Ah, summer. The time of the year to sit and drink sangria on patios, wear gigantic floppy hats, splurge on cute summer dresses, and spend days at the beach, burying your friends in sand and giving them sand breasts. (Don't pretend like you're too mature to not find giving your guy friends sand breasts funny.)
It is also, however, the time of year when people like to walk around the streets topless (and while I admire their comfortableness with their own bodies and disregard for societal norms, I do not always admire their physique), the action of blinking induces a sweat, and the night life heats up so that random drunk people are more likely to wander onto your porch at 1 am and try and watch Aladdin with you. (Because don't we all watch cartoons on the porch late at night?)
So I mentioned the heat, right? And yes, I am going to be so mundane as to whine about the weather. I'm like a lizard - both heat and cold effect me with equally unpleasant results. Heat and humidity cause me to melt into a puddle of sweat and unpleasantness. Even doing awesome things, like watching the Pride Parade, do little to minimize the intense discomfort and major awkwardness of feeling sweat run down your legs. My friend, who had the misfortune to attend said parade with me, was subjected to what I admit was a rather explicit commentary on the state of my bodily affairs.
I will be the first to admit it: I do not cope well with the heat. I stick to the shady sides of the street, I run only when I have to or if it is late at night or early enough in the morning to not risk heat stroke or death by doing so, frequently run my hands and arms under cold water, and sometimes I even take a bag of ice with me to bed. And I certainly won't turn the oven on if I don't have to. So, cookies and cake in the summertime? Not so much, unless I'm feeling particularly masochistic.
And that's how meals like this happen. I'm hot, tired, have a dwindling supply of food in the fridge, and I'm in no mood to trek anywhere to buy any more produce or ingredient of any kind, so I make use of what I have. And sometimes it turns out to be not too shabby, and even worth sharing.
Refreshing Carrot Brown Rice Bowl with Cumin Yogurt Dressing
This dish is perfect for those days when it's too hot (or you're too tired) to cook. I tend to cook grains, like rice, in large batches, so I have it on hand to throw into stir-frys, pilafs, and salads throughout the week.
1 cup Cooked Brown Rice (Spelt Berries or Wheat Berries would make a good alternative)
2 medium-sized Carrots, peeled & diced
2 - 3 tbsp Cilantro, chopped fine
2 tbsp Plain Yogurt
1 tbsp Lime Juice
1 tsp Honey or Agave
1 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Coriander
Salt & Pepper to taste
1. To cook brown rice: mix 1 part rice with 2 parts water and a pinch of salt, bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer until all the liquid has been absorbed, 40 - 55 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the rice stand, uncovered, for 10 minutes. 1 cup uncooked brown rice = approximately 3 cups cooked rice. Cooked rice can be stored in the fridge, in an airtight container, for at least 5 days. I like to cook a batch like this at night so it's ready to use throughout the week. For this dish, make sure the rice has been chilled for at least several hours so that it's cold.
2. Whisk together all the dressing ingredients in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
3. Wash and peel your carrots, quarter and dice them. Take a small bunch of cilantro, wash & pat dry to remove any dirt, and cut off the roots. Fold the herbs into a little bundle and chop them into small pieces.
4. Add the rice, carrots, and cilantro to the dressing and stir until mixed and evenly coated in dressing. Enjoy immediately!