We're in the midst of yet another heat wave here in Boston. I remember when Boston had short Spring seasons a beautiful June then July would be dicey. August typically hazy, hot, humid. Now it seems we go from tree pollen producing wet/hot Spring and skip right to the dog days. We've had precious few of those halcyon days that tempt us to optimism and outdoor fun. Other than grilling, which is tough for some of us city folk with no outdoor space, picnics can be enjoyed but not by me when it's over 90. Even when you don't feel like cooking, you can eat and enjoy satisfying meals when the mercury rises. Somen - Japanese Cold Noodles
One of my favorite warm weather meals is Japanese Somen. I remember us begging my mother to make them for us. We'd eagerly wait while she sloshed ice cubes and cold water over the delicate snow-white noodles. Slurping them down was both fun and cooling.
Peanut Noodles Another favorite cold noodle dish are these peanut noodles. I'm including my recipe and the story of how I acquired it in my upcoming book. If you want a little protein but can't stand the thought of meat-based meals when the mercury rises, why not enjoy a smoothie? This one gets loads of antioxidants from blueberries, spinach and cocoa.
To satisfy the yen for something crunchy, try Kim O'Donnel's homemade falafel. The headnote to her recipe describes them a "jig inducing" and I have been known to do the happy dance while tasting these chickpea fritters. There's a little frying involved but nothing that heats up the kitchen too much.
I love bean and grain based salads. You get crunch, chew, heft, protein and you don't get weighed down eating them.
Fresh rolls are fun and an easy way to incorporate lots of farm-fresh vegetables, herbs and, if you like, some protein.
One Burner/One Pot Meals
Poaching may be my favorite summertime cooking technique. You can have lovely protein for salad, sandwiches, wraps in about 15-20 minutes. It's also very healthy using no fat in the cooking. Here, I took two boneless skinless chicken breasts, rolled in plastic wrap and had neat looking poached breast cylinders.
Here's a quick lesson in poaching chicken.
What are your favorite too-hot-to-cook meals?
How about some gazpacho?