Sunday, July 25, 2010

Too Hot to Cook – Even up here in the Great White North

I am always somewhat taken aback when Americans make comments such as “I didn’t think it got hot enough in Canada to swim” or “In August I like to read a book set in Canada to cool down.” (Both comments I have heard in the last couple of weeks)

It gets beyond hot, believe me. In Southern Ontario it also gets very very humid. Temperatures of 30 – 35 Celsius are not uncommon in mid-summer, and the humidex can get into the mid-40s. (Maybe that is part of the problem. When we complain of how hot it is – oh, my gosh, it’s 35 degrees!!) Thirty-five Celsius is 95 Fahrenheit, 40C is 104F. In my book Valley of the Lost, cops are fainting in the 42 degree heat (that’s temperature, not humdiex), and in the Gold Rush books, Fiona suffers under her corset and petticoats.

All of which is rather beside the point. I was brought up by a mom who definitely believed that when it was hot it was too hot to cook. Fruit plates, cold meats and cheeses, salads were the order of the day in our house in July and August. Even now, with air conditioning and ceiling fans, I divide meals into summer foods and winter foods. Here is one of my favourite recipes for a cold yet hearty summer dinner.

Vicki’s Summer Chicken and Pasta Salad

(No quantifies given as it really doesn’t matter. Use enough to feed all present)

Cooked Pasta, such as Rigatoni or Macaroni (this is the only cooking part)
While pasta is still warm, toss with dressing.
Dressing: Equal quantities of store-bottled peanut sauce (I use Our Compliments Peanut Satay cooking sauce) and Mayonnaise. Salt and Pepper.
Put in fridge until dinner time.
Then add:
Store-bought rotisserie chicken, cut into slices
Baby carrots or carrot slices
Other vegetables as desired



Marian Allen said...

Oh, my goodness! Last year, when we were still eating meat, our favorite summer meal was a great big salad of greens and veg and cubes of cheeses and ham and slices of smoked chicken...and two hard-boiled eggs. We could still do the cheese and eggs, if we're careful where we get them. Your salad sounds AWESOME!

Karin F. said...

Re American comments about our weather:

Thanks Vicki.... that's one of my pet peeves!! As a kid I can remember seeing Americans come across the border with skies strapped to the car August!! LOL
This year on a doll making forum where the discussin was wedding traditions by country, an Australian lady actually asked how Canadians keep warm during the ceremony!!
I couldn't help myself; I wrote in that we add an extra piece of whale blubber to fire inside our igloo. Then I added a second email mentioning that the southernmost part of Ontario is latitudinally equal to northern California.

Donis Casey said...

I love pasta salads of any ilk, Vicki. I've made some of the best pasta salads with leftover stuff out of the fridge. And Marian, I might try Vicki's salad with veggie chicken. Quorn chicken breasts are delicious.

About the weather in Canada - I guess I'll have to leave my snowshoes at home next time I plan a trip to Montreal in May.

Gayle said...

The salad does sound delicious! Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I have to stop by from time to time and look at the picture at the top of your blog. Gives me inspiration when I really need it like right now. Thanks. I feel better already.

Stephen Tremp

Vicki Delany said...

Glad to be of help, Stephen.