Seems I've entered my salad days. Alas, not the salad days of Shakespeare, but simply those of a long, hot summer when cooking much of anything is a sacrifice I'm not willing to make.
That means most every night we've been eating salad, starting with a terrific panzanella inspired by my sister's gift of four loaves of Jay's fabulous wood-oven baked bread. In a burst of local eating, that being all the rage these days, I added my very own basil and tomatoes from the deck to the cubes of bread. It was short-lived however because I also added Nicoise olives, some capers and roasted peppers from the cupboard before drizzling it all with tomato juice/olive oil dressing. Hearty, satisfying and nothing to cook, the panzanella made for a close to perfect supper.
Next up for salads was horiatiki, a specialty from Steve's Greek Cuisine I often get when I'm near Faneuil Hall at lunchtime. It's a huge bowl filled with tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, feta cheese and olives, and just like the panzanella, it doesn't have any lettuce. It was easy to duplicate at home with a few new tomatoes from the deck but otherwise I had to rely on the grocery store. The cucumbers and peppers were advertised as local, so that was good, but the crucial and truly delicious feta, came straight from Greece.
With the promise of record-breaking temperatures today - that would be 102 degrees, and by the way that's not a dry heat - our supper salad run will continue. Even the Boston Globe is on the same track. Tonight we'll have Salade Cambodgienne, fortuitously a part of today's Food Section. Perfection would again be no cooking but there's chicken to poach and dressing to boil so I'm heading out to the kitchen now to get the cooked stuff out of the way. There's still no lettuce involved, and if I were up in Orange, I could make this with the cabbage and carrots that are coming along up there. At least I'll be able to use my own mint and basil. The cilantro went to seed too early.
All this salad, day after day, maybe Shakespeare was on to something. Do you think I'm starting to look a little younger?