Thursdays Are For Cooking

| July 2, 2020

Cooking? Yes, but not in this jungle heat, right? Not unless you can get out under a shade tree with the grill or BBQ the stuff in the garage with a cooler full of ice and adult beverages, and get some music going to annoy your neighbors, too.

This is where the simple things come in handy. The photo is of part of the ingredients for a chopped salad, which, on a hot, humid day is much more satisfying than burning meat on the grill.  You have zucchini, yellow summer squash, green onion, radishes, cherry tomatoes, and that’s almost enough for a bowlful of cool, tasty summer veggies with a good homemade dressing.

Cut the squash in half lengthwise, then in half again, then just chop it lengthwise. Ditto the radishes: cut into quarters and toss into the bowl. The green onions? Just chop them up and add them. Get a good red onion, chop that up, too, and celery and if you can find them, color bell peppers and  shredded carrots add some sparkle and extra color to this. Since cucumber tends to wilt after a while, zukes and yellow squash hold up better in this kind of dish.

Yes, you are allowed 😉 to add chopped ham or leftover chicken, and crumbled bacon as well, to this mixture. There is no set volume or list of ingredients.

Bell peppers

The dressing: it’s something my paternal grandma used to do: season the cut-up veggies with salt, cracked pepper, garlic salt, celery salt, lemon juice (freshly squeezed lemon is best) or your favorite vinegar, and olive oil. You can also throw in dried herbs like parsley and chives. My Gramma had to use corn oil back then as olive oil wasn’t as prominent on the store shelves as it is now, but olive oil has a better flavor and it’s been around since someone climbed the olive trees and figured out how to make that delightful ingredient.

Add some good hard cheeses to this (e.g., white cheddar, apple smoked cheddar, Asiago, Romanian, etc.) and some rustic bread or crackers like Rye-Crisp, and a cold adult beverage (or soda pop, if you prefer) and enjoy the day. Since I love this kind of salad, it is frequently on my plate in the summer, until chilly weather sets in. And yes, I do read books when having a meal, and the cat hangs out in the window over the sink.

To keep it reasonably fresh if it is not entirely used up, just cover it with plastic wrap or a bowl cap and keep it cold.

Category: Cooking

Comments (13)

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  1. I made your sausage and penne again 3 days ago. Worth every penne.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      Thank you! I think you’re hooked on that stuff, Jeff! Now I want some, too.

      I will be making that when things cool off in my AO, but right now, even boiling water for tea (for iced tea) is too much heat in the kitchen.

      • OWB says:

        Sun tea. Much easier in the summer. Good stuff. Sometimes we throw in some raspberry tea.

        • Ex-PH2 says:

          Exactly. Not boiling/cooking anything right now.

          Humidity is worse than the heat. I’m just using tap water and teabags. This has been the first summer in five years it’s been this muggy, and we’re getting those high intensity color red sunrises from Sahara dust, too. Even the moon looks sort of tan at night.

          At least, we’re getting rain.

  2. Fyrfighter says:

    Well, if you have to cookin this heat, keeping the heat outside helps, so just put a 10 lb pork roast on the pellet smoker… pulled pork tonight!

  3. 5th/77th FA says:

    You shore had me at crumbled bacon…and chopped ham…and chicken…and apple smoked cheddar. Tanks Ex!! I like to put the food I eat into the food that my food eats, before I eat my food. And this food that my food eats would go real good with that Smoked Char Be Qued Pulled Porked Beast. Part of my original planned route would have took me near enough to the corners of Colorado, Texas, and Wisconsin, that certain miscreanted d’weeds or weedettes mighta coulda, woulda, shoulda, had oughta been within striking distance and we could get together, break bread, raise a Prost, and add some kodak moments to the TAH photo book. This place in St Jo MO was on the scheduler for a dinning in…The Prime Rib w all the trimmings. DAAAAAAAAMMNN IIIITT!

    Starting to bend the ride a little more to the East South East from here.

  4. Graybeard says:

    Since my garden has produced okra and tomatoes in abundance, I thought I’d mix up a traditional Southern dish: Okra and Tomatoes

    For a recipe, one could go to St. Paula of Deen, the patron saint of Southern cooking:

    I did something a little different from St. Paula’s recipe.

