Hot. It’s hot hot hot here. We’re going into another week of 100 degree weather, and with the crazy pace my day job at the Big Corporation lately, I took the opportunity to prep some cold food in advance.
I roasted a baby chicken one night last week when it wasn’t so brutal out, and so this afternoon I pulled the breasts off. I was going to make some chicken salad, but I decided that cold roasted chicken breasts by themselves would give me a wider variety of options (that’s how hot it was last week, pulling the chicken breasts off the carcass seemed like too much work). I also hard boiled a couple more eggs — I seem to be living on salad greens from my garden with oeufs mayonnaise. (Since I discovered this easy method for making mayonnaise in a wide-mouthed mason jar, it’s been all homemade mayo around here. Add a clove of garlic and a handful of herbs from the garden, and you’ve got a sauce that can go on anything.) I’m also really fond of egg salad when it’s hot like this — in general, I eat a lot of eggs around here. We have three or four great sources of local local eggs (my favorite, from Willow Bend Farm boast “9 Food Miles” in magic marker on the carton). In fact, the eggs are so good around here that when I was in California for work a couple of weeks ago, and ordered an egg for breakfast … well, sounds so snobby, but it didn’t taste like anything. I was sad.
I’m hoping that the local eggs make up the karma I burned on the bag of frozen uncooked shrimp that originated in Thailand. I know, I know — the destruction of the mangrove swamps, the destruction of the American shrimp industry in the Gulf of Mexico — but it’s hot here, and for the most part, my food tends to be local. So anyway, I filled a big pot with water, some nice rosé (because that’s what was open in the fridge), a chopped baby onion from the garden, a dried chile, a sliced lemon, a couple of garlic cloves, and two enormous pinches of “melange de poisson” that I bought in the market in Aix-en-Provence when I was there a couple of years ago. From what I can tell, it seems to be tarragon, marjoram, savory, fennel, coriander, and pink peppercorns (there might also be some other dried green herbs in there, it’s hard to tell). When the liquid came to a boil, I popped the shrimp in, brought it back to a boil, let it boil for two minutes and then dropped the shrimp in an ice bath. I strained out the aromatics from the broth, then packed the shrimp, the aromatics, and a little olive oil in Gladware and popped it in the fridge.
My cucumbers are starting to come in, and there’s no fresh dill in the market yet, so tonight I made a big batch of cucumber-yogurt salad as well. I peeled and diced the cucumbers, then salted them and set them in a colander to drain. In a bowl I combined some chopped mint, oregano, a nice little onion from the garden with it’s greens, and a couple of pickled hot peppers from last summer. Then I added about half a pint of thick Greek yogurt, the juice of a lime, and the cucumbers. I tossed it all to mix, and ate it tonight with some rice, and a lamb burger.
So, for the week, all I need is to make some rice, or a salad, or a little pasta and with the cold chicken, hard-boiled eggs, and shrimp, I’ve got enough protein variation that I shouldn’t get too bored. Oh, and there’s the quesadilla option as well …