Hubs and I were poolside in Maui, cool drinks and iPads in hand, when the cellphone buzzed.
“Tell me again what I have to do to fix the thermostat? It’s hot as balls in here!”
Awesome Stepkid R. was understandably miserable; the temperature had been in the high 90′s for several days. This was the third emergency “how-do-I-fix-it” call of the trip.
My husband–the patient one–walked him through the process again and signed off. When we didn’t hear from him again, we assumed all was well.
When we opened the front door, exhausted from our delightful journey home courtesy of United Airlines*, we were hit with a blast of steaming misery.
“Mommeee! Daddeee!” The girls ran at us, hair askew, clad in only their underwear.
I didn’t blame them. It was, indeed, hot as balls in there.
Even Alejandra, our wonderful babysitter, who hails from blazing Torreon, Mexico, had to admit that it was officially Hot and Shitty** within these walls.
I made a note to self: call to air conditioning guru now eclipses all other items on the post-vacation crap-to-do list.
Apparently, it was hot as balls in a lot of other people’s houses, too, because when I called the air conditioning guru, I got the unhappy news that we were fresh outta luck until mid-day the following afternoon.
After unpacking, I left for the cool refuge of the grocery store’s air conditioning system. It was maybe the first time ever I’ve been excited to do the grocery shopping.
As I perused the aisles, I was struck with a revelation. No air conditioning=perfect excuse to be a lazy slob and not cook.
Hmmmm. Maybe Hot and Shitty ain’t all bad.
I wagged my butt over to the deli counter and stocked up on sandwich fixings, rotisserie chicken, hummus, macaroni salad, and other lazy girl mainstays. I also filled the cart with plenty of fresh produce, because let’s face it–the gettin’ is good right now.
For dinner, I made this salad, and it tasted so awesome (two days of airport food, yo) that I think my tail really did wag. I savored the crunch of the cucumber, the sweet nuggets of corn and bits of snap pea, the burst of juicy tomato, the richness of avocado, and decided that this is the only salad recipe I need this summer.
I savored summer’s bounty, cuddled and kissed two underwear-clad minxes, inhaling the salt of their skin. Vacation is good. But oh my goodness, so is home.
Hot as Balls Salad
serves about 6 as a main course, depending on appetite
amounts are approximate, and can be adjusted according to taste
1 (12-inch) crusty baguette, cut into large, bite-sized chunks
2 cups heirloom or other summer-luscious tomatoes, chopped
1 cup hothouse cucumber, seeded and chopped
1 cup sugar snap peas, sliced
3 ears of sweet corn, husked, kernels removed with a sharp knife (and you read that right–summer corn doesn’t need cooking)
5-6 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
1 (15- oz) can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup fresh mozzarella (I used smoked, but regular is fine) diced***
1/4-1/2 cup diced or sliced red onion
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained (optional)
4 slices bacon, cooked (yeah, I sacrificed my comfort to the altar of bacon, but bacon is worth a few extra drops of sweat) and crumbled (optional)
3/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
1-2 fresh avocadoes, diced (at the last minute, so they don’t get brown)
your favorite salad dressing (usually I make my own, but I was dog-ass tired, readers, so I used Brianna’s Blush Wine Vinaigrette, which for a purchased salad dressing, is darn good)
In batches, toast bread cubes in the toaster oven until golden. Or, you can place the bread cubes on on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven at 375 degrees until lightly toasted. Cool.
In a gi-normous bowl, toss bread and all of the other ingredients, except for avocado and salad dressing.
Drizzle just a leetle bit of salad dressing over (a couple of tablespoons), toss and let stand for 10 minutes.
Add the avocado, and add salt, pepper and additional dressing to taste.
Devour in huge and rather grotesque quantities, wishing summer would never end. Even with the heat.
* A United Airlines rant is forthcoming.
**Alejandra would never actually say “hot and shitty.” This is a Good Morning, Vietnam! reference, which makes me officially very old.
***You won’t see cheese in the picture, because Ale is lactose intolerant. When she’s not dining with us, however, I’m tossing in the cheese.
In other news, Miss M. got the pins out of her elbow this week. It was freaking horrific! She was a brave soldier, though and is now rocking an even more colorful cast of her choosing.