Last week I wrote that the weather had finally reached 90°F. And indeed, the next several days were in the mid-90s. Here in New York City, that’s hot, but nothing remarkable – we usually get that a couple of times a summer. (That’s 32°C and up, for those of you accustomed to the Celsius scale.)
Then it dropped, abruptly, to the mid 60s. (18°C and thereabouts…) That’s rather less typical of a New York July… On the one hand, it’s nice to have all the windows open for days at a time, with cool fresh air pouring in. On the other hand, the change was rough, for people (like me) who are weather sensitive.
I didn’t start out planning to make this a weekly weather report – but the weather affects both my health and energy levels (and therefore what I can cook) and the local produce I can get.(I have broccoli and cauliflower but not tomatoes? In July? What kind of weird summer is this?)
The other excitement in my life is that my computer died abruptly. It was ancient, it owes me nothing, I bless it and send it into the Computer Afterlife (our complex does send electronics to the city recycling program) and – crucially – everything on it was backed up other than a few lists and notes (which can all be reconstructed. They were just convenient, the information exists elsewhere.) So this is a nuisance, not a catastrophe.
But there are other things going on in our life right now (which I’ll share down the road when I know how it’s all going to come down – too much up in the air right now.) So we may very well wait to replace it. I can do a remarkable amount (though not everything) on my phone, these days, and Rich and I will share the other computer since he does not currently need it for most of his work. (We use separate browsers – amazing how well that separates our work! The only real crossover is picture storage and editing – everything else is online.)
It will take a little while for all of this to come up to speed – new systems and routines always do. So I beg your patience for replying to comments slowly, or, well – I don’t even know all the possible glitches, yet! But I’m sure I’ll find out… I’ll try to keep them from being too glaringly obvious to you!
Meanwhile, of course – we eat.
I definitely like muffins and protein shake in summer. (The countertop oven makes baking rational!) I’ve put fruit in most of my muffins, but the morning I made these I didn’t feel like pitting cherries, so had plain corn muffins. And I had a protein shake. I base this one on a Salt Lassi – an Indian beverage made of yogurt and seasonings (instead of the fruit used in the mango lassi Americans see more often.) But I use kefir instead of yogurt, and add protein powder along with my ground cumin… and start my day with a tangy, cool, refreshing drink (that is definitely not a real lassi! Authentic Anne’s Kitchen and all that…) I also had a glass of the Cold Brew iced coffee I wrote about the other day. The concentrate is so convenient – pour some into my glass, add half and half and ice, top off with ice water… it’s ready to go.
For lunch I made a variation on my Tuna Chickpea Salad, but using chicken instead. I like to keep a few cans of chicken in the house as backup – good for Flu Season Chicken Soup, invaluable in the blackout following Superstorm Sandy – but it is best to rotate them. (No – food in a good intact can does not “go bad” – but if it gets buried in the back you won’t notice if the can has been damaged until you need it, and it can lose some flavor. And since I rotate boxed food, which can go rancid or dry out, I just make sure I rotate everything on the pantry shelf, as good practice.) Another time I would use my own cooked dark meat chicken, but the chunk white meat shredded beautifully, and the salad was just as good as the original version.
Dinner. Well, if you know us well enough, this meal tells you that the weather got to me and I was not feeling well… On the one hand, it’s Burger Crumbles (mixed tofu and turkey as it happens) from the freezer heated in jarred pasta sauce from the pantry shelf over microwaved rice. The hardest thing I did was cut up the broccoli to steam. On the other hand, Rich plated it. I got everything started, told him to take over so I could sit back down… He plates everything so beautifully!
It’s funny – bloggers laugh about plating beautiful meals for our pictures. It’s a running joke that our dinner is gorgeous (but cold) while our families eat food rapidly slopped onto a plate (so we can go get the pictures – and they can eat while it’s hot!) But plating is not one of my major skills – and Rich does it wonderfully and reflexively! He can’t put together a salad for a weekday lunch without carefully arranging the radishes… He’s so much more visual than I am! (And the poor man usually has to eat food I just threw together… )
So here we have a meal that took almost as much time and attention to plate as it did to cook (mostly because it took almost no time or brain to cook!) Tasted good, though… And it was possible because I do keep Crumbles and other food on hand and ready to go.