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Cold Foods for Hot Days

Island Epicure

Don’t tell me there’s no global warming, Mr. Trump. We’ve already had some pretty hot days, and there are more to come. Our first winter in Washington after arriving  from Okinawa where the temp never goes below 50 degrees, here it snowed two feet. How long has it been since Vashon Island had more than three inches?  Summers, though, were hot and moist there, up  to 95 degrees. Your swet never evaporated.

Vashon Islands summers, as well as winters, are warmer than we remember since we came here in 1969.  Right now, July 9, 2017, 1:30 PM outside the window, in the shade, down here by Quartermaster  Harbor, it’s 80 degrees in the shade.  Uptown Vashon usually is 5 degrees hotter in summer and 5 degrees cooler in winter. With a breeze off the water and windows open or cracked open to coax a draft through the house we can be fairly comfortable.  With air  conditioning, we’d be more comfortable, and we once had it, but when the machine quit, we decided we didn’t need it. Back in the 1970’s we rarely if ever used it.

But clearly, with the hottest part of the summer yet to cook in, the kitchen too hot to cook in, and  the dining room  too hot to eat hot to hot food in, we need to reinstall air conditioning, or a repertoire of cold dishes to put before our families, and ourselves, for dinner. It doesn’t begin to cool off until 5:00 o’clock. We need either to cook a main dish in the cool of the morning, something that’s good eaten cold, or to postpone dinner until 9:00 p.m. If you have little kids who should be in bed by 8:00 p.m., that last is not an option.

Let’s make it easy on ourselves foodwise. For lunch, a plate of assorted breads and another plate holding lettuce leaves and some cold cuts. Pur on some olives and dill pickles  Let people make their own sandwiches or smorrebrods (Danish open-faced sandwiches) . For dinner, a ceviche and a salad. The ceviche features fish, a booster of brain power and prime source of iodine to nourish our thyroids.  The salad provides fresh, raw foods which Dr. Perlmutter, author of the book “Brain Maker” recommends for their enzymes which aid digestion. Frozen vegetables have been blanched, which kills off their enzymes but helps them keep longer in the freezer.

The marinated fish is said to be cooked by the lemon juice in the ceviche, but I never quite trust it not to cause food poisoning unless I poach it just until it’s opaque, but still firm.  Once marinated, the fish can serve as the protein in a cool meal completed with a vegetable salad, microwaved potatoes, a cool drink and bread and butter. The bread and butter are optional. Or the potatoes. Even if your store-bought vegetables are organic, do wash them; they have not been sprayed with the usual toxic insecticides, but they may have been sprayed with pyrethrum, from a daisy variety. Many people are allergic to that.

4 servings

1 pound boneless white fish cut in 1-inch approximate squares (tilapia works)
Juice of three lemons and enough water if necessary to make 1 cupful
1 jalepeno pepper or green chili
2 to 3 green onions, sliced, tops included (enough to make ¼ cup)
1 small ripe tomato, diced
1 teaspoon salt
Dash dillweed
Dash cayenne or chipotle pepper

Place all ingredients in a glass bowl. Mix gently. Add more lemon juice or water if necessary, to cover all ingredients. Refrigerate 3 to 4 hours or overnight.