It’s been HOT in Chicago this summer. It shouldn’t come as such a shock to us in the Midwest, but last summer we barely had a week over the 70 degree mark, so the last 3 weeks of nearly 90 degree temps with high level humidity have us all wilting and sipping as much iced tea as possible.
To that end, I’m doing my best to keep the stove off, and focusing any heating of foods to the grill, so that our not-really air conditioned condo stays reasonably comfortable. I’ve also been making ridiculous amounts of sorbet, frozen yogurt and frozen banana bites drizzled with melted chocolate and peanut butter. Anything to cool off. Likewise, the resident greyhound and I start every day with our feet in Lake Michigan before heading out for our walk. Because 85 degrees at 5 a.m. – that’s just crazy hot.
I should be winding down my training for the Rock n Roll Half Marathon right now, tapering my mileage to save my legs for the big day…but I pulled a calf muscle last Sunday on my 10-mile run, so I’ve been resting it all week. With all this heat – I’m not minding the days off nearly as much as I thought – though this morning I was looking longingly at the runners wanting to be out there with them. Soon enough, it’ll be 13.1 for me, and until then – I’m taking it easy so as not to re-injure mysef.
While I’ve been kicking back, sitting in front of the fan and sipping iced peppermint licorice root tea, I’ve been whipping up slaws like a mad woman. Anything I’ve got in the crisper is game for my mandoline and a quick toss in some kind of vinaigrette…and this Brocoslaw was a stand-out among my recent slaw offerings. If you don’t have roasted garlic or mojo, you can just leave it out, or add a half clove of fresh garlic, but the onion in the vinaigrette will add plenty of flavor on its own. I love the crunch of raw broccoli in this one, and feel free to toss any veggies you have on hand into the bowl – you don’t need to stick with what I’ve included below – anything crunchy will work!
What’s your favorite way to beat the heat? Ice cream, popsicles, retreating to an air conditioned locale? Share your summer tips in the comments below!
1 head broccoli, washed, dried and leaves removed
1 small head of fennel
1 red bell pepper
2 carrots, peeled
2 poblano peppers
1/2 large red onion, divided
3 T brown rice vinegar
1 T dijon mustard
3 T roasted garlic (I used mojo de ajo), optional
3 T olive oil
1 tsp honey
pinch of red pepper flakes
salt & pepper to taste
- Make the dressing: Put a couple chunks of red onion (about 1/4 cup in volume) in your mini-prep food processor (or blender, or large food processor) with the roasted garlic and puree. Add the vinegar, olive oil, mustard, honey and red pepper flakes and pulse until smooth. Taste and add salt & pepper to taste, and add more oil or vinegar if it needs to be more mellow or tangy. Set aside.
- Making the salad: Get out your mandoline and all the veggies, and line them up. Take the head of broccoli and slice the florets from the main stem (do not toss the stem – it’s my favorite part). Using a vegetable peeler, peel the tough outer skin from the main stem that you carefully did not throw away. Then, set your mandoline up for making thin slices of veggies, and slice the stem into roundish coins and toss them into a large mixing bowl. Next, take your broccoli florets and using the mandoline (with the protective guard, of course) slice the florets into thin, vertical slices. You’ll make a terrific mess of the florets, but just scoop it all up and toss it into the mixing bowl. Slice the peeled carrot into coins, the poblano & red peppers into thin strips and toss into the mixing bowl. Trim the green stalks from the head of fennel, leaving only the white part of the fennel intact. Rinse the root end as well as you can, then hold it by the stem end, and slice the fennel into beautiful slivers, and toss into the bowl.
- Finally, pour the dressing over the slaw and toss it together with salad tongs. Taste and adjust the seasoning a little if needed.