Hot As… Cold Salads for Beastly Weather

I’m sure there are places in the United States that are hotter than Mid-Maryland right now, but I’m willing to bet there aren’t as many of them as you think.  For those of you who live in arid regions, we have this nifty thing here called the “heat index.” The heat index says: “The thermometer only reads 85, but yes, it actually does feel like 812 degrees.”  Whenever we hit this part of the summer I like to play a little game.  I think of a place that I’d expect to be hotter and I check.

Tonight in mid-Maryland it’s 88 degrees, but feels like 95.  Just in case you’re wondering, the sun has gone down.  Yeah.  Yum-O.  In New Orleans, the tropics of the United States, it’s 78 with a heat index of 81. Tallahassee: 82 feels like 87. Mobile: 81 feels like 86. Closest I’ve seen so far tonight is Vicksburg, Mississippi: 86 feels like 92. How is this possible? I can be tough about a lot of things, but I have to confess that since central air came into my life, our charming armpit summer is not one of them. I tend to get a little strategic and Strategy #1 is not to use heat creating devices, which makes cooking difficult.

Strategy #2 is to use heat creating devices early in the day before the house is heinous (yes, we do have air, no it doesn’t meet the demand). An additional challenge in my meal prep scene at the moment is that we are, once again, immersed in swim lessons (get it, immersed… har har). We get home about the same time we’ve been eating dinner, and if you think twin 6 year olds are impatient about dinner, you’ve not yet encountered twin six year olds who’ve been swimming. So for today’s feat of of non-cooking cooking, I prepared a trio of cold salads that I planned to serve with a lovely loaf of whole grain bread that we’d bought for entertaining the night before. Salad 1: green salad with veg and blueberries. Salad 2: chickpea salad w/sage (a twist on my earlier herbed chickpea foray). Salad #3 and the highlight of today’s post: Zucchini-Carrot Slaw w/Cumin and Lime (yowza).

Zucchini-Carrot Slaw w/Cumin and Lime – modified from Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook**

  • 2 medium zucchini, grated*IMG_9469
  • 4 carrots, grated
  • 2 t ground cumin
  • 4T sunflower cheese mixed w/2T water (or mayo if you dairy)
  • 1 t lime zest
  • 2 T fresh lime juice
  • 2 t chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 t salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste

** A word on the grated veg – I used my food processor
for this and it made this dish take about 5 minutes.  I think a hand grater would bump that up to 10.  Julienne cut would take this up to about 25 minutes in my lazy estimation. Your call.

So the original recipe proposes toasting the cumin (putting in dry warmed pan until fragrant (about a minute). I did this, but I gotta be honest, I didn’t notice that this made much of a difference.  Again, you choose.  Add the cumin to next 6 ingredients.  Whisk together.  Pour onto zucchini and carrots.  Toss to mix together. There. Done. Chill. Both you AND the food. Raw, tasty, refreshing (the joys of lime) AND there’s leftovers, which is good as I’m told the weather won’t improve for several days. Cold salads, smoothie popsicles, and choconana softserve until Saturday. Delish, even if it feels like 812 degrees.

IMG_9445 IMG_9448 IMG_9456 IMG_9472

* A word on the Weight Watchers cookbook.  This is a cookbook that I bought years ago, when Mr. Little Sis and I first contemplated seriously cleaning up our dietary acts.  It was VERY useful given our habits at the time, and very successful from a weight loss standpoint.  There are many delish recipes inside HOWEVER, I have to modify most of them now, not just because I don’t eat dairy (at least not if I want to be around other people), but because they tend to use products like reduced fat mayonnaise… which I find stupid.  Reduced fat fat is another way of saying chemicals made to taste like the fat that you wish you were eating and could, in fact, eat if you ate less of it.  There.  My rant on diet cookbooks. Now let’s go squeeze some limes.

14 responses

  1. I’ve been seeing how hot it is on the east coast right now. Ugh.

    I’m with you on the cumin. I don’t toast anymore – just can’t tell the difference. Guess my taste buds are just not that that refined.

  2. I am so happy that you said ‘har har’ in this post.

    Oh and the cumin/’lime thang sounds pretty terrific. In fact I’m going to soak some sunflower seeds right now!

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