Food

Beat the Heat in the Kitchen

Juicy Chef

Jacqui Sinclair

Thursday, July 15, 2010    

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The sultry summer heat is becoming unbearable for me in the kitchen. This is the time of year that I prepare no-cook or barely cooked meals for myself. I create copious amounts of salads, just running wild with whatever fresh produce I come across, chilled soups, crevettes, tartars and pates. No stews or heavy meals for me or else I would just crawl into bed suffering from "ethnic fatigue". Fruits are in abundance, so I'm eating a lot of that too and find it quite filling and delicious.

Many of you have been writing to me about summer dishes. Today I am going to share with you salads (non lettuce-based) that can be a part of lunch or dinner meals. People always believe that a salad must contain lettuce, but this is not necessarily so. Salads can consist of almost any vegetable, beans, legumes, fruit, seeds, cheeses and whole grains, even stale bread, such as the Italian panzanella salad which is delicious.

Today I am using canned beans, the humble carrot, the underutilised beetroot and the versatile egg to show you different ways of preparing these vegetables. I find that people here almost always prepare the gorgeous bounty we are blessed with in the same old mundane ways. Remember the reason I began this column in the first place three years ago was to show the home cook ways in which to be creative with everyday produce.

These side salads can be used for your Sunday brunches, barbecues or family picnics as we take pleasure indulging in summer activities. The bean salad is ideal for vegetarians or for those following a meatless Monday diet. The carrot salad can be a starter for a Lebanese or Moroccan dinner; the beetroot can be served with a fish platter or with marinated olives as part of a non- traditional tapas meal. Please enjoy and get creative with your vegetables.

Beetroot with Scotch Bonnet and Mint

You know I have a thing for the humble beetroot. The brilliant purple hue is filled with nutrient goodness.

Ingredients:

6 Beetroots, precooked

1/2 Scotch Bonnet, deseeded and roughly chopped

2 Tbsps Balsamic Vinegar

Fresh Mint Leaves, roughly chopped

1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar

2 Tbsps Olive Oil

Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Method:

Slice beetroot and place in a bowl

Season generously with salt and pepper, add vinegar and oil

Toss together and chill for at least an hour.

Mix in mint and serve

Carrot Salad

Carrots are cheap and plentiful throughout the year. Their natural sweetness lends to spice.

Ingredients:

4 carrots, thinly sliced

1/2 tsp cumin

1 clove of garlic, crushed

2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

Mixture of chopped parsley and cilantro to garnish

Method:

Boil carrots in salted water until tender, drain and cool down

In a bowl add cumin, garlic, oil, vinegar, whisk together then add carrots and mix well.

Chill for at least an hour before serving.

Mixed Bean and Red Onion Salad

Canned beans are pantry staples and can lend themselves to any dish or by themselves. I love mixing them for a quick salad rich in protein.

Ingredients:

1 can chickpeas

1 can whole kernel corn

1 can red kidney beans

1 can butter beans

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

Juice of 2 limes

Extra virgin olive oil

Black pepper to taste

Method:

Drain and rinse all cans of their contents and add to a bowl.

Add the sliced onions.

Whisk together lime juice and olive oil and pour on beans and season with black pepper and some salt if you wish (but beans tend to be salty already)

Jewish Chopped Egg Salad

Serve this simple salad with crackers or bagels

Ingredients:

10 eggs, boiled

6 escallion stalks finely chopped

4 tbsp low or reduced Fat Mayonnaise

1 tbsp wholegrain mustard

Chopped parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Chop the boiled eggs and add to a bowl.

Add escallion, parsley, mayonnaise, mustard and mix well.

Chill before serving.

Contact me at info@juicychef.com

Thanks very much Megamart!

Bon Appetit!

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