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Jun. 25 2013

Sumer Is Icumen In

By Dyana Neal | Posted in Host Blogs | 1 Comment

That’s Middle English for “Boy, it’s hot out there!” Okay, it’s actually the title of a 13th-century song about summer’s arrival, but  given current weather conditions in Baltimore, I think my translation is rather apropos. This spring’s weather seemed a bit cooler than usual to me, and while I didn’t mind not having to turn on the a/c until after the summer solstice – hooray for low BGE bills! – I found having to wait until fairly late in June to break out some of my lighter-weight clothes a bit odd. Usually, by the time the solstice comes along, I’ve been running around in sundresses and sandals for weeks, not days.

Regarding a/c, Jim and I don’t have central air in our house. We rely on a room unit upstairs and a combination of fans and open windows elsewhere. Our home was built in 1929, so it has pretty good ventilation, and for the most part, we can stay reasonably comfortable as long as we’re hydrated. We make sure to leave extra water out for the cats during heat waves, too;  I’ve even been known to set out bowls of ice cubes to ensure that the furbabies have something refreshing to drink.

Although my love of cooking tends to wane a bit during the summer months, I’ve developed a fairly extensive repertoire of meals that can be put together without turning on the stove or the oven. Yesterday, I finally made homemade gazpacho for the first time. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to attempt it as I’ve been hooked on the stuff for decades. Guess the fact that there are some very good prepared varieties available (deli, not canned!) plus the difficulty of finding a great recipe made me a bit lazy.  Finally, a friend posted an amazing-looking recipe on Facebook, and I decided to give it a try.  Preparation is a bit labor-intensive – lots of chopping and a bit of pureeing as well – but the results are well worth the effort. I used low-sodium vegetable  juice in place of tomato juice and pureed the cilantro with the tomatoes. Whatever you do, don’t use juice with added sugar! The onions, tomatoes, and Worcestershire sauce are sweet enough on their own. I highly recommend adding a little olive oil, as suggested – two tablespoons worked well for me. Big thanks to my friend for posting this and to The Eclectic Cook for coming up with it!

Very, Very Chunky Gazpacho

What do you eat when it’s hot outside? How do you stay cool?

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Dyana is WBJC's midday host. Her full bio can be read here.

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