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Hot weather dinners: your faves?

It's unseasonably hot in San Francisco, a city where none of us have air conditioning...I can't bear the idea of eating anything hot this evening, so I'm looking for some good hot weather dinner ideas. I've seen nicoise salad listed on the boards as a good one...any other? Thanks!

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  1. In hot weather I like a big bowl of tabouli with a glass of lemonade w/mint. And gazpacho is good too.

    2 Replies
    1. re: AnnaEA

      I like the middle Eastern direction too -- usually do two or three of the following: hummus, feta cheese, salad, taramasalata, tabouli, olives, pita, pickled beets, green sald -- and a cold beer.

      Another think I like to do is a salad with chicken, goat-cheese, toasted walnut, apples and mixed greens with a lime-olive oil or balsamic dressing.

      1. re: bite bite

        too funny. i had middle eastern/mediterranean today for lunch at the crocker galleria in downtown sf. weather was scorching hot and my veggie combo was perfect for it: refreshing, tasty and spice-y, nothing heavy or too filling. the combo plate had tabouli, lentil salad w/mango, hummus, baba ganoush (sp?), dolmas, and falafel! and all for less than $7. =)

        i think the worst thing you can do in weather like this is turn on the oven or make a stew or braise. need to stick to the light and refreshing preparations.

    2. There's a poster from L.A. who's in the same situation and has also started a thread...how about a stir-fry, or maybe a soup and salad combo? A pressure-cooker comes in handy though I'm not suggesting that everyone can run out and buy one...(though they seem to last forEVER...have had my Prest-O since 1978! It's like a tank!) Others have also suggested using a crockpot and Foreman grill.

      1. Naengmyon - Korean iced buckwheat noodle soup. Fantastic on hot days.
        Bi Bim Bop with the veggies straight from the fridge, medium egg on top, a spoonful of gochujang and a bowl of sticky rice. Made with seasoned spinach, mung bean sprouts, shredded daikon, sweet potato stems, shredded cucumber, and shredded beef.

        1. One thing we eat when it's too hot to cook is Swiss meusli. Yes, for supper. Too late for tonight but tomorrow morning or even this evening, place 2 cups rolled oats in a bowl, mix in 1 c milk and add some honey. Pop it in the fridge for several hours or overnight and at supper time add lots of fresh fruit, some almonds or hazelnuts or whatever you like, and a cup of plain yogurt. I always like it best when one of the fruits is an orange. This doesn't sound like much but it's actually delicious and, for me at least, addicting. A piece of toasted whole grain bread with some honey spread on it tastes good with the muesli.
          Makes a cool, nutritious no-cook supper on a steamy day.
          Really, it's one of those things that tastes better than it sounds.

          1. Cold soba noodles with sesame paste, topped with julienned cucumbers and carrots, bean sprouts and diced chicken.

            Or, I just completely breakdown and have a large bowl of ice cream with PB&J sandwich.

            1. I feel ya Shiro. I too am in the Bay Area and it's unbearable today.

              This evening I made a simple salmon that took just 17 minutes in the oven. Just cover it in dijon mustard, some chopped scallions, and some salt and pepper. Along with roasted asparagus, it makes a nice fresh meal. You can replace the salmon with any other firm white fish.

              My other backup is a salad with romaine hearts, avocado, and some sliced flank steak.

              1. With a name like Shiromaguro, I would think the first thing that would come to mind would be a big cold block of tofu that has been sliced into cubes, and liberally adorned with shoyu or ponzu, katsuo, goma, and green onions... You can sip some iced mugicha and have shaved ice for dessert - don't forget the kintoki!

                1 Reply
                1. re: bulavinaka

                  I was just going to suggest this!

                  Other options:
                  Lettuce wraps or summer rolls (same concept, different wrapper)
                  Salad topped with a poached egg
                  Gado-gado (my bastardized version, blanched veggies and tofu/hard-boiled egg with spicy peanut dipping sauce)
                  "Taco" salad - veggie burger on greens with corn, cilantro, chopped peppers, spicy salsa and plain yogurt
                  Tomatoes stuffed with couscous salad
                  Steamed artichokes with lightened lemon vinaigrette

                2. curry chicken salad, with cooked rice , chunks of chicken sliced red and green grapes, celery, onion mixed together with a mayonaise, curry mixter, you can also add madarin oranges great for a warm evening!!

                  1. As someone who moved from the beach to the desert 4 years ago, I've not really noticed a change in my desire for cooler foods (as in actual temp. or spicy heat). But we do try to avoid cooking indoors during the summer. We spend a small fortune keeping the house cool, so cranking the oven is counterproductive.

                    Some things that can be found on my patio when it's hot: The BBQ, an electric skillet, a panini press, a little deep fat fryer, small george forman grill, etc. Bottom line: cook as much as you can outside, if you can find a little corner to do so.

