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Unseasonably warm!

I realize that in many places spring has not yet arrived, so please don't read this if it's just going to make you feel deprived.

Anyway. In the sf bay area this weekend it was hot -- in the 80's -- and Saturday night we ate my favorite summer no-cook meal: Greek salad (tomatoes, cucumber, marinated onions, red bell pepper, kalamata olives, fresh basil, and feta, with a dressing of olive oil and rice wine vinegar); whole wheat pita bread with hummus; and a good rose. Watermelon for dessert. The tomatoes weren't as good as they will be in a few months, but otherwise it was quite delicious, and a relief to have a good dinner without heating up the kitchen. We eat a variation on this dinner a couple of times a week during the summer. Sometimes it's baguette with pate or goat cheese instead of pita and hummus, sometimes a different kind of salad, sometimes we have a crisp white wine instead of rose, and the fruit varies according to whim. It helps that my daughter's favorite foods include cucumber, tomato, and olives, which I am told is not typical of two-year-olds.

Favorite summer meals?

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  1. We stayed cool by smoking ribs and chicken. Baked beans and potato salad as sides. When the beans went in the oven, I turned on the AC. This weekend the AC paid for it self. I don't need it much in the Bay Area, this weekend I did.

    1. Cold cucumber soup with shrimp for dinner, greek cheese style yogurt (TJ'S) with fruit for breakfast.....

      1. The only thing I can think to eat when the temperature rises is a good BLT. We bought a lovely sunflower loaf from a local bakery, added cooked thick-sliced Farmer John's bacon along with lettuce from the farmer's market. I forgot to look for early tomatoes at the farmer's market, so I settled for roma tomatoes (blah) from the grocery store. I sliced them really thin so they would be too offensive, while giving some tomato essense. Later in the season, if it gets hot, I always go for a good gazpacho with a healthy dollop of sour cream and I add basil leaves to my BLTs.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Fuser

          Oh, I haven't made gazpacho in an age -- thanks for reminding me!

        2. Caprese salad (once the tomatoes are good that is - no sense in wasting the other ingredients on bland factory farm crap)

          1 Reply
          1. re: hill food

            Tomatoes are indeed a warm weather food! Tomatoes, red onion, and balsamic vinegarette diced and let set to meld.

            Cucumber salad

            Shrimp Cocktail

            Grilled veggies

            Gazpacho

            Salads in general!

          2. typically any meat I can prepare out on the grill or in the smoker. Our favorites: brisket, spare ribs, baby back ribs, pork butt, prime steaks, and any shellfish.

            When its hot, nothing better than hanging out on the deck all day tending the grill and smoker with a cold beer in my hand, listeneing to some baseball on the radio, & getting some sun.

            1. Anything that can be grilled, though admittedly, we grill nearly every night regardless of the outside temp. A current obsession is our greek-ish lamb burgers in pita with a side salad. It's best enjoyed with the patio doors wide open and the outdoor breeze blowing through the house.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ArikaDawn

                swap the pita for lavosh, slather some mango chutney and tzatziki on the greek seasoned lamb (combo discovered by accident at a tipsy company potluck picnic) and I'm there.

                1. re: hill food

                  Already use tzatziki, but I bet mango chutney would be an awesome addition.

              2. If it's just warm, like here in Pasadena right now (80ยบ), I love to split a chicken, season the bejayzus out of it, lock it into the hinged wire basket and gas-grill it. Have lots of green salad, deviled eggs, potato salad, bean salad (navy, peruano or cannellini, rinsed & drained, w/ fresh herbs, onion, lemon juice and olive oil)... Butterflied leg of lamb gets the same treatment as the chicken. Flatiron steaks are another good grilling favorite, burgers not quite so much anymore. When it gets HOT, I go back inside, and do everything on the cooktop instead of the oven.

                1. All this talk of grilling makes me determined to invest in a gas grill. We have just had our patio redone, so I think it's time....

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jlafler

                    IMHO it's gotta be charcoal or at the very least use some chips for smoke.

                    starting the fire is half the fun! (/destructive impulses)