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What are your FAVORITE meals or dishes to enjoy when it's HOT outside?

You know it, you feel it- summer is coming.
The wind dies down and the temperature's rising...

I'm thinking watermelon and feta salad, oysters on the half shell, and my mom's cold Brussels sprouts dipped in mayo. Mmmmm...

What do you start to crave?

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  1. Oh!
    And maybe some Taro frozen yogurt!

    1. Peach, mozzarella and basil salad, gazpacho, ajo blanco, olives, macaroni or potato salads, strawberry pie, shrimp cocktail with Old Bay, corn on the cob, melon and feta salad, ratatouille

      1. My staple hot weather meal is one where I usually have all ingredients already on hand: Tuscan Tuna and Bean Sandwich. It was originally a Gourmet magazine recipe and I have made changes over the years to suit my tastes. essentially it is canned tuna in oil, lots of parsley and lemon juice with a bean spread that has kalamata olives, garlic and red onion. Top it with some greens (watercress, arugula, or whatever you have on hand). The original Gourmet recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

        I also love buffalo chicken salads in the heat of summer. Grill up a piece of chicken (b/s thighs or breasts), slice it up, then toss with wing sauce (I go traditional, with a mix of Frank's Red Hot and a little melted butter). I then take a big ol' bowl of salad chock full of whatever veg is in my fridge, toss with a little blue cheese dressing, then add the chicken on top.

        1. I gravitate to things made of farmers market fare: Fruit smoothies, greek salad, zucchini carpaccio, grilled sausages, tomato/mozzarella/basil salad.

          1. Salads of all kinds - composed, thrown together - Caprese, Cobb, Chef's, Asian Chicken, tuna and egg salads, spinach salads
            Picnic foods: cold sliced meats and cheeses, fruits, good breads, olives, deli salads and snacks
            Grilled foods - meats, vegs, some fruits, seafood and chicken....
            Watermelon for dinner!
            Corn on the Cob for dinner!
            And by the above two, I mean only that, as in "all ya can eat, and you better eat a lot.." : )
            Dinner out. Any meal out, for that matter, if it's that hot outside.
            Movie refreshments dinner. Yeehaw!! You can figure out the menu.
            Specific Summer foods I love: ratatouille, fruit and vegetable tarts, tortes, fritattas, pizzas, whole fruits and fruit salads in season, watermelon plain, watermelon plug full of rum or vodka, sliced summer tomato sandwiches with homemade mayonnaise, tomato and peach salad....
            I could go on but if I did it could be days.

            6 Replies
            1. re: mamachef

              Movie refreshments dinner? I love it!

              I have NEVER heard that before, but now I am dying to try it!


              1. re: Smabys

                As a kid if we went to movies the popcorn counted as dinner.

                1. re: melpy

                  Yep. The general menu for us (the candy varied) was a hot dog, popcorn, a box of candy and a soda. All food groups covered. : ) I always chose Jr. mints.

                  1. re: mamachef

                    I also always chose Junior Mints. My dad always had Goobers. My sister usually had Skittles or maybe Snowcaps and my mom would complain that nobody needed to be eating candy!

                    1. re: melpy

                      In high school, I worked at a little movie theater (anyone remember Jerry Lewis Cinemas?). My favorite box to "damage" was the Junior Mints. Can't sell a damaged box, can you? Just have to eat the stuff yourself.

                      1. re: melpy

                        Snowcaps always my choice! When I was a kid, you could only find them at the movie theatre. I think looking back I liked them because they were dark chocolate.
                        Now that I have two small kids, we sometimes have movie lunch on the weekends (on our big screen tv) - with a late breakfast, sometimes all you need around noon is popcorn and candy :)

              2. I always look forward to gazpacho as the trophy of a summer spent tending a garden carefully. There's also purslane, green papaya salad, duck larb, Thai beef salad, lobster rolls, avocado ice cream and of course Pimm's cups.

                7 Replies
                1. re: JungMann

                  You really know how to live, JungMann. And oh yes on the gazpacho, and that includes white gazpacho. Yummina Yummina.

                  1. re: mamachef

                    mamachef, how do you make white gazpacho?

