My friends in Phoenix might call me a wimp, but it was 100 degrees in Laguna this weekend, and wow, that was really too hot! What should you cook when the temperature and humidity are so high? At the Corona del Mar market, Cindy had a special on some ripe but still firm “salsa tomatoes,” red and yellow, one bag for $1. I took one bag, then went back for two more. Please, Cindy, throw in a handful or two of mixed chilies on top of my bags…of course she did~
I got another handful of chilies for free from Don along with my eggs; back at home, everything got washed and set out on the counter. When the temperature is really hot, I figure there are basically three schools on food: 1) stay inside, drink some water and don’t eat at all, and rest, until the temperature cools later in the night, about 10pm. I think of various cities in Spain, I think of arriving in Nice a midsummer’s night a few years ago to find the streets absolutely filled with people; In many cultures the heat keeps everyone inside, eating or not, until 9 or 10 pm. I remember being in Villefranche with my two nephews; it was 95 degrees at 1am as I sat in the local bar having a carafe of water while the boys slept in the sauna of the hotel room. Incidentally the water in the carafe is not cold cold, it’s often room temperature. In Laguna and in Beaune, when it’s hot I open the windows in the very early morning to let the cool and fresh air in, then close them by 8am; the thick walls of the house keep things cool all day.
Continuing….2) eat hot/spicy foods when the weather is really warm. Eating spicy foods in hot weather often means you drink more water, and that’s a good thing, of course. It also makes you sweat more, so naturally cools you. It may sound counter-intuitive to eat this way. Most people along the Mediterranean are in this camp, me too… Spain, France, Italy. In my opinion. Don the Egg Man told me the temp at his farm in Wildomar was 114 yesterday. What grows in that weather? Not much…but produce like tomatoes and chilies will have a heightened flavor in extreme heat. Another reason hot climes favor intense flavor and spices?
Today I made a roasted salsa, for those who like hot foods in the hot weather; core the tomatoes, any kind,any size and arrange them whole in a baking dish. Take the stem off the chilies, any kind, here we had red and green and one habanero; slice in half and seed them or not. I didn’t seed most of these.
To finish our trio of hot food groups; 3) Eat “cooling foods” when the temperature rises. If you live in Paris, when it’s hot you go to Berthillon or eat the shrimp and grapefruit salad I showed recently. Think cucumber, chilled shrimp, ice cream, chilled nicoise salads. Cooling. My Mom is in this group, this means she wants more sushi, which I got for her yesterday at the Japanese Market Mitsuwa after I did the courier run for her~
She washed the sushi down with an individual serving of green tea ice cream; the carton is small but she loved it…perfect for hot weather~
There are hybrids, of course. My Dad wanted a hot grilled turkey & bacon sandwich with the works and a very cold Stella Artois beer with cold dill pickle spears. Good thing he has a short order cook on staff to take his requests. This was hot and cold and a little over-grilled just the way he likes it~
I put the tomatoes and chilies in the oven then retreated outside. C a n n o t c o o k when it is this hot. I hosed off the patio, which lowered the temp a good 15 degrees. Then I sat down in the big quilty wing chair which has been sitting there for several weeks since the farm to table. Nothing like a little fountain to cool and calm~
Elsewhere in the garden, the plants like this oleander loved the heat, in full bloom~
and this, one of my favorite hibiscus I planted; they love the heat~
Though it was almost 100 degrees, as soon as I sat down in the quilty chair, Biscuit was in my lap, spread out with head on the generous arm of the chair. A moment later, Honey was there too, watching for birds or lizards. So much for cooling down, with the fur babies on my lap. I had a wonderful time reading the Julia Child bio Dearie that Barbara gave me at the Farm to Table.
A while later, the chiles and tomatoes were roasted like this; I should note that I learned how to do this from R…so credit where it is due…~
Puree in the robot or mini-prep to get a sauce~
Dad and I had this sauce over our tiny filets of sole bought at Mitsua. He loved it as did I. Perfect bite on a hot night. The rest of the sauce was jarred and half of it given to my favorite farmers today; the other half will be saved for Christmas gifts. Next week I will give a jar each to Cindy & Don. I really love this just over a scrambled egg for breakfast.
I wonder which camp you are in for hot weather….hot or cool….try this sauce if you like hot, it’s a good one…