Cooking at the Cove: Keep cool on these hot summer days

Peanut Cucumber Noodle Salad, served with iced lemon wedges, won’t heat up your kitchen. Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

I confess that this is the time of year when I want to spend as little time as possible in the kitchen. This week’s recipes reflect that, and all include ways to incorporate tart lemons and limes into a refreshing, easy meal. This includes an adult iced drink, Asian noodle salad and a cool, creamy dessert.

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundy’s Harbor. You can reach her at [email protected]

I tried these muds at a friend’s house recently and they were sold on the first sip, especially when I saw how easy the drinks were to make. There is no juice and no painstaking coating of the glass rims with salt. All the ingredients are mixed in the blender and the limes can even be peeled in advance and kept in the freezer.

For our main course, crunchy peanuts and curly cucumber spirals are paired with delicious Udon noodles encased in a silky sauce. Play with the level of spiciness and saltiness to your satisfaction. If you don’t have a spiralizer, just thinly slice the cucumber. This dish is great on its own and also goes very well with grilled salmon or chicken with just enough peanut-ginger dressing for dipping.

You might want to make a bunch of these Frozen Yogurt Desserts for emergencies. A grapefruit spoon with a serrated edge works well to remove the lemon, which you can freeze for other recipes.

Experiment with different yogurt flavors and add berries to the filling or just use them as a garnish. Other options for toppings are mint leaves, rainbow sprinkles, shredded coconut, or a drizzle of fruit syrup.

I hope these ideas work well to keep you cool!

Strawberry-Lime Slushies

4 limes, 3 peeled and 1 thinly sliced

1/4 cup honey or agave syrup

3-4 cups of strawberries or raspberries

1 cup of tequila

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

4 cups of ice cubes

Peel three of the limes by cutting the top and bottom deep enough to expose the fruit under the pit. Cut off the remaining peel and remove the lime into wide strips. Cut the last lime into thin slices for the garnish.

Place the peeled limes in a blender. add all the other ingredients except the ice and mix until they are homogeneous. Add the ice in batches and continue to blend until the mixture is smooth. Pour into glasses and garnish with lime slices. Yield: 4 servings

Peanut noodle salad with cucumbers

1 pound frozen or 8 ounces dried Udon noodles

1-2 (14 oz) large cucumbers

2-4 (1 cup) onions, thinly sliced

1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped

1/2 cup roasted peanuts, chopped

1/3 cup peanut-ginger dressing (see below), plus more to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions, then drain, rinse with cold water and pat dry. Cut or thinly slice the cucumbers and remove excess moisture with paper towels.

Gently toss noodles with 1/3 cup dressing to coat well. Add the cucumbers, onion, cilantro and peanuts. Fly again. Taste and add more dressing if needed. Chill until flavors blend. Serve with extra dressing, cilantro and pistachios piled on top. Yield: 4 servings

Peanut-Ginger Dressing

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/3 cup fresh lime juice

1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari

2 tablespoons of sesame oil

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

2 teaspoons fresh ginger, chopped

1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce, such as Sambal Oelek, optional

Water

Flaky sea salt

In a medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients, adding a tablespoon of water if needed. Taste and adjust with more lime juice and salt if desired. As the dressing sits, it can be thinned with a tablespoon or two of water until it reaches the desired consistency. This will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Frozen lemonade cups

5 large lemons

3 cups Greek lemon yogurt

1/3 cup honey

2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons of lemon zest

Seasonal berries (optional)

Garnish like mint leaves and sprinkles

Grate the lemons and juice and peel one of them. Cut the bottom edges off the remaining four so they sit upright on the serving plates. Cut off the tops, then cut inside the lemon peel with a serrated knife and scoop out the lemon pulp.

Lightly beat the yogurt with the honey, lemon juice and peel. Gently stir in berries if using. Fill the lemon peels with the mixture and then freeze for at least 6 hours. Garnish and serve. Yield: 4 servings

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