vrai-lean-uh

Cooking, eating, making sweeping pronouncements

Posts tagged summer

16 notes

Lemon, Cucumber, Feta, and Orzo Salad and Letting Go
I was in the grocery store the other night and picked up some red onions. There was an older man in a suit by the onions, picking up and inspecting each red onion in order to find the most perfect red onion. I swept in on the side and grabbed two and threw them into my cart. And the guy turns to me and asks how I’m able to pick out onions so quickly. And I look at him and say, “you let go” and walked away.
You don’t need to find the most perfect red onion because you’ll peel off the outer layers and if whatever bruise or ding has made it past the outer layers, you just cut it off and it doesn’t matter at all. All the red onions are fine. It doesn’t matter. Just grab one.
Summer cooking, man. It’s pretty great. I mean, it’s pretty great now that I’ve let go. Because in the summer there’s so much delicious produce available, and the answer to most seasoning issues can be “dump a handful of herbs on top,” and I don’t think anyone craves a hearty stew in 90 degree heat.
Which gets us to the lemon, cucumber, feta, and orzo salad above. It’s good, and it’s easy, and you can spend a lot of time figuring out the perfect set of herbs or vegetables or seasoning or you can wing it and add more salt later if you need to. One might get you a better, more consistent pasta salad. The other will make you happier.
Just Do Whatever It’s Summer Pasta Salad
Orzo (I think I cooked 1 cup dried? Maybe 2 cups?)
1 - 2 cucumbers, cut up (depends on the size of the cucumber. You can halve them lengthwise first, or quarter them lengthwise first, or just slice them into rounds)
frozen peas (I added these because we were a little thin on the ground with the orzo. I microwaved them first. This is probably some kind of locavore failure, which I’ve accepted and bothers me not one single iota.)
feta
handful of mint, chopped (hint: stack up the leaves on top of each other, roll them lengthwise, and then slice the roll of leaves. Presto! Chiffonade!)
handful of parsley, chopped
1 lemon (both the lemon zest and the lemon juice)
olive oil
salt and pepper
Cook your orzo according to package instructions (probably: boil in a pot of salted water until just tender, drain). Toss with a little olive oil and let cool slightly.
Add the cucumbers, peas, feta, herbs, and lemon zest and toss. Add olive oil, salt and pepper, and lemon juice to taste. It’s likely you didn’t add enough lemon juice and salt, so add some more.

Lemon, Cucumber, Feta, and Orzo Salad and Letting Go

I was in the grocery store the other night and picked up some red onions. There was an older man in a suit by the onions, picking up and inspecting each red onion in order to find the most perfect red onion. I swept in on the side and grabbed two and threw them into my cart. And the guy turns to me and asks how I’m able to pick out onions so quickly. And I look at him and say, “you let go” and walked away.

You don’t need to find the most perfect red onion because you’ll peel off the outer layers and if whatever bruise or ding has made it past the outer layers, you just cut it off and it doesn’t matter at all. All the red onions are fine. It doesn’t matter. Just grab one.

Summer cooking, man. It’s pretty great. I mean, it’s pretty great now that I’ve let go. Because in the summer there’s so much delicious produce available, and the answer to most seasoning issues can be “dump a handful of herbs on top,” and I don’t think anyone craves a hearty stew in 90 degree heat.

Which gets us to the lemon, cucumber, feta, and orzo salad above. It’s good, and it’s easy, and you can spend a lot of time figuring out the perfect set of herbs or vegetables or seasoning or you can wing it and add more salt later if you need to. One might get you a better, more consistent pasta salad. The other will make you happier.

Just Do Whatever It’s Summer Pasta Salad

  • Orzo (I think I cooked 1 cup dried? Maybe 2 cups?)
  • 1 - 2 cucumbers, cut up (depends on the size of the cucumber. You can halve them lengthwise first, or quarter them lengthwise first, or just slice them into rounds)
  • frozen peas (I added these because we were a little thin on the ground with the orzo. I microwaved them first. This is probably some kind of locavore failure, which I’ve accepted and bothers me not one single iota.)
  • feta
  • handful of mint, chopped (hint: stack up the leaves on top of each other, roll them lengthwise, and then slice the roll of leaves. Presto! Chiffonade!)
  • handful of parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon (both the lemon zest and the lemon juice)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Cook your orzo according to package instructions (probably: boil in a pot of salted water until just tender, drain). Toss with a little olive oil and let cool slightly.

Add the cucumbers, peas, feta, herbs, and lemon zest and toss. Add olive oil, salt and pepper, and lemon juice to taste. It’s likely you didn’t add enough lemon juice and salt, so add some more.

