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What are you making for dinner when it so hot?

I really need some inspiration. What are you making that is great...fast...and isn't making the house hot???

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  1. Caprese Salad with cherry tomatoes (FDA warning and all)
    some good bread (market bought - have to be about nuts to bake in this heat)
    and berries and cream for dessert

    1. Knowing that a heat wave was coming, I made plain rice and pasta ahead of time, keeping it in the fridge (though cooked plain pasta freezes well). Then I did quick pan-sauteeing of proteins and veggies that were cut small and left on the counter long enough to take the chill off. As soon as I turn off a burner in hot weather, place a covered pan of cold water on it. The heat goes into the water, not the room - you can then dump the water or use it for washing up. Year-round, whenever I use the oven I put in a few potatoes before turning it on. I usually wind up leaving them in until the oven is empty and cooling. Though russet/idaho potatoes are best for baking, I like baking lower starch varieties too, and really well-done ones, so that there's a brown, caramelized layer beneath the skin. These are easily reheated later - in hot weather, I'll forego the crisper skin and just nuke them to reheat.

      1. If you have a grill, your options are limitless. Last night's dinner was chicken on the rotisserie, asparagus, roasted potatoes, and a salad.

        For cooking inside, the microwave is your best friend; it doesn't heat up anything except the food. Steamed veggies and salmon en papillote are naturals--they're as good in the microwave as cooked over flames.

        The next best thing to use is the pressure cooker. Because of shorter cooking times, most of which are over very low heat, you're dumping less heat into the kitchen. Earlier this week we had pressure-cooked chana dal, rice (you'll want to put the rice cooker out on the patio / balcony / fire escape), yoghurt (with grated cucumber, cumin seed, and cayenne pepper), quick pickles, and a coriander chutney.

        Oh, and frozen desserts. I need to get a second bowl for the ice cream maker, because the kids will kill a half gallon of sorbet or 'scream before the next batch is set. Luckily they don't like the Meyer lemon stuff, so it lasts for a few days.

        1. I like making a cold cucumber soup made with greek yogurt and jumbo shrimp cocktails with sliced avocado served with a bottle of good cold chard.
          For dessert, vanilla pudding over vanilla wafers with fresh berries and a good glass of port.

          Also, cold grilled chicken breast with an cole slaw or brocolli crowns and throw in pine nuts, golden raisins, sesame oil and a dash of ranch with salt and pepper.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Condiment Queen

            cold cucumber soup sounds great! do you might sharing your recipe? thanks!

          2. coban salatasi [turkish shepherd's salad]
            homemade roasted garlic hummus
            grilled chicken kebabs

            6 Replies
            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              coban salatasi is one of my favorites, too. i love that stuff.

              quinoa taboueh -- quinoa since you have a wheat intolerance -- is also great and generates little heat. all you need to do is boil water.

              1. re: cimui

                what a thoughtful suggestion! actually, i make quinoa tabbouleh quite often. had it over the weekend :)

                my coban salatasi was so delicious, but the onion was stronger than i expected & it's been repeating on me for hours. oy.

              2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                Could you tell me how you make coban salatasi? We love Turkish food.

                1. re: DaisyM

                  there are tons of recipes on the web if you do a google search, and it's ridiculously easy - all you have to do is chop the veggies and make the super-simple dressing. i've tweaked it a little for my own preferences so mine's not 100% traditional, but i'd be happy to post an approximate "recipe" [it's one of those things i just eyeball & do by taste]...just let me know.

                    1. re: jeni1002

                      ok, as i said, mine's not completely traditional...and i don't follow an actual recipe, but here are my best estimates for a batch that serves about 4 people...

