no cooking, humidity be damned ::::
One thing that I looked forward to our impending move across the country to the South is air conditioning. Now that we are here, I revel in it. Northern California didn’t have much humidity to complain about, rarely a stagnant air hanging like a wet blanket over our sweaty bodies, therefore little need for air conditioning (and thus, little desire for lazy apartment complex owners to install them). But here, this Southern lick of heat, it just envelopes us. When I lived here almost 20 years ago, I joked with friends and family that it was the law to have air conditioning in our homes to mitigate the heat, that life sucking humidity. I remember similarly the humidity in Honolulu when I lived there as a teenager, my first week at school necessitating two or three showers a day because I was not used to the 90% humidity.
And the humidity adds another layer to our family dynamic. When Eat and I were in Atlanta 17 years ago, we were unmarried, childless, and easily tucked ourselves out of the heat during the peak times. We found things to do inside: we studied, read books, went to movies, cooked. But the kids: they crave that outside time (evidenced by our recent time in Maine where playtime was outside most of the time). When Peach and Grub don’t have their outside play, they chase each other around our stone-floored home, taunting and hooting at each other. We try to visit parks and melt within minutes, the kids first excited about the new swings and slides, the giant springed kid-sized cars and whales, and perhaps a new filled sandbox, then I see the glazed eyes, the encompassing slowness one feels when humidity beats them down. Sky-Girl squints in the sun and barely tolerates it, too. My kids may love their outside time, be born of the sun with their golden skin, but humidity shoves them down to the ground just like everyone else. It just doesn’t work.
This heat, though, just doesn’t inspire me to cook these days. Baking doesn’t really work, either. Even with the air conditioning, I steer clear of my unfamiliar gas oven in this place we are trying to make home. Maybe it’s just an excuse to wait to use the oven, fearing a new appliance, away from my reliable electric in Northern California, will give my vastly different results. (What is more disappointing than an unpuffed popover or a a hockey-puck of a bread loaf?) I am still covered in a healthy, sweaty glow, perhaps wearing it better as a 40-something rather than a pimply teenager. It’s the perfect time to make a salad and chill some lemonade. It pairs nicely with this almond salad, the lemon brightening the flavor and making your ambient heat seem a little more tolerable. The original recipe of from the oh she glows food blog. It recommends serving with cucumbers, crackers, or on top of a salad. I felt just eating it in a chilled bowl as the main course was perfect: nutty, crunchy, and cool.
One year ago: tomato and halloumi salad with pomegranate drizzle
Two years ago: spaghetti squash browns
Three years ago: korean dried squid (ojingo chae bokkeum)
- 1 cup raw almonds, soaked
- 2 to 3 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 2 green onions, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3 tablespoons mayo (vegan, if you wish)
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, to taste*
- ½ lemon, finely zested
- ¼ teaspoon fine grain sea salt, or to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Soak almonds in a bowl of water for 3-9 hours. Drain and rinse.
- Add almonds into a food processor and process until finely chopped. Place into mixing bowl.
- Add the chopped celery, green onion, garlic, mayo, mustard, and lemon into the bowl. Stir well and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Refrigerate leftover salad for up to 3 days.