When we know a heat wave is on its way, we can and many of us do prepare in advance by stocking the refrigerator and the pantry with foods that need little if any cooking.
It’s a good time to rely on salads, cool pasta dishes and refreshing fruits like cucumbers, watermelon and strawberries, as we stretch our heads towards the coast, searching hopefully for any possible wisp of fog.
Even if you never eat iceberg lettuce, it can be a lifesaver, at least emotionally, when the temperatures hover near three digits.
It’s also a good idea to keep yourself hydrated not with sweetened beverages but with water, including the flavored waters that are so easy to make at home. If you drink sodas, it can be very easy to drink too many when it is hot, as you simply up the amount instead of switching to something else.
We’ll leave the issue of sodas in general alone for now but sugar is not your friend in hot weather. Nor is alcohol, which means if you’re going to drink during a heat wave you should probably drink an equal amount of water or even a little more, as alcohol is dehydrating.
Keep freshly brewed ice tea and iced coffee in the refrigerator, have plenty of ice on hand, and do not forget about all the critters that live with or near you. Extra water for your cats and dogs is obvious, but it’s a good thing to set out water for birds, raccoons and our other wild friends (always using good judgment when it comes to placement, of course; these are not pets and we should never try to tame them, just help them now and then in extreme circumstances).
Iceberg lettuce has a large percentage of water, which is what makes it so refreshing.
Iceberg Wedges with Blue Cheese Dressing and Oregon Bay Shrimp
Serves 4 to 6
1 pound fresh (not previously frozen) Oregon bay shrimp, rinsed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, cut in wedges
1 ounce blue cheese of choice
2 tablespoons creme fraiche
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
— Kosher salt
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to taste
— Black pepper in a mill
2 tablespoons snipped fresh chives
1 small red onion, cut into very thin rounds, rings separated
1 medium firm head of iceberg lettuce, trimmed, cut into wedges and cored
— Black pepper in a mill
— Chives, whole, for garnish, optional
Put the shrimp in a medium bowl, add the olive oil and the juice of 1 of the lemon wedges. Toss and set aside, along with the remaining lemon wedges.
Put the blue cheese in a medium bowl and break it into small pieces. Add the creme fraiche and mix together with a fork; you can mix until it’s smooth or leave it chunky, whatever you prefer. Add the lemon juice and sprinkle several pinches of salt into it; agitate the bowl gently to dissolve the salt. Mix with a fork.