                      GHG's Coban Salatasi

                      4 medium tomatoes
                      1 medium cucumber [seedless, if available]
                      1 medium-size mild onion [i prefer red or bermuda]
                      2 large jarred pepperoncini [banana peppers]*
                      6 tablespoons olive oil
                      2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
                      1 teaspoon dried oregano
                      juice of half a lemon [1-2 tablespoons]
                      kosher salt
                      fresh cracked black pepper
                      1 large handful flat leaf parsley

                      grated mizithra cheese or crumbled feta cheese for serving

                      Halve the tomatoes, squeeze gently [don't crush them!] to remove the seeds, and discard seeds. Peel cucumber, and slice in half, lengthwise. If cucumber contains seeds, remove them by scraping gently with a spoon, & discard seeds. Dice the tomato, onion & cucumber, and combine in a large bowl. Remove & discard the stems from the pepperoncini, chop the peppers very finely, and add to the other vegetables.

                      In a separate bowl, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, and oregano; season dressing to taste with salt & pepper.

                      Pour dressing over vegetables, toss well, and allow to sit, refrigerated, for at least 30 minutes [the longer, the better].

                      When ready to serve, roughly chop the parsley and sprinkle over salad [don't toss - i prefer to allow each diner to mix it into their serving after it's plated].

                      Serve with cheese on the side [i always stir 1-2 tablespoons into my serving].


                      *Note: traditionally, this salad contains green bell peppers, but i can't eat them raw. if you don't like the bite from the pepperoncini and you're okay with green peppers, feel free to omit the pepperoncini, and add 1 cored, seeded & diced medium green pepper.

              3. I either make cold noodle soup (cook veggies and rice noodles in veggie broth, then chill - garnish with fresh herbs and green onion), salad with a poached egg on top, or crudités with bean dip.

                  1. re: ola

                    Ha ha. Best answer.

                    For dinner tonight, made some rice in my rice cooker, ceviche, steamed asparagus and some raw uni. Simple, easy with minimal use of heat.

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        I got it at the Korean Market on 32nd between 5th and Broadway -- not as good as the Mitsuwa market in NJ, but it was a lot closer.

                        1. re: Miss Needle

                          right on! thanks...i'll be near mitsuwa tomorrow.

                  2. We just made grilled pizza. You can make the dough the night before to save even more time.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: Rick

                      Rick, could you talk a little more about how you make the grilled pizza? Is it great? I've never made homemade pizza dough before...would the fresh pizza dough from Trader Joe's work?

                      1. re: DaisyM

                        Any kind of pizza dough would work. So long as you have a way of transfering the dough to and from the grill.

                        Last Saturday and Sunday were brutal and we were busy in the late afternoon. So both nights it was frozen pizza on the grill. Put it on, cook, eat. Not at all bad.

                        My trick is (and this will vary from grill to grill) to put the high heat on one side, the low heat on the middle and other side. If the bottom crisps up too fast, just turn the low ones off and let the high one go until the top is G2G.


                        1. re: DaisyM

                          Daisy, you should be okay with the fresh pizza dough. Don't roll it out as thin as you would an oven-crust pizza. Also, use olive oil, and be patient. A grill doesn't work the same way as the oven does.

                          For my summer dish, I make cold spring roll salad (basically the insides of cold spring rolls without rolling them up.) I take julienned carrots, pea pods, bean sprouts, a little fresh mint and cilantro, and some chicken breast -- the grilled chicken breast from a good deli counter is just fine for this. I prepare some rice thread noodles, run cold water over them and drain them, and mix it all together with a rice wine/fish sauce/lemon olive oil dressing. It's refreshing.

                          1. re: DaisyM

                            I used the directions from this blog, only difference was I used fast acting yeast and let it rise under a tea towel for 20 minutes rather than the 45 min. with regular yeast in a ziploc bag. Act fast and roll it out thinner than you may think. More of a flatbread than pizza but it was really good.


                            1. re: Rick

                              Thank you! I just bought pizza dough at Trader Joe's.

                            2. re: DaisyM

                              Since the grill cooks from the bottom, and doesn't really get all that hot on top of the dough, a good technique is to grill one side of the dough first, flip it over and put your toppings on the grilled side, then put it back on the grill to cook the other side of the dough and heat up the toppings.

                              Go easy on the sauce and other wet ingredients. Other than that, enjoy - it could very well be the best pizza you've ever had!

                              1. re: Bat Guano

                                Thank you! I told my husband he's making it Saturday night!

