Fledgling Foodie: Hot hot heat and two amazing summer salads

If you aren’t in Portland, perhaps you experienced a nice, slow, easy transition from spring into summer.  If you are in Portland, you experienced what we did:  a mild but dreary winter, and rainy, overcast spring that probed its wet, cold fingers all the way through June into July.  And then, out of nowhere, a 95-100 degree heat wave struck our city this week.  I’m not exaggerating — it was that drastic.  The leap  was even further accentuated by the fact that we spent the last weekend before this weather on the coast, where it is usually about 10-15 degrees cooler.  On Sunday night to watch the fireworks, I had on three different coats and was panicking about not having any socks or real shoes to wear.  Back in Portland, we’re sleeping on our couch bed so we can avoid going upstairs at all costs.  Oh yes, we have no air conditioner. I’ve been putting ice cubes in our poor, black, furry Kieran’s water bowl hoping he’ll drink them, or at the very least bat them around a bit and cool off his little pink paw skin.

The weather has called for as little cooking, specifically turning on the oven (can you imagine?), as possible.  It’s quite convenient that my newest Cooking Light arrived this week, totally pushing the salads!  All of them sounded heavenly with their combinations of summer fruits and meat.  During my grocery shopping trip at the beginning of the week, I looked for any of the ingredients that seemed affordable.  I found a great deal on…

  • arugula — a big, plastic, pre-washed bin of organic, inexplicably marked down from 5 to $2.00
  • grape tomatoes — also organic, half off!
  • bacon — the good stuff, priced at $1.99 to sell quickly
  • and shrimp — a 2 lb. bag for half off after using my club card and a coupon in the weekly

I did end up skipping a couple cheeses and a package of prosciutto (that stuff’s ridiculously expensive!). Still, I came away with the specific ingredients for one salad and a random assortment of other ingredients I hoped I could make something else out of.

On Tuesday night we enjoyed a delicious combination of steak, plums, and blue cheese on a bed of arugula.  Actually, it was called Flank Steak Salad with Plums and Blue Cheese (page 86), but I technically did not use flank steak, as the only packages my grocer had were a billion pounds and cost about as many dollars.  Instead I found a little tiny package of flat-looking steaks that was only about $4.00 and worked just fine:

One of the recipes that intrigued me was the Prosciutto, Peach, and Sweet Lettuce salad (page 139), but I didn’t buy prosciutto or sweet lettuce. So I picked up my peaches, opened the fridge and [after standing there for a while because it felt good] pulled out the bacon, because that’s kind of like prosciutto, right? I wish I could say I whipped up a totally amazing salad with no recipe, but I caved and did a google search.  I’m so glad I did.

Although I was still unenthused about turning on kitchen appliances, I managed to get through bringing a pot of water to boil and cooking some bacon to produce this amazing Bacon & Peach Pasta Salad.  Seriously.  Make it tonight. I’m begging you.  Unfortunately, I did not take pictures….  too busy EATING!  But it was incredible.  Beacuse I’ve been bad about posting food, here are two little dishes I made a week or two ago.

Whole wheat cheddar and chive muffins….

…and really really buttery pasta with lots of parsley and garlic, all coated with an egg yolk for added cholesterol. (Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of this immediately, so here’s one of it reheated.  It looked even better fresh, I promise.)

Yes, that’s a huge wad of garlic.  Mmmm.  Tonight I’m hoping to cook some shrimp and pasta.  Next week I think I’ll start posting my weekly meal plan.

So far this week it’s been…

Monday: take-out teriyaki after getting back from the beach
Tuesday: steak/plum salad
Wednesday: bacon peach pasta salad
Thursday: a small salad with arugula, avocado, tomatoes, and blue cheese dressing as a light meal before youth group, where we were fed sandwiches and watermelon.
Friday:  possibly shrimp fettuccine something or other (with butter and garlic, of course)?
Saturday and Sunday:  Not sure. Taking it day by day this week with the heat!

What do you like to cook when it’s too hot to cook?

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2 Comments to “Fledgling Foodie: Hot hot heat and two amazing summer salads”

  1. tonight, i couldn’t even think of turning any devices on that required heat (we too do not have ac)…so i made a pb&j and went into our bedroom with the computer…somehow it’s stayed the coolest. totally uninspired and juvenile, but it hit the spot. :)

  2. We beat the heat by taking the boat to Silver Lake. Evan suggested take out Thai, and Papa thought that sounded better than reheating leftovers, so that’s what we’re having tonight.
    I do have shrimp with green curry sauce to prepare for one evening this weekend, and boneless ribs on the grill for another. (Both the shrimp and the ribs were on sale for great prices, too, I might add.)
    I’m proud of you, my daughter! You inspire me. I will have to try both the bacon and peach pasta salad AND the beef,plum, blue cheese dish. Your photo made my mouth water!

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