Our fog is M.I.A. I’ve lived next to the Monterey Bay for 24 years as of this past April Fool’s Day, and I can’t remember a year in which there have been so many days with temperatures over 80 degrees here at the beach. I just checked on the Weather Underground Almanac: 15 days this calendar year so far, including 4 in January. Generally, once the air here heats to a toasty 75 or so it rises, as air is wont to do, and the void is filled by a cooler marine layer coming in from the sea. Read: fog. Climate change is the new black. My peppers and tomatoes are happy; the dog is miserable; the boy has the swimming unit in P.E. this month so he is just fine. It’s a dry heat, you know. I’m a native Midwesterner, there’s no room here to complain, and yet …
Hot days deserve hot day meals. Here’s a Gayle’s-bakery inspired salad I made on this particular evening. Theirs had shaved parmesan cheese and walnuts, but I have a spouse who shudders at the very mention of walnuts. It’s easy to improvise, though and since I’ve been kind of addicted to pepitas since my San Diego trip a few years ago, they were the salty crunch of choice. And because my inspiration moved south of the border, I added jicama and cotija. Toss with a lemon vinaigrette, and you have a perfect hot-weather meal.*
- 2 cups chopped celery
- 1 cup julienned jicama
- ¼ cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- 2 tbsp crumbled cotija cheese
- 1 tbsp citrus juice
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- dash paprika
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Mix citrus juice vinegar, paprika, and olive oil together. Set aside
- Combine celery and jicama in a bowl.
- Add vinaigrette and toss to coat.
- Add pepitas and cotija. Toss again.
- Serve immediately.
My camera must have been suffering from heat stroke as well; I had a hard time getting a photo that was as delicious as the dish. Here goes:
*We figured out the next day that this is strangely good mixed with canned tuna!