It’s been hot here, although I think the temperature is finally going to break today. I know I shouldn’t complain about the weather. It’s only been in the high 20’s. Crazy I know what that means right? It’s about high 70’s, low 80’s.
You’re probably reading this thinking, um, Mariel, that’s not hot. I know – I know, I just moved from DC where it’s hotter than hell. In DC low 80’s would feel like a wonderful cold front because summer is usually 100° with about a million percent humidity. But the thing is, high 70’s is hot here because air conditioning isn’t so much a thing here. Our flat doesn’t have air conditioning, the library doesn’t have air conditioning, and when you walk down the street you never pass a store and feel the cold blast of AC. We got a fan and that helps a ton.
Also going on outings helps too. This past weekend we went to the Banqueting Hall. It was a little hot and stuffy there too – but it wasn’t crowded with sweaty tourists so that made it awesome. The Banqueting Hall is the last remaining part of Whitehall Palace. It is the site of Charles I execution and the ceiling has nine paintings from Peter Paul Rubens. What I loved about the space is that it is large, beautiful, and ornate. The best part though, was the bean bags on the floor. We took our audio guides, flopped onto the bean bags, and looked up at the floor. It was cozy and interesting. The audio tour is just a little bit long, but they did the most with what they had.
The last way to deal with the heat is to stop using the oven when cooking. The oven makes our flat a sauna, so I’ve been trying to make easy stove-based recipes for dinner. I like this one because it’s pretty easy, filling, and includes a few different kinds of vegetables. Ignore the roast chicken in the pictures – that I made in the oven and it was far too hot.
This recipe is from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.
4 tbsp butter
1 cup pearled barley
salt & pepper
2 1/2 cups water
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1/2 cup frozen lima beans
1 cup frozen (or fresh) corn
1 red bell pepper
2 scallions, thinly chopped
parsley (optional, chopped and used for garnish)
1. In a medium saucepan, melt 2 tbsp of butter over medium heat. Add the barley toast for 2-3 minutes, stir frequently.
2. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the water and bring to a boil. Cover the saucepan and reduce the heat to low. Cook until most of the water has been absorbed (about 20-25 minutes). Stir the barley occasionally to promote creaminess.
3. In a skillet, melt the other 2 tbsp of butter. Add the garlic and cook for about 1-2 minutes. Add the lima beans and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir to make sure the beans don’t stick.
4. Add in the corn, bell pepper, and scallions. Cook for two minutes.
5. Stir in the barley. Cover and cook, while stirring a occasionally, until the vegetable soften a bit. This takes about 5 minutes.
6. Remove from heat, stir in the parsley if you’re using.