Summer Specials from Ethel Tungohan

A few weeks ago, I requested my friend Ethel who is an ardent foodie herself to share some of her favourite recipes. We met in 2005 in Delhi and soon became friends. We bonded over kebabs at Rajinder da Dhaba, pakoras, and host of other goodies. Ethel even visited me in Kolkata when I was in my final year at law school.  We met again in Geneva in 2006 where along with another friend we were constantly on the lookout for affordable meals! 

Ethel blogs at http://gradstudentdrone.tumblr.com/ Hope you enjoy her post.

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I am writing this post at the height of the summer in Toronto, Canada.  While summertime here is nowhere near as hot as in Delhi, where I remember suffering through 40 degree heat, it is humid enough that us normally placid, friendly Canadians have started snapping at each other.   This means that standard annoyances, such as slow-moving tourists cluttering the sidewalk or delays on the subway, have become simply unbearable for most, leading far too many people to throw heat-induced temper tantrums.
The solution to the rising temperatures and rising tempers is to serve food that counters the heat.  Good summer food is cheerful and light and requires minimal effort.  The following recipes are my personal favorites.

Gazpacho
There are many variations of gazpacho but I prefer one that uses the least amount of ingredients.  I like making huge batches of gazpacho and storing these in the fridge.  This recipe makes one serving.

Ingredients:
2 pounds very ripe tomatoes, diced
2 green peppers, seeded and diced
1 medium cucumber, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
150 mL of olive oil
2 TBS vinegar (red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar is my preference)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
½ cup of breadcrumbs

Instructions:  Puree all of the ingredients together with the exception of the breadcrumbs.   After the mixture is thoroughly blended, add the breadcrumbs, and puree again.  Pour mixture through a sieve; you can use a spoon to squeeze liquid out of the solid bits to make sure that you get the most out of your mixture.  Place in a pot and refrigerate overnight or for two hours.  Add garnishes like sour cream or yogurt if you wish.

Salad Rolls
These are one of my favorites and are perfect for parties. 
Ingredients:
(Salad rolls)
2 cups rice noodles, immersed in cold water
1 package large rice white wrappers
2 carrots, julienned
1 medium sized cucumber, julienned
1 medium-ripe mango, julienned
1 red pepper, julienned
½ cup peanuts, crushed
(Dipping Sauce)
½ cup fish sauce
2 juices of lime or lemon
2 TBS sugar
Handful of chopped chilies

Instructions: Get a large bowl.  Soak one rice wrapper in it until it is soft.  Be careful because if you soak it for too long, it gets soggy.  Put a handful of noodles inside the wrap, along with a handful of the carrots, the cucumbers, the mangos, and the red pepper.  Sprinkle a few of the crushed peanuts inside.  Roll up.  Repeat until you are finished with all of the ingredients.  You can also add different ingredients to this dish, depending on your taste; I suggest shrimp, crab, bits of chicken, or avocado.

Chicken adobo
Unlike the first two dishes, this actually entails some cooking.  Fear not, though, because it isn’t too strenuous.  Chicken adobo is actually a Filipino dish I’ve grown up eating.  I find that it is good to eat in hot weather because it isn’t too heavy.

Ingredients:
1 pound chopped chicken parts (I find that chicken thighs or drumsticks work best)
Soysauce
Vinegar (I find that cane vinegar works best, though balsamic vinegar is good too.  Otherwise, use whatever type of vinegar you have handy).
Cooking oil
Bay leaves
Peppercorn
10 cloves of garlic
2 onions, chopped
Instructions: Crush the garlic.  Set aside.  Place the chopped chicken parts inside a pan or a casserole dish that is big enough for all of the pieces to fit in.  Place half of the chopped garlic onto the mixture, as well as a handful of the peppercorns and the bay leaves.  Completely immerse the chicken in soy sauce and vinegar. Marinate for a few hours. 
After it is done marinating, get a large pot, put some oil and place the stove on medium-heat. Sautee the remainder of the garlic and the two chopped onions until both are lightly brown.  Pick up each of the chicken parts using either tongs or a fork and brown each of these, making sure that all sides of the chicken are cooked.  Once this is done, place the stove on low-heat.  Use the soy sauce and vinegar mixture to completely submerge the chicken inside the pot.  Simmer for 45 minutes, or until tender.  Serve with rice.

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