                          2. Grilled everything: We've been using a lot of marinated chicken, fish, shrimp. Non-marinated beef.
                            Veggies marinated and grilled include red peppers, portobellas, zucchini, yellow squash, onions, asparagus, corn (with fresh chive butter).
                            Green salad, potato salad, pasta salad, macaroni salad, Caprese salad (as mentioned 1st post).
                            Chilled fresh pineapple, sliced into rounds.
                            Vodka. Lots of it over ice in a rocks glass. After one you won't mind the heat ;)

                            1. i'm experimenting with savory sorbets (tomato sorbet and cucumber sorbet, so far). i won't say it's fast, per se, but you can make big batches at once and have them throughout the week.

                              also doing cold mung bean soup and any yogurt soup recipe i can find.

                              raw corn on the cob. i love it!

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: cimui

                                Would you share teh recipe for cold mung bean soup please, sounds interesting!

                                1. re: chef chicklet

                                  it's kind of a non-recipe, frankly. the basic variation is just this: boil mung beans with water. i like a lot of water so you get more 'soup'. add sugar to taste. chill. if you want to fancy it up just a tad, boil barley with the mung beans. (cold mung bean soup is a slightly sweet soup eaten for breakfast in taiwan and other places.)

                                  1. re: cimui

                                    Just had this for the first time at a party on Saturday. It wasn't exactly my cup of tea being akin to simple syrup with mung beans at the bottom, although I have to admit that it was pleasant given the weather.

                                    1. re: JungMann

                                      It shouldn't be that disgustingly sweet, JM. I hate overly sweet things. I make mine with just a little bit of sugar, so you can smell and taste the fragrance of the mung bean more easily. Maybe the simple syrup stuff was supposed to go over shaved ice?

                                      1. re: cimui

                                        It wasn't disgusting. I probably put as much sugar in making hopia, but the thickness of the sugar water and lumps of mung bean at the bottom was slightly alarming when I was expecting a flavorful beverage.

                                2. re: cimui

                                  I am intrigued by the idea of the savoury sorbet...however, I am stumped by what to serve with it (and frankly, how to serve it? is it a between course nibble? or do you treat it like a cold soup? how much would you serve?)

                                  1. re: LJS

                                    I've tried eating a scoop, each, of tomato and cucumber sorbets in my gazpacho.

                                    I've had the tomato sorbet with basil chiffonade and buffalo mozzarella (an interpretation of caprese salad).

                                    And I've had the cucumber sorbet with a plate of cold cuts.

                                    I've been to restaurants where cold sorbets are served, alone, as appetizers (just a few small scoops in a pretty glass) and there's an Italian restaurant called Spiga on the UWS in NYC that serves cantaloupe sorbet with prosciutto (not a savory sorbet, but same idea). Sounds like a good idea to serve it between courses as a palate cleanser, too!

                                3. Our summer hasn't even remotely started yet, but I remember one of our big hits last summer. I'd chop up a little steak (or use ground beef) and saute it really quickly with a red jalepeno. I'd finish it with a little lime juice and fish sauce, and then eat it in lettuce leaves. Not enough cooking time to heat the kitchen up and it was good eaten at room temp.

                                  I just made a great summer salad. I boiled up some farro early in the day and when it was cool tossed it with kalamatas and cold roasted cherry tomatoes and feta. Later on I threw on some balsamic vinaigrette and tossed in arugula and basil. The farro and roasted tomatoes can easily sit in the fridge for days. If you only add the vinaigrette and basil as you go, you can put it all together well in advance.

                                  Of course, "so hot" for me is maybe 82 degrees...

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Vetter

                                    Everyone is so ambtious! I admire you all! After a long commute home on the Boston subway (green and red line) and a trip to Lowe's to buy my husband's Father's day gift ( a new gas grill and a new hose to water the tomatoes we have growing) we had cold cuts and salad (ham, turkey, German bologna, salami), rolls, store bought potoato salad, cole slaw and macaroni salad. I promised to makehome made stuff next weekend so no one complained. It was pretty good too!

