Humid Out There? The Antidote

July 22, 2015



I think it’s because of wicked old El Nino, but we are having mighty weird weather this summer in the Rockies. We seem to be stuck with two extremes: stormy and rainy or blaringly, stickily hot. We Rocky Mountain dwellers aren’t used to humidity; we’re an arid climate normally–almost desert-like. We’re the land of chapped lips and bloody noses and scratchy eyeballs.

This summer, we’re the land of heavy, wet air. And mosquitoes. Lord, the mosquitoes. Usually, we are so spoiled with our measly mosquito population. Skeeters thrive on wet spring weather, and usually, that means that they don’t hang around here. It’s awesome. When people on the coasts or in the South complain about being eaten alive, we cluck sympathetically and feel slyly superior. We live in the right place.

Not this year, friends and neighbors. We have some thirsty bloodsuckers out there and it freaks me out on several levels. First, of course, there’s the threat of the West Nile virus, which we almost always have in Boulder and Weld counties, even when the mosquito population is sparse. West Nile virus is nasty, evil shit and every summer I am paranoid that someone in my family will contract it. Second, if someone in this county is going to contract West Nile, it’s going to be me or Miss M., because mosquitoes find us delicious and utterly irresistible.

You know what’s interesting about that? Miss M. and I are the only two people in the family who are wildly allergic to mosquito bites. If a mosquito bites my husband or Awesome Stepkid Ro or Miss D., they scratch absentmindedly at the small bump for a minute or two and move on with their lives. If a mosquito bites me or Miss M., the afflicted limb swells up like a red, angry balloon and it itches like wildfire and YOUCANTHINKOFNOTHINGELSEBUTTHEDAMNITCHING. For hours, if not days.

Why us, mosquitoes? We are lovely, sweet, kind-hearted people and deserve some mercy.

Because mosquitoes are assholes, that’s why.

We’re trying to avoid the outdoors at dusk and dawn, and I have (truly) 6 cans of DEET bug spray in my house at the moment, but it’s inevitable that at some point, a mosquito or five wins. It’s a scratchy summer, lemme tell you.

Another result of this humid weather? The heat seems particularly potent–just a brief time out in the noonday heat and I’m red-faced and steamed like a Chinese dumpling. When heat sucks the life out of you like that, you really don’t want to heat up the kitchen. In fact, I find that I’m not that hungry after time in the sun. I want something light, something fresh, and something juicy enough to cool me down.

This salad fits the bill, and I’m loving it so much this summer that I’ve been known to make an entire meal out of it. I’ll grill up some chicken or steak and warm up some bread for the other members at the table, but all I want to do is plop a gluttonous amount of this salad into a big bowl and slurp it down. Everyone else thinks this tendency is rather revolting, but too bad. My mosquito-stung carcass wants this salad and it wants a lot of it.

It may sound like an odd combination–tomatoes, watermelon and feta cheese? I know. Trust me, though, it works. I’ve seen variations on this recipe where other add-ins are present: slivers red onion, sliced black olives and fresh mint, for example, and those are good, too. The purist in me likes this version best, though. The flavors are simple and clean and totally refreshing.

The next time the summer sun’s got you feeling as energetic as a rock, whip this up. You’ll feel better in no time, honest.




Watermelon, Tomato and Feta Salad

serves 4

adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook


1 (3-pound) hunk of watermelon, seeded and cut into large chunks

3 large tomatoes or a mixture of large tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, cut into large chunks

2/3 cup feta or buffalo feta, crumbled*

2/3 cup fresh basil leaves, torn

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon white balsamic or champagne vinegar

kosher salt and cracked black pepper


Stir everything together in a large bowl or on a large platter. Season with salt and pepper and serve icy cold.


*Please make the extra effort to buy the block feta and crumble it yourself. The feta that’s already crumbled doesn’t have much flavor. Also, if you can find Greek feta, go for it. Totally worth the expense.


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Abbe@This is How I Cook July 22, 2015 at 8:06 pm

Omg. I can’t stop itching either. And you didn’t even mention what this sticky steamy mess does to hair. I may as well be living in Illinois.


Biz July 23, 2015 at 8:22 am

Our summer is the exact opposite – it’s still low 60s in the morning with highs in the low 80s – I think we’ve only had one or two days this summer over 90! p.s. I am loving it! And yes, yesterday was a bad day, but I am leaving tomorrow and will let Hannah and Jacob deal with the contractor while I am gone :D


Quirky Chrissy July 23, 2015 at 1:31 pm

YUM! I love watermelon, so I bet this is delish!


Susan Scott July 29, 2015 at 12:00 am

For those mossies? Burn citronella candles –
I’ve made the watermelon and feta salad after having it in an exotic place many years ago. I don’t add tomatoes, but olives. So yum!


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