Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Summer "cooking"

Cooking. It is such a wonderful thing. The fact that a person can combine a few ingredients and create a whole new dish is amazing. Usually, when I think of cooking a stove or oven come to mind. In the summer (or year round if you are my dad) this extends to the grill. I compensate by owning a George Foreman. (Don't knock it till you try one!) For some reason I just can't call it cooking if there is not some sort of heat source. Silly, I know, but there you have it. I can prepare a meal/food without heat, but it is not cooking.

This afternoon I prepared a meal for lunch. It is hot here in Chicago. There was absolutely no way I was going to turn on my stove or (worse yet) oven. Heck no. What to do? Well, I would have just noshed on rice cakes, cheese and apples, and Gatorade. Appetizing, I know. For some reason, though, I was inspired to hit the veggie market on my way home for the Capoeira workshop I attended this morning. (Good lord, my legs hurt!) At the market I bought so much lovely produce: cherries, strawberries, bananas, plums, red bell peppers, endive, eggplant, vadallia onions, basil, chives...the list goes on. In the fridge section they had a small selection of prepared salads. Almost all of them were off limits (couscous and tabbouleh). There was a tasty looking chickpea salad nestled amongst the verboten items. Hmmmm...interesting. Sadly, the salad was from the same company as the others and I did not want to take the chance. What to do? Make my own!!! OK, so I don't have any chickpeas, but I do have white beans. A little modification and this is what I made:

1 can white beans
1 can quartered artichoke hearts
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/4-1/3 vidallia onion, diced (these suckers are BIG!)
2 T chopped fresh basil
olive oil (I like one with a strong flavor)
red wine vinegar
kosher salt
fresh cracked pepper

Combine the first five ingredients in a bowl. Toss together gently. Drizzle the salad with olive and vinegar, lightly season with salt and pepper. Mix. Taste. Add additional oil/vinegar/salt/pepper to taste. (I like to add a generous portion of pepper.)

It is the ultimate in summer "cooking", that non-cooking in which no heating element is involved. Yet the end result...a healthy, flavorful meal that will definitely go in the repeat file.


ElwoodCity said...

This reminds me of Alton Brown's book, I'm Just Here for the Food (Food + Heat = Cooking).

Lynn Barry said...

I love anything with beans. Sounds like a good recipe to try...thanks! HUGS