What do you do when the temperature reaches 97° F (36C°), and suddenly your air conditioning unit goes on the blink? I'll tell you what I did. I cried. First I called the repair man, but his mail box was full, so I could not leave a message. Then I shed tears. To judge by the number of calls the repair man was getting, there must have been lots of other people in the same fix I was in. I was able to get in touch with him the next morning, and he rushed right over at 8:30 in the evening. By then, pessimist that I am, I had given up on the hope that he would show up. However, Bill, the air conditioning, and refrigeration and washing machine repairman, is a great person and really loves his job. He loves tinkering with all that machinery - isn't that just like a guy? Guys love to tinker. Am I being sexist? No. Real women don't tinker. With machinery. OK, some do, and that's all right, as long as they wear lipstick while doing so. Anyway, Bill had been extremely busy all day, but he came late in the evening and worked hard to fix the air conditioner. Unfortunately, our unit is old and this time it could not be fixed. The fan that blows cool air through out the house is broken, so the whole unit needs to be replaced. Which means that here I am, temperatures in the high 90s, depending on a few fans and lots of cold showers to make it through this emergency. There's the Labor Day holiday weekend coming up: Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday. Businesses are closed, so where is Bill going to find my brand new unit at? My best guess is that it won't be installed until next Tuesday or Wednesday at the earliest. That's five or six days from now. Maybe a week. I dread this waiting. Which makes me wonder: Am I a sissified city dweller who needs creature comforts with all the fixings, including a climate controlled abode? Yes! On top of that, right now I am really cranky. And lonely. Because, to make matters worse, my family is out of town, gone way down south to gaze at the blue Floridian ocean from our Floridian condominium balcony. I couldn't get away. Maybe next time. After the air conditioner is fixed, and matters are put to right in the world of creature comforts. A world to which I've realized I have a serious dependence on.
Dreaming of Singer Island Florida... That's our view. It's where the family has gone, leaving me behind (sob). Somehow, a heatwave is kind of pleasant when you are near the ocean...
One tends to lose the desire to eat when it's really hot. Who wants to cook or even eat when stuck in a sweltering house? Have some lunch at work, and that's it for the day. However, even though appetite changes drastically, there comes a point when hunger pains beckon. The best thing I found to eat was a really cold tabouleh salad. There is no cooking involved. If refrigerated, the bulgur wheat stays cold for a long time and feels good going down. The mint tastes really refreshing. All the fresh vegetables in the salad remind you of the fun part of the summer. So I started chopping, and mixing, and soon I had a fresh, aromatic and nutritious salad for dinner.
3/4 cup bulgur wheat
2 cups boiling water
3/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup chopped scallions
2 tablespoons finely chopped mint
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
2 firm ripe tomatoes or you can use grape tomatoes
1½ cups baby arugula leaves
1 roasted pepper cut into strips (get the bottled ones from the supermarket) - no roasting when there is a heatwave, please.
Some Kalamata olives and some feta cheese for topping
Rinse the bulgur wheat and place it in a bowl, cover it with the boiling water and leave it for 30 minutes to soften. Drain through a fine sieve, and use a spoon to press out more moisture. Fluff it up with a fork and place it in the refrigerator to cool.
In a bowl, mix the bulgur with the spring onions. Then add the parsley, mint and arugula. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and mix well. Dice the tomatoes. If using cherry tomatoes just cut them in half. Stir into the salad. Top with the Kalamata olives and add the olive and feta cheese. Chill for about an hour before serving.
If you’re going to keep the salad in the refrigerator for longer, don’t add the tomatoes and arugula until ready to serve. In my case, I knew I was going to eat leftover tabouleh salad the following day, so I reserved a portion without arugula and tomatoes.