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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkEntertainment | Restaurants & Dining | July 2008 

The Irreverent Chef: Summertime... and the Livin' Is Easy?
email this pageprint this pageemail usLiana Turner - PVNN


I still love summer in Vallarta, for the cleansing rains and the relative quiet, but for those of us who live here year-round, summertime in paradise can be difficult.
 
Summer used to be my favorite season, back when it meant being out of school, with the best weather of the year for months on end, friends to play with all day long and into the night, developing a deep brown tan, going barefoot, and all the water... glorious water... pools, lakes, rivers, the ocean... swimming, boating, or just floating. Those are the best memories.

I still love summer in Vallarta, for the storms and cleansing rains and the relative quiet, but for those of us who live here year-round, summertime in paradise can be difficult. School is out, but we still go to work. Many of our friends leave for the hottest months. Tanning is not healthy, and now we have wrinkles to worry about, so we try to stay out of the sun. We still have the water, but some of us don't have much time for floating around anymore.

Summertime doldrums can take us to a low place, but where there is a problem there are solutions. Here are a few ideas to help pick us up and keep us cool.

Watermelon Therapy: Obvious, I know, but sometimes we forget the simple things. There are not many things that are more refreshing than a slice or ten of a sweet, juicy, COLD watermelon. Before buying one, make sure there is space in the refrigerator to keep it cold, or use a cooler with lots of ice if your fridge is too small. If you think a watermelon is too big for you, invite the neighbors' kids over and have a seed spitting contest.

Fans, fans and more fans: Keep the air moving around you at all times. Still air is hot and humid air. Carry a hand fan (habanico), and you will look like a fabulously elegant Spanish lady. There are some very nice ones in the accessories department at Liverpool. At home, use electric fans everywhere. There are even some small clip-on fans that work really well. I have one clipped to my desk that blows on me constantly and has saved me from certain misery. I, personally, don't like to sleep with air conditioning on, but some well placed fans make everything alright again.

Road Trip Cure: Try a trip to the mountains. San Sebastian is only a couple hours away, and there really is a difference in the air. It is noticeably cooler and less humid. Its not too far for a day trip, or you can spend the night.

Cinematic Relief: Any of Vallarta's many movie theaters are great places to escape the heat. They are kept so cold that you might even need a sweater.

Water Works: A cool shower before bed will bring down the body temperature enough to bring on a good night's sleep. However, it's best to keep your hair dry. A wet pillow is not a pleasant thing.

Cool Foods: One of the most refreshing and satisfying foods on earth has got to be Gazpacho. This cold Spanish vegetable soup will make you and your body feel happy.

Gazpacho
So Easy and SO Good!

Have all the vegetables and tomato juice chilled before starting.

Mince very finely (or if you are in a hurry or lazy you may chop in a food processor, but the texture is better if chopped by hand):

Cucumber
Red onion
Pepper (green, red, or yellow)
Tomato
Celery
Garlic
Fresh Basil

Put all this in a large bowl and add to taste:

Tomato Juice or V-8
Lime or Lemon Juice
Tabasco or other Hot Sauce
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper
Worcestershire Sauce
A little Sugar (if needed to balance not-so sweet tomatoes)

Stir together and chill for an hour to 12 hours before serving with a sprig of basil.

Options:
A swirl of cream on top
A few peeled, cooked shrimp

Enjoy and stay cool!

The Irreverent Chef, a.k.a. Liana Turner, is the chef and owner of Paradise Bakery and Catering. Serving the "Best Cinnamon Rolls in Vallarta," along with delicious sandwiches, salads, main dishes and yummy sweet treats every day but Sunday, and providing all styles of catering services, from pre-prepared meals to-go for informal gatherings to full service elegance for dinners, cocktail parties, wedding receptions and special events, Paradise Bakery & Catering is located at Sierra Aconcagua 299, Prolongacion Brasil, Colonia Lazaro Cardenas, Puerto Vallarta. For more information, call (322) 222-5133 or visit VallartaCatering.com.

Click HERE for more articles by The Irreverent Chef



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