Six Things to Eat in the Heat

At the end of June, I asked you all for your summer food suggestions. Here's the round-up (plus a few extra):

  1. Salads
    We can move beyond typical salads (lettuce drenched in dressing) to look at chopped salads, bean salads, fruit salads (sweet or savory), potato salads, and pasta salads. Some of these can be made in large quantities that will keep for a while. Salads can easily become a main course, and they don't need to be raw. Quickly seared (or grilled) meats and vegetables work well for making a hearty entree salad. If they cook quickly, it isn't going to get too hot.
  2. Grilling
    Yes, your grill gets very hot... but it is outside and shouldn't heat your house up. There's a reason we like to grill in the summer.
  3. Stews and Braises
    Crimfan notes that a crockpot won't really heat up your kitchen. I'll expand that to include all sorts of low-and-slow cooking. We normally think of braises and stews as cold weather food, but (particularly if you skip the pile of root vegetables) they can certainly work in the summer as well. Think chili. A rice cooker is another tool that works well in the summer.
  4. Raw, Fermented, or Cured Foods
    Consider meals that don't require cooking at all: bread, cheese, and fruit is a classic. Gazpacho. Sashimi. Carpaccio. Salamis. Pickled vegetables. Yogurt. There are many options.
  5. Dips
    Thick tzaziki. Hummus. Babaganouj. Add something to dip such as raw vegetable, bread, or tortilla chips. Olives and cheeses might be appropriate as well. Also consider raitas, chutneys, salsas, guacamole...
  6. Lessons from this past weekend
    When we were in South Carolina last weekend, my brother's best friend's wife and her mother (who are Guatemalan) made a ceviche variant. The end result was a gazpacho-like mix of chopped tomatoes, onions, and cilantro with cooked shrimp. A quick and dirty way of approximating this would be to take a mild salsa, add some fresh cilantro (and maybe a can of diced tomatoes), and some precooked shrimp (or uncooked shrimp that you've marinated in lime juice and/or vinegar). They served it with crackers, but a thin-sliced baguette would have been even better. You can easily substitute (or add) other sorts of seafood.

    We also had plenty of bagels this past weekend. I think my parents brought over 4 dozen bagels with them (for six people over about four days). Bagels with cream cheese, smoked salmon, and sliced onion and tomato is a classic. Variations are easy: add capers, substitute smoked trout for the salmon, try sliced/grilled vegetables with a bit of olive oil...


My Mom makes it with a toasted Montreal style sesame bagel, cream cheese, lox and english cucumber shaved as thin as you can. Possibly my favorite all time breakfast / brunch. A sprig of dill is a nice garnish, and if you're feeling sacrilegious you can dab some Japanese chili sauce (Momoji Oroshi) on the cucumbers.

Stuart Broz's picture

Sounds lovely. The dill definitely works, and I'm becoming more and more a fan of cucumbers as time goes by...

See recipe (I almost hesitate to call it that) at the bottom:

Essentially it's a mustardy variant on a Greek salad.

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