Too hot to cook…..

… and food has become way too expensive anyway!  I read that the first six months of 2012 broke records for being hot, damn hot! Connecticut, as well as much of the east coast has been experiencing what seems like weeks of temps in the upper 80s and low 90s- every day and with a bit of humidity tucked in for good measure, we’ve started to wilt.

My desire to use the oven- gone. My ability to create tasty cool meals- diminishing. My hair up and off my neck- all the time! Most days, the breeze dances through the cockpit with our front panel rolled up. Scattered thunderstorms find their way south- looks like Canada is sending them our way every few days.

Cooking or baking takes place in the morning or with the A/C on.  My usual method of resorting to cold salads is stymied by the small fridge. Rather full of ingredients, beverages, fruit, veggies and cheese, it fails to offer much space for bowls of salads.  Digging out a seldom-used item can take a full minute, in which time the fridge temp has risen 4 degrees.

We’ve discussed purchasing a plug-in portable Engle fridge/freezer and thought we’d finally settled on buying a knock-off. Fortunately we come to our senses (those things are pricey) and decided to buy a cube fridge to keep in the cockpit during summers and to use during haul-outs. A few years ago I’d won a $100 gift cert to the local appliance store- we’re selling everything; what are we going to do with this? I kept it, figuring if we or Benj didn’t use it, we’d give it to friends. Long story short, we ended up with a GE white cube fridge and it fits on top of our cockpit side bench seats. Love it. Extra drinks and those cold dinner salads have found a home!

Salads or sides that I can assemble at the last-minute have been my go-to options lately. My strategy is to buy a few key ingredients such as goat cheese, bacon or arugula and use them over the course of 4-5 days in various meals. Russ was with me the last time I bought bacon and was shocked at the price, a whopping $6.69 for Oscar Mayer Select Cut. He was so blown away that he asked Benj how much he thought that bacon cost. “$7” was Benj’s answer- boy was Russ amazed. So was I, but not as much!

Here’s my recipe for Shrimp, Bacon and Arugula Salad:

Cook 2-4 (depend on how much you  love bacon) slices bacon in a nonstick skillet until crisp, then crumble

Using the pan drippings (removing any excess) add peeled raw shrimp and sauté until done

While this is happening, with your other hand, or before, arrange arugula (mixed greens works OK) on plates, adding halved cherry or grape tomatoes.

Arrange shrimp and bacon over the top and drizzle the dressing over all.

Before you begin or if you’re really good, during the process- make the dressing: 2 T plain yogurt, 2 T balsamic, 2 tsp EVOO and ground black pepper. (enough for 3-4 servings)

Serve with crusty bread, a fine wine or whatever you have and voila! Dinner in no time.

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