It occurs to me today that this site is headed straight into a no-cooking zone. I think we all know why. It starts with a T and ends with an exas, and friends, soon it is going to be very, very hot in the place where I live.
It’s funny how, whenever I told people I was moving to the Lone Star State, I would get at least one of two reactions. The first: “Wow, it’s really hot down there!” The second: “Hey, I hear Austin is great.” After a while, these reactions started to drive me a little bonkers. To the first, I wanted to say, “Duh! That’s why I’m moving there!” To the second, I wanted to say, “Well, I’m not moving to Austin. Know anything about College Station?”
To be fair, I’m almost positive that I would have said the same things in response to someone’s declaration of intent to move to Texas. I mean, what do we Northerners know about Texas? It’s practically a foreign country to us. There’s even a movement afoot to make Texas a foreign country. Maybe I should get my passport now before I become an expatriate?
But those things aside, I like it down here. In many ways, Texas and I are a natural match. I was raised to be feisty and independent, and those qualities are the spirit of Texas. I love the wildflowers and the birds, the big open sky, and Blue Bell ice cream. Politically, I’m probably best described as a cross between liberal and libertarian, and our lab manager is working hard to win me over to the libertarian side. To me, Christopher has been a one-man Texas welcome committee, and I count my lucky stars that we ended up in the same lab. He’s a gem.
As for that prediction that it is going to be brutally and inhumanely hot this summer, well, yes. I believe that. Which is why I am stealthfully loading up this blog with recipes to get me through the summer. I am not prepared for a Texas summer—not by a long shot. In Chicago, the summers are wonderful—warm and breezy, with sunshine and farmers’ markets and a giddy sense of freedom from long pants and sweaters. Because the summers are so short in the North, we really know how to party when the temperatures go up. I brought that sense of brevity with me when I moved, which probably explains why I feel compelled to be outside all the time right now. It hasn’t quite sunk in that summer is the default weather down here, just like winter is the default weather of the North.
These days, I am finding that the weather isn’t too oppressively hot for cooking. Last night I made a big batch of black bean chili, and a few nights before that I made a wonderful frittata, both of which I plan to tell you about soon. But I feel a certain sense of urgency to tell you about my no-cook recipes, probably because I want to squirrel them away for later. Also, I find recipes that take about five minutes to put together kinda charming. Maybe it’s an effect of opposites attracting: I love to plan, but five-minute recipes don’t require much planning, just some on-hand ingredients. So I make a plan to have those ingredients on hand, or for a quick trip to the grocery store, and hey, we’re in business!
Today’s recipe makes me happy just thinking about it: Greek Iced Coffee. While I cannot vouch for the authenticity of the name, I can tell you that this mixture of instant espresso, sugar, water, and milk is much tastier than the sum of its parts. I’m not sure I expected much of it—it’s instant coffee—but it was good and it comes together quick as a wink. Sweet and refreshing, the flavor is surprisingly rich, almost like a mocha. It’s fun to make too: you shake the first three ingredients together in a jar to make a frothy, sweet coffee. Then you add milk and you’re done! You can sit back and enjoy a reward for your five minutes of work, or, like me, you can tuck it into your lunch sack and save it for a 4 PM pick-up. Either way, it’s delightful.
And that cookie above? No baking involved. In fact, it came straight out of the freezer on Saturday. Easiest recipe ever. Except that I’m going to tinker with it because I can never leave things alone. I’m not sure how you put up with me, but I’m glad you do. Life, Love, and Food turns three this month, and I wish I could invite you all over for coffee and cookies. Wouldn’t that be fun? Something tells me that the distance between us might get in the way of a coffee klatch, so I’m going to stop talking now and just give you a recipe. But I promise there will be cookies in the future.
Greek Iced Coffee
Adapted from EatingWell
1 tsp. instant espresso (I like Medaglia D’oro brand)
1 tsp. granulated sugar, preferably infused with vanilla bean (i.e., granulated sugar with a vanilla bean tucked inside the bag)
1/4 cup cold water
1/3 cup cold milk
1) Place the espresso, sugar, and water in a small jar with a tight-fitting lid. Screw on the lid, shake like mad for 15-30 seconds, until everything is frothy and well-blended.
2) Add the milk. Pour into a glass and drink immediately, or cover the jar with its lid and tuck in the fridge to save for later.