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Posts Tagged ‘hot summer nights’

When it gets warm — hot enough so that my blood vessels dilate instantly as I step outside (nice weather does come to San Francisco once in awhile) — all I want to do is curl up in a shady spot, and hope for a cool breeze to pass through. If I spend enough time in the heat, my appetite goes out the window (as does my desire to cook in a stifling kitchen). All of a sudden, I can’t stand to think of the foods that I love so much. What shall we have for dinner tonight? Chinese? Bleh. Grilled sausages and fries? Bleh!

On one of these hot summer nights, J suggested making our own Vietnamese summer rolls. We gathered up some boiled shrimp, lettuce, sprouts, cilantro, thai basil, mint, vermicelli, and tapioca starch wrappers, and wrapped up our summer rolls at the table as we ate, dipping them in lime juice/fish sauce and peanut sauce. It was marvelous.

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Another night, we had watermelon salad. Cubed watermelon with tomatoes and avocado, tossed together in lime dressing. An amazing balance of sweetness and acid. We had this with a sliced baguette on the side, and it was the ideal summer supper in all ways imaginable — refreshing, light, and filling.

Watermelon Salad
Makes 2 big portions, or enough for 4 smaller servings
Adapted loosely from here

2 large tomatoes, mostly deseeded and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
2 cups 3/4-inch-cubed watermelon flesh
1 Hass avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
3 large fresh basil leaves, cut into small ribbons
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 serrano chili, finely diced
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper

Prepare watermelon and tomatoes, combining them in a large bowl. Place cut avocado in a smaller bowl. Add to the avocado juice from 1/2 lime, and using your fingers, toss around gently.

In another small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, remaining lime juice, basil, salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the tomato and watermelon and toss to coat evenly. Allow mixture to chill and marinate for 20 minutes.

Before serving, add the cubed avocado (along with the lime juice). Toss gently to mix, and drain excess liquid if you wish. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.

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