                    I think my favorite summer lunch is gazpacho with an egg salad sandwich. Kind of the reverse of the tomato soup/grilled cheese lunch in winter.

                    1. re: jmcarthur8

                      jmcarthur8, I didn't see this until now. White Gazpacho is a Spanish-influenced dish consisting of almonds, pinenuts, garlic, grapes, white grape juice and cream. It is thickened with bread and garnished with almonds. If you'd like proportions, I'm happy to give them. It's a lovely and VERY unexpected dish that I like to use as a starter for more upscale dinner events.

                      1. re: mamachef

                        Thanks, mamachef. I googled it and found quite a few recipes. Do you have a favorite? It sounds very interesting. DH says he'd try it, so I think I'll give it a go.

                        1. re: jmcarthur8

                          Here's one I got from a restaurant in Chicago - it was delicious. The small amount of cream cheese gives it nice body without making it feel heavy the way bread might.

                          2 lb White seedless grapes removed from stems

                          1 English cucumber peeled and chopped

                          1/2 bunch scallions, greens only

                          2 oz Cream cheese

                          2 1/2 C. Half and Half

                          1 1/2 oz. white wine vinegar

                          1 1/4 C. plain yogurt

                          1 oz olive oil

                          1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

                          2 tbs. Sugar (may need adjusting depending on grapes)

                          Salt and white pepper to taste

                          1/2 bunch dill

                          3 tbs slivered almonds toasted

                          1 tbs chives, chopped

                          Puree all ingredients, except dill, almonds and chives. Strain. Adjust seasonings. Garnish with remaining ingredients.

                          1. re: biondanonima

                            This sounds really fascinating and I want to try it. Thanks so much!

                            1. re: discombobulated

                              I make strawberry Gazpacho during local strawberry season!! Refreshing and tasty!
                              There are several simple recipes on the internet.

                2. same as the others here, watermelon.

                  protein based salads: especially tuna, chicken, caprese, cottage cheese becomes a staple
                  sugar free fudgesicles and sugar free jello (with aerosol whippage)
                  chocolate covered frozen bananas
                  grilled hot dogs and grilled corn
                  cold sliced roast beef
                  fresh peaches

                  1. Caprese, cucumber salad, grilled meats, grilled whole trout, peaches, cherries, watermelon, Greek mezedes. And not too much of anything. Heat curbs my appetite.

                        1. re: Smabys

                          Second the motion! The first evening I was home after discharge from the USAF, after four years in Anchorage, AK there I was in Evansville, IN on a ghastly muggy July evening, and even sitting out back and seeing my first fireflies in years couldn't alleviate the misery … and then Mom came out and handed me my first G&T. Followed fairly shortly by my second and third … it's stayed my favorite cocktail ever since.

                          1. re: Will Owen

                            That must have been ghastly, all right. My mom was born & raised & favorite aunt spent her life in Robinson IL- gods above, trying to paddleboat around a relative's lake in August while being chased by horseflies really made me appreciate the low humidity of the desert I grew up in.
                            I didn't think i liked gin, but ordered a G&T once and realized that that, at least, was wonderfully cool and refreshing. No wonder the Brits drank it in India.

                            1. re: EWSflash

                              Quinine was the best defence against malaria.

                              1. re: EWSflash

                                An archeologist famous for having done a lot of digging in Latin American jungles was asked on the U of I radio station one day where he'd encountered the most uncomfortable climate, and he said "Here, in August!" Having spent my first eighteen summers in Illinois and Indiana I had to agree with him, though the nineteenth, in Oklahoma, wasn't a breeze either.

                        2. Vodka and lemonade slushies.

                          1. Fresh local fruit - peaches, cherries, plums, cantaloupe, honeydew melon. Toss 'em all together with a mint-lime syrup-tossed green grapes.

                            Cold jumbo shrimp with cocktail sauce.

                            Deviled Eggs. Every which way. Usually served alongside:

                            Chicken salad (with diced celery, grated carrots, minced red onion, and dried cranberries and toasted almonds, and LIGHT ON THE MAYO!), with potato or mac salad alongside *that*.

