Here in Northern California the weather has been warm. Very warm. So warm, in fact, that when it’s time to cook dinner I want to stick my head in the freezer and not come out. But, there’s only so much freezer living you can do before it’s time to eat, so we thought we would dedicate this week’s post to cooking when it’s hot.
In areas of the world where the temperature frequently stays above 100 there are very specific things people do (and cook and eat) to cool themselves off with food. A lot has been said about why hot food keeps us cool and spicy food keeps us healthy. If you are looking for the science behind this, today’s post is not it. Instead we are looking to inspire you to still get out your knife and cutting board when temperatures reach a record high, by giving you a few simple ideas that will keep you cool and (mostly) away from the hot stove.
There are two challenges you face when cooking on a hot day: the meal you eat needs to sufficiently hydrate you, and, it has to be quick to make. Here are some of the things that have worked for us:
- Lean on your staples by boiling up some pasta, rice or quinoa and serve Mediterranean style with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and olive oil or with a few vegetables, olives, capers and our clear French dressing.
- Make a big chopped salad that includes vegetables, a protein (yesterday’s leftover chicken) and a little cheese. Dress it lightly with some olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.
- Cut up a fresh cucumber or bell pepper, lightly salt it and snack away.
- Spread some ricotta on toasts (or crackers) with a little bit of honey or some pitted sweet Bing cherries.
- Make a fruit salsa swapping the tomatoes with strawberries, mango or peach and serve with chips and a salad.
- Take advantage of the fresh summer produce making a bowl of fresh fruit with a dollop of yoghurt or kefir.
- Freeze your blueberries, grapes and strawberries and snack on them to keep your cool.
- Buy a whole watermelon, purée it in the blender, pair it with some feta, serve it in mouth-watering, lip-snacking slices. It is always a big hit in these temperatures.
Hope these ideas will help you to stay cool while still spending time in the kitchen. Come and cook with us!