Monday, July 26, 2010

When it's too hot to eat.

Dear Blog,

I realize you are feeling neglected and I'm sorry. It's just too hot to cook. In fact, it's just too hot to do anything. We even lost power for around 5 hours yesterday as a result of some downed power lines. 

I love big storms and power outages are kind of fun. I like watching the dark clouds roll in, the wind pick up and the leaves whip around. Usually, I sit on the front porch with my dogs and watch as the rain slides off the roof in wall of water and hits the ground. Each drop landing with a heavy plunk and a wet splatter in our direction.

This time, though, the wind was too intense and it was essentially raining sideways against the house. Instead we sat in front of the open front door and watched through the storm door (which in hindsight may not have been the smartest idea with such strong winds, so don't go standing in front of glass doors in wicked storms saying I told you to). There was really no thunder or lightening to speak of which is odd for such high heat and humidity but the dogs were grateful. Yea, I know, I have such wonderfully brave dogs. One crack of thunder turns them into sniveling, shaking masses of fur that will hide in or behind anything - especially any space too small for them to squeeze into in a normal situation.

The heaviest wind and rain only last about thirty minutes but the rain continued for another hour or two. When it finally stopped it was still humid as ever and our power was still out. In the past, some widespread outages have last a few days.  No power means no air conditioning and with no air conditioning, the possibility of cooking, and therefore adding heat to the house, was out. I could tell you that I'm completely innovative and made some great meal without using the stove or even opening the refrigerator (I didn't want to let the cold air out) but that would be a lie. Nope, I didn't lift a finger. Instead I up and went to Long Beach for dinner and walked on the boardwalk where I didn't take a single picture of the beautiful sunset or salty waves crashing on the beach. Why? because I brought my camera - without a memory card in it. Sigh.

If you are wondering why I have no pictures from the storm either it's because, in all my excitement, I straight up forgot to take any. Oh well.

So I don't have any pictures for you and I don't have a recipe related to this story (by the way the power did come back on last night around 8:30 but many houses on the north shore - even down the street - are still without), but I do have a seriously easy cucumber recipe for you. One that I made last week but could have made last night if I had been so inclined to do anything. It requires no cooking and only a few minutes to throw together. It may not be a balanced meal, but when it's too hot to eat anyway, a bowl of cold spicy cucumbers is as good as it gets.

Spicy Asian Cucumber Salad
Smashing and tearing the cucumbers creates a more jagged surface than clean knife cuts would. This helps the marinade cling better. Finely grated ginger or minced garlic would also be a nice addition to this as would black sesame seeds. Serves 2 as a side or 1 as a light (unbalanced) summer meal.

5 Persian cucumbers
1/2 teaspoons natural cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon rice vinegar (white vinegar works fine too)
1 teaspoon organic toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon chili oil

Cut ends off cucumbers and smash them with the flat side of a large chef's knife.
Break the cucumbers into pieces by hand and throw out and loose clumps of seeds.
Place cucumbers in a large bowl with sugar and salt and toss to combine.
At this point you can refrigerate the cucumbers for an hour or so and let flavors combine, I was too impatient and only waited about 10 minutes which was just fine.
After you let them sit, the cucumbers will have released juices. Drain most of this before proceeding.
Add the vinegar and oils and toss to combine. Taste and add more salt if desired.
Enjoy now or refrigerate up to 2 days.

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