July 19, 2006

The Heat is On...

It's hot in Paris. Very, very hot. I think today it will reach 37 degrees C (98 degrees F). Thankfully our belle apartement is on the top floor and sports what our landlord calls "Mexican air-conditioning." (No one ever said the French were PC.) Anyway, there is a nice breeze that comes through when it chooses to. However, at the moment, there is no breeze and a lot of sunshine beaming in. All I am capable of doing is sitting in front of the fan with my legs wide open. I really never knew I could sweat so much before living in France. Spoiled, how spoiled I was with air conditioning! I was usually the fool who was too cold and curled up on the couch with a blanket complaining of goose bumps. Now I can sit starring at the wall for an hour until my brain melts and starts oozing out my ear. The only activity I can muster is to refill my water glass from the precious refrigerated bottles we now obsessively empty and refill, empty and refill...

We did manage to walk to a boulangerie for some bread this morning. Most of the time, we'll hold hands while we walk and chatter on about something, but this morning each attempt to lovingly touch one another was met with a pained look of weakness. "Don't you touch me with your sweaty hands! As soon as your skin touches mine it feels 10 degrees hotter! Ack!"

Even as I type this I can feel the heat from my keyboard so I must stop soon and go back to my useless drooling and laying about. We've both been taking long naps in the afternoon, but it might be more aptly called passing out. Luckily last night's dinner was easy to put together. I made a Taco Salad, which thankfully has little on-the-stove time. It's one of our favorites!

This is also an opportune time to tell you about my favorite salsa. It's hot, but not so much that you can't taste the other flavors. It's the Smoked Jalapeño Salsa from Pain is Good. I found it at my local grocery store in the US. It has a lot of chipotle flavor and I love to mix it into any kind of taco or burrito filling. It is fantastic on nachos or in Spanish rice, too. And, of course, in this Taco Salad.

Salsa: Batch #218 Smoked Jalapeno Salsa by Pain Is Good

Taco Salad with Chicken and Spicy Black Beans

I see it in 3 parts.
Part 1 - Black Bean "salsa" (for lack of a better word)
Part 2 - chicken, cheese, tortilla chips, fresh tomatoes and other toppings
Part 3 - lettuce and dressing

The black bean salsa:

1/2 medium red onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup corn, (fresh, frozen or canned)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
pinch of cinnamon
garlic powder, optional
1/4 tsp ground cayenne
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
3 Tbsp salsa (see above)

Saute the onion in a little olive oil. Add the bell pepper and the spices. Cook over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir in the corn, black beans, salsa and a few tbsp of water. Let this simmer another 2-3 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and set aside.
2-3 cups romaine lettuce
simple oil and vinegar (or citrus juice) dressing
3/4 cup shredded roasted chicken
1/2 cup grated cheddar, optional
1/2 tomato, diced
1/2 ripe avocado, sliced
handful of tortilla chips
extra salsa and sour cream

Toss the lettuce lightly with oil and vinegar and arrange betweeen 2 plates. Top with about 1/2 cup of the warm black bean salsa, some diced tomato, sliced avocado, half the chicken and some grated cheese. Crush a few tortilla chips and sprinkle those around the plate. Finally, top with some salsa and sour cream. You could even leave out the chicken for an excellent vegetarian salad. Serves 2.


Ivonne said...

This sounds like the perfect way to combat the heat ... a refreshing salad!

I loved your description of just how hot it is and your own reaction to the heat. Here in Toronto we've been hovering around 40 degrees C for more than a week but we have AC so it hasn't been too bad!

tina said...

The Heat is On....you're not kidding! I wanted to laugh, but that made me too hot. I wanted to send you an SMS...but my phone is in that forbidden place...The Other Room (i.e. hell/the room without the fan). I decided it was safe enough to read your blog tonight though, as I'm eating something yummy for once. Just a simple salad of mixed greens topped with large tomatoe chunks, tons of avocado slices, sweet corn and some tuna...you know, it is surprising how well a bite of tuna goes with an avocado! sooooo much better than mayo! (and it's even non-dairy! tee-hee!)

s'kat said...

It's hot, hot, hot everywhere! *drains another glass of water*

Stick with those beautiful salads, you should make it through just fine.

Tanna said...

No, I don't do well in the heat either. I know it's hot when the temps go into the triple digits everyday. But you know when it's really hot is when the night time low is in the low 80's!
You maybe hot but you are really fun to read. Great story!

jenjen said...

Hope the heat dies down a little for all you people in the other hemisphere. I blame global warming. Anyway this slalad looks refreshing, I love how you've left the avocado in big slices, all the more to eat!

Megan said...

Ivonne, Tina and S'kat - Thanks! I definitely think salads are the way to go!

Tanna - How right you are. Low's in the 80s are miserable! Wow. Thanks for visiting and your sweet comments!

jenjen - Thanks! Me, too! I love avocado in salads and just about anything!

Sean said...

Mm, I do like their products, and the smoky bite of chipotle always gets my attention. Kudos for finding that in Paris!