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.
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.
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.
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.
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?