Hot Weather Meals
We're about to get hammered with a series of near 100 degree days here in the Boston area so I'm thinking about hot weather foods that can be prepped totally ahead of time (no air conditioning). So far, gazpacho, the makings for salade nicoise, real homemade chicken salad, and Thai fresh rolls with shrimp are on the list. What is on your list for when the temperature soars yet you want to eat at home?
We've been having those days for what seems like forever now. I cooked beans in the crock pot, divided and froze them to add to salads, roll-ups,whatever. Yesterday I cooked eye of round steaks and cooked extra to make a steak salad, I boiled some macaroni at the same time and some eggs. Then made tuna salad and a taco chicken pasta salad. I buy the packages of bone in chicken breasts,cook them in the crock pot,then use the meat in pasta salads,chef salads,chicken salads,and roll -ups,chicken nachos. I want to make a potato salad but the idea of boiling potatoes and eggs doesn't appeal to me. It's so hot we haven't even been grilling.
I couldn't make it without the a.c. I'm a big wimp. Good luck!
Oooh, I didn't even think about the crockpot. I always associate it with winter. Thanks for the idea! Right now I have beets roasting in the oven, hard boiled eggs in process. Tomorrow morning before work I'll blanch grean beans and snap peas, simmer some lentils, and poach shrimp. Off to look at my crockpot recipes . . .
I'm in the Boston area too, but I will not use the oven if the temp is over 70. I'll only use the stove if it takes no more than 20 minutes. So I pay attention to forecasts and cook a lot when it's cool, freezing in portions. Costco's big bag of frozen potstickers is a staple - brown flat size in oil, add water, cover, simmer until water is gone. I poach boneless skinless chicken breast in the microwave and use for salads and sandwiches. I bakes a pound of bacon a few weeks ago. Once cooked, it is fine in the fridge for over a month.
I also multitask my heat - e.g., steamer basket with vegetables over the pot in which I am making pasta or hard-cooked eggs. Then I use the hot water in the dishpan and cool the burner by putting a pan of water onto the turned-off burner. You can do the same with your oven, transferring the heat into the water, Either use it or pour it down the drain. It prevents the oven heat from raising the room temp as much. I use a waffle iron for grilled cheese, zucchini, eggplant, and other flat foods.
Forgot to add that for salads and sandwiches, I microwave poach boneless, skinless chicken breast. Cover with water, add a generous shake of TJ's 21 Seasoning Salute.
I chill or freeze that liquid and re-use it to poach a couple more times. By then it is strong enough to make a generous portion of soup by adding vegetables and whatever starch is handy, or else I freeze it to use next time I am making gravy or stock.
Tonight I made peanut/sesame noodles. I used japanese noodles (3 minutes in boiling water and they are done). I added the meat from a Costco rotisserie chicken, shredded carrots, julienned cucumbers, julienned red peppers, sliced green onions, and chopped cilantro. Tossed it all with a homemade peanut sauce.
some inspiration for ya:
oh, and in terms of make-ahead, there are tons of threads about that too...and egg dishes are always a good choice for that - quiche, frittate, etc.
Making quiche and fritatta is a lovely idea when it's not so hot that one can actually turn on a heat element. My electric kettle, crock pot and microwave are currently being used for emergency only. The big, beautiful bunch of basil I bought at the farmers market (properly cared for, I might add) last Saturday wilted by Sunday morning.
Sometimes the weather leads the appetite.
Making quiche and fritatta is a lovely idea when it's not so hot that one can actually turn on a heat element.
precisely my point about the make-ahead...they keep well in the fridge or freezer, and are perfect to enjoy at room temp, no oven required...of course a zap in the MW helps if it's frozen, but you can also avoid that and use a warm water bath to thaw...
In a similar situation I once discovered that it is possible to cook a turkey breast in the crock-pot without turning on stove or oven, then you have it for cold sandwiches. I would put the frozen turkey breast (still frozen) in the cp before I went to bed at night and left it on all night and all the next day when I was at work. Got home to find it done perfectly. Another good hot weather thing is tabbouleh, no cooking required (soak bulgur in cold water while chopping parsley, scallions, and mint---mash all water out of bulgur, mix with chopped stuff, season with lemon juice, a little olive oil, salt. I leave out cucumber and tomato so it won't get slimy and keeps a week in fridge---add the cucumber and tomato when you eat it)..