Sunday, August 8, 2010

Too Hot To Cook?

When the temperature gets this hot, I never feel much like cooking. I’ll stop by my deli and pick up some turkey pastrami or roast beef and have it on a slice of Italian bread with a little homemade giardiniera and pair it with a mixture of fresh fruit.

Homemade Giardiniera

2 green bell peppers, diced

2 red bell peppers, diced

8 fresh jalapeno peppers, sliced

1 celery stalk, diced

1 medium carrot, diced

1 small onion, chopped

1/2 cup fresh cauliflower florets

1/2 cup salt

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 (5 ounce) jar pimento-stuffed green olives, chopped

1 cup white vinegar

1 cup olive oil

Place into a bowl the green and red peppers, jalapenos, celery, carrots, onion, and cauliflower. Stir in salt, and fill with enough cold water to cover. Place plastic wrap or aluminum foil over the bowl, and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, drain salty water, and rinse vegetables. In a bowl, mix together garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, black pepper, and olives. Pour in vinegar and olive oil, and mix well. Combine with vegetable mixture, cover, and refrigerate for 2 days before using.

Here are two other no cook recipes that are great to have on a hot day in August. They were adapted from Martha

Tuna Nicoise Sandwich

Makes 4 servings

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Coarse salt and ground pepper

2 cans oil-packed tuna (6 ounces each), drained

1/4 English cucumber

1/2 small red onion

8 inch country style round bread loaf

2 tablespoons jarred olive tapenade

1 cup fresh basil leaves

2 hard-cooked large eggs

In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, white-wine vinegar, and Dijon mustard; season with coarse salt and ground pepper. Transfer 2 tablespoons dressing to another bowl; toss with tuna. To remaining dressing, add cucumber and red onion; toss to combine.

Cut an 8-inch country-style round bread loaf in half horizontally; remove most of soft interior bread. Spread 3 tablespoons jarred olive tapenade on bottom half. Top with 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves, then 2 hard-cooked large eggs sliced; season with salt and pepper. Top with tuna, then cucumber mixture, and close sandwich.

Wrap sandwich tightly in plastic and place between two baking sheets. Weight with a heavy skillet. Let stand 1 hour (or refrigerate, up to overnight). To serve, cut into quarters.

I buy good sharp white cheddar from Caputo’s Market in Lake Forest. They have such a great selection of cheese and you can buy it by the slice.

White Cheddar Sandwiches with Quick Pickles and Mustard Spread

1 large Vidalia onion, thinly sliced

1 medium English cucumber, thinly sliced

1 cup cider vinegar

1/4 cup honey (preferably raw or cream honey)

2 bay leaves

1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger

1 1/4 teaspoons brown mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

2 teaspoons grainy mustard

4 small rolls, halved

4 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, thinly sliced

Put onion and cucumber into a heatproof nonreactive medium bowl; set aside. Bring vinegar, 2 tablespoons honey, bay leaves, ginger, mustard seeds, salt, and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Pour over onion and cucumber. Cover loosely, and let cool completely, stirring occasionally to submerge vegetables. Pickled vegetables can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 2 weeks.

Stir together remaining 2 tablespoons honey and the mustard; spread on bottom of rolls. Divide cheese among rolls; top each with 1/3 cup drained pickled vegetables and top half of roll. Sandwiches can be stored, wrapped in parchment, in a cool place up to 4 hours.

Bon Appetit!