    Here it is:

    oil to cover the bottom of a large cast iron skillet to about 1/8th – 1/4th of an inch.
    ¼ lb. Bacon
    2 – 3 segments from a clove of garlic
    1 medium yellow onion diced
    2-3 c. okra sliced
    2-3 c. tomatoes diced
    Optional: 1/3c flour

    Heat the oil in the skillet
    Add bacon, garlic, onions, and okra.
    Saute until the garlic, onions, and okra are soft.
    Add the tomatoes
    Sprinkle salt to taste over the mixture. (I took the salt container and just waved it over the top until The Spirits of My Ancestors said “That’s ‘nuff, chil’”)
    Simmer 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    A lot of liquid will be rendered from the okra and tomatoes, and some may find it unpalatable in texture. If so, sprinkle in about 1/3c flour to thicken the mixture.

    Serve over rice or as a side.

  5. gitarcarver says:

    Since the recipe for the day is something “cool,” I am going to present something that is typically associated with outdoor cooking / fires:

    For those who like to cook under pressure:

    Instant Pot Stuffed S’mores Cake

    The Dry Ingredients:
    • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda (NOT baking powder)
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • The Wet Ingredients:
    • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) salted butter, softened (either leave it out on the counter for 2 hours or so or zap in microwave for 10-15 seconds), plus more for greasing the pan
    • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, tightly packed
    • 1/4 cup white sugar
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
    • The Filling:
    • 2 XL-sized Hershey bars (about 4.4 ounces each. It MUST be a Hershey bar for the best S’more experience!)
    • 7 1/2-ounce jar Marshmallow Fluff

    • Add the Dry Ingredients to a large mixing bowl and whisk together until fully combined. Set aside.

    • Now let’s focus on the Wet Ingredients. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or another large mixing bowl if using an electric hand mixer), add the softened butter, brown and white sugars. Start on a low speed and work your way to a 4-speed or medium speed until the butter and sugar are creamed, about 30 seconds. Add the egg, vanilla and syrup. Mix for about 15 seconds until combined.

    • Add the Dry Ingredients and start on a low speed (flour likes to go all over the place so always start on a low speed) and once the dry and wet ingredients are combined, up to one speed higher and let mix for about 30 seconds until a thick dough-like batter has formed. Set aside.

    • Assembling The Cakes:

    1. For One Large Stuffed Cake: Take a 7×3 springform pan and generously grease the bottom and sides of the pan with additional butter. Lay in a 7″ parchment round and butter the top of that too. Take about 1/3 of the dough and press it into the bottom of the pan, giving it a supple bottom of about 1/2-inch thick so it’s not too thin. Then, take another 1/3 of the dough and line it along the sides of the pan, attaching it to the dough on the bottom of the pan. It should come up to about about 1/4-inch below the lip of the pan. Like using a pottery wheel, work your way around the pan to make sure the dough is evenly distributed (check out the video for additional visual guidance). This ensures we’ll have outer edges of the cake and will keep the S’mores filling secure inside. Layer in one of the Hershey bars (break it up to lay it in properly or see the step-by-step photos for visual guidance) and then use a silicone or rubber spatula to smooth the Marshmallow Fluff on top (you can use up to the whole jar if you desire) and then top off with the remaining Hershey bar. Use the remaining 1/3 or so of the dough and lay it over the top Hershey bar layer so it’s totally covered and connected to the dough that came up to just below the lip of the pan. The top layer of dough should come up to just slightly under the the lip of the pan. Cover the top with foil, making sure you don’t press the foil directly onto the top layer of dough, but rather have it somewhat loosely on the pan.

    Pressure Baking The Cakes:

    1. Add the trivet and 2 cups water to the Instant Pot.

    2. If making one large stuffed cake, rest the springform pan on the trivet, secure the lid, move the valve to the sealing position and hit Manual or Pressure Cook at High Pressure for 40 minutes. Quick release when done. Using the trivet’s handles with oven mitts or a dish towel, carefully transport the cake to the counter, remove the foil and let rest for 15 minutes to slightly cool. Take a pairing knife and get in between the perimeter of the edge of the pan and edge of the cake and loosen it up. Unlatch the pan and let the cake rest.

    Serving The Cakes:

    1. If you made the large cake, you can either serve it immediately, where the center will be super ooey and gooey like a giant lava cake OR let it fully cool for 3-4 hours and it will become like a S’mores Cookie/Brownie Bar! Slice into wedges when serving. Store any leftovers in an airtight container up to 3 days.

  6. AW1Ed says:

    Just a head’s up- as explained in the WOT today Friday’ Recipe is renamed Monday’s Recipe, and will be posted accordingly.

    • 5th/77th FA says:

      Saw that! Just to express my thoughts, I’ll leave this here. Wah Wah…Smooches and Leers!

  7. penguinman000 says:

    How about some dutch oven recipes?

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      In this heat?

      Oh, all right. I’ll see what I can find for you, and it’s just to make you happier.