Last week at this time, I was sitting in the family room with the kids with about three fans circulating not-so-cool air around. We had just spent the day enduring history-making temperatures of 107° in our area, wilting like spinach that has just hit the hot skillet. We didn't think of heating the kitchen with cooking and in fact, had little to no appetite. We felt like WE were the food that was roasting!
Today, on the contrary, we woke up to a cool 62° and overcast skies. We closed the windows slightly last evening and didn't use a fan, but were still comfortable. We enjoyed a pleasant 75° at the ball game this afternoon and realized that this is the Seattle we know and love.
There are a few foods that I run to throughout the summer just because they are cooling … Cucumber Salad is one of them. I can eat cucumber salad all through the year, but it is especially wonderful in the heat of the summer and when cucumbers are in season. I grew up eating any and all vegetables doused with vinaigrette because c'est tout a fait francais! It's completely French to change a side dish of vegetables into a salad simply by adding a vinaigrette. Voila! It's a salad! See? Simple as pie. Open a can of beets or green beans, pour vinaigrette on them, et voila! Une Salade des Haricots Verts … it looks so elegant written in French, non? But it's still just a can of beans with vinaigrette on it. And I love it!
My mother-in-law, Regina, had her early childhood in Germany during the war. They had a garden since it was the best way to guarantee one's sustenance given the war rations. Plain vinegar, in her case, was doused onto many vegetables, cucumbers included. She claims to have been the child to drink all the vinegar from the bowl after the cucumbers had been eaten! To this day, she makes cucumber salad simply with thinly sliced cucumbers, a little oil, more vinegar, some sugar, and salt and pepper.
On a hot summer day, when the heat has drained you of all appetite, slice some fresh cucumbers, dress them lightly, and enjoy a cooling, light lunch. If you simply must have protein for lunch as well, add some tuna, canned in water, or some deli turkey.