                                    1. re: Vetter

                                      I'm not familiar with farro -- could you also use orzo for this?

                                      1. re: brendastarlet

                                        farro is an ancient wheat grain that has a distinctive nutty flavor, and a "chew" that you won't get from orzo. if you can't find farro, try bulgur [cracked wheat] as a substitute. barley could work well too.

                                    2. Various gaspachos, and holodnik (the little cold one), a Russian cold borscht, made from diced young garden beets, cuke, scallions and dill; blended with kefir or buttermilk (A great magenta color!) with a pealed boiled hot potato standing in the middle. Also garden omlettes with salad. A huge garden salad. Hot, however, is relative, we have no air conditioner and Mainers consider 85 a disabilitating heat wave.

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                        Gazpacho! Yes, that is perfect for dinner. Thank you.

                                        1. re: DaisyM

                                          that's what i'm having tonight as well. salmonella scare be damned :)

                                          i've been craving gazpacho for DAYS. happens to me nearly every time there's a heat wave.

                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            We eat tomstoes too. After living in Bolivia and spending years washing and sterilizing all our fruits and vegetables, it seems like a no brainer to me that when so many of our fruits and vegetable come from countries with similar agricultural and heath concerns, why do differently here? We washed and sterilized Chilean grapes when bought in Bolivia, why not here?

                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                              How do you sterilize your vegetables?

                                              1. re: link_930

                                                I posted it once, I don't know what happened. A cap full of bleach and some Dr. Brunner's soap or dish detergent, then rinse and dry in dish rack.

                                              2. re: Passadumkeg

                                                And, there are lots of gazpacho recipes that don't call for tomatoes.

                                        2. It's been very hot & humid here so I resort to my favorite cold pasta salad with seafood. Cook up 1 lb. noodles, I like farfalle or penne, rinse in cold water. Add about 1.5 lbs. cooked shrimp, any size works, and scallops, mussel, whatever you have handy. Try to use about 2 lbs. seafood. You can even substitute tuna. About 1/2 cup marinated artichoke hearts, 1/2 defrosted box of baby peas, 1/2 finely minced red onion, a can of black olives or another kind of olive, a minced, roasted (or jarred) red pepper or two. We like homemade cesar dressing with lots of anchovies or Green Goddess, also with lots of little fishies. This makes a gigantic amount, keeps several days in the fridge, and can be morphed into variations by adding leftover vegetables, grilled chicken, use your imagination.

                                          1. This is a favorite in our house:

                                            Cold Avocado Soup - http://www.chowhound.com/topics/27844... - make sure to read further - I think I omitted the lime in the first posting of the recipe.

                                            I like the trick of using ice cubes - it really is pretty cold when done, and is a useful tip for other cold soups.

                                            1. last night I made an egg bacon and cheese souffle seved with an arugula salad and a dejon dressing. Tonight fresh salsa with chips and blackbean and mango salad and smoked pork tacos.

                                              1. I love the idea of cold avocado soup...I gotta try that. So before I give my two cents, here is my context: I am sitting in a hotel in the Northwest Territories, no A/C eating preheated precooked pizza and fruit juice. And it is friggin hot! So I am in the mood for this topic notwithstanding my location above 61 degrees north. What do I want to eat? BBQ asparagus (it is asparagus season right now on this continent, a little good extra virgin olive oil (yes that IS importnat for this dish, it adds taste and is not just a cooking medium), maldon sea salt and 12 minutes of careful barbequing. I am also in the mood for ceviche (quick, but needs foresight). My family (DAMN THEM) south of me 700 miles in Alberta just had one of our favourite salads....Island Pork Salad. Quick, yummy, nutritious and great on a hot day. Recipe is on Epicurious....and I would kill for a good greek salad. AND a tomato salad (well for us Canadians anyway...or with farmer's market tomatoes in the US) with ripe tomatoes cut about 1/4 inch thick, with good oil, good (3-4 leaf or above) balsamic, Malden's sea salt, fresh ground pepper and basil............. yummm...cold pizza. Uh well back to the real world...ok mosquitos from hell, here comes your dinner.

