Dog days, Part II

July 18, 2015

A fine cold lunch for a hot day.

A fine cold lunch for a hot day.

And I repeat: it’s been hotter than the hinges of hell.

I’m not sure why the hinges of hell are hotter than any of the rest of it, and in fact not sure they ARE, but I’ve always heard it that way. In any event, it has been too hot to cook much, and really, too hot to eat much.

So one turns to salads and cool drinks.

I’ve eaten my share of capreses this summer — hard to beat ’em! And fruit salads, and a wild rice salad that I like a lot. And of course, there’s always the old faithful fattoush, or at least my version of it, which is sort of like a Greek salad without the romaine.

I’m not a huge lettuce or greenery in general fan. I love a good chopped vegetable salad, but could you leave the lettuce out, please? So my fattoush, which is a minimalist version, consists of tomatoes, cucumbers, Kalamata olives, feta cheese and dressing.

The dressing is one I discovered on the How Sweet It Is blog and republished here a few months ago. I keep a jar of it in my fridge at all times. It’s great on veggies, great on fruit, and beyond wonderful on this fattoush. The touch of sweet takes away the bite a regular Greek dressing can have, particularly when combined with good Kalamatas, and the whole thing keeps wonderfully in the fridge for two or three days.

With cheese and crackers and a few pickles and olives, it’s a lunch that’s hard to beat, I’ll tell ya.

With it, try the latest summer cooler with which I’ve become enamoured. I’ve always been a fan of Crystal Light lemonade, and I tend to keep a pitcher made up in the fridge all summer long. Of late, I’ve been buying fruit-infused sparkling water and mixing them half and half. It makes a great drink that doesn’t pucker you up quite as much as lemonade does. And it’s admirable in the evenings with the addition of some good Jamaican rum.

Speaking of rum, there will be some Dark and Stormies made around here in the upcoming days, as I picked up a four-pack of ginger beer at Kroger. Or perhaps they will be Moscow Mules. Or both, but not at the same time.

Go here. It's worth it.

Go here. It’s worth it.

On a completely unrelated topic, I may have mentioned that I’ve been jonesing for Scotch eggs, and wishing I had some quail eggs to make them with. I mentioned that on a food forum I frequent, and several posters advised me to check at my closest Asian market.  So I did that on the way back from Nashville, as it is not far from the other grandmother’s house, and I was dropping her off.

The so-called “Cordova Farmers Market” is not really a farmers’ market, thought it does have a raft of familiar and unfamiliar produce. But it also has huge varieties of all sorts of Asian staples and condiments, as well as many flavors from Indian and from Mexico.

And quail eggs.

Of course, those quail eggs wound up costing me 50 bucks, because I stocked up on some things I’d been wanting like galbi marinade/sauce and gochujang for some short ribs I’ve been wanting to cook, as well as some grated cotija cheese (street corn, anybody?) and a few other things, I forget what.

I’d rather browse through a store like that than any department store you can name (except, maybe, Takashimaya in Tokyo), and can spend about as much money as I can in Macy’s. I suspect this will necessitate a regular run to Germantown Parkway; well, I can always come back over past Poplar, pair it up with a meal at Germantown Commissary, and finish off with a stop at the Middle Eastern market at Park and Highland on the way back.

Speaking of the Middle Eastern market, I still have those grape leaves I bought last time I was there. I need to make dolmas. On the list.

About to get myself back in the cooking mode, regardless of the heat. You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em stand by for some experimentation.


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