Summer in St. Louis is the pits. For those of you who say “summer doesn’t start until Wednesday,” I present you with St. Louis weather. Our high today was 96; drought conditions are spreading, yet humidity is high; and the next cold front that moves through here will knock the temperatures down to a cool 89 degrees.
Which, incidentally, is the temperature in my kitchen. Seriously. Every now and then, for kicks, I put the battery in my probe thermometer and measure the air temperature instead of the temperature of a roast or a chicken. After it told me that the air in the kitchen today, while I wasn’t cooking, was 88.5, I carried the thermometer into the office, where it tells me the top of my desk is 87.9.
Oh, and we have “central air.” Right now I’d rather have a single good window unit.
Now that I’m done complaining, I can tell you about what I’m cooking to cope. I barely turn on my oven. Nothing I cook uses the stove for more than a few minutes at a time. Tonight I made Rice Krispies treats (using the microwave, naturally). I made ice cream the other day.
Tonight’s dinner was Thai-Style Vegetable Rice Noodles. It used my stove minimally, and is supposed to be served cool or cold. I’ve had noodle bowls similar to this when I’ve got to Vietnamese restaurants and enjoyed them, so I was excited to try this. It was a great meal for today.
The recipe only took 30 minutes to prepare. My rice noodles actually said to soak before cooking, but I didn’t. I boiled them for 4 minutes – they were perfectly done. While the water heated, I sliced my radishes, cilantro, mint, basil, and green onions. I drained and rinsed my noodles with cold water several times to bring down the temperature – you could use ice as well.
Next I used a skillet to stirfry 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (yes, I measured – and it’s a perfect amount), garlic, ginger, and some crushed red pepper (please measure, unlike me, and don’t add more than a teaspoon like I did). After a few minutes, I added some mostly thawed sugar snap pea pods and a little salt. I sauteed the pea pods for about 3 or 4 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the garlic and ginger didn’t stick to the pan.
I put the noodles in a serving bowl, topped them with the fresh veggies, and added lime juice and soy sauce (instead of fish sauce). After briefly tossing the noodles, I added the peas and some peanuts, and tossed again to mix.
This was pretty tasty. I added too much crushed pepper, and Alex and I both would have enjoyed it with a little less heat. The lime and soy sauce is a great combination. The fresh herbs and radishes were bright and flavorful. There were a lot of herbs and peanuts to try to mix in to the noodles, and I don’t have the hang of that yet.
Alex and I split this recipe – it’s pretty light – and I wish there had been enough for leftovers. Even so, I was pretty pleased with the results of this recipe. It’s simple to make, and it’s an excellent dish to have when it’s hot outside.
Any other cooling dishes I should try?