Tag Archives: summer

Hot weather foods: What do you like?

It’s a steamer out there right now and it has definitely affected the old appetite. Whenever it’s hot I lose my characteristic craving for cheeseburgers but replace it with new ones.

Mayonnaise is not among my favorite foods, but in summer months I love a good chicken salad. It’s great with fresh citrus or dried cranberries with walnut or pecan bits. A healthy dose of celery seed in the dressing makes a vast improvement.

Vietnamese bĂșn, or rice noodles is just about the perfect summer food. cold or room temperature noodles, topped with shredded vegetables, fresh mint, crushed peanuts and grilled meat. Add the classic sweet and tangy Vietnamese vinaigrette (which I believe is called nuoc cham but don’t take it to the bank) and you have a perfect, fresh-tasting summer meal.

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Photo by Alexa Clark on Flickr

Tacos occupy a similar culinary terrain: hot, flavorful meat accompanied by pungent cilantro, onion and salsa or fresh pico de gallo. I could eat a traditional taco every day of the summer if I had to (or if I could)

Lots of folks go for gazpacho in the summer, simply because the tomatoes are the star. Not to get all hippy-dippy on you but it makes sense that our bodies would crave things that are in-season.

Gazpacho

Photo by Alpha on Flickr.

Looks good, but I’ve frankly never been a fan of gazpacho. Something about drinking tomatos doesn’t appeal to me. No, I don’t like bloody marys either but believe me it’s pretty much the only drink I don’t like.

How about y’all? Summertime favorite foods?

Vinegar drinks? Meet the shrub

How do you feel about drinking vinegar? A shrub is a curious little drink that I have only known about for a few years, but it makes a nice change of pace for summertime imbibery. Apparently shrubs hearken back to Colonial times when summer fruits were too plentiful to eat before spoiling and thus had to be used for a variety of purposes. Vinegar is used as a preservative and unsurprisingly adds a bitter, acidic kick.

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Photo by Stu Spivack on Flickr.

You can find recipes online and in older cookbooks, but making a shrub is uncomplicated. The first step is to make the syrup. Basically, you soak the fruit of your choice in vinegar, either the plain white or apple cider variety. The most commonly used fruit is raspberry but I imagine cherries or any kind of berry would work well. Leave the fruit to soak overnight.

The next day, mash the fruit and vinegar into a pulp and push through a sieve or foodmill. Heat the liquid in a pot until boiling, then add a good amount of sugar until the mixture is suitably sweet. The liquid will thicken as it boils and the sugar dissolves.. Remove from heat; as it cools, the liquid will turn into a syrup.

Now you have the concentrated syrup on hand to make a shrub any time you want one. To make the final product, dilute the syrup with water, probably a 4 to 1 water to syrup ratio is right. While a shrub is technically an uncarbonated drink, soda water would likely make a fine replacement for still water.