Baby, It’s HOT Outside! (and Contest Reminder)

Friday, June 19, 2009

ssundrinking

It’s been another scorcher today in the Sunshine State! By 9:00 this morning the temperature had already shot up to 85 degrees F., and was steadily climbing. For weeks now, we’ve been experiencing hot, blistering days and nights in the 90′s. People, let me tell you, that is HOT! Not even the short, sporadic bursts of rain we’ve had have managed to cool things off.

Now, I know that many of you are reading this while snow is still melting and thunderstorms have been pummeling down all around you, thinking “What is she b*tching about?”. But, let me tell you, this incessant heat is no day at the beach! It’s oppressive! While the the sun is shining in a pristine blue sky, and flowers are blooming in a profusion of bright, beautiful colors, it’s too darn hot to spend much time outside to enjoy it. Honestly, I don’t know how people ever survived here before air conditioning!

The last thing I feel like doing in weather like this is cooking. So, unless I have to, I don’t. We still have to eat, so I rely a lot on take-out, outdoor grilling and quick, easy dishes that require very little or no cooking. This was one of those weeks, where I was able to just coast.

I do believe, however, that you can still be creative in the kitchen even if you don’t turn on the oven. Just to prove it to you, I’ve dug out some of my favorite summertime recipes from the SGCC archives. Each one is satisfying and delicious, and guaranteed to help you beat the heat. I hope you enjoy them!

gazpacho2 This simple chilled Gazpacho is a Spanish-style soup that sort of resembles a chunky, liquid salad. It has lots of fresh, raw vegetables suspended in a broth of tomato juice. It’s full of zesty and refreshing flavors, and is one of my favorite warm weather meals. I like to jazz it up a little with some diced jalapeno, fresh lime juice and a dash of Tabasco. I often top it with a little creme fraiche and a few boiled shrimp.

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strawberrysoup4 Another lovely summertime soup is this Sumptuous Strawberry Soup. I’ve served this soup both as a brunch dish and a dessert. Ripe, fresh strawberries are blended with yogurt, sour cream, lime juice and honey. The result is a cross between a rich mousse and a smoothie.

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edamame-tomato-salad2 This Edamame & Heirloom Tomato Salad with Lemon-Miso Vinaigrette is light and vibrant dish made with heirloom tomatoes tossed in a light lemon-miso vinaigrette, along with steamed edamame, scallions and a chiffonade of shiso leaves. Of course, you can add any mix of vegetables and herbs you like to this salad. Throw in some pre-boiled shrimp from the market, and you have a complete meal.

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pacificrimburger2 My Kitchen Sink Asian Slaw is another great summer salad. All you need to start is some pre-packaged cole slaw mix from the produce aisle of the supermarket and build on that. I toss in some scallions, diced mango and pineapple, thinly sliced kumquats and some garlic. Then, I dress it with a bottled ginger dressing, also from the supermarket, squeeze in a little lime juice and squirt in a generous blob of Sriracha sauce. The result is a fabulously sweet and spicy slaw that will knock your socks off!

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mysterypasta4 This Chicken Pasta Alfresco came to be one night as I was rushing to make dinner and accidentally dumped my cooked pasta into my Caprese salad instead of my chicken and mushroom pasta sauce. After that, the only thing left to do was mix the chicken in too! I did and it was fabulous! If you’re militant about not turning on your stove, you can eliminate the chicken and serve this pasta with just the salad. Or, you can add some shrimp or rotisserie chicken from the market. It’s all good!

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rachelsandwich2 The Rachel sandwich is a variation of the ever-popular Ruben. It’s filled with lean pastrami, cheese and either coleslaw or sauerkraut. And, it can be cooked either on your barbecue grill or with a small tabletop electric grill, like the Griddler.

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arugulasandwich1 I’ve never given this big, fat Italian-style sandwich a name of its own, but I make it all the time. I layer slices of various cured meats, like prosciutto, capicola ham and sopressata Calabrese (which is like a spicy salami) on one side of a ciabatta loaf. On the other side, I spread a generous layer of crisp, peppery arugula, thick, ripe, juicy slabs of heirloom tomatoes and slices of fresh buffalo mozzarella. Then I drizzle a little balsamic vinaigrette on top, close up the sandwich and voila – dinner!

