by Ernest Barteldes
Although I love to cook elaborate dishes on weekends during most of the year, that is simply not true during the hot summer months. First of all, my kitchen is not air conditioned (we have one machine in the bedroom, but the rest of the apartment is cooled by various fans since both Renata and I spend most of our downtime in the bedroom, where the TV is), there is almost no need to have other conditioners anywhere else.
Also, it is just too hot to eat heavy dishes that need to spend a lot of time in the oven. I recall one time when I decided to bake a quiche (one of Renata’s favorite breakfast dishes) when it was around 90F (about 33C) outside. Sure enough, the oven made the temperature in the kitchen almost unbearable and I started feeling sick and ended up being unable to perform at church that day. After that day, I decided I would mostly ‘ retire’ the oven for summer and try to learn light dishes that did not require too much fuss. After all, who wants to spend hours in a hot kitchen making something that would be too hot for the season in the first place?
There are a number of dishes that I reserve for summer, such as cold spaghetti in a garlic-tomato sauce (the sauce is made with raw tomatoes, basil and sautéed garlic), grilled chicken in hoisin sauce and other dishes that don’t take too long to cook. That ‘tradition’ of sorts began when Renata and I came back from a sweaty set at Central Park Summerstage and she asked me not to cook anything heavy, so I made a light salad and cold pasta – it was a relief from the usual fare I’d been cooking before, so I’ve sought out to learn more summer-friendly recipes since then.
One of the most recent was one I stumbled into while checking out the Brazilian newspaper O Globo. Over the years, I have tried to be in touch with the news of the countries we travel to on a regular basis – I try to scan through papers in Poland, The Dominican Republic and Brazil at least once a week – specially because US news outlets tend to ignore international news unless it’s some crazy breach of human rights or something.
The recipe is perfect for summer – eggs, spinach, cream cheese and smoked salmon rolled up together and jelly roll-style and chilled until ready to serve. Renata fell in love with it immediately, and it has since become a regular for our lazy summer days.
Spinach and Salmon Roll
Source: Ela O Globo
1 lb chopped spinach
6 large eggs, whites and yolks separated
Butter to line baking pan
Flour to line baking pan
¾ package cream cheese
8 oz. smoked salmon
Steam the spinach until tender. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold yolks and spinach and mix well. Grease a baking pan with the butter and add the flour. Pour the spinach mixture into the pan and top with the parmesan over the pan, about ½ inch thick. Bake in oven at 350F (180°C) from 15 so 20 minutes and remove from oven. When cool, turn pan over firm plastic wram, making sure the parmesan layer is in the bottom. Spread the cream cheese over the cooked spinach and eggswith the help of the plastic wrap, jelly roll style. Let rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour, and immediately before serving remove the wrap and cut in slices.