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Hot Night Cold Bite

April 17, 2012

When the temperature hits 90 in April, do you know what the last thing I want to do is? Cook. Nursing a sore and tender lower back injury doesn’t really inspire a lot of time in the kitchen either.

So what’s a fellow to do?

Grilling is out because I still don’t have my grill. It’s a long story, but I’m very glad I resisted the stop-gap temptation to pick up a gas grill last summer. Provided I can find a good source of natural lump hard wood charcoal, I plan to remedy this situation stat.

Pizza delivery is a commitment to bad pizza, and that’s only going to happen in the most dire emergency situations. Plus, take-out pizza really benefits from a quick reheating in a scorching home oven before eating anyhow. So this was off the table.

There wasn’t much in the pantry that didn’t call for at least bringing a large pot of water to a boil for a significant period of time.

Then I was struck with a crazy bit of inspiration. Cold mung-bean vermicelli salad.

I love slippery glassy noodles. I love the way the feel in my mouth, I love looking at them on the plate. I love the way they move and snap. I love how they totally suck up flavors.

And I also love how you don’t have to cook them.

Well, I do soften them off heat in a bowl of boiling water. But that only meant one teapot on the stove for a matter of minutes. It’s just enough cooking to get the job done, but not enough to meaningfully heat up the house.

I should mention we do have central air conditioning, but Mrs. Fussy and I play stupid games. One such example is, “Who will be the weakling that turns on the A/C first?” Today I lost.

Regardless, the meal itself was a victory.

To take advantage of my few minutes of boiling water, I cut a julienne of organic carrots and tossed them in with the noodles, to just cook out a bit of their rawness. I also got all fancy with some organic celery. I peeled it, then cut it into a julienne too. But these were too delicate to soak in boiling noodle water, so I lined the colander with them, and blanched them under the avalanche of hot water and noodles.

Then everything got chilled down in freezing cold water.

The dressing was simple enough. Fresh ginger, a little bit of fresh garlic, organic tamari, sugar, rice vinegar, Chinese wine, peanut oil, a bit of sriracha and a couple of turns of black pepper. I tasted to make sure it was balanced, and soaked my noodles and veg in their sauce, tossing to coat.

Had I not been making it for Mrs. Fussy there would have been onions involved too. As it turns out Mrs. Fussy isn’t crazy about celery either. Even when it’s peeled and blanched! I guess you learn something new every day.

I loved it though. And you know what? That’s good enough for me. Because now I have a quick and easy summer lunch for hot summer days when I don’t feel like cooking. And I’m guessing I’ll be able to work in some of the CSA veggies into the mix.

Oooh. CSA veggies. They’ve got to be loving this hot weather. Or at least I hope they are. Because I’m really looking forward to eating something besides carrots. And maybe even throwing them on that grill that I don’t have yet.

I need to get on that.

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What you need to get on is voting for the FUSSYlittleBALLOT 3.0 and helping me improve the Capital Region. If you’ve already voted, now would be a great chance to send an email to all your friends and family asking for their support as well. Thank you. There are only a few days left. Don’t delay. Our time is now.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. derryX permalink
    April 17, 2012 9:59 am

    The best way to reheat pizza at home is on a non-stick skillet on the stove top.

    • techcommdood permalink
      April 17, 2012 10:55 am

      I don’t understand the concept of reheating pizza. ;-)

  2. April 17, 2012 10:07 am

    I’m told Walmart has Royal Oak lump. I get it from Do It Best. Ships free to a few local hardware stores. I use the Phillips on Central near the Asian Market. Picked up 3 bags last week. The brand sold at the Depot and Lowes isn’t good (Cowboy brand).

    • maryonhudson permalink
      April 18, 2012 3:25 pm

      Walmart does have Royal Oak, bought some today. Last year Honest Weight also had lumpwood charcoal I think.

  3. April 17, 2012 10:44 am

    As soon as I order pizza I start heating my oen to 450-475. A couple of minutes in there takes care of the delivery sogginess.
    We didn’t want to turn the oven on yesterday but luckily I always over cook so there are always leftovers. Delicious, delicious leftovers. ;)

  4. Steph permalink
    April 17, 2012 10:49 am

    Our go-to meal on a hot night (or any night that nothing else sounds good) is a salad with shredded rotisserie chicken, red onion, cubed fresh mozzerella, a few good handfuls of baby spinach, tomatoes (for me) and cucumbers (for my partner.) Dress it with balsamic and then toss in some hand-torn croutons, made from a baguette and toasted in a frying pan just before serving. Minimal time on the stove and very refreshing.

  5. Kerosena permalink
    April 17, 2012 2:10 pm

    A day or two before super-hot weather is forecast, I make some pasta salad with a vinegar-based dressing and whatever veggies I have available. Fresh mozzarella or leftover chicken are also nice additions. If I have frozen shrimp on hand, I’ll cook some of that too, either to add to the pasta or to make shrimp salad to serve over greens with some crackers.

    I love cooking/preparing meals for “too hot to cook” evenings. It’s a fun little challenge.

  6. April 17, 2012 7:32 pm

    On really really hot nights (last night wasn’t too terribly bad, at least not once I opened a window), we usually just eat out. This is less about not wanting to cook, and more about the fact that we don’t have AC in our abode and don’t plan to get it, so we’ll go eat somewhere that DOES have AC. It also solves the lethargy problem as well as the oven problem.

    Last night I made a stovetop stir fry, which usually doesn’t do too much heat-wise in our apartment. I agree, though, not a good night to run the oven.

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