We’ve survived the heatwave.
Last week was rough. As I already bemoaned on Friday, we had several days of 100°F weather or nearly. It meant that I really had to think ahead and maximize those precious morning hours when I could have the windows open. But even so, it was just too hot to turn on the stove or the oven even in the morning some days.
Luckily I managed to come up with a pretty decent plan for the week and grouped all my cooking into Monday morning and just a few extras Thursday morning after the market. It really made such a difference not only to not have to risk raising the temperature when I had worked so hard to keep the heat out as much as possible, but also to have something cool and refreshing to look forward to at the end of the day.
One meal in particular hit all the right notes for me: a chilled Cucumber and Avocado Soup sprinkled with chives, Artichokes with a Lemon & Fresh Basil Vinaigrette, and toasts spread with goat cheese. What’s a soup without something to dunk after all? The soup, adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe, is simply made in the blender and the artichokes I steamed on Monday and pulled out of the fridge a while before dinner to bring them to room temperature. A glass of rosé (always rosé) and I promise the depth of the heatwave will ease just a bit around you.
Chilled Cucumber & Avocado Soup
adapted from Jamie Oliver Magazine
1 c. full-fat plain yogurt
juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cucumber, chopped
1 avocado, peeled and chopped
salt & pepper to taste
a small handful of chives, chopped
Place the first five ingredients in the blender in that order. Putting your liquids in first will help make blending easier. Blend until smooth adding a little water to thin if needed. Season to taste. Chill until needed. Serve with chives and a drizzle of olive oil over the top and toasts spread with goat cheese for dipping.
Artichokes with Lemon & Fresh Basil Vinaigrette
I love using both lemon juice and zest because the zest adds even more lemon flavor but has a softer, less acidic flavor.
2 globe artichokes
zest of 1/2 a lemon
juice of 1 lemon (about 2 scant tbsp.)
1 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
as small handful of basil leaves to serve
Prepare the artichokes by removing the first few layers of tough leaves, chopping off the stem to make a flat bottom, and cutting the top flat as well. Trim the tips of any leaves that still have their thorns. Quarter each artichoke and rub them all over with a half of a lemon to prevent browning. Steam until the hearts can easily be pierced with the tip of a knife, about 30 minutes. Cool, then with a teaspoon, remove the choke from the heart of each quarter. Chill until needed.
To prepare the vinaigrette, whisk together the lemon zest and juice, olive oil, and basil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
To serve, arrange the artichokes in a bowl on their backs so the hearts act like little bowls to catch the dressing. Pour the vinaigrette over the artichokes and top with fresh basil leaves.
Any favorite cool dinner classics of yours I should know about?