The Heat Is On & Thai Salad

How is it that 78 feels positively sweltering or at least very, very warm in the middle of April but delightfully cool and breezy in July? That was the temperature early this morning as I headed out for a walk around Pleasant Lake. By the time I got home again the digits had reversed. It was 87. The mercury has continued to climb without mercy. It’s now a sultry 97. Except with the humidity, it feels like 102. Who figures that out anyway? I’m not sure how he or she arrived at that particularly number. I just know it’s darn hot.

The heat and humidity make me nostalgic and more than a little bit envious of the lazy days we spent growing up on (and in) Pleasant Lake. By midmorning my sister, brother and I would be out the door and on our way to the beach. My brother spent the entire day in the water, much of it under water. My sister and I parked ourselves in the shade. Periodically we would dash across the hot sand to the water and dive in for a swim to the raft and back.

My mother always thought that busy children were happy children. At least that’s what she told us. She believed that it didn’t take long for idle children to become bored children. And as far as she was concerned, boredom leads to nowhere and nothing but trouble. She would try to convince us to play tennis. In the simmering heat we usually managed to convince her that tomorrow was another day. If there was a bit of wind we could sometimes be persuaded to take the sunfish out for a sail. At least on a sailboat, we would abandon ship from time to time to cool off in the lake.

In general, the most strenuous activity I wanted to pursue on very hot days was to hunker down under the trees and read a Nancy Drew mystery or some other ‘tween book. In fact it seems like a pretty good idea right now! I was bookworm as a kid and still am today.

A good book is one of life’s great escapes. It can take you anywhere from the jungles of Malaysia to Arizona’s deserts. Or better yet, on a day like today, a book can take you to the snowfields of Alaska or the top of Kilimanjaro or Zermatt. You can visit luxurious palaces or swanky Manhattan apartments, even ordinary houses in ordinary towns.

A good book invites you into the lives of all sorts of interesting people from the wonderfully heroic to the terribly clever and dreadfully devious. It can also introduce you to quirky individuals, funny characters and just plain silly types. Real or imagined, I have met some of my favorite characters in books. After all, what ten year old girl doesn’t want to be as clever as Nancy Drew or drive a shiny, new roadster? Even when I didn’t know what a roadster was, I wanted to drive one. I think I still do.

Stay cool and enjoy the summer!  Bon appétit!

Thai Salad
This salad is perfect on a hot night. It’s a great one dish supper and makes fast work of leftovers. It is also wonderful as an appetizer or side dish with the veggies only.  Very refreshing with lots of crunch! Enjoy.
Serves 4-6

1 head romaine lettuce, shredded
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, chopped
3-6 radishes, cut in julienne
1/2 European cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut in julienne
2 cups bean sprouts
1 carrot, cut into curls (use a peeler)
1 avocado diced
1/2 – 1 red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut in julienne
2-3 green onions thinly sliced or 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
12-16 ounces thinly sliced steak, chicken or shrimp (don’t cook, use last night’s leftovers)
Garnish: sesame seeds

Toss together all the vegetables and herbs in a large bowl.

Just before serving, add the steak, chicken or shrimp and toss the salad with enough dressing to lightly coat. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and serve.

Thai Vinaigrette 

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Thai or other chili sauce, or to taste
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2/3-3/4 cup olive, canola or vegetable oil

Combine the lime juice, honey, soy sauce, chili sauce, garlic, sesame oil, salt and pepper in a blender and process to combine.

With the blender running, slowly add the oil and continue to process until combined.

Print-friendly version of this post.
One Year Ago – Sweet Dream Bars
Two Years Ago – Lobster Salad

The nice people at Olivia’s Organics (they sponsor my Eat Well – Do Good dinners) would like to offer all Around the Table readers a coupon good for $1.00 toward the purchase of their favorite Olivia’s product.

Do you have a question? An idea, a few thoughts or an opinion you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you! Let’s get a conversation going. To make a comment, just click on Comments below.

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Feel free to visit my other, cleverly named blog, Susan Nye’s Other Blog, or website www.susannye.com. You can find more than 200 recipes, links to magazine articles and lots more. I hope that you will take a minute to learn about my philanthropic project Eat Well-Do Good. ©Susan W. Nye, 2010

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