This past August has been too hot to cook in my kitchen. I’ve been relying on excavating ends of sourdough bread from the freezer, adding these to pre-cooked packets of beans (also excavated from the freezer), fresh produce from the market, herbs from the garden, preserves (such as olives, capers, pickled artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes and cured anchovies), hard boiled eggs as well as any number of different types of cheeses. The ingredients are used to produce a variety if bread salads – panzanella – like the one I posted on back in 2014 as seen in the image below. These salads – despite all being based on bread – never look the same from one day to the other given the vast variety of combinations.
One of the veggies that I’ve been buying for other salads is the “dry cucumber” – a variety called atzouria in Greece, particularly grown in Crete. They are “dry” because they grow in drier conditions and as a consequence do not have watery flesh and are very crunchy. They tend to be smaller, sometimes fatter, and the ridged skin a lighter green than the usual sort of cucumber.
Sometimes we make simple pasta dishes (only having to boil a bit of water) with uncooked sauces like the Summer Pasta I just posted about with chopped fresh tomato, shredded basil, minced garlic – all marinated in EV olive oil …
… or simply a squeeze of lemon, a splash EV olive oil, a grinding of pepper and freshly grated Parmesan – a lemony variation of Cacio e pepe.
Cooler than cucumbers, we’ve been enjoying a lot of sorbet – including a pretty pink watermelon sorbet which I posted on a few weeks ago. A new creation for me.
Also in my kitchen is a new cookbook by one of my favourite food writers, Diana Henry. How to Eat a Peach has many recipes for hot days in the first half of the book. The second half is all about autumnal foods which I’ll try out later in the year when the weather turns. But, for now, there is no heat-induced prohibition against reading about cooking.
One – very simple – recipe in Henry’s book which we’ve been making a lot lately is a Catalan sort of bruschetta called po amb tomàquet (in Catalan) or pan con tomate (in Spanish). These are ciabatta or baguette slices brushed with oil and toasted, then rubbed with a very ripe tomato so fleshy tomato bits break off and the juices soak in. In addition, Diana Henry puts an anchovy on top. Naturally we’ve been using our own home cured anchovies. Yum!
I’m only sorry that I didn’t get to bake scones for 2018 International Scone Week (hosted by Tandy @ Lavender and Lime) 5-12 August. Too hot in the kitchen to bake! But, have a look at Tandy’s site for some really yummy looking scones. Once the weather cools, I’ll be back to baking and scones are high on the list.