Summer Fare

The heatwave of this week has put me in mind of an issue I face every summer. What to eat?

Necessary background information: I am pathetic when it comes to heat. For all my bitching about winter this year, I would rather have snow than blinding heat any day. I spent entire summers of my youth wilting on a sofa waiting for fall. Things have not improved.

On Sunday we were in Northampton, sitting down to eat after a day of gallivanting (mostly in an air-conditioned car) in the 80-some degree heat. I ordered my favorite dish in my favorite restaurant (Chicken Piccata served over Lemon Fettucine) and found, to my dismay, that I was too hot and wilted to have an appetite. A feeble attempt at mustering hunger left me with a little over half of my food leftover and a fridge for left-overing nowhere nearby. Alas.

So, I'm asking you all: do you have delicious recipes for tasty, yet light dishes for the summer? A few preferences: salads are well and good, but not considered by myself or my husband to be much of a meal most of the time (this may change come summer in our new third floor walk-up). I have never (not even once!) cooked fish, and it seems like a good hot-weather option, so send those recipes along! Otherwise, I'm open to suggestion.

Also, any tips on container-gardening are also welcome.


Blume said...

Bluefish is in season right about now! Marinate it in
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tsp mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
s&p to taste

Then bake it for, I dunno, a while. The above amount of marinade is supposed to be enough for 2 lb of fish, but I use that much for 1 lb, and then pour off the excess from the baking dish for sauce.

Blume said...

Also, swordfish is especially great if you've got a grillpan. Serve it with a salsa of mango and tomato.

Blume said...


Sauté diced onion and zucchini until they're semi-soft. Add hot pepper flakes and cinnamon*. Add currants and pine nuts and salt and keep cooking until the currants are a little plumped and the zucchini is your preferred cooked-zucchini texture. Mix up with prepared couscous.

You can make this dish heartier by adding ground beef. I'd probably brown the beef separately and add it with the currants and pine nuts.

*The cinnamon is front and center in this dish, so it makes all the difference to use really tasty stuff. I recommend the chinese cassia cinnamon from Penzey's.

Liz said...

I made the best gazpacho ever last summer. Gazpacho I love, but it can be too acidic. For this best gazpacho ever, I roasted some of the tomatoes and the red peppers on a cookie sheet in the oven for about 10 min before blending. It was a recipe from the yellow Gourmet cookbook. I'll forward the recipe when I get back home.
Or you could add this step to any gazpacho recipe. I like this with a salad on the side and garlic croutons.
Ooo summer cooking. Yum yum yum. Another fav is my mom's mango chicken salad (make chicken salad, add fresh mango and a touch of cumin and curry spices, serve over green salad w/whatever veg you desire=substantial enough to be a salad meal.
I often buy frozen tilapia, which is a fairly meaty white fish. This is good marinated in a teriaki sauce and then pan-sauteed and served with rice and veg, but this for me gets into the too-much-cooking category. I try to avoid using the stove in summertime.

wjh said...

Das beste für den heißesten Tag des Jahres: Buttermilch und Zwieback. Zwieback in Stücke brechen und in die Buttermilch in einer Schüssel werfen. Zucker drauf. Lecker. Muss man nicht mal "kochen". :)