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Jul 30, 2009 09:28 PM

too hot to cook

We are experiencing a heat wave. I know for those of you used to high temperatures we are wilting out here!! Does anyone have easy, tasty ideas for lunches and dinner when it's too hot to cook. I'm getting tired of lettuce.

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  1. Do you have a grill? Grilling outdoors is a great way to keep the heat outside and keep your house cool.

    If you have a cast iron pan and/or grill pan, you can cook just about anything on an outdoor grill that you'd make on a stovetop or in an oven.

    4 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      Funny, but IMO it's been much too hot here in Pasadena to grill out - MUCH cooler in the house! And since my oven is on the wall instead of down by my knees, all that heat goes up to the ceiling (so all I have to do is stay off the ceiling, and I'm OK!). Therefore what I have been doing is as much all-in-the-oven cooking as possible, including another amazing dish from that cookbook I've been exploring, a whole chicken with potato wedges and red onion, all doused with a mustard/lemon vinaigrette marinade and baked for a couple of hours. I've also been pan-frying or pan-broiling a LOT of fish to have with just a salad.

      1. re: Will Owen


        Fair enough, but I usually do the dash-in, dash-out method when I grill outside during the summer heat.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          See, ipse, if I can't stand there with a glass of wine, lifting the lid between throwing the ball for the dog, it just ain't worth it. I gotta be out there 'cause it feels GOOD to be out there... The exception was last Saturday when I was grilling a dozen Italian sausages to serve with onions and peppers at a party the next day. Grilling them first works so much better than pan-frying, so there I was at the height of a SoCal afternoon...

      2. re: ipsedixit

        When Hurricane Isabel knocked our power out for 9 days, I learnt how to use my grill for everything, including baking. My grill has a side burner which was great for boiling water to use for making coffee in the French press. Then I figured out I could use my Pampered Chef pizza stone to bake in my grill. I put the stone on one side of the grill with the burners off (or on very low) and fired up the other side. I made biscuits and cinnamon rolls for breakfast. I made pizzas, calzones, rolls, etc. on that pizza stone. I had some frozen pies that were going to go bad, so I tried baking them on the grill and it worked!

      3. Some favorite hot (as in grossly hot and humid) weather food requiring no, or minimal, cooking.

        1. Vichysoisse. Not like you're simmering soup for hours, heating up the kitchen. Make enough for more than one meal.

        2. Gazpacho

        3. Sliced avocado, spritzed with fresh lime juice and some black pepper.

        4. BLTs, with fresh local tomatoes. BLTs are only great for a few weeks out of the year. Now's the time to over-indulge.

        5. What I had for dinner tonight. Fresh local peaches and fresh local blueberries, "dressed" with chopped fresh mint from my herb garden. Yogurt on the side, because these Georgia Belle peaches are just too good on their own to coat with yogurt, or anything.

        6. Grilled anything or everything. Meats, fish, vegetables. (I think grilled corn-on-the-cob beats the cook-in-water standard hands down.) It's cooking, but quick and you're keeping that heat outside.

        7. Pasta, with a "sauce" of fresh tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, and olive oil. Pepper flakes, if you like a bit of heat. The only thing you cook is the pasta.

        8. Homemade pimento cheese sandwiches.

        9. Hummus and pita or pita chips.

        I'll do other things, but these are my long-time hot weather "Go Tos" that never disappoint.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Old Spice

          You are too right about local tomatoes! We devour them in the summer. The other night for a quick dinner I made quesadillas with diced fresh tomatoes, avocado, onion and shredded jack cheese. They were simple but divine. Nothing beats fresh, simple tomato sauce for spaghetti either, IMO. Plenty of fresh basil too! Try egg salad sandwiches on toast with pesto too.

          1. re: Old Spice

            #7 is one of my favorites. I put all that plus some grated Parm in a bowl, dump the cooked pasta which melts the cheese and dinner is served.

            I like yellow crookneck squash, sliced in half lengthwise, brush with olive oil and grill.

          2. Ipsedixit is right...your grill is your friend...with all the veggies in abundance, they are SOOO good grilled. Also...don't forget your crockpot! You can bake potatoes in it without heating up the kitchen...I buy 4 baking potatoes, prick with a fork, stand them on end, close lid and put on LOW for about 5 or 6 hours (time will vary with your crockpot...mine is an oldie but goodie from the late 70's). Some people just put them in the microwave but I don't like how they come out which is will little burnt/dry spots and texture is all weird, to me. We eat lighter in the summer, so 4 bakers last us for the week since we eat 1/2 at a time...pair it up with grilled veggies, and you have a very nice meal!

            3 Replies
            1. re: Val

              Baked potatoes in the crockpot?! Wow, never thought to do it that way. How do you get them to stand on end? I take it yours is round. Mine's oval, probably wouldn't work. If they don't stand on end, do they overcook?

              1. re: Phurstluv

                No, I think you could totally do this just laying them down...some people wrap them in foil, but what a waste...not needed, I've found. You don't add water or anything. I'd been jonesing for a baked potato and swore I was NOT turning on that oven with the heat down here in SWFL...I googled it on the 'net and found a bunch of people who had done it successfully so I tried it without the foil and was so pleased! And, yes, my CP is the old-school round Rival, not oval.

                1. re: Val

                  Baked potatoes in a Crock Pot is a swim meet staple around here. For swim meet use, we always wrap in foil because we're keeping them hot for the entire day, and it's just easier to serve them when they are wrapped. The kids unwrap them and fill them up with butter, cheese and sometimes chili/cheese. I have a 7-qt cooker and I can fit about 10-12 good-sized spuds in it. At the meets, we keep adding uncooked potatoes as the cooked ones are used - it only takes a couple hours on high to cook. Swim meets start early and go quite late.

            2. Last night I grabbed a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket. Made salads with chicken (baby spinach, avocado, goat cheese, soy beans, radishes). Tonight I'll make chicken quesadillas with black beans. It means putting the stove on for a little while, but I cook them slowly on low heat.

              2 Replies
              1. re: CurlieGlamourGirlie

                I too find those rotisserie chix to help on nights I don't want to cook, you can do a million things with it. I love an asian salad with cabbage, nuts, raisins, chx, roasted ramen noodles and a sweet dressing (rice vinegar, oil, sugar).

                Or just a rollup, or pulled chicken tacos.

                1. I like to use my toaster oven in summer.

                  Also try cold tofu with sesame oil, green onions, soy sauce, fried shallots and Sriracha or chili flakes.