Too Hot To Trot
I don’t know about where you are, but we’re dying over here. Fans running full blast, ice cubes in every glass, salty, sticky skin and hair sopped to the roots, I’m wilting by 7:00 in the morning.
At 8:00 I’m out in the garden arguing with the birds and the bees. I want a bowl of blueberries, but the surrounding trees are full of squawkers, flappers, and flyers attempting to dissuade me from stealing their favorite snack. Even a hummingbird sits on a branch fanning itself, waiting to see who will win the Blueberry Wars.
The bees are busy in the lavender that’s planted under the blueberry bushes, which perhaps wasn’t the best move on my part since a bee ankle bracelet is the inevitable result. But we reach a détente: I leave some berries for the birds and the bees don’t sting me or even fly up under my skirt, my constant worry.
By 9:00, when arguably I should be in a cool shower, we’re firing up the smoker. Fighting fire with fire, I have a chicken and some turkey legs that need smoking. I tell Shel that the smoker should have no trouble staying up to a good smoking temperature today, and he says “yeah, without even lighting it.”
It’s hard to even contemplate what the rest of the day will be like. 101° is the forecast, but I’m trying not to think about it, being a person who starts wilting at far wimpier temperatures, and living in a place where there’s no air conditioning.
Short of hopping into the fridge myself, the next best thing would be a cool, cool lunch. It’s going to be salad for sure, and this is a delicious one. As a meal you can serve it on a bed of crisp greens, straight from the fridge. Or if you’re lounging outside in the evening, fanning yourself and lapping at a cool pre-dinner drink like a panting puppy, this is an excellent accompaniment.
CILANTRO LIME SHRIMP*
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup orange marmalade
3 large garlic cloves, minced and mashed to a paste with 1 tsp salt
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped fine
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes, or Aleppo pepper
1 pound large shrimp, shelled, leaving tails on
Soak shrimp in water as salty as the sea for at least 30 minutes before marinating them. Drain and rinse well.
In a measuring cup whisk together lime juice, marmalade, garlic paste, coriander, 3 tablespoons oil, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste and reserve 1/3 cup mixture in a small bowl. In a large bowl combine shrimp with remaining mixture and marinate, chilled, tossing occasionally to coat shrimp, for about 45 minutes.
Drain shrimp and lightly pat dry between paper towels. In a large non-stick skillet heat remaining oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and sauté shrimp until barely cooked through, about 2 minutes. Remove shrimp from pan with a slotted spoon, and toss in a bowl with the reserved marinade. Serve at room temperature.
Cherry tomatoes make a nice garnish.
* adapted from this recipe.
If you have some other suggestions about how to stay cool, I’d love to hear them. The temperature is supposed to stay in the 90s for at least the next 5 days, and although I do have a case of excellent rosé chilling, woman cannot live on rosé alone. Or can she?