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Ugh, summer

The icon makes me feel better.

So, yeah, I'm not a big fan of summer. I hate being hot and the flatlands are almost always humid which is WORSE. I don't mind having the sun around for more of the day, because natural light rocks my world, and fresh fruit and veg from the local farmers' market = made of win, but on the whole I'm not a fan. Lately my big beef is, well, beef, or rather cooking. It's too hot to cook most of the time, and salads and sammichs and veggie plates w/ hummus are all well and good, but lately I've been feeling sort of blah on them because there was this whole thing about re-learning to cook and I've made tasty foods and now I have all this TIME to use and just no energy to turn on the stove (evil source of yet more heat in my home).

Clearly, I'm in a blathering mood. Don't mind me. I'll get to the point eventually, which was I was wondering if any of you all had any tasty summer-type recipes to recommend? I love the idea of cold soups but haven't ever actually made one, and other than that I can't really think of what sort of things would be good for summer. (Possibly because all creativity has melted out of my brain from heat.) So, suggestions?


( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 8th, 2011 07:03 pm (UTC)
I make a yummy, easy pasta salad for summer dinners.

1 pkg rainbow rotini
1 bottle italian dressing (You probably won't use the whole bottle, it's kind of a 'to taste' and just how wet you want your salad kind of thing)
1 can whole black olives
8 oz mozzarella cheese, cubed
1 pkg grape tomatoes
~1/4-1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (another to taste sort of thing. I like mine heavy on parmesan, but if you want to keep the fat lower, use less dressing and less parmesan).

Cook noodles until they are al dente. drain, rinse, and continue rinsing in cold water until they are close to room temperature. Drain olives and toss them in. Rinse tomatoes and put them in whole. Add mozzarella, stir to combine, then start adding the dressing, about 6-8 oz at first. Stir, check flavour, add more if necessary and stir again. Finally add parmesan to taste, eat immediately or cover and chill for a cool, refreshing dinner.

I've customized it many times, thrown in cauliflower, broccoli, peas, whatever sounds good when I make it. If you want more protein than just the cheese, you could even buy some of that pre-cooked chicken they sell and toss that on top. It stays good in the fridge for several days, but around here it usually doesn't survive more than two or three because my husband loves it so much he eats it for every meal in the summer. :D and it only requires stove use for about 7 minutes, long enough to boil the noodles.
Jul. 8th, 2011 09:33 pm (UTC)
This sounds really good. I'm not a super fan of italian dressing so I never have it around - possible suggestions for alternatives?
Jul. 8th, 2011 10:12 pm (UTC)
I'm not a super fan of italian dressing, either. In fact, this is the only thing I ever buy it for, but you could always experiment, maybe it would work with a balsamic vinagrette, or something.

Oh, and another add in that i like is cubed cured meat: pepperoni, salami, ham...NOM.
Jul. 8th, 2011 10:21 pm (UTC)
I still some lemon/mac nut dressing that I picked up in Hawaii at Christmas that I might try this with tomorrow...
Jul. 8th, 2011 07:29 pm (UTC)
Insalata Caprese!

1 large ripe juicy tomato
similarly sized chunk of fresh, soft mozzarella cheese(has to be fresh, preferably in whey or brine.)
basil leaves
really good olive oil, preferably unfiltered
french bread or similar

Slice tomato. Salt and pepper to taste and allow to sit for 1 hour to bring out the juices. Slice mozzarella to cover all the tomato slices. Roll the basil leaves up and cut into ribbons at an angle (so that they're pretty and zig-zaggy) and sprinkle onto cheese. Add more pepper if desired. Drizzle the whole thing with olive oil.

Eat. Use bread to mop up leftover juices and oil.
Jul. 8th, 2011 09:35 pm (UTC)

You know, it's weird, in my head cooking is always this Major Thing, very Srs Bzns and all, and I forget that it can be something simple, like tomatoes and mozzarella w/ tasty stuffs.