                            Grilled foods if I can get them - grilled chicken and steak, corn on the cob, etc.

                            Vodka & Lemonade.

                              1. re: TeRReT

                                Yes, absolutely. And tenzaru soba if somebody else makes the tempura ('cause it's too hot for me to want to do it!)

                              2. Chicken lettuce wraps
                                Unsweetened iced tea
                                Ginger ice cream on top of homemade pound cake with fresh berries

                                Holy cow. I know what I'm doing this weekend!

                                1. When it gets hot out, I crave chilled and/or raw seafood - ceviche, oysters, sushi, chilled seafood platters, etc.
                                  I also eat more Vietnamese food that is heavy on the fresh herbs, cold soba noodle dishes, and all sorts of grilled proteins and veggies

                                  To drink - vodka, gin, champagne, sparkling water, and iced tea.

                                  1. From a Florida perspective:
                                    Sweetened ice tea, gin and tonic with a wedge of lime, Margaritas, Daquiris, Bahama Mamas, any lPA to reydrate with, and a Mexican icy Coke.

                                    Smoked mullet spread, pasta salads, citrus salads, Key lime pie, key lime pie on a stick, orange creamsicles, and three scoops of ice cream.

                                    Outdoor grilling with mangrove wood for fish and citrus or oak for spare ribs and chicken quarters. Add romaine lettuce, eggplant, or squash before the coals die off. Sweet corn with salt, pepper, and butter. Finish up with sides of coleslaw and cold bake beans.

                                    I won't see another roast or stew for at least the next 4 months.

                                    1. Grilled seafoods
                                      Cold crab, shrimp, lobster if I'm lucky
                                      Tomatoes, avocados, corn
                                      Peaches, blueberries
                                      Lemon, Mint, Basil
                                      Vodka, Gin

                                      1. Another vote for gazpacho, caprese salad (OK, made my first of the season last week we had such a mild winter and hot spring), corn on the cob,peaches fresh from the orchard down the road, cucumber salad after it's marinated in the fridge and is ice cold. Lemonade, vodka and tonic, electric blue lemonade.

                                        And just yesterday I had to look up the date of a local festival where last year I had the absolutely best hand churned vanilla ice cream topped with the sweetest, juciest peaches.

                                        Local farmer's market opens this Saturday!

                                        ETA: Almost forgot fresh local asparagus! And fresh local plums! (I was so fixated on those peaches ;)

                                        1. Ice cream

                                          Chinese cold sesame chicken noodles

                                          Day old cold pancakes with cold maple syrup

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                            "Day old cold pancakes with cold maple syrup"
                                            Classic, ipse. I love it.
                                            And the minute I saw Chinese cold sesame..etc, I knew whose post this was. : )

                                          2. Hiyashi chuka


                                            cucumber kimchee
                                            and yaki tori

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: BigSal

                                              Second Hiyashi Chuka. I can think of few things that make a better lunch in the summer.

                                            2. I'd love to know more about the col brussels sprouts w/mayo--just that? any trick?

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                That's it! She would steam them the night before... So they would be super cold in the fridge... Then a little course ground s&p, and a dip of mayo!

                                              2. Everyone wants to sound fancy and jump on the grill, but honestly, when it's really hot out? The grill? That's for the other person.

                                                Give me a nice cold drink - beer, margarita, mojito, vodka and club
                                                Gazpacho, some raw clams and a nice pulled pork sandwich with cole slaw on it.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: jhopp217

                                                  I fire up the grill because it's a method of cooking that doesn't heat up the house. In Phoenix when it's really hot outside, the A/C is already chugging along pretty good and cooking outside reduces the amount of heat that needs to be pulled out. Also, I like to air out my place after cooking so the whole place doesn't smell of food. Opening the windows for a couple hours in the evening when it's still 100+ degrees outside isn't really an option.

                                                2. Greek-Middle Eastern foods like falafel with cucumbers and dill yohgurt sauce, fresh tomatoes, etc

                                                  1. I really do like a good slab of salmon cooked on the grill and served with Georgia peach salsa. Sometimes I've rubbed a little honey/ginger/soy sauce on the salmon before grilling it. Sometimes just some olive oil, salt and pepper.

