Summer in the City: Hot Weather Sandwich and Salads
Lovin' Spoonful—Summer in the City
We're dyin' here in the Northwest! My pale Puget Sound skin winced a little at the thought of a week in the South, but Knoxville weather turned out to be a July delight—80's, balmy nights, occasional cooling showers, and air-conditioning! When we talked on the phone, Sweet Bob warned me that my future included 90 degree days, no foreseeable rain, and street-paving jack hammers; but I truly didn't expect the record breaking, triple-digit, energy-sapping, brain-numbing thermometer readings: Seattle 103, Tacoma 101, Olympia 104, Portland OR 106, Eugene OR 105. What is up with that! Even Vashon Island, usually given a break with hot weather, is reading in the upper 90's.
Nothing and nobody stirs in the streets after 1:00 PM, dog-walkers surface early, runners finish up by noon, little kids play, subdued by the sun, in any shade. Our mailman (I decline to use the term "mailperson") alone is resolute; brave and plucky, he marches along with pack on back, doesn't complain (the loud, aggressive dogs don't even make an effort), and finishes his rounds amid slamming heat and blinding sun.
You know us clam-digging, moldy-behind-the-ears Puget Sounders: we complain at the drop of an 85 degree day—"Quick, open the "cooling centers!" But really, this is above and beyond.
Dinner seemed a problem yesterday (although I could have cooked that proverbial egg-on-the-sidewalk) turn on the grill, turn on the oven, turn on a burner? Bridget sent me home with some Lavash—Middle-eastern flat bread, we picked up some red peppers at the vegetable stand, had emergency Costco chicken breasts in the freezer, and too-cheap-not-to-buy Costco hummus so a tasty sandwich emerged:
Chicken & Roasted Pepper Lavash Sandwiches with hummus and Kalamata olives
Saute 1 julienned onion and 1 Tbs. minced garlic until limp and golden in 1 Tbs. olive oil . Add one julienned roasted pepper, and one peeled, julienned tomato. Add 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup chicken stock, 1 squeezed lemon, salt & pepper to taste. Crumble one chunk feta (size of your choosing) into finished mixture. Throw in a few Kalamata olives (preferably pitted).
Marinate boneless, skinless chicken breasts for at least one hour in: 1 Tbs. minced garlic, 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 Tbs. sumac (reddish, tartish, Lebanese spice) if you have some, 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses (also if you have some), 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, 1/2 cup plain yogurt. Grill or roast chicken breasts until just done—let rest 10 minutes.
Rub a little olive oil on your flat bread of choice, sprinkle each side with coarse salt and black pepper (cooking tip from my granddaughter Katie) and heat on both sides in a warm skillet.
Stuff with chicken slices, red pepper/onion mixture, hummus, yogurt, olives, artichoke hearts or whatever else surfaces.
Cookstr.com's post today has several heat-beating salads. Here's the one we're having tonight:
Cookstr.com's Greek Salad
3 romaine hearts
•1 small regular cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into ½-inch dice
•½ small red onion, very thinly sliced
•15 cherry tomatoes, cut in half, or 2 large tomatoes, cut into ½-inch dice
•2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
•30 kalamata olives, pitted
•About 1/3 cup Vinaigrette
•3 ounces feta cheese, grated or crumbled (about 2/3 cup)
•1 red bell pepper, roasted and cut into 1-inch strips, for garnish
1. Remove the cores from the romaine hearts. Carefully rinse the leaves under gently running cold water, drain them well, and spin them dry. Cut the leaves crosswise into 1-inch strips.
2. Just before you plan to serve the salad, place the romaine in a large salad bowl. Add the cucumber, onion, tomatoes, capers, and olives and toss to combine. Add about one-half of the vinaigrette. Toss to lightly coat the leaves, then taste them to see if more vinaigrette is needed.
3. Transfer the salad to a platter or individual salad plates. Sprinkle the feta cheese on top and garnish with some of the bell pepper strips. Serve immediately.