Do you leave the tomato to sit out or in fridge?
Jul. 8th, 2011 09:36 pm (UTC)
Sit out. Fridge is bad for tomatoes, makes them tasteless.
Jul. 8th, 2011 09:53 pm (UTC)
Jul. 8th, 2011 10:22 pm (UTC)
Ooh, that also sounds really good, for a day when I can cope w/ stove. And in theory I know this about tomatoes, but in practice I keep having to remind myself...
Jul. 8th, 2011 10:43 pm (UTC)
I have an entire newsfeed dedicated to food blogs... I bookmark recipes as I see them and cook them to death.


Another tasty one.
Jul. 8th, 2011 09:27 pm (UTC)
Do you want recipes which require no heat to make, or is heat okay?
Jul. 8th, 2011 09:32 pm (UTC)
Either and/or both. Depending on my mood and the temp of the day, I can cope with more heat or less. Today, despite not actually being all that hot, was a total "MUST NEVER COOK AGAIN" moment, leading to a dinner of cold cuts and cheese on bread and this post. Conversely, last night I was seriously thinking about making curry or stir fry.
Jul. 9th, 2011 07:52 am (UTC)
My gazpacho recipe is based on this Everyday Food one though I put in tofu instead of shrimp and I use a raw green bell pepper instead of a jarred roasted one and I put in more cucumber. But really the glory of gazpacho is that you can do whatever you want with it. Some people put in celery, which I don't care for.

Here's another one: cucumber lychee gazpacho from Aarti Sequeira, which looks easy and also has yogurt and almonds so there's protein.

Another thing I like to do is look at the composed salads, like the pasta and grain salads on salad bars in places like Whole Foods, and get ideas there. I have a tuna and white bean salad that's based on just taking the things I like from several tuna and white bean salad recipes. I'm experimenting with a quinoa and tofu salad with roasted peppers right now, and have it almost right.

The pasta salad I'm making today is:
1/2 lb ww penne or rotini
1 bunch broccoli
1 lb chicken breast
1/2 of a 10 oz jar of sundried tomatoes in oil
red wine vinegar

Put on a big pot that's about half full of water. Cut up the broccoli, including the stem, and put it in a colander. When the water boils dump in the pasta and put the colander on top to steam the broccoli. Because you're doing both, it will probably take a little longer to cook the pasta than what's on the box; I start checking at the time on the box.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper and broil for about 10-15 mins until cooked through, flipping once.

Drain the pasta and rinse it; also rinse the broccoli with cold water to stop it cooking further from its own heat. Put everything in the fridge for a bit.

Slice the tomatoes and cut the chilled chicken into chunks. Take about half of oil in the jar and add vinegar to it to make a dressing. (I like half oil and half vinegar but do this to your taste.) Combine the pasta, broccoli, chicken and tomatoes, then put in dressing to suit you.

I feel like summer cooking is mostly about finding really great ingredients and combining them in ways that suit you, rather than following recipes. Summer cooking ends up being a lot of salads, you just have to vary the stuff you're putting in.

Edited at 2011-07-09 11:53 am (UTC)
Jul. 9th, 2011 06:08 pm (UTC)
Ooooh, cucumber and lychee sounds like the best combination, ever. <3

I feel like summer cooking is mostly about finding really great ingredients and combining them in ways that suit you, rather than following recipes.

Yes, I agree, which is kind of my problem. I end up just buying ingredients and eating them, and feel like I'm failing on the whole "combining them in clever ways" bit, so am looking for little kicks in the pants to go "oh, right, I could do that!" Which this definitely is, so thanks.
Jul. 11th, 2011 02:23 pm (UTC)
If you want that you might want to look in the same places I look, which is in magazines and on TV. I watch a bunch of cooking shows and have gotten a ton of great ideas from them. Sometimes it isn't a recipe I want to make so much as an approach, or a combination of things. You think, "I could do that, but with this other thing I like." Or flip through the more accessible cooking magazines like Bon App and Everyday Food. Or poke around at stores and see what their readymade food tastes like.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )


The eyes have it. watching.
Corn-fed sushi lover

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