Thursday, July 21, 2011

It's too hot to live, way too hot to cook - Meatless Monday white bean salad/chicken salad

Do I need to say anything about the temperatures we've been experiencing here? It's hellish and miserable and it's making me angry (because I want to speak to someone about it!), but there's nothing to be done, is there? Cooking anything that requires standing in front of a burner or a grill is out of the question, but I am also not satisfied with salad greens for dinner. As it was Meatless Monday, I thought some kind of bean salad would be good and filling. I cooked a half pound of navy beans in the pressure cooker and rinsed and cooled them once they were finished cooking.

For the salad I chopped a tomato and a little bundle of parsley, added a spoonful of capers and probably a quarter cup of black empeltre olives, chopped. I got a big jar of these beauties at Marshall's for a mere $4.99, a total bargain even if they have to be pitted. Then I started feeling ambitious, even with the heat. I had the majority of a bag of frozen mixed pepper strips so I sauteed those and a quarter of a big sweet onion in a little olive oil until softened and added it to the rest of the ingredients. I already had a bottle of homemade balsamic vinaigrette which I sloshed on and mixed around. The salad went into the refrigerator for a bit of chilling and when I served it I dusted it with some parmesan cheese. If I do say so myself, it was a delicious cold, meatless meal on a hot day.
On Tuesday night we were kindly treated to a delicious and oh-so-decadent Italian meal at Bill Gianino's in South County by my sister Carol and brother in law John. We were celebrating the presence of my niece Kate, her husband Saksiri, and the star of the show, my adorable great-niece Sophie. Steve had tortellini and I had the ravioli proscuitto which was amazingly good (beef ravioli that was flavored with a lot of basil - yum - in a garlicky cream sauce full of broccoli, proscuitto and mushrooms). Really, I think this place pretty much trumps all the joints on the Hill as far as St. Louis Italian food goes. Delish!

Last night I decided to open a can of chicken and make chicken salad for sandwiches. I've never really eaten much canned chicken and now that I've had it a couple times, I have to make some apologies to Jessica Simpson. Seriously, I now I completely understand her "is it fish or chicken what I'm eating?" dilemma. Canned chicken tastes a hell of a lot like water packed tuna. At any rate, I added some celery, a bit of onion powder and a spoonful of mayonnaise (sadly, Duke's light mayo is not anywhere near the sublime heights of their regular stuff) and piled the resulting salad up on a couple of cheesy onion rolls. For a salad I took the easy way out and ripped open a bad of salad greens, dumped on the leftover white bean salad and drizzled with a little more vinaigrette.

Next up: Cold sesame peanut noodles and spicy cucumber salad.

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