Monday, July 24, 2006

Just try to stay cool

It’s like in that movie, Rear Window.

Unbearable heat, humidity, weeks on end. And people start doing more and more crazy bad things. All over the world.

Around here, we aren’t so much killing each other as the heat is doing the job for us. Although there’s still plenty of drive-bys to go around.

But this is just the food blog. So we’ll stick to the food.

So we are spending most of our time just trying to stay cool. In all dimensions – thermally, psychically, inner-ly, as many ways as possible.

Did you know that you can put frozen watermelon cubes into almost anything and it will taste better on a hot steamy day? Juice, cereal, yogurt, salads, soups, whatever.

Plus, TeenGirl found what seems to be a quintessential summer salad.

Cucumbers. Practically the definition of cool. Combined with radishes. Which scream summer with their bright red outer and their pure white inner. And parsley. Fresh. Calming. Soothing.

This one is a little different, though, as the cucs and radishes are sort of blanched in a spicy brine before tossing them in a vinaigrette and chilling them. The brine bath has the effect of taking some of the punch out of the radishes, softening everything just a bit, and infusing everything with a garlic and peppercorn background heat.

The result is subtle. Not a slap-in-the-face style flavor so common these days. Instead, a subtle, nuanced taste. At once cool, pleasant, but still vibrant.

She made this one for us while we sat outside trying to catch whatever tiny wisp of breeze we could on an unbearably hot summer evening.

Cucumber and Radish Salad
Recipe from Gourmet magazine, July 2004
Serves 4 as side dish

6 cups water
1 tsp sugar
4 cloves garlic, minced
10 black peppercorns
3 tbsp salt
several Persian (seedless) cucumbers, about 1 pound, peeled, and cut into 1/3 inch slices
1 bunch radishes, trimmed, and quartered
1 cup loosely packed parsley leaves, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
Ice cubes for ice water bath

In a large pot, bring water, sugar, garlic, peppercorns and salt to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes, uncovered, to infuse water with garlic and peppercorn. Remove the brine from heat, and add the cucumber and radish pieces. Let stand, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Transfer cucumbers and radishes to a bowl of ice water, cool thoroughly, then drain well. Toss cucumbers and radishes with parsley, olive oil, and season with additional salt to taste. Chill, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Serve. Enjoy!

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Blogger Kalyn said...

I’m spotlighting this recipe today on a feature I call “South Beach Recipes of the Week.” It includes your photo (with a photo credit for you, of course) and a link to the recipe. Please let me know if you have any thoughts about how I’ve done this.

6:18 AM  
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