So I have finally found a little time lately to get back into the kitchen. Last night I made a delicious cold lemon pesto pasta salady thing which, paired with a spicy chicken sausage, hit the spot so hard I plum forgot I had bought'n popsicles. Which means it was WAY satisfying, because right now it is Prime Time Popsicle Weather. The hot, sticky days of August don't bother me too much and even though I might be completely certifiable for doing so, I think I'm going to make a pizza tonight. It's 90 degrees and the humidity is high, so I realize cranking the oven in my non-air conditioned apartment to 450 makes me a sick, perverted person, but at the same time, I already defrosted the dough and I have 88 lbs of summer squash to cruise through, so judge me if you will.
I won't bore you to death with the recipe for my dinner last night, since I essentially made the exact same thing back in May. I will however, show you the prep because LOOOOK...so pretty!
While making dinner last night I also brewed a pot of coffee and made some sweetened iced coffee to have on hand in the fridge. It reminded me of my Nana, who always had a jug in her fridge, and it reminded me of summer dinners at my house growing up, because my mom always did the same. We used to get to drink it with dinner as a treat. It tasted like melted coffee ice cream. The fact that my Nana and my mom used to let us drink iced coffee with dinner when we were just children is kind of weird, but I am 5'9" and my feet are sized 10 flesh colored pontoon boats, so I guess it didn't stunt my growth. Mythbusters.
I made the coffee in celebration of our New Fridge. See our old fridge was super crusty and the seal was all but non-existent. This was not a problem during the winter months, when our faulty heating kept the house chilled. But since the hot hot heat of summer has set in, the whole top shelf of our fridge and pretty much anything touching anything has been covered with water. Oh, and our freezer looked like an abominable snowman had it in a headlock. So Erica emailed Beachhouse, our landlord. Who's name is forever Beachhouse not only because it LIT-rally is his email address but because this dude is Living the Dream all day every day. He is a landlord by trade, owning many properties in our neighborhood and it seems like maybe he spends the majority of his time at his Cape house, on his boat or at the Erie Pub. Not much landlording going on, but lots of fun. Last time he "fixed" our bathroom door, I think he power sanded it, shoved it shut. Then he went downstairs to gas beers with our neighbor Richie for the rest of the afternoon. Beachhouse likes himself a quick fix. So when we complained for the trillionth time about our fridge and mentioned in the most dramatic fashion possible that we were throwing away precious foodstuffs, he came through with the new fridge. Go Beachhouse! He said he "got a deal" so I can't fault him for it, but it's teensy. Even smaller then our old one was. That and it doesn't have a cheese/coldcut/whatever drawer, it only has one massive drawer down the bottom. The weird thing too is him and his friend, who for argument's sake we'll call Sully, had to take our food out, remove the drippy old fridge and then install the new one and then put all of our food back in. Which Sully and Beachhouse did, albeit, weirdly and Not At All Like I Would. Seems so creepy to have two dudes who probably did not wash their hands after wrassling out the dirty old fridge fondling my produce and Erica's grapefruit juice. I don't think I like it very much, but IRREGARDLESS, we gots ourselves a new fridge.
So let me tell you what isn't in this here fridge, any leftovers of the panzanella salad I made on Friday night for the wife and I. There is none to be found because well for one, by now it would be gross, but more importantly because I annihilated it for lunch the next day. It was THAT good. I mean, I never eat leftovers on weekends.
3-4 thick slices ciabatta bread
1 large ripe tomato
1 large cucumber
1/2 purple onion, diced
few leaves basil, chopped
dash spicy dijon mustard
Preheat your grill (or grill pan in my case) to med/high heat. Brush olive oil on either side of ciabatta slices. Grill on each side for a few minutes. Til they're nice and crunchy with a bit of char. While bread is grilling. Dice your onion and chop your cuke and tomato into large chunks. In the bottom of a large salad bowl combine one part sherry vinegar (I don't mean to go all Rhulman with the ratios but seriously for any vinaigrette the standard rule of one part vinegar to two parts oil works every time. When I was in college and had no measuring instruments I used a shot glass. Now, I just kinda eye it out), two parts olive oil (whisk to combine as you add this), the mustard, salt, pepper and a generous pinch of sugar. Whisk aggressively to combine. Add onion, tomato and cucumber to the bowl. Once the grilled bread is all set, chop the slices into large hunks and add these to the bowl as well. Throw in some chopped basil and toss well to combine. I let this sit for a few minutes while I finished cooking the rest of dinner and the flavors combined so well. I made this salad in an attempt to mimic the one I had eaten on Thursday night at Saporitos, which was just to die for. I had little faith in my remake but it turned out SO GOOD. This is my new summer salad. Salads with hunks of bread in em during bathing suit season you say? I'm all for it.