Thursday, July 8, 2010

It's Hot...and We Haven't Gone Grocery Shopping...

The combination of a few hot days in Boston, no AC in the house, and a busy week left us looking into a pretty bare fridge tonight with little motivation to cook a big meal. We rarely eat out on weeknights and had already made one exception to that rule this week. I mustered up all the creativity I could and pulled out whatever looked good in the fridge and pantry.

According to the hubby, "It was an old-standby with a refreshing addition". We have two meals that we usually end up making when we are tired and out of ideas - eggs and bagels or rice and beans. Tonight we went with the rice and beans.

My new lime basil plants have been really growing, and I had a lot of leaves that needed to be used up. Digging around in the fridge uncovered a jicama I thought that lime basil and jicama sounded like an interesting combination. I pulled out my Rick Bayless cookbook for inspiration on a dressing and found a recipe for a cilantro lime vinaigrette. Since I had neither of those, I used what was on hand to make a lime basil orange vinaigrette. To make the salad even more exciting I threw in a handful of pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds). This gave the salad a nice crunch and extra flavor dimension. Thanks to Oh!Nuts for sending me some tasty products to try out.

For the rice and beans, I will admit that I used the microwave to cook them both. Hidden in the pantry was one of those 90 seconds rice packages and some black beans. I heated them up and then tossed the black beans with a little of the extra vinaigrette. It was delicious!

The end of the week calls for a summery cocktail - my Thursday night concoction was a spiked strawberry lemonade. A cold, refreshing addition to the meal.

What's your favorite go-to meal when you don't feel like cooking? Favorite pantry staples?

Jicama Salad with Lime-Basil Orange Vinaigrette
1 medium jicama root
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
Handful of pepitas

Peel jicama with a knife (the vegetable peeler doesn't get enough skin off)
Dice into your desired shape, I cut mine into about 1 inch cubes
Put into a bowl and toss with the salt and sugar

3/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/4 cup fresh lime basil
Dash of salt

Put all ingredients into a food processor or blender
Blend until smooth
Pour 1/4 cup on the jicama salad and reserve the rest of the dressing for another use
Top with pepitas and serve

Lazy Thursday Black Beans
Open a 14 oz. can of black beans and drain
Put into a bowl and mix with 1-2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette
Cover loosely and microwave for 2 minutes
Serve on top of rice

Super Strawberry Lemonade
Chill a glass of your choosing
Muddle 2-3 fresh strawberries in the bottom of the glass
Add a serving of vodka
Fill the remainder of the glass with strawberry-lemonade (or lemonade)
Garnish with a strawberry on the rim and enjoy

Here's to cooler weather!


  1. Great post! Last night, I made my stand-by cold Kimchi noodle dish to beat the heat!

  2. Yum yum!!! Have to try.
    My go to dish is frozen Ling-ling Potstickers. We always have a bag of them in the freezer just in case. :)


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