Cooking at the Cove: Keep it cool on these hot summer days

Cooking at the Cove: Keep it cool on these hot summer days

Peanut noodle salad with cucumber, accompanied by frozen lemon wedges, will not heat up the kitchen. Karen Schneider / For the forecaster

I confess that this is the time of the year when I want to spend as little time as possible in the kitchen. This week’s recipes reflect that, and all include ways to incorporate lemons and tart limes into a refreshing and easy meal. This includes an adult frozen drink, Asian noodle salad and a cold and creamy dessert.

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in Cundy’s Harbor Village. You can contact her at iwrite33[email protected]

I recently tasted these slushies at a friend’s house and was sold on the first sip, especially when I saw how easy the drinks are to make. There is no need to squeeze or to thoroughly coat the glass rims with salt. All the ingredients are mixed in a blender, and the limes can even be peeled beforehand and stored in the freezer.

For our main course, crunchy peanuts and curly cucumber spirals are paired with delicious Udon noodles smothered in a silky sauce. Play around with the level of spiciness and saltiness to your satisfaction. If you don’t have a spiralizer, simply slice the cucumber thinly. This dish is great on its own and also goes quite nicely with grilled salmon or chicken with just enough ginger and peanut sauce for dipping.

You might want to make a bunch of these frozen yogurt desserts for emergencies. A grapefruit spoon with a serrated edge works well to scoop out the lemon, which you can freeze for other recipes.

Experiment with different yogurt flavors and add berries to the filling or simply use them as a side dish. Other options for toppings are mint leaves, rainbow sprinkles, shredded coconut or a drizzle of fruit syrup.

Hope these ideas work well to keep you cool!

Strawberry-Lime Slushies

4 limes, 3 peeled and 1 thinly sliced

1/4 cup honey or agave syrup

3-4 cups of strawberries or raspberries

1 cup of tequila

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

4 cups of ice cubes

Peel three of the lemons by cutting the top and bottom deep enough to expose the fruit under the bite. Cut off the remaining peel and remove the lime into wide strips. Thinly slice the last lime for garnish.

Place the peeled limes in a blender; add all other ingredients except ice and mix until combined. Add the ice in batches and continue to blend until the mixture is smooth. Pour into glasses and garnish with lime slices. Yield: 4 servings

Peanut noodle salad with cucumbers

1 pound frozen Udon noodles or 8 ounces dry

1-2 (14 ounces) large cucumbers

2-4 (1 cup) onions, thinly sliced

1/2 cup coriander leaves, chopped

1/2 cup roasted, chopped peanuts

1/3 cup peanut ginger sauce (see below), plus more to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the noodles according to package directions, then drain, rinse under cold water, and allow to dry. Spiralize or thinly slice the cucumbers and remove excess moisture with paper towels.

Gently toss noodles with 1/3 cup dressing to coat well. Add cucumber, green onion, cilantro and peanuts. Throw again. Taste and add more dressing if needed. Chill until flavors blend. Serve with additional dressing, cilantro and hazelnuts piled on top. Yield: 4 servings

Peanut-ginger dressing

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari

2 tablespoons of sesame oil

2 tablespoons of maple syrup

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

2 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely chopped

1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce, such as Sambal Oelek, optional

The water

Flaky sea salt

In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients, adding a tablespoon of water if necessary. Taste and adjust with more lemon juice and salt, if desired. As the dressing sets, it can be thickened ever so thinly with a tablespoon or two of water until it reaches the desired consistency. This will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Frozen lemon wedges

5 large lemons

3 cups Greek yogurt with lemon

1/3 cup honey

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons of lemon peel

seasonal berries (optional)

Garnishes like mint leaves and sprinkles

Wash the lemons and juice and peel one of them. Cut the bottom tops off the other four so they sit upright on the serving plates. Cut off the tops, then cut inside the lemon peel with a serrated knife and scoop out the lemon pulp.

Beat the yogurt with honey, lemon juice and zest. Gently fold in the berries if using. Fill the lemon peels with the mixture, then freeze for at least 6 hours. Garnish and serve. Yield: 4 servings

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