                                                1. Tonight it was bar b que chicken. Tomorrow, dinner at a new Cuban restaurant that is byob of rum. The cook deserves the night off when it is this hot.

                                                  1. Oh, I love Deborah Madison's cold spiced plum soup. Stew super ripe purple plums with a very fragrant white wine and a cinnamon stick and cloves-- kind of whatever you like. Remove spices and pass through the food mill. Sweeten to taste with honey. Add orange blossom water and chill. Mix half the chilled puree with plain greek yogurt and then make art with purple and pale lavender soup in your bowl.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: Vetter

                                                      When my tomatoes come in I'm going to make this gazapacho: I found it somewhere on the web (I forget where) but it looks really good to me:

                                                      White Village, Summer Days and Gazpacho
                                                      (c) Dorine Houston, 2006

                                                      Antonia's Red Gazpacho

                                                      1kg/36 oz. Roma (plum) tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeded and chopped
                                                      2 cucumbers, peeled and chopped
                                                      1 large green bell pepper, roasted, peeled and chopped
                                                      1 small onion, chopped
                                                      1 sandwich-size baguette, soaked in cold water
                                                      1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped (*not* optional!)
                                                      2-3 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
                                                      1 coffee spoon (about 1/2 tsp.) ground cumin
                                                      Generous slurp good olive oil
                                                      Generous slurp wine vinegar
                                                      Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
                                                      1 litre/1 quart) very cold water
                                                      Ice cubes to taste

                                                      Place the vegetables, bread, garlic and parsley in a deep bowl and puree with the stick blender, or puree in the blender or food processor to desired texture. Add cumin, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper; combine well. Stir in water and add ice cubes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve in a bowl with additional ice cubes if desired.

                                                      Fancy-schmancy restaurants garnish their gazpachos with additional diced vegetables, but I never met a homemade one that did, nor any in the kind of local restaurant where ordinary Spaniards rather than tourists eat. I never met a Spanish cook who thought gazpacho could possibly contain radishes or celery. Those are foreign neologisms. Eggs are not customary in homemade tomato gazpachos nor in neighborhood eateries. Likewise, nobody I knew ever used canned ingredients in gazpacho.

                                                      Those are the words of the author. If it doesn't taste right when I make it I won't quibble about adding a can of organic tomato juice!

                                                      1. re: joan828

                                                        i prefer to use sherry vinegar in mine, as opposed to the red wine vinegar...and if i can find it, i always toss in some fresh dill.

                                                        1. re: joan828

                                                          When I was in Spain my host family used to garnish with cut up melon...it went suprisingly well with the Gazpacho.

                                                      2. This isn't going to help you, so offering this more as comic relief.... We're having a heat wave here-- temps are in the 90s, and I live in a second-floor apartment with *no* insulation, which means that when I come home from work, it is sweltering. Well, last week, we had a cool-ish week, and I saw a recipe for a strata. Since I didn't check the weather report for this week, I got the strata ingredients over the weekend, and right now, I have a strata in a 350-degree oven with some beets and shitake roasting (I wasn't planning on doing the latter, but since it's already so sweltering in here, and I had beets, I figured why not and added them.)

                                                        The potential plus side to this might be that I might sweat off an extra pound or two. . .. Though now with the fan going, It's not so bad.

                                                        Note to self: CHECK THE WEATHER FORECAST before planning meals for the week ahead. . . (though I have enough trouble planning ahead that it would never occur to me to check the weather as well.)

                                                        Ok, so when I have my act better together, I have "hiyashi chuka", which is a Japanized version of "cold Chinese noodles"--ramen or egg noodles, cooled, with sliced cucumber, tomatoes, ham if you eat meat, and thin egg strips (think crepes thinly sliced), and dressed with a sesame oil/seed dressing. That's one of my default summer dishes.

                                                        Another is mango gazpacho, which requires no cooking/heating whatsoever (just lots of pureeing).

                                                        And lots of salad w/ bean, etc.

