Saturday, July 23, 2011

What to eat in a heatwave

Well, the heatwave picnic was a success. As I was slicing the cucumbers I decided that I wanted lightly pickled raw vegetables instead of cucumber sandwiches. On Thursday, when planting  a terrace garden with my nice clients, we took a break for lunch and sat down and ate sushi with pickled vegetables (- and ice cold water with lots of lemon juice and mint), and I craved some more of the vinegary crispness, so I sliced some carrot and radishes thinly and added them to a bath of rice vinegar with salt, sugar and water, very simple, and let them sit for about an hour, in the fridge. The tuna shape, form, mold, mould was perfect! I like such things, smooth and wobbly. It has nothing green or fresh in it. Tuna from a can, mayonnaise, cream cheese, ketchup and soy, and...ah, lemon juice. That's fresh. And I tossed in two gherkins. And some gelatin melted in hot water. I whizzed it all up in the blender, poured it into a bowl ( I need a couple of proper moulds - time to make Le Blob again) and tipped it out two hours later. Creamy, silky, and dangerous We ate it all. I'll have to figure out the measurements I used and post it, but it's not rocket science.

Vince loves his new phone. It read the temperature. For the celsius brigade that is 37'C, at 8.30 at night. Three degrees cooler than the afternoon. Please add the humidity in your heads. The roof was hot beneath our kikois. We had brought the cat up with us, to picnic, but after he lay down he started to pant, so we sent him back into apartment again. He supped on his usual pellets with water plus an ice cube (after I read that the tigers in the Boston zoo had been given frozen  blood lollipops today. Yuck!).

For the humans, seeing the water helped cool us off psychologically. Lights moved across the harbor, layer caked ferries, green and red-masted tugs, belching smoke in a nearby slip as they prepared to move a barge out, strings of fairy lights for tourist cruises.

The pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus)  soup worked. Too terrified to really use the stove, I simmered it for about four minutes with some scallions and olive oil and chicken stock, then turned off the gas and let it steam under a tight lid till tender. Blender, yogurt, whizz. This somehow suggests to me Bulgaria. Anyone? Pigweed, or wild greens, yogurt? Then it, too, was chilled. I love this vegetable, and need some more. Any Brooklyn gardeners need weeding help? I've eaten all mine.

Other pigweed recipes:

Pigweed bredie
Pigweed crostini


  1. mmmm - cold dinner on a hot tar roof - cloud cover this am making it seem cooler at least

    not knowing "pigweed", my search turned up this:

    yikes, marie!!


  2. Thanks for looking out for me, Pam. But don't focus on one article about what to feed cows!


    They include in their dangerous list wheat, barley and oats...

    You'll notice that you'll find many more links speaking about its edible uses (we are talking about A. retroflexus, here). If one ate pounds and pounds of it from cultivated non-organic lands where lots of fertilizers (and herbicides!) and little water had been used, maybe one would get sick from nitrate accumulation.

    But thank you for the warning - I should add a caution to all my foraged or weedy posts. Sorrel (garden) is also poisonous if you eat too much, of course. And spinach.

    Amaranth has been eaten for centuries, if not millennia...

  3. Bulgaria? Quite possibly. I long-ago friend from Northern Greece(almost Albanian wilds) once fed me a salad of "weeds" dressed with Lebanese cucumber, tomatoes and yoghurt, which he said his grandmother used to make.
    I have no idea what the weeds were, but apparently they were annuals which gardeners raked out every spring. Perhaps Ellen might have a similar story?

  4. I want that tuna recipe! Please...?


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