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Summer cooking

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Summer cooking

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Or, more accurately, summer food prep, as I tried to use the stove as little as possible. Because it's going to be beastly hot all week, and I don't want to cook at all, and I suspect I will barely want to eat. Having cold food around already prepared should counter that somewhat. I already had some homemade hummus in the fridge. But that wasn't going to carry me through. So, yesterday, after I went to the grocery store, I came home and made:

Lemon dill butter
Cucumber dill yogurt soup
Gazpacho
Pasta salad
and
Deviled eggs.

The lemon dill butter was easy, but I might as well record the proportions for future reference, as it came out well, and I was going by the method of "this looks about right":

12 oz (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
About 1/2 bunch fresh dill, fronds only, lightly chopped
zest of 2 lemons
1 tsp kosher salt (approximate, I did that thing with the palm of my hand)
Beat together at low speed in stand mixer, put in 1 lb deli container & refrigerate.

Cucumber yogurt soup is one of those idiot easy things. I checked proportions on the web and tweaked it a little based on what I had; I used 3 cucumbers, peeled and seeded, the rest of the bunch of dill left over from the lemon dill butter (including all the stems), roughly 2 cups of plain Greek yogurt (I didn't measure, because I had about half a quart container left, and I said "close enough"), a clove of garlic, and 1 tsp salt. Directions: dump everything in the food processor and run it until it's soup.

Gazpacho: I used Ina Garten's recipe on the Food Network site, the only tweaks being that I added a small handful of flat-leaf parsley and substituted a green bell pepper for one of the red ones, because I only bought one red bell pepper (oops) and I had a whole bag of green ones. I let it chill in the fridge for five hours before I tried any, so it wouldn't be hotspacho, and here are my observations:
  • Totally not spicy. I should have expected this as it only had 1 tsp ground black pepper in the whole thing, and no hot peppers at all. Given that I add Tabasco to my morning V8 juice, this was not to my taste. Immediate fix: add Tabasco (another hot sauce might be better, but the only other one I had on hand was sriracha, which didn’t seem right). Future fix: add a jalapeno?
  • Very thick. Is gazpacho supposed to be only barely more liquid than salsa? Is this a “to taste” variation? Considering adding some ice cubes. May add one to my next bowl individually.
  • Low acidity. Again, this may be the intention, but I found it disappointing. Somewhat improved in first bowl by adding the vinegar-based Tabasco. Have added juice of one lime to the remains of the batch, letting it sit, will taste again at dinner time.
  • Must pester kiddo to try some today, because I really really want cilantro in it, and if kiddo doesn’t like the gazpacho, I can add it to the whole batch, instead of just adding bits to my own servings.
  • garnish with scallions? I have this whole bunch of scallions and then the recipe didn’t call for any, wtf.
Also, it has been so long since I made it. I wonder if the recipe I used to use at Michaele’s is still in my purple notebook. I wonder how different it is. This one seems to work on the principle of “make pico de gallo, add cucumbers, turn into soup with tomato juice.” Which is not a bad principle.

I wonder what the old-style one with stale bread is like? Maybe I should find a recipe and use some of the stale bread cubes I have in the freezer and find out.

Pasta salad: same as I always make, with penne, chick peas, black olives, cucumber, green pepper, and sharp cheddar, doused in store brand Italian dressing. This is [personal profile] eternaleponine's method. According to her, it is the only way to make pasta salad, and as it's the only one she'll eat, it's how I make it.

Deviled eggs: there is no recipe. Boil the eggs, peel them, halve them, mush up the yolks with mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and a little salt, until it tastes right; pipe the yolks into the halves, and sprinkle with paprika. I boiled a whole dozen eggs this time. They were being super uncooperative about peeling, and I only remembered the bit about "start from the blunt end where the air pocket is" when I was about 2/3 done, so I have a lot of fairly mangled-looking eggs. But these are not for catering, so they don't have to be pretty.

If anyone expects me to cook for the rest of the week, they are SORELY mistaken.


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