Friday, July 22, 2011

Curing the Summer Blahs

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    OK, so of late, I’ve been feeling a little bit “blah,” quite uninspired really.  It’s not that I’m not cooking, eating, enjoying and even taking photos of my food (I always do this).  It’s that, for some reason, I’ve lost the will to share.  Maybe it’s the overwhelming heat causing general malaise.  Or the mass quantity of other talented food bloggers is daunting.  I’ve been procrastinating, not sharing new ideas.  I need to defunk myself as I’ve created some really great summer recipes I need to share!

    So, like ripping off a Band-Aid, I’m going to jump back in.  I apologize if I don’t start in any particular place.  I’m just sharing ideas for summer fun and ease with food.  Please feel free to comment with your own tips.  I will get to the recipe sharing again soon.
     To begin, a friend sent me a link to suggested recipes for alcoholic popsicles.  Great idea!  I can mix and match my favorite liqueurs, fruit juice and herbs/seasoning.  It’s 103 degrees in New York City today.  When I leave work and go home to my non-air-conditioned apartment, I can cool down with a delightful icy cold, cube cocktail.  The trick here is to use a liqueur, not a fully alcoholic beverage (just try to freeze vodka; it’s not ever going to work).  In general, liqueurs have 30% of the alcohol of liquor (like whisky, gin, rum, etc.).  Here’s the link:  But I’m feeling inspired to create my own.  Maybe Grapefruit juice, basil and Grand Marnier?  Pureed watermelon and Limoncello with a dash of chili powder?  Plus, you can even make them in your ice tray, no popsicle stick, for an individual bite of refreshing flavor.
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  Other stay-cool ideas include:
    Homemade sushi.  Invest in sushi rollers and make your own!   I’m really into anything that doesn’t require me to turn on my oven.  Plus, when making sushi yourself you can come up with new flavor combinations and bump up the nutritional content with brown rice.  I’m thinking yellowfin, jalapeño, cream cheese or maybe salmon, basil, grilled watermelon.  Be sure to use a fresh, good cut of fish.  Here’s a good instructional video:

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      Unique and satisfying salads.  In salad, I enjoy a combination of flavorful cooked food and crispy raw vegetables.  I recommend doing the cooking at night (when it’s cooler) and serving everything cold the next day.  Precook chicken, tofu, beets, fennel, kale or anything you are craving.  Different combinations of flavor and texture make summer salads much more exciting!
      Simple salad ideas:  Try blending cilantro, lime juice and zest, olive oil and a roasted ancho pepper and topping a filet of salmon with it.  Serve on greens along with avocado, green onions and black beans. 

     Or try chicken piccata salad.  Wrap chicken breasts topped with capers, olive oil, lots of lemon juice, garlic and black pepper in foil and roast in the oven.  Serve on greens with olives and sliced fresh garden tomatoes.
  Go forth and try new summer combinations.  Have fun and please share experiences in food and good ideas with the Evil Dictator of Taste.

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