                                                    There's a good dose of jalapeno and cilantro in the peach salsa. Very cool and spicy all at once.

                                                    1. ANY cold green veg with mayonnaise - aparagus and baby broccoli are my personal favorites. Potato salad for sure, coleslaw, tuna salad-stuffed tomatoes; my mom's tuna salad gelatin mold with creamed new potatoes and peas was the family favorite and I love it still. And plenty of chilled white wine as the sun goes down.

                                                      1. Ceviche mixto w/ conch, octopus, and shrimp, & a chilada. Or two.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Veggo

                                                          I'm with nomadchowwoman...I want to hear how to make these sprouts of mom's!

                                                        2. plus one on the G&T's! That and a fridge full of cheap, dry French rose! Now that the drink is poured...

                                                          plattered Nicoise with yes - the heretical rare grilled fennel crusted tuna. Cook in the morning when cool. serve cold sliced on the salad.

                                                          LOVE Pork Tonnato. cold homemade garlicky Tuna mayo poured over a platter of pink herb roasted cold sliced pork loin. Lemony green bean salad on the side.

                                                          Sliced tomatoes with basil sauce, feta, toasted pine nuts


                                                          Panzanella, sometimes whole meal with grilled chicken.

                                                          Cold grilled salmon with dilled cuke salad, little room temp fingerling poatoes with herb mayo.

                                                          Cold peanut noodle salad with grilled chicken and julliened cukes in rice vinegar

                                                          my super old fashioned mayonaisy pasta salad with sweet red bell pepper, diced cheddar, celery, celery salt, garlic and pepper.

                                                          Dinner of corn on the cob, more corn, more corn!

                                                          Thai beef back ribs with tangy dipping sauce and green papaya salad

                                                          That's a start......

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: gingershelley

                                                            fresh lemonade, limeade and real mint iced tea.
                                                            whatever is fresh from the garden, especially English peas.

                                                            1. re: magiesmom

                                                              magiesmom, I have been known to make an entire meal on little tender tiny delicious English peas, cooked with lettuce the French way....oh my, there really is nothing better...

                                                            2. re: gingershelley

                                                              Ooooh what nice ideas you've given me......esp. thank you for reminding me of the Som Tom....

                                                            3. Oh, yes! Corn on the cob, gazpacho (and my, that white gazpacho sounds awfully good), fresh peppery field greens, macaroni or egg salads, deviled eggs, tomato & cucumber salad with feta.

                                                              Organic strawberries will be coming soon...

                                                              Fresh homegrown tomato sandwiches, still warm from the sun.


                                                                  1. re: cavandre

                                                                    Good Call. I remember years ago I was a roofer. One of the guys offered to buy lunch for everyone on a 100 degree day. He came back with cantelope and honeydew melons and proscuitto and sopressata. Perfect for a hot day.

                                                                  2. I just made some wonderful spring rolls for the first time last night - so those will be a summer staple!
                                                                    Also make a turkey pasta salad with cinnamon basil that I love!
                                                                    Anything with fresh herbs says summer to me!

                                                                    1. <<<I'm thinking watermelon and feta salad, oysters on the half shell>>>

                                                                      Oh, I would definitely eat a watermelon and feta salad (with a little fresh mint or basil, please) when it is hot out but not never fresh oysters at that time of year.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Fowler

                                                                        Oh, dear.. Is it not the season?

                                                                        1. re: Smabys

                                                                          Wild oysters tend to spawn in the warm weather months and I have found those to be more mushy, watery and far less "vibrant" (for lack of a better term) in flavor.

                                                                      2. A massive pot of snow crab legs, lots of lemon, eaten outdoors. Messily. And cold white wine.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: ette

                                                                          Fruit salad with cottage cheese and maybe sherbet if I have it.
                                                                          Cheese and crackers and fruit
                                                                          Ice. Just crushed ice. Like an unflavored sno cone. I have simple tastes :)

                                                                        2. Lobster grilled on the BBQ and cold yogurt, mint, cucumber, garlic soup!!! Outside on the patio of course!! Just hose off the table when we