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pacificrimburger1 These Pacific Rim Burgers with Ginger Mayonnaise are hands down my favorite burger ever. They are made with ground chicken and some spicy good stuff. They are glazed with a honey-teriyaki mixture and either grilled or seared in a pan. Then, the burgers are smothered with an utterly magical ginger-based mayo, topped with crunchy, fresh cucumbers and served on toasted sesame seed buns. These burgers are so moist, flavorful and delicious that you will forget you’re eating ground chicken. Honest! I swear! You’ll never miss the beef!

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chipotlevealchops4 A visit to Whole Foods is usually a dangerous proposition for me. I almost always go armed with a specific list of items to buy, and I never stick to it. I can’t help myself! The day I bought these veal chops was no exception. As the name implies, the first time I made these Pan Roasted Veal Chops with Chipotle-Lime Butter, I seared them in a cast iron skillet. Since then, I’ve made them out on the grill and they’re just as succulent and juicy that way.

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So, there you have it – a small arsenal of tired and true, simple and tasty recipes you can serve to family and friends without breaking a sweat!

Enjoy!

I just want to add in a reminder that my Razor Clams recipe contest ends at midnight EDT tonight. If you haven’t submitted your recipe ideas yet, get moving! You can find the details here.

31 responses to Baby, It’s HOT Outside! (and Contest Reminder)

  1. On June 19, 2009 at 8:21pm, Sarah said...

    Thanks for reminding us of all those fabulous recipes! I love the idea of strawberry soup & that reuben looks pretty dang tasty right now!

    We finally broke our heat wave here in Seattle but as soon as the temperatures go back up (okay, probably long before that!) I'll be trying out some of these recipes. Thanks for sharing & hope the heat lets up a little for you!

  2. On June 19, 2009 at 8:43pm, 5 Star Foodie said...

    What a great collection of delicious summertime recipes!

  3. On June 19, 2009 at 11:09pm, Coleen's Recipes said...

    What excellent recipes, my goodness!! I would absolutely melt in those kinds of temperatures.

  4. On June 20, 2009 at 2:07am, Manggy said...

    Oh, we're roughly the same temperature right now! ;) I still bake and stuff though– just a matter of getting used to something I guess! BUT I totally should be making more of your sammiches. I love 'em all! :)

  5. On June 20, 2009 at 2:36am, Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

    A great collection of recipes! We've also had hot days (86°F), but the suffering is yet to come! Here, in Geneva, the air is always stuffy, thick and humid…

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  6. On June 20, 2009 at 3:30am, Snooky doodle said...

    I hate summer heat! too hot! How many nice suggestions they all look delicious. That gazpacho is really interesting

  7. On June 20, 2009 at 5:34am, Kim said...

    Yes, it is hot! Going to get up to the high 90's today again. I really belong in the Artic as I adore the cold. Thanks for the light ideas!

  8. On June 20, 2009 at 6:24am, Núria said...

    Dearest Susan! Sorry I didn't visit earlier… I meant to… but, life is taking all my energy now!
    Too much heat stresses me too! I cannot stand it, but your spread of fresh and easy recipes are the best choice for the Infernal heat! Your gazpacho looks tremendous girl! Enjoy and try a cold Vichyssoise too ;D

  9. On June 20, 2009 at 8:23am, Joan Nova said...

    Tell me about it! I'm in South Florida. Nice selection of cool meals, especially the gazpacho. I was just thinking about making some.

  10. On June 20, 2009 at 9:08am, Susan @ SGCC said...

    Thanks for the comments, guys! I'm glad you like my "beat the heat" menu suggestions. I see that I am not suffering alone. Good thing misery loves company!

    Manggy- I just bought Colicchio's new book, Wichcraft, so I'll be making lots of sandwiches this summer.

    Rosa- I never would have guessed that Geneva was like that. I thought you had a much cooler climate!

    Kim- I adore the cold too. I guess the grass is always greener….

    Nuria- Don't sweat it, sweetie! Just stay "cool". ;)

    Joan- Oooh! Where are you in So FL?

  11. On June 20, 2009 at 11:27am, Nina Timm said...

    We are the ones recovering from a rain storm, but let me tell you Susan, I would happily have quite a few of these recipes even now!!!!

  12. On June 20, 2009 at 6:38pm, Bellini Valli said...

    The BBQ is my best friend on days like these Susan. Some excellent suggestions to beat the heat!!!!

  13. On June 20, 2009 at 8:01pm, Pam said...

    I hate hot weather. I actually spend less time outdoors when it's hot, then when it's cold.

