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Lodi foodies share recipes for keeping cool in the kitchen when it's too hot to cook

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Posted: Friday, August 5, 2011 8:02 am

Just because we’re in the midst of summer, it doesn’t mean you have to eat out every meal in order to stay cool.

Melissa and Walt Ng, who run the kitchen at the Woodbridge Elks Lodge, teach an entire class at Hutchins Street Square based on unique foods you can prepare when it’s just too hot outside to cook inside.

Melissa Ng’s advice: Prepare as much of the cooked food as you can in the morning, eat a lot of fresh produce that 

doesn’t need to be cooked, and if you really need to cook up a piece of meat, sear it because it will be done before the kitchen will have a chance to warm up.

Here, they share three tried-and-true recipes they’ve created. The Muffaletta sandwich is thick and hearty enough for a Super Bowl spread stuffed with Italian meats and an olive salad spread (because you want to stay away from mayonnaise in the summertime). The spicy noodle salad can be made with no-cook mung bean noodles and topped with leftover chicken, pork or a quick-seared flank steak. For dessert, try a white bread and fresh fruit pudding, a recipe Melissa Ng picked up while living in England. 

Muffaletta sandwich 

Olive Salad:

1⁄4 cup pimento-stuffed olives

1⁄4 cup Kalamata olives 

1⁄4 cup Italian-pickled vegetables

1 tablespoon caper

Salt and pepper 

1 clove garlic 

1 tablespoon olive oil 

Put all ingredients in   food processor and pulse until chopped, but still chunky.

For the sandwich: 

Ciabatta bread, 1 loaf

1⁄4 pound ham (preferably capicola)

1⁄4 pound mortadella 

1⁄4 pound Genoa salami

1⁄4 pound Provolone 

1⁄4 pound mozzarella

Cut the bread in half and spread about 1⁄4 cup olive salad on each side. Layer sandwiches with each ingredient. Put top and bottom together. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Weigh down and refrigerator for at least one hour or overnight. 

Spicy Thai noodle salad with cool peanut dressing 

8 ounces cooked noodles (glass noodles, udon, soba, whole wheat or traditional spaghetti)

1⁄2 red bell pepper, julienne

1 medium carrot, peeled and julienne 

1⁄2 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and julienne 

1⁄4 cup minced cilantro 

1⁄4 cup minced mint 

1⁄4 cup roasted peanuts

Peanut dressing:

1⁄2 cup peanut butter

2 1⁄2 teaspoon sesame oil 

2 tablespoons cup soy sauce 

1 Thai chili 

1⁄4 cup rice vinegar 

Juice of two limes 

1 teaspoon ginger

3 cloves garlic 

Sugar to taste

1⁄4 cup cilantro, chopped

Hot water 

Put everything except water into food  processor and process to a smooth paste. With the food processor running, add the hot water a little at a time to thin as needed. Adjust the seasonings. 

To assemble:

In a bowl, toss together the noodles and the vegetables, mint and cilantro with the peanut dressing. Sprinkle with roasted peanuts. Top with left over beef, chicken, barbecue pork or shrimp. 

Summer pudding

1 loaf white bread, crusts cut off

6 cups of berries 

2 tablespoons port, or sherry (or you can use water or juice)

1⁄2 cup to 1 cup sugar

In a pot, combine the port and the berries. Cook on medium heat until berries release their juices, but before they start to burst open. 

Line a 6-to-8 cup bowl with the bread, overlapping to fit bowl. Pour half of the berries into the bread lined bowl. Top with another layer of bread. 

Add the rest of the berries , and another layer of bread. 

Wrap plastic wrap and place a plate on the top. Weight down with a skillet or two heavy cans. 

Refrigerate overnight, or at least 8 hours. 

To serve, invert the bowl over a serving plate to remove pudding. Slice into servings, serve with whipped cream. 

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