Hippo Manchester
August 11, 2005


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Keeping your cool while you eat

Stone-cold cooking for some not-so-steamy summer supping

By John “jaQ” Andrews

In the dog days of summer, slaving over a hot stove is just about the last thing you want to do. Perhaps the only thing holding less appeal is actually stuffing your face with piping hot food prepared on that stove.

Cereal, fruit and yogurt make fine breakfasts no matter what the weather. A sandwich at lunch is easy to deal with. But what of dinner, which sometimes demands greater sophistication and elegance than a sandwich can offer? Are we doomed to crank the air conditioning down to 65 degrees so we can get near some lasagna?

It’s not as bad as all that. Tasty entrees with a minimum of heat are plentiful, and here are just a few.


Fans of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan will remember the old Klingon proverb that revenge is a dish best served cold. Most people don’t realize that “Rev’enJ” is an actual Klingon salad, and tend to take the proverb metaphorically rather than literally.

You wouldn’t expect warrior Klingons to survive on iceberg lettuce, and you needn’t either. Romaine lettuce and baby spinach make a fine base to a traditional salad. From there, your imagination is pretty much the limit. Toss on anything cool, from fruits and vegetables to chilled meats. Carrots and celery are fairly standard. Ham, cheese and diced hard-boiled eggs make the hailed chef’s salad. But feel free to experiment.

A few suggestions:






•Crumbled feta cheese


•Grilled chicken


Fans of sci-fi Britcom Red Dwarf will remember gazpacho soup as the dish that humiliated Arnold J. Rimmer when he was finally invited to dine at the captain’s table. Sending it back to have it heated up, he only realized afterward that it was meant to be served cold. With luck, this article will help you avoid the same type of infamy.


recipe adapted from virtualcities.com

3 large red peppers, cut into large chunks

2 large green peppers, cut into large chunks

4 large tomatoes, cut into large chunks

3 large onions, cut into large chunks

3 large cucumbers, cut into large chunks

One 8-ounce jar green olives, drained

One 12-ounce jar black olives, drained

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1 cup red wine

3/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup sesame oil

Fresh cilantro, chopped, to taste

2 Tablespoons parsley, dried

6 Tablespoons garlic powder

Hot sauce, to taste

In a large bowl combine: red peppers, green peppers, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, green olives, black olives, Balsamic vinegar, red wine, olive oil, and sesame oil. Blend coarsely in blender-size batches. Add fresh cilantro, parsley, garlic powder, and hot sauce to mixture. Fold and refrigerate.

For a soup with less traumatic overtones, try this from Soup: A Kosher Collection by Pam Reiss (M. Evans and Company, Inc., 2004, 168 pages):

Strawberry Soup

2 lbs. strawberries, stems removed, cleaned and sliced

1 cup white Zinfandel

6 Tbsp. granulated sugar

1 cup water

¼ cup creamy style non-fat yogurt

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

½ cup half-and-half

Place the clean and sliced strawberries in a bowl with the wine and granulated sugar, mix well and set aside for about an hour and a half.

Pour the strawberry mixture and water into a saucepan, cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat down and simmer gently for 5-7 minutes.

Take the soup off the heat and pour through a fine-mesh colander. Using a metal spoon, gently push the strawberry flesh through the strainer. Discard any seeds and fibrous particles that won’t go through the mesh.

Chill the soup for at least 4 hours. You can actually leave the soup at this point, covered, overnight in the refrigerator.

Before serving, combine the strawberry mixture with the yogurt, lemon juice and half-and-half.


Fans of Star Wars Episode IV: Return of the Jedi will remember Admiral Ackbar, the Mon Calamari who skittishly commanded the rebel fleet against the second Death Star. Why George Lucas chose to name an intelligent species after a seafood is perhaps better left to psychoanalysts, while we stick to the topic at hand.

In any case, what’s colder — or cooler — than raw fish?

Sushi, of course, is not solely raw fish. The most popular form these days is the maki roll, which consists of a piece of seaweed wrapped around chilled cooked rice and fish. You can even substitute cucumber or avocado for fish, if you like. If you can boil rice, you can make sushi. Tekka Maki uses tuna, while Kappa Maki uses cucumber.

If you do go for fish, make sure it’s fresh. Store it just above freezing, 36 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit at a maximum, and use within two or three days of purchase. If you can, buy it fresh at a fish market and use it that day.

You can watch sushi being prepared in free instructional videos offered online at eatsushi.com.

If sushi still sounds a bit daunting to you, Thousand Crane, 1000 Elm St., Manchester, offers a sushi demonstration every Wednesday night from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Chef Dave Chiang, “Sushi Dave,” prepares oodles of maki rolls and other sushi and presents it buffet style. He gets a lot of business on hot city nights.

“I think people here are seeking something different, something new,” Chiang says. It’s a good way to sample unfamiliar tastes when you don’t know exactly what to ask for.

“A lot of people say, ‘Just hit me!’”