I'm sitting in the ER. (Don't worry too much. I'm waiting for my sister who was in a car accident. Her car is a complete loss, but you'll have to ask her about that.) The Democratic National Convention is on and y'all wouldn't believe the commentary in this waiting room. Or maybe you would. The questions people are asking the security guard or anyone else who looks like they work here are so random that I'm about to ask where I can get a pedicure. I think I'd have a better chance of getting an answer than the lady who wants to know how to get a power of attorney to run some guy's business. DAMN. A kid in handcuffs just got walked in by a cop. I want to stare so bad, but I know that's wrong, so I won't. But I have questions, because I'm nosy. Wish you were here. As a distraction. But I digress.
Summer should be easy, and definitely shouldn't involve much cooking, because the stove and oven heat up the kitchen and it is already too hot up in here. I like to use my slow cooker to make things like pulled pork, pulled chicken, and shredded beef. (Notice a theme? I like recipes that can go a long time so I don't have to come home from work and put them together at lunch.) The cooker doesn't add heat to the room and I serve the cooked meat of the day with no-cook sides, which is easy during a South Carolina summer, when the produce is plentiful and delicious. These are my favorites:
#1 Kale Salad
The first time I made this one, I followed Faith Durand's recipe to a T, and it's excellent. But I've made it so many times, I don't follow the rules anymore, because I'm a true rebel. I just toss it all together. I pick the stems out of the kale and tear it up, which serves the same purpose as massaging it, which is a little too precious for a vegetable, in my opinion. But! Massaging it, or lightly harassing it like I do, does take away the bitterness. So does olive oil, so after I toss in some Parmesan (sometimes I even use the cheap kind in a plastic canister and it's still delicious) and some Seasonello, I pour in about a half a cup of olive oil mixed with about a quarter cup of lemon juice.
Seasonello: "The Salt I'll Drop in Your Bag as You Leave" on The Kitchn
Mix it all together and let it sit at least an hour, longer if you want to make it in the morning and save it for supper. Now, stop telling me you hate kale, because you know you love this salad.
Sarah Silverman is going off script. "To the Bernie or Bust crowd: You're being ridiculous." Ooh! Here comes Paul Simon.
That's it. Tomatoes. All the tomatoes, sliced, chopped, whole, in a sandwich, whatever. Just eat the tomatoes. I do like to sprinkle a little Seasonello on top. I also like to slap them between two pieces of white bread with a little Duke's mayonnaise and maybe some bacon.
Michelle Obama, I love you. "And I watch my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent, black young women playing with their dogs on the White House lawn. And because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters and all our sons and daughters now take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States."
#3 Marinated Cucumbers
The most basic recipe goes like this: Heat a little vinegar (I like the mild sweetness of rice vinegar, but any vinegar will do) in a pan and dissolve a little sugar and a little salt (about a half to a whole teaspoon each) in it, toss in some dried chili flakes, then add some water to cool it down, about the same amount as the vinegar. Pour it over sliced cucumbers in a zippered plastic bagand squeeze the air out. In a few hours, drain the bag, put the cucumbers in a pretty bowl, and eat them. They make an excellent snack for cocktail hour. They're also delicious on burgers, with pulled pork, and inserted directly into your face hole.
This summer, I've been changing it up a bit. Instead of chili flakes, I add a teaspoon or so of gochujang pepper paste to the bag and it reminds me of a mild kimchi. So maybe try that!
And one more from the First lady of the United States. "Hillary did not pack up and go home, because as a true public servant Hillary knows that this is so much bigger than her own desires and disappointments."
#4 Corn on the Cob
Just because you really can't talk about summer sides without mentioning corn on the cob. It has to be cooked, but you can do it outside on the grill. And adding more heat to the outside doesn't make a lick bit of difference. And corn on the cob is delicious.