With the mercury pushing 95 degrees for the rest of the week and your pitiful Craigslist A/C unit only capable of "cooling" a two square-foot section of your studio, the last thing you should be doing is firing up the oven or stove. Listlessly staring at the television while you wait for delivery is one viable option, sure, but it's good to get on your feet and make use of yourself. Plus, the air from the refrigerator is nice and chilly! So stash the saucepan and prepare these heatwave-friendly dishes.
FETA, WATERMELON AND TOMATO SALAD The sweet, juicy watermelon and tomato complement the salty feta perfectly, making for a refreshing and filling meal. This recipe serves four but the ingredients keep well for a next-day lunch.
- 1/4 medium-sized watermelon
- 4 tomatoes (Heirloom tomatoes taste the best, but if they're cost prohibitive/not available, opt for the on-the-vine variety at your supermarket)
- 1 package Feta cheese (I like the block because I can control the size, but crumbles work fine too)
- 8-10 mint leaves
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (Ordinarilly I would make a balsamic reduction but it's balls hot so eff that noise)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Cut the watermelon and feta into 1/2 inch cubes and slice tomatoes into small wedges. Stack the mint leaves, roll into a tube and chiffonade.
Arrange the watermelon, tomatoes and feta onto plates in a pleasing pattern—you eat with your eyes, first!—then scatter mint ribbons on top. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- 2 cups cucumber; peeled, seeded and diced
- 1 cup celery, chopped
- 1 cup green onions, chopped
- 1 4-ounce can chopped mild green chilies
- 3 14 1/2-ounce cans diced tomatoes in juice
- 1 slice white bread, torn into pieces
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup drained capers
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 garlic cloves
Place 1 cup cucumber, 1/2 cup celery, 1/2 cup green onions and half of chilies in small bowl and reserve.
Working in batches, coarsely puree remaining cucumber, celery, green onions, chilies and next 7 ingredients in blender. Pour into large bowl. Mix in reserved vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. Chill at least 6 hours and up to 1 day.
Or you can use up your leftovers from the first recipe in this Spicy Tomato and Waterlemon Gazpacho with Crab.
BOMB ASS CHICKEN SALAD I had to use up some leftover roasted chicken one day and came up with this Middle Eastern'ish recipe for chicken salad. When it's too hot to use the oven, snag one of the rotisserie chickens from the grocery store. It's sort of cheating, but the birds are big and the meat can be used in a variety of dishes.
Mix all the ingredients together and serve in a whole wheat pita or on top of crackers. Can also be eaten directly from the bowl in times of extreme hunger. (No judgements.)
Chicken salad is a great canvas for using up leftovers. Try variations like Waldorf Salad with grapes, apples and walnuts; curry powder, raisins and almonds; or corn, chili powder and cayenne.