslaw (recipe below)
Grilled Pizza's with a side salad
Chicken Souvlaki Salad with Tabbouleh and Hummus

All of it was really great, not a bad meal in the bunch.   I tried to marinate the chicken for tacos, sandwich and salad in advance and then grill everything all at once.    I cooked some Italian sausage and mushrooms on the grill for the pizzas and voila.   My favorite (besides the Banh Mi which I will always adore) was the Mexican Chopped salad... so good!    But my favorite way to beat the heat was with these Blended Golden Mojitos... WOW.

As I am writing this I am facing another hot weekend ahead and am at a loss and completely uninspired in the kitchen... would it be wrong to eat homemade ice cream for dinner every night?   I don't know why cooking in the summer is so much more difficult for me... maybe because I love stews, soups and bubbling baked pastas so much.   I let you know what I come up with.   Have a great weekend!

Confetti Coleslaw
I used regular cabbage and left out the bell peppers because I really dislike them
Author: Bob Blumer - Cookinglight bulletin board

2 Tbs rice vinegar*
2 tsp toasted sesame oil*
2 Tbs peanut, canola or safflower oil*
2 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice*
1 Tbs honey*
1 to 2 pinches cayenne pepper (optional)*
2 carrots, peeled and grated coarsely
1/3 head red cabbage, cored then cut crosswise into the narrowest ribbons possible and separated
1 yellow bell pepper, seeds and membranes removed, then sliced lengthwise into the thinnest strips possible
1 red pepper, seeds and membranes removed, then sliced lengthwise into the thinnest strips possible
1/3 medium-size sweet onion, finely sliced, rings separated
1 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves, stems discarded before measuring, chopped
2 Tbs finely grated or minced fresh gingerroot, peeled first*
2 Tbs toasted sesame seeds plus a little extra for garnish

1. In a small bowl, whisk together rice vinegar, both oils, lime juice, honey and cayenne. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients and toss thoroughly. Then toss with dressing.

3. Serve immediately or refrigerate. If you’re preparing more than an hour in advance, don’t mix in the cabbage until just before serving, because it will turn the whole salad purple.

4. Just before serving, toss with sesame seeds and finish with an additional sprinkling of sesame seeds.

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