Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Too Hot in the Kitchen: Cold Dishes for the Heat Wave

Yesterday the thermometer shot up to 113, a new record high. I can contain the excitement over setting a record, but I can't contain my newfound desire for fall. Heading into the kitchen and firing up the oven is about the last thing on my mind. It's already like an oven all around us.

We're eating a lot of salads, smoothies, and cold drinks around here. Popsicles for dessert. The oven is taking a summer vacation other than roasting a few items early in the day. Here's what's not cooking in the kitchen lately besides me:

Fried Green Tomato Salad with Roasted Corn, Okra and Tomatoes
3 green tomatoes, sliced
1/4 cup corn meal
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbs. canola oil

4 ears of corn
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 pint okra
1 tbs. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbs. fresh basil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbs. Dijon mustard
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

2 cups salad greens

Preheat the oven (if it needs it lately) to 400. Shouldn't take long.

Cut the kernels off the corn cob over a baking sheet, keeping the milk that comes off the cob. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half lengthwise. Slice the okra horizontally, 1/4 inch thick. It makes little star shapes that way. Salt and pepper to taste, toss with the olive oil. Roast for about 15 minutes, or until just golden on the tops. Stir once or twice during roasting. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature. Toss with the chopped basil.

Mix the cornmeal with the salt and pepper. Dredge the tomato slices in the cornmeal mixture to coat. Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the tomato slices and brown on each side, about three minutes per side. Set on paper towel to drain while you prep the salad plates.

Whisk the dressing ingredients together.

Place 1/2 cup greens on each of four salad plates. Add the tomato slices. Top with 1/4 cup of the roasted corn mixture. Drizzle with the dressing. You will have leftover corn and okra, but this is a great side dish and one less thing to cook tomorrow, when it's even hotter outside.

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