Filed under summer salad

3,117 notes

The popsicles I make have literally not ever once looked this good, but aren’t they lovely? Wouldn’t it be nice if my popsicles were so pretty?
Ice Coffee Pops
It’s finally actually hot here in Maine, so I made iced coffee pops. They are everything I have ever wanted in a popsicle.
I made them basically the same way I make Vietnamese Iced Coffee: I make a coffee concentrate by combining 1/2 a pound of ground coffee with 4 1/2 or 5 cups water, let it sit for about a day, and then strain it. I keep the coffee concentrate in the fridge, and to serve, I mix the concentrate with sweetened condensed milk and regular milk over ice.
For the popsicles, I made a larger batch of the condensed milk/coffee concentrate/regular milk mixture, adding a little bit more sweetened condensed milk than usual.
The resulting popsicle is pretty icy, but I kind of like icy popsicles, and they are delicious.
Here’s a picture:

The popsicles I make have literally not ever once looked this good, but aren’t they lovely? Wouldn’t it be nice if my popsicles were so pretty?

Ice Coffee Pops

It’s finally actually hot here in Maine, so I made iced coffee pops. They are everything I have ever wanted in a popsicle.

I made them basically the same way I make Vietnamese Iced Coffee: I make a coffee concentrate by combining 1/2 a pound of ground coffee with 4 1/2 or 5 cups water, let it sit for about a day, and then strain it. I keep the coffee concentrate in the fridge, and to serve, I mix the concentrate with sweetened condensed milk and regular milk over ice.

For the popsicles, I made a larger batch of the condensed milk/coffee concentrate/regular milk mixture, adding a little bit more sweetened condensed milk than usual.

The resulting popsicle is pretty icy, but I kind of like icy popsicles, and they are delicious.

Here’s a picture:

(via bunnyvictorious)

Filed under iced coffee popsicles summer

0 notes

Pops

It’s been really really hot here (and bonus! I’m currently en route to an EVEN HOTTER PLACE.  I might die).  The best thing to do when it is hot and sticky and you don’t have central AC and you don’t want to go to the movies, or actually, drive anywhere because the AC in your car gushes buckets of water into the passenger side floormat, especially when you try to do crazy things like turn left, is sit very still wearing as little as possible eating popsicles with a fan blowing on you.*

It’s incredibly effective.

Popsicles are easy to buy, but they’re also easy to make.  Obviously, you can just pour juice into a popsicle mold.  Or if you don’t have popsicle molds, you could pour the juice into a dixie cup, top with some tinfoil, and stick a popsicle stick in the whole shebang.  But seeing as I would need to specially purchase dixie cups and popsicle sticks, I figured it’d be easier to specially purchase popsicle molds.**

If you want to go fancier than juice, which I highly recommend, there are lots of options. For instance: mango yogurt popsicles, which can double as breakfast, particularly if you have two.

Mango Yogurt Pops

  • 1 1/2 cups mango chunks (you could use frozen and microwave it for a minute to thaw so it’s easier to blend, or use fresh mango)
  • 1 cup or a little more plain greek yogurt (this is what I had on hand, you could probably use any yogurt if you adjusted the sugar accordingly)
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Ground cardamom

Blend everything in a blender until smooth.  If you want chunks of fruit, only blend half or 3/4 of the mango until smooth, and then add in the rest of the mango and blitz once or twice.  Taste and adjust seasoning.

Pour into popsicle molds and freeze until solid (a while, maybe overnight).

My popsicles have a tendency to stick in the mold.  To unmold I run the popsicle under warm water for a minute.

* I was at my dad’s for most of the day yesterday, and they have practically NO FANS.  I had to dig around in the basement for ONE fan.  How did I never realize this before?  Who lives like that?  A little bit of air circulation really makes things so much better.

** I have these Tovolo green shooting star popsicle molds and am perfectly happy with them.  Although, I sort of also want these.  Both are nice because you don’t have to take them all out to get one.

Filed under Summer popsicles LIFE IS SO HARD

1 note

BudgetBacchus: Goodness, Greenness, Great Bottles of Wine!

Have you ever said “wow, this wine is under-ripe”, or heard “this wine tastes green”? Usually these statements are reserved for wines that don’t quite hit the mark, and are considered faulty because they are not completely ripe. Also, if you have ever said, “this wine is fizzy, and it’s not a…

For a little while I was thinking of serving vinho verde wine at our wedding, since it would be outdoors in the afternoon and seemed sort of appropriate.  This led to a long conversation with my mum about whether it was okay for the non-champagne white wine at the wedding to be effervescent.*  In any case, vinho verde is a great hot weather, sitting outside type of wine and you can get good bottles for cheap.

* It wasn’t even champagne to begin with, it was a sparkling wine from New Mexico, and this conversation also included a debate about whether we needed to have klezmer music at the wedding.  I capitulated on the vinho verde but stood firm on the jazz duo with an accordion.  And, by the way, I was totally right because the accordion was awesome.  If you are debating whether to have accordion at your fancy event, do it.  It is absolutely the right choice.  The vinho verde would have been good, too.

Filed under wine klezmer summer