                    But in terms of food, I'm not sure if it matters that much. If it's 100 degrees out, how many dishes will/can be served hotter?

                    Similarly, it's interesting to observe how most of the hottest climates in the world have produced much of the spiciest fare. From our domestic Hatch chiles to jalapenos, Southeast Asian to African, the hot places often have the hottest food. Rather than a cold cucumber soup, maybe that kimchee burn will make you forget the weather for a spell, or throw your body into a state of confusion where 110 degrees seems downright chilly.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: tastyjon

                      I think there is alot of truth to the thought that eating/drinking hot food/drinks in a hot climate "fools" one body into thinking it needs to cool down. Conversely, I can't imagine Finns eating alot of chilies in the dead of winteras this would cause an inordinate amount of sweating, thereby making them freeze like popcicles in their frigid sub-zero climate. But I also theorize that alot of the foods created over the centuries in hotter climates (especially those that are very humid) were done so out of practicality in terms of availability of ingredients, but also in terms of long-term storage options.

                      For example, sashimi would not be an ideal dish to be offering in the humid climates of Malaysia or coastal Mexico of times past. How did these two geographic areas deal with the dilemma of having access to a fine but fragile protein source in the old days? Ceviche in Mexico, where the addition of acid (lime juice) wards off bacteria for a fair amount of time. Otak otak, fried fish, and fish curries in Malaysia. These don't require refrigeration - in fact, the "sterilization" process of high temperature cooking (deep-frynig, wok cooking) or lower temperature cooking for an extended period (kept on the simmer) will counter the invasion of microbes as well.

                      Also, foods and drinks that affect body temperature are a consideration at least in places like Malaysia and Singapore. The terms, "heaty," and "cooling," are used to describe the character of things that are consumed. One will often try to achieve a balance of something "heaty" with something that is "cooling" so as not to tip the body heat scale (metabolic rate) more than necessary. Just a subtle increase in the richness of one's food intake can make one feel incrementally warmer - not good in a place where the body is already trying at full capacity to stay cooler. If one decides that a rich laksa (heaty) that is knee-deep in coconut milk is in order, than the drink to counter this might be an iced barley drink (cooling). Maybe a slightly spicy rojak (cooling) would be appetizing for lunch... then maybe I'll have a hot ginger tea with milk (heaty) to balance out my choice.

                      Your choice to cook outside as much as possible goes right in line with cooking in SE Asia as well. As much as lifestyles have modernized in alot of ways in Malaysia, the one thing that still holds true for those that cook at home is to have a kitchen that is semi-outdoors, or at least with one wall open to the outdoors. Again, it's a practical issue, where introducing more heat (and smoke) into the household is undesireable.

                      All in all, I think the cuisines in hot climates are influenced by what their environment doles out to them, and how they respond to it.

                    2. Fish, Sushi, and fajitas are my hot day go to's. Fish Kababs with pineapple and red onion on the grill is great. Or a good wrap with any favorite sandwich/salad in a tortilla with a vinaigrette.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: chrystaldawn

                        Would you share your recipe for fish kabobs?? Sounds super yummy!

                      2. Go out for sushi.

                        Or, ratatouille and a side salad w/ poached chicken (which I eat dipped in fat free mayo... long standing family tradition)

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Emme

                          Thanks for all your comments. And to my Bay Area comrades, thanks for the empathy. I went with the Mediterranean like some of you recommended and it hit the spot, coupled with a nice glass of ice cold Riesling. And yes, I am betraying my nick by not thinking of sushi, but the fact is since today is not our first scorcher, I've already had my fill of sashimi and the like.

                          Tastyjon, you are right about the chili heat making one forget about actual heat! They say that a lot in Mexico, actually!

                          Thanks especially to all of you who have recommended cold noodle options...I'm definitely trying that tomorrow night when, according to local news, we'll hit the 90s again.

                          1. re: shiromaguro

                            Boy, do I feel plebian. I go for spud salad with franks or brats. salmon salad and tuna fruit salad.

                        2. Hiyashi chukasoba! Of course, you'd have to plan in advance in order not to boil the noodles and cook the meat during the hot part of the day. Vietnamese spring rolls are nice with peanut sauce. Vietnamese bun are great with grilled meat and sauce poured over all, filling but still fairly light on the stomach somehow.

                          1. Spinach sald with chutney dressing
                            Fruit salad with yogurt and granola

                            Or you can go all out one day and heat up the kitchen (unless you can grill outside) by roasting a bunch of chicken breasts and vegetables to turn into a few days worth of chicken salad and toss the roasted veggies with quinoa for another salad-ish option.

                            On another hot-weather board I posted a recipe for drunken strawberries... but another option for hot weather dessert is Frozen Fruit Salad. It isn't at all fancy and might even be considered semi-homemade - gasp! - since most ingredients come from a can... but there is no heat and nothing to clean up afterwards (because who wants to be elbow-deep in hot water when it is hot outside?)

