Thursday, July 14, 2011

Summer in the kitchen

"To see the summer sky/is poetry, though never in a book it lie - true poems flee." - Emily Dickinson

When it's hot and sweltering outside, one of the last things I want to do is cook in the kitchen (unless the A/C is on at 60 degrees F to compensate, which gets to be very expensive). So, why cook?

All the pictures on this post are ones I took
when I visited Greece a few years ago. 

Here are some ideas for tasty summer entrees I'm looking forward to trying out soon
  • This Bacon and Avocado Egg Salad. I've always wanted to learn how to make homemade mayonnaise, and this would be a perfect excuse for learning how to do it.
  • This Simple Summer Soup. Ok, so maybe some cooking over a stove is required, but once finished, you can puree it with an immersion blender and eat it cold.

Since the pictures in this post are from Greece, I would be remiss if I didn't add one of my favorite recipes from Greece that's perfect for hot weather dining - Tzatziki (no, I didn't sneeze, thanks for your concern)
This tasty yet pungent sauce is used on authentic Gyros (pronounced "Yros"), and is also pretty good served with french bread or pita chips. In Greece, they recommend eating it as an effective safeguard against mosquitos (yeah, that's because of the smell. I wouldn't recommend eating this before going out with friends or if you have to speak in public...)

makes: about 2 1/2 cups
  • 1 diced cucumber
  • 1/4 red onion, diced (2 tbsp.)
  • 1 chopped clove of Garlic
  • 2 cups Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped dill
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
Put cucumber, onion and garlic in a food processor and pulse until minced. Place yogurt in a medium sized mixing bowl, add cucumber mixture and everything else. Mix with a spatula until combined, store in an airtight container in the fridge. 

And for when stovetop cooking is unavoidable, what better way to keep cool than with one of these summer melon spritzers? (Syrup recipes taken from the July/August '10 issue of Victoria magazine)
  • First, make Melon flavored Simple Syrup: combine 3 cups water with 3 cups sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Simmer, reduce heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely. Add either 3 cups of seeded Watermelon, 3 cups seeded/cubed Honeydew melon, or 3 cups seeded/cubed Cantaloupe. Puree either in a blender or with an immersion blender and strain liquid through a sieve. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
  • Next, mix a small amount of the flavored syrup with soda water in a glass over ice, and add a little bit of mint with the Watermelon, basil leaves with the Honeydew, and orange slice with the Cantaloupe. 
Stay cool, and happy cooking!

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