Monday Memo: Stay Cool!

We're at Day 23 of the 100+ temperatures for Dallas/Ft.Worth.  We even got a "hot" shout-out on NPR this morning. It felt as fun as when Texas made the Top 10 on the obesity list.

Anyway........for this kind of weather, it's important to stay cool as possible, to stay hydrated, and make sure we get a nice balance of salts, minerals, and sugars.  Besides eating tons of salads and other fresh, raw foods, it's nice to be able to sip (or slurp) on something that meets all the above criteria:

Paloodeh fits the bill.  Paloodeh??

If you know anything about Persian cuisine, you've probably had or heard of faloodeh, a yummy dessert of frozen rice vermicelli in cherry-rose syrup, usually served along with bastani Akbar Mashti, saffron-rosewater ice cream.  If you don't know anything about Persian cuisine, now aren't faloodeh ba bastani Akbar Mashti a great incentive to give Iranian food a try?!?!

Of course, one does not live on rosewater and saffron-scented desserts alone.  And that's where paloodeh, frozen cantaloupe slush, comes in.  Iranians love their melons (of course, always bigger, better, and sweeter in Iran) and have found that these frozen drinks area a wonderful way to keep cool, keep hydrated, and keep fed.  So simple, it's made of cantaloupe (طالبي) whirred to a slush with ice cubes -- ah, so good!!

Paloodeh پالوده (Frozen Canteloupe Slush)

If the cantaloupe is not totally ripe, ie sweet, you can add some sweetener.  Also, a little spoon of rosewater or lemon juice changes the flavor.  Just don't do the East Texas thing, and season with salt and pepper!! Nah, go ahead if it floats your boat :)
I usually figure on 2 measures of cantaloupe to 1 measure of ice, but it all depends on how fragrant the fruit is and how icy you want it.

1 cantaloupe, peeled and cubed
cubed ice
the tiniest pinch of himmy (Himalayan salt)
sugar, to taste

Drop the cantaloupe into the blender container with the salt and pulse a few times. Add the ice and blend till smooth. Makes 2 tall glasses of nutritious, cooling refreshment.

Salad with blue potatoes and a side of memories

Just a quick pick of my lunch yesterday: steamed tempeh with wild rice, tomatoes, carrots, celery, cilantro and smurf-blue potatoes topped with lemony vinaigrette.  Aren't the potatoes cool?  All organic, and oh so yummy!

Makes me think of Annette-Kolb Gymnasium Traunstein.  We had to memorize a poem in 1. Klasse, das alizarinblaue Zwergenkind by Freiherr Börries von Münchhausen, about a tiny little fairy creature who decides to take a dip in an inkwell.  When he comes up from the ink, he's all blue; he crawls out of the well, and plops his hinie onto a sheet of blotting paper, leaving behind a stamp, described like this:

Da hats ein Dreierbrotchen gedruckt,

Ein kleinwinziges, zweihälftiges Dreierbrot,

Ha ha!! You'd have to understand German and know about German breads to get this one, but it's too cute!!

We had to memorize lots of poetry in Deutschklasse in the late 60's.  That's when school was school: lot of memorization, correct spelling and grammar, respect for authority, etc etc etc.  All about academics.  But it was lots of fun, too.  Like when we sang buranko buranko (a Japanese swing song - another memory) for our class and the principal in our embroidered Chinese pajamas that Mama brought us back from Singapore while Daddy was in Viet Name.  Has that really been more than 40 years ago??

Mensch, die Zeit vergeht......

p.s. it's GOOD for you!!

A quick p.s. to today's earlier post, just learned from watching the Dr. Oz's "Cancer Edition" show, that matcha includes the following lovely anticarcinogenic benefit: 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon equals about 8-10 cups of cancer-fighting green tea goodness.

Of course, you want to make sure that you're drinking quality, organic matcha - not just any old powdered green tea will do. You are what you eat and drink!!

So, blend up some berry matcha coolers and know that you're doing your body matcha good :)

And, since I collect heart rocks, wanted to post a picture from our last vaca in Colorado.

Blazing hot, but matcha cooler today

So, today is the 18th straight day of 100 or more degrees. What IS a body to do to stay cool??

Several weeks back as the 100's started, I popped into Whole Foods for some shopping. Dying of thirst, as one naturally does when it's this hot, I headed to the drinks bar and perused the menu. The frozen matcha slush sounded really good and refreshing, but then they also had a berry slush that sounded perky enough to counteract my wilting. Hm, which to choose? Which to choose?? Wer die Wahl, hat die Qual :)

I settled on the matcha slush, but a la Starbucks, I asked for a "shot" of berry - ha, I felt so clever :)

Can you do that for me, I asked the lovely dreadlocked mistress of libations.

Sure! What kind of milk do you want, she asked.

Coconut, please.

And with that she deftly scooped ice into the mixer, poured on the milk, added a scoop of matcha, drizzled in some syrup, set it on the base and whizzed it all into a slushy, frothy green 20-ounce concoction of sippableness. Don't know if sippableness is a word, but oooooh, it was love at first brain-freezable sip.

This is a drink that iss going to keep me hydrated (and awake) all summer.

Next day, I decided to try making it at home with frozen fruit and a touch of sweetener, since berry syrups aren't a staple in my pantry. Good choice!

Berry Matcha Cooler

I use a personal blender by Tribest, but any blender will do.

If you have some berry syrups, you may want to give those a shot, as they would no doubt intensify the fruit flavor. I bet it would be wonderful with peaches, too, or guavas.

I like it less milky, but you can add more milk to temper the matcha if it's too "bitter" for you.

1/2 to 1 cup coconut milk (or whatever kind you like)

1-2 teaspoons matcha -- how awake do you want to be, ha ha

1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey

7 or 8 frozen strawberries

Add all the above to your blender container. Blend -- you may need to add more liquid or more berries, depending on the size of your fruit -- until it's uniformly slushy. Also, check for sweetness and if you need more, add and finish blending.

Enjoy; I bet you'll feel matcha cooler :)

Presto Pesto

The heat is on!! The veggie garden is basically a goner.....sigh........

Just pulled up the last of the fruitless tomato plants. The only thing left now is the basil (with morning and evening watering) and the jalapenos. So they go into everything we're cooking, or uncooking, now. Into the salads, the sandwiches, the scrambled eggs, you name it. Thinking of making some ice cream or sorbet with basil & pineapple. See, you name it, and basil or jalapenos are in it.

But the crowning achievement for basil is pesto -- ah, homemade pesto. Green summery goodness to slather on al dente pasta or a sandwich or to dip with chips.

So easy to make and it keeps for a good while, as long as you keep it sott'olio - covered with olive oil. Pick the basil in the morning before the sun hits it, wash it well and let it dry. Drop a couple of cloves of garlic into the food processor, followed by a good handful of nuts (I know pine nuts are de rigeur, but I like walnuts). Pulse a few times, just to chop them a bit. Cube the best cheese you can afford, either parmiggiano or pecorino romano, and drop it into the processor and pulse 4 or 5 times. When the basil is dry, put it in the machine and run while adding enough olive oil to make it saucey -- not too runny, but not too dry and pasty either. Stop and check it occasionally and when it's the consistency you like, presto it's finished.

A, che buono.......and it's only available in summer :)