Summertime and the cooking is practically nonexistent ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

14 June 2012

Summertime and the cooking is practically nonexistent

Well, it hit 90F. We are officially mired in the depths of summer.

What do you guys want to eat when it's hot outside? I tend to do a lot of quick pastas, sandwiches, cold salads, and, of course, ice-laden beverages.

Israeli couscous with chickpeas and Mediterranean vegetables

For starters, I've been eating pot upon pot of Israeli couscous with chickpeas and veg. This is especially great because I don't get sick of it (yet--cross your fingers), so I can make one big batch and eat it for five lunches in a row.

I like it cold out of the fridge, which is clearly optimal for summer. It can also take raw vegetable additions, so I can mix it up a little if I need to forcibly shovel more vegetables into my system, or if I do start to get sick of it at any time. Perfect.

fitzgerald cocktail

Gin is always the top liquor for me in summer, so I mixed up a batch of simple syrup and started making Fitzgerald cocktails. The Fitzgerald is essentially a gin sour with bitters--and lots of bitters, if you share my tastes. If you're on the vodka train instead of the gin train, you could probably achieve excellent results by subbing vodka for the gin. I should try this, but we just aren't vodka people. Besides, I transformed most of my vodka into various schnappses months ago.

Simple syrup

Take equal amounts of sugar and water, put them in a pot, and gently heat, swirling occasionally, until the sugar is all melted. Cool the finished syrup before you make cocktails with it. I tend to use brown or muscovado sugar, because that's how we roll. Store finished syrup in the fridge.

The Fitzgerald cocktail

2 oz gin
3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
3/4 oz simple syrup
a few large dashes of bitters

Combine everything in a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake and strain into a short glass. Or, if you're me, don't strain out the ice; just pour everything into a short glass together.

turkey mushrooms and chard on rye

Sandwiches are the easiest meal when it's hot out. They require no cooking, can be stuffed with practically anything your heart desires, and take only a few minutes from idea to completion.

This sandwich is turkey, mushroom, mozzarella, chard, and honey mustard on rye: perfect. Fresh summer apricot on the side is a clear bonus. I had a variation for lunch yesterday: turkey, spinach, shredded carrot salad, and honey mustard wrapped in a slightly warmed tortilla, with several handfuls of grape tomatoes on the side.

I'm definitely going to start going for more wraps--although I think I'll have to find some lavash first. Something like this black lentil and carrot salad would be great stuffed into a wrap. A lentil-yogurt salad would be perfect with the addition of some extra greens. Or maybe an all-veg version with yogurt dressing. The possibilities are clearly endless.

So that's what been happening in my neck of the land of it's-hot-I-don't-wanna-cook. What have you guys been up to in your summer kitchens?


Catherine said...

I've been rocking kale salads lately -- they hold up well to several days of storage in the fridge, and make great work lunches!

Terri said...

That cocktail sounds yummy. What kind of bitters do you use?

Eileen said...

Catherine, Kale salads are definitely on the list for this summer! Maybe even in wraps...

Terri, I just use regular angostura bitters, but I bet some experimentation with things like orange bitters would yield great results. :)

Alyssa @ Everyday Maven said...

That couscous salad is perfect hot weather food! Send us some heat North - pretty please!!

Kat said...

I also veer towards colder dishes like salads and cold sandwiches in hot weather. I like a cold gin and tonic on occasion, but the Fitzgerald cocktail looks good!

Alyssa @ Everyday Maven said...

That couscous salad is perfect hot weather food! Send us some heat North - pretty please!!

Magda | My Little Expat Kitchen said...

Unfortunately, it's still not very hot here in The Netherlands so I can still cook and enjoy hot dishes. And I wouldn't say no to your cocktail!

fabiola@notjustbaked said...

Yum! I love Israeli Cous Cous and even better with chickpeas. What a great idea, and the photo looks great! And kale... I just saw a photo of a kale farm, and I drooled. Can you imagine a field of kale? So cool.

Joanne said...

Maybe THAT is why I haven't really felt like cooking ANYTHING lately...all the heat. Hmm. I love salads like that couscous one during the summer!

Aylin @ GlowKitchen said...

When the weather is warm, all I want are cherries, lemonade, and grapes!

ChichaJo said...

Summer has officially left the building for us over here (in the Philippines)! It is the start of our rainy season but, in truth, it is hot or warm here all then time. So that couscous salad is looking very good!

I am also on the gin train! Nothing like an ice cold gin and tonic in the summer for me :)