Tuesday, August 23, 2011

perfect summer dinner

difficulty rating: bottle short of a six pack
you know what's lovely on a summer night? a filling salad and a cooling grown up drink. without further ado i give you creamy greek "chicken" salad and cucumber mojitos:

1 cup kalimata olives, roughly chopped
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled (use low fat if you like)
1 cup cucumber, diced (about 1/2 a long english)
1 cup yellow pepper, diced (about 1 big pepper)
1/4-1/2 cup red or white onion, finely chopped
1 cup tomatoes, chopped (about 2 med)
1/2 cup tatziki sauce (store bought or make your own)
1 pkg veggie chicken pieces, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups, i use superstore brand or yves. you could use real chicken i suppose but i would suggest it be precooked)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 veggie chicken broth cube
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dill
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp dried onion flakes
water, to cover

mix "chicken" with spices and lemon juice in a small pot, add water to cover. bring to a boil and simmer on med
in the mean time chop all your veggies and mix with tatziki in a salad bowl.
taste the "chicken, see if it has some flavor yet. if not, mix a drink and go out for a cigarette while you let it stew some more.
drain the "chicken", save the broth if you like. it may need to be watered down somewhat to be drinkable on it's own but it would be great to cook grains in or use as the start for a soup. add the "chicken" to the salad and toss well. leftovers would be good in a wrap.

make a simple syrup by stirring half a cup of sugar and half a cup of water together, bring to a boil to dissolve, then cool. it only takes about 2 min, don't be so lazy. you can make a bigger batch to keep in the cupboard if you like.
throw a few ice cubes in a glass
add a couple sprigs of fresh mint. dried or extract or any other mint flavored thing will not do, it must be fresh.
squeeze in a couple lime slices. you can cheat a bit here and use the bottled stuff if you have to. if you use fresh lime, throw the squeezed fruit into the mix.
add a few slices of cucumber. you could also use whatever fruit you have on hand.
muddle this mess with a spoon. that means kinda mash and bruise it all up to release juice, oils, and flavors
add a couple of ounces white rum
top with soda water
sweeten to taste with simple syrup.
use a straw to avoid chewing leaves and things

there! you just made a super easy, grown up meal and cocktail in about 20 min. packed full of vitamins and protein and flavor, and you can get most of it from the farmer's market this time of year. impress your friends by being all effortless iron chef. relax in the hammock with another mojito, you totally deserve it.

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