                                                        This isn't fast, but on the weekends, I might have people over and do make-your-own fresh spring rolls. If you can find the rice wrappers, you just put out cut up veggies, herbs, rice noodles, meat, shrimp, etc., everyone rolls what they want, and the prep is pretty simple. I usually offer two kinds of sauces-- a fish-sauce based tangy one, and a peanut sauce. Ooh. Actually, now that I mention it, maybe I'll do just that this weekend. . ..

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: anzu

                                                          brilliant! you jogged my memory with those spring rolls. summer rolls are, not surprisingly, wonderful for summer! they were a staple food two summer ago. i wonder why they fell out of my repertoire.

                                                          and i haven't had hiyashi chuka or its chinese equivalent since i left my mother's home.

                                                          thank you for both reminders.

                                                          1. re: anzu

                                                            I've made somen salad twice already this month. I always make a double batch of somen dressing when it starts getting hot so have some in the fridge for another day. The only stove action is cooking the somen noodles for a few minutes and, maybe, hard boiling a few eggs (some go in the fridge for later).

                                                            Summer rolls sound like a great idea and I haven't made them in a while. Maybe this weekend.

                                                          2. This brings to mind my mom's solution to too-hot-to-cook nights when my father was working nights (He was strictly meat and potatoes) ...tomato sandwiches, corn on the cob, and watermelon, all from Joan and John's farm stand a couple miles up the road.

                                                            Too early for Jersey corn and tomatoes, so my solution has been stuff like chick pea salad with feta, tomato, cuke, parsley, lemon and grilled chicken, then leftover grilled chicken shredded with lime and cilantro, salsa, avocado in a flour tortilla... and beer, lots of cold beer.

                                                            1. It's 112 here in Phoenix today. Unfortunately, this isn't really unusual for us in the summer...

                                                              I try to cook indoors as little as possible from about mid-may to mid-september due to the heat. I have a poorly insulated house and a kitchen/dining room with too many single pane windows in it. I dont' need to add heat to the situation by cooking.

                                                              We do a lot on the grill. We have a big four burner gas grill and that much space gives me all kinds of options for indirect heat. With cast iron I can do just about anything out there by turning it into an oven. Last night it was used to cook some baked beans and some skillet corn bread. We also just bought a Big Green Egg so with the two grills can really vary our options.

                                                              Along with using it as an oven, we just grill a lot of our dinners during the hot months: beef, pork, chicken, veggies whatever catches our fancy. More often than not all of dinner comes of the grill. Some grilled salmon and grilled corn perhaps. Grill a bunch of veggies, toss with some greens and feta for a great main course salad. A grilled chicken that can be used for salads, soups, etc the rest of the week accompanied by some grilled tomatoes maybe. Foil packages can be used for more delicate cooking same as in the oven...with great results.

                                                              I also have an electric skillet I can use on the patio. I don't do this much in the heat but when I get tired of summer and am craving something different I can do a bolognese in this or pretty much any other braised dish. Good for pancakes on the weekend too, again instead of heating up the kitchen doing them inside.

                                                              I'll also cook early in the morning. Cook off some rice or a grain for a cold salad. If we're having mexican I'll make beans in the pressure cooker very early in the morning before the heat is really bad. Maybe a soup I can reheat in the microwave later.

                                                              We make pizza once a week...during the hot months we moved this outside to the grill as already suggested.

                                                              One of my husband's favorite dinners is "snacks" as he calls it. Antipasto or cold tapas for the rest of us. Some cheese, cured meats, some grilled or marinated veggies. A caprese salad maybe. Some nuts and olives and fruit. Any combination of these makes him really happy.

                                                              Finally, I invested in a toaster oven a couple years ago and this has helped as well. I had a bunch of hamburger buns ot use up so put together a strata this morning. Don't want to put the stoneware out on the grill so I can bake this off on the toaster oven which throws a lot less heat than the main oven.

                                                              1. Israeli (or Shepherd's or various other names) salad or red bell pepper and zucchini thinly sliced with either hummus or pasta sauce on it.