Sunday Dinner: Damn, it’s hot.

You read me correctly there. Damn, it’s hot. It’s 90+ in June, with 90+ humidity. It is going to be a long summer. Most Cincinnatians aren’t used to this kind of heat until at least July. All I want to do is sit on top of the air conditioning vent and drink lemonade. Okay, I really want gin and tonic. Ugh!

We didn’t feel like cooking indoors today, so Terry is firing up the charcoal grill and we both made a few things indoors– all chilled and uncooked.

First, cucumber salad– one of my favorites. Sometimes I do it with bacon grease (which is how my grandma did it), but I wanted something a little bit healthier. This is inspired by Nigella Lawson’s recipe, with a few of my own touches.

Cucumber Salad

3-4 medium cucumbers, sliced quite thinly. I used a v-slicer (since Terry doesn’t have a food processor); I often use a food processor or just a knife. Very thin, please! You can leave skin on or not; I chose to leave it on.

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar– it’s my favorite white vinegar; I only use the regular white stuff to clean. White balsamic would work, so would white wine vinegar or champagne citrus vinegar or whatever.

4 tsp white sugar

kosher salt to taste (about 2 tsp)

1/4 cup (or so) fresh dill, chopped finely. I used more– more towards 1/2 cup.

Toss the very thinly sliced cucumbers into a bowl. Whisk together the vinegar, sugar, and salt and pour over cucumbers. Toss until coated. Sprinkle with fresh dill and toss some more. You can eat this right away, or, for optimum flavor, stick in the fridge for a bit. The salt will draw out a bit of water, but it’ll taste better. Trust me.

We also made Roquamole, also from Nigella Express. This is awesome (and the reason I wanted something a little lower fat for the salad) and a little different and very rich. I imagine it could be stomachache inducing if misused. It also has approximately one million calories per bowl, so this is something to serve at a party– in fact, I intend to serve it at my next one. I used Danish blue instead of the Roquefort, and it turned out just fine, thank you. I also threw in some lemon juice to keep the avocado from oxidizing and that helped brighten the flavor.

A third dish was some simple shrimp with Terry’s homemade cocktail sauce. I don’t know why anyone buys it in a jar–all it is is ketchup, horseradish, worcestershire, lemon and Tabasco. Mix it together to taste– we both like it really horseradish-y.

A bit earlier in the day, I braved the sun (and my very hot fire escape) to plant some herbs. It’s funny– I lived in a house with a yard for four years and never really managed to garden. Now I live in an apartment in the middle of a cement jungle and want to grow herbs. Ah, well. I ran over to City Roots and picked up some containers, dirt and herbs. If you know me well, you’ll know this is fairly significant, as Julie doesn’t like to mess with dirt. Yuck. But I braved the dirt and now have a lovely herb garden planted. I still have some dirt left, so I think I’ll swing over there tonight and pick up 2-3 more herb plants. Right now I have lemon thyme, mint, basil, chives, and rosemary as well as two patio tomato plants– I think I’ll grab some dill and some more basil. I love fresh basil.


(Basil and rosemary, apparently making friends)

(Chives, mint and lemon thyme)

I hope to spend a bunch of time using these lovely herbs this summer.