Sunday, July 13, 2008

Cool Eats for Hot Days

It's sooo hot out. Every year I dread the months of July, August, and September. I absolutely hate the heat and humidity and try to avoid cooking over a hot stove at all costs. So, what do I eat? In the upcoming weeks I will feature some of the recipes that have been helping me stay cool, and keeping my taste buds satisfied this summer.

Edamame Dip with Crudites, Wasabi Cucumbers, and Bird's Nest Sushi

A few months ago my mother told me about this recipe from Epicurious, Edamame Dip with Crudites, and I waited way too long to try it. Per my usual ways, I reduced the amount of oil called for in the recipe to only one Tablespoon, and had no problem with the end result. This dip is so delicious that I made two recipes in one week! I just could not get enough of it.
While I was over at Epicurious, I decided to look around for some other recipes to go with the one above, and much to my excitement found Cucumbers with Wasabi and Rice Vinegar as well as Ice Tray Sushi. I made the cucumbers exactly per the recipe instructions which gave me a wonderful excuse to go out and buy a Zyliss Mandolin, something that I have been wanting for a long time. Despite having wasabi in the recipe, the amount is so small that it doesn't burn your mouth or clear your sinuses. The cucumbers are refreshingly crisp and delicious and I know I will be making them many times again this summer.

The Ice Tray Sushi recipe was an inspiration for the little Bird's Nest Sushi I created. I used short grain brown rice and prepared it as if I was going to make sushi. Then I took an 1/8th cup dry measuring cup, packed it 3/4 full with cooked rice, used my thumb to make an indentation in the top, then turned over the measuring cup, tapping it onto a piece of wax paper taped to the countertop until the rice nest fell out. Then I flipped the nest right side up to fill it. For the Bird's Nest Sushi filling I diced green, red, and yellow bell peppers and then combined the diced peppers with 1 1/2 Tbs vegan mayo mixed with 1/4 tsp sesame hot chili oil. These would make great appetizers or a great snack if you're craving the taste of sushi but don't have any nori on hand to make nori rolls. For other filling ideas, check out these sushi filling recipes on The PPK, by clicking here.

In closing, an obvious way to stay cool in the summer is to have someone else do the cooking for you. A few weeks ago I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Grass Root Organic Restaurant in Tampa. If you are ever in the Tampa area, I highly recommend you visit this place. The atmosphere is absolutely delightful and the food was nothing short of incredible. For my entree I had the Parmesan, which I still can't believe was vegan, it tasted so crispy and delicious! In the photo below you will see a side of house salad and garlic pasta in the background. For dessert I had their famous Key Lime Cheesecake, a must try if you go. I have to say that the texture was nothing like regular cheesecake, it was actually better. Unfortunately , the photo below doesn't quite do it justice due to the dim lighting, but I just had to feature it because I think this was one of the best pies I have ever tasted in my life!
By the way, if you live in the Lakeland, FL area, the owners are opening a restaurant there, too, so no more driving all the way to Tampa to get your fill!
Stay tuned for more cool summer eats in upcoming weeks!

1 comment:

Erin said...

Somehow your blog got erased from my reader list...harumph. Glad I found this post though, cause the bird's nest sushi is so adorable! And the crudite with edamame dip looks great. I keep telling myself I need to make more summertime (read: no oven) food but for whatever reason I want to keep roasting and baking things.