    The cool, summer dishes sound good, particularly the pacific rim burger.

  14. On June 20, 2009 at 9:08pm, Chow and Chatter said...

    it even got up to 100 degrees here in Winston Salem great recipes for summer, Rebecca

  15. On June 20, 2009 at 10:54pm, Bren said...

    Susan, it's been hot as hec here, too! Like today it was 101 around 4! totally unacceptable!!! the thought of being outside is just painful.
    thanks for sharing food options on days like this. i really like the gazpacho!

  16. On June 21, 2009 at 5:08am, Cakelaw said...

    Some great ideas for hot days Susan!

  17. On June 21, 2009 at 7:50am, Ivy said...

    Those dishes all sound perfect for hot weather but here in Greece we are used to hot temperatures and I never stop baking in the summer.

  18. On June 21, 2009 at 2:12pm, Karen @ Mignardise said...

    Great post!
    The Pacific Rim burger looks delicious. And I love the strawberry soup idea.
    I will send some cool, damp, rainy weather your way – I've got plenty of it.

  19. On June 21, 2009 at 10:33pm, pinkstripes said...

    Great recipes! I wish it would get hot here in SoCal. It's been a gloomy june.

  20. On June 22, 2009 at 6:20am, Simply...Gluten-free said...

    Oh yes! It is hot. These are are all great recipes to help beat the heat.

  21. On June 22, 2009 at 6:35am, Jeff said...

    Would rather be burning up than freezing in zero degree weather or worse shoveling snow.

    I am going to have to give the edamame salad a try because I have been on a huge edamame kick lately.

  22. On June 22, 2009 at 10:08am, Hillary said...

    That gazpacho looks awesome. I never realized gazpacho never used heat…I always thought it was cooked in a saucepan and then chilled. How easy to just use a food processor!

  23. On June 22, 2009 at 3:52pm, Katrina said...

    Nice looking food!
    It's been stinkin' hot here, too. Even a heat advisory out today with high of like 97 and humidity making it feel like 110+. Sigh. No fun to keep the kids indoors, but yuck. When I came out of the gym after working out this morning at 7 a.m., it was already 90! Sigh. (I'm in Kansas. It's supposed to be this yucky all week!)
    Stay cool!

  24. On June 22, 2009 at 6:21pm, Annie said...

    What a great line-up of recipes… And I actually like the name "big fat Italian Sandwich"! :)

  25. On June 23, 2009 at 3:56am, Colleen said...

    Yummy lineup of recipes for summer……at the moment here it is freezing and we are having a monster of a rain storm with galeforce winds and driving rain….so its soup, stews, casseroles, hot chocolate for me hehe…xxx

  26. On June 23, 2009 at 1:29pm, Ingrid said...

    Oh, my goodness, unless they're living it right now they have no idea how hot it is. Yesterday when I got into the car (windows were cracked) it said it was 108 DEGREES! Yikes, I agree I don't know how they managed without A/C!

    Thanks for sharing some of your summer faves. A few I missed and will check out in depth.
    ~ingrid

  27. On June 23, 2009 at 5:35pm, City Girl said...

    All these recipes look lovely :) And thank you for linking me on your blog. It's an honor :)

  28. On June 23, 2009 at 6:38pm, MaryBeth said...

    I love the strawberry soup…Having that ice-cold would be great on an extra hot day.

  29. On June 23, 2009 at 9:28pm, Tangled Noodle said...

    It's been sooo long since I visited but hopefully, I'm back on track! I don't blame you for not wanting to add to the temps by firing up the oven, stove or grill. I remember those kinds of days when we lived in NC and GA. These recipes are all winners – I can't wait to read through them all and try some out! Thanks so much for bringing them under the spotlight once again!

  30. On June 23, 2009 at 10:21pm, Proud Italian Cook said...

    I remember salvitating over most of these, especially that big fat Italian sangwich!!

  31. On June 25, 2009 at 4:19pm, Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

    Hope it cools down for you soon!

    All wonderful rcipes!

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Hello and welcome to SGCC! I’m Susan, a professional writer, food columnist, recipe developer, wife, mother, daughter and sister, who used to be a lawyer in a previous life. My love of food comes from a long line of wonderful and creative Italian home cooks who didn’t always have a lot, but knew how to make a lot out of what they had. I hope that you enjoy yourself while you’re here, and visit often! read more >>

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