                            1 large can apricots, drained
                            1 large can peaches, with juice
                            3 sliced bananas
                            1 cup crushed pineapple
                            1 can orange juice
                            1 1/2 cup frozen strawberries, cut in half
                            1/2 cup sugar

                            Mix all ingredients in pyrex pan and freeze.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Foodie in Friedberg

                              Coming from a colonial portion of South Africa, I've picked up the habit of eating incredibly spicy foods when its hot - so a violently hot curry to get one sweating, is my favourite when the temperatures are too high to deal with.

                              Sunflower oil, fry the curry spice for a moment, then add onions and chili, garum marsala, and cubes of meat, and seal them with frying, then start adding water to switch the curry from a frying form to a stew/liquid/boiling form. Add potato's, bay leaves, tomato to make more liquid - let it simmer for as long as you want, to set off smoke detectors everywhere, then when done, pour out over Basmati rice (that ones colored with Tumeric) and have 'sambals' on the side (bowls of plain yogurt, chopped onion/tomato/green peppers/chili)
                              Mmmm.. and the sweat pours out, and cools you down :)

                              1. re: TheFamine

                                zaru soba. easy, quick and delicious. boil the soba noodles accordingly. run through cold water 2x and drain. garnish with chopped up nori. buy the zaru soba dipping sauce. grind up daikon, chop up scallions - put into dipping sauce. and add wasabi, if desired. dip and eat! i like to eat sashimi on the side - i get sushi ready tuna/salmon from the fish market.

                                and - paht beeng sooh!! my absolute favorite summertime dessert. it's a korean dessert - shaved ice topped with sweet red bean paste, small pieces of mochi, fruit, and ice cream/cream.

                            2. A friend's dad who was on a submarine in WWII told us about how hot it would get down there. AC was not a priority during the war. They would drink scalding hot coffee, which made them feel cooler. Sounds odd, I know.

                              1. If it's too hot to cook, I take that literally! I'd open cans of good sardines, and we'd eat them with crackers, thin shreds of onion, and a squeeze of lemon. Some sliced tomatoes, cukes, green peppers, and carrots on the side. And ice-cold beer. To make it fancier, I'd replace the sardines and crackers with peppered smoked mackerel and bagels with cream cheese.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: bakergal

                                  I go Midwestern: I rub husked corn on the cob with butter, wrap it tightly with plastic wrap, and microwave it for a few minutes. I serve that with caprese--tomatoes/basil/fresh mozzarella--and call it a meal. Overeating in hot weather is always a mistake.

                                2. The hotter the weather the happier I am.

                                  I love to fire up the smoker, or the grill on my deck, and sip tequila, and beer while I smoke some ribs , or grill up some skirt steak, flank steak, chicken breasts, or pork chops, and have some tacos, with some guacamole, corn on the cob, and a nice green salad. All while listening to a White Sox game on the radio.. A hot summer day spent this way is bliss for me.

                                  1. While I understand your desire to eat cool things. I have heard people say that eating hoy liquidy things helps you sweat. Which is suppose to cool you down. Like how they eat pho in Vietnam. Ever notice how spicy things are more commom in hot places?

                                    1. It was hot down here in L.A., so I made a big chopped salad -- chicken breasts I had grilled on the George Foreman (actually this weekend, so no cooking last night!) and tossed with some BBQ sauce, cherry tomatoes, corn, chopped jicama, julienned basil and shredded cabbage with ranch dressing, topped the whole thing with crushed tortilla chips and a little shredded jack cheese. I'm thinking omelettes tonight.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Amuse Bouches

                                        yup, spicy food (or hot beverages) will cool you down. You have to work against the idea that its going to make you hotter, and just try it.
                                        Thats why I have a major curry fetish, picked up from growing up in hot and humid sub tropical climate. Eating 'cold' things is only a very short term fix against high temperatures, for best comfort, spicy foods is it - hence the use of spicy stuff in hot climates.

                                        1. re: TheFamine

                                          While it is physiologically sound to drink hot things to cool you down, sometimes you just can't stomach the idea! I become queasy at the thought of hot soup or cooked stewed veggies when I am hot, but then I know I am very peculiar.

                                          ANother cold Korean noodle dish: chapchae
                                          - sweet potato noodles
                                          - julienned veggies of your choice
                                          - bits of meat if you like
                                          - soy sauce, mushroom soy sauce for color if you like, brown sugar, sesame oil, garlic

                                          this is great to make in a large batch because it's time consuming, and then you can grab it out of the fridge.

                                      2. It has been really really warm, so we have been enjoying wraps. Spicy Thai lettuce wraps, and the Spring Rolls in a rice noodle wrapper not fried but softened in water then filled with cool shrimp steeped in mint, filled with fresh herbs, and lots of crunchy veggies with good dipping sauces. Cold Asian Asparagus Salad.And also, BLTs, we do the bacon on the BBQ so the house doesn't heat up. Perfect.