Friday, July 14, 2006

Yummy Hot-Weather Recipes

If you're like me, you don't want to eat a lot of hot food during hot weather. Seems like cold food goes down so much better and keeps you cool from the inside out. So here's a couple of my favorite hot-weather foods.

Gringo Gazpacho

Normally, gazpacho is a type of cold vegetable soup of latino origin. Well, I'm a gringa (whitey), so I don't do it the way you're supposed to. I prefer to make it as a type of salad that tastes so good and is so refreshing on a hot day. It's really easy, but the blending of flavors is absolutely delicious!

How much of the ingredients you need depends on how much you want to make. It also depends on your personal preferences. So I won't list amounts, I'll just list the ingredients. You can experiment until you figure out how you like it.

Fresh large slicing tomatoes
Fresh medium-sized cucumbers
Fresh medium-sized vidalia (yellow) onion (we only use about half an onion)
Fresh mix of large yellow, red and green bell peppers (or you can use just green - they're cheaper!)
Bottle of Kraft Raspberry Vinaigrette Light Dressing (you can also experiment with other types of vinaigrette. We like this one best, as it's slightly sweet and really sets off the flavors in the veggies)

Peel cucumbers and core the peppers. Then chop all the veggies into chunky pieces. We usually chop them into roughly bite-sized pieces. If they are too small, it takes forever to chop them, then you don't get the crunching satisfaction when you bite in. If you chop them too large, it's too much work on your mouth. You be the judge of what you're comfortable with.

Add all chopped veggies into a large plastic bowl - preferably one with a lid. Then pour dressing over top. Don't add too much, as it will drown out the flavor of the veggies. Don't use too little, either. A good rule of thumb for us is to pour until you can see the dressing about halfway up the veggies. Of course, that rule doesn't work if the bowl isn't see through. Again, use your own judgement. Then add a dash of salt. Put lid on bowl and "shake shake shake - shake shake shake - Shake your booty"! Oh, sorry, I was channelling KC and the Sunshine Band there for a second.

Anyway, the salad is really good right then, but it's even better if you put it in the fridge for a couple of hours to let the flavors blend. It's even better tasting the second day. However, in my house we usually have trouble making it last until the second day. By nightfall, it's usually gone!

I've been told by a former co-worker that this is really good another way, too. She made it but only used tiny splash of dressing. She let it sit in the fridge while she baked some chicken breasts and some garlic french bread. She sliced the chicken breasts and put them on top of the garlic french bread. Then she covered it in some shredded mozzarrella and put it back in the oven until the cheese got gooey. Then she took it out and spooned some of the gazpacho on top. She said it was the best thing she had eaten in a long time. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm sure I will!

My Granny's Special Tuna Salad Recipe

When I was little, every time I'd go see Granny, she'd have her special tuna salad made and ready for me. She made it for me once, and I happened to comment that it was the best tuna salad I'd ever had. Well, after that, she made sure she had some every time we came to visit. Isn't that sweet? I miss her.

Anyway, her tuna salad was different from any other I'd ever had. It was smooth, and creamy, and just melted on your tongue. It wasn't until after she died that I got the recipe and figured out why it was so much better than anything else I'd ever had!

1 can tuna in water
1 baked potato
miracle whip
boiled eggs to taste
sweet pickle relish to taste

My granny would take the baked potato and mash it until it was smooth as butter. Then she would take the can of tuna, drain it, and put the tuna in a bowl. She'd then mash the tuna with a fork until it was as smooth as the potato. Then she'd put them in the same bowl. She'd mash the boiled eggs until they were smooth, too. Then she'd put them in the bowl. Then she'd add some miracle whiple and the pickle relish to her taste. Then she'd mash it all again with her fork until it was just so creamy. She wrote on the recipe card to taste periodically until it "felt right" in her mouth. A great thing about this recipe is that the potato stretches out the tuna salad so it makes more and lasts longer. Everytime I eat this, I think of my granny!


annalu alulu said...

I'm gonna have to definitely try that tuna salad recipe! I really like tuna. Do you think you could substitute chicken and make a good chicken salad? Daniel loves chicken salad sandwiches, and I've been looking for a good recipe.

Jenn Hacker said...

I don't see why you couldn't substitute chicken and it still be yummy. My granny used the same recipe to make salmon salad, too.

Did you like the picture on what I sent you? Isn't it cute!!!!

Tara said...

Humm, potato and egg in tuna salad? Usually I just open a can of tuna and a blob of mayo. I'll have to try yours Jenn!

Jenn Hacker said...

You can also add diced celery for some extra crunch. My granny got married in 1934, so a lot of her cooking was influenced by the Depression. See, potatoes were cheap and really helped make the tuna salad make more with the same amount of tuna without losing any taste. (This is also good economics for people with large families. Hope I'll get to learn tricks like this one day! LOL)

Granny also saved every scrap of clothing anyone ever wore in the house, no matter how ragged, and used the scraps to make beautiful quilts. I inherited several of them after my mom died. I wish I had paid more attention when she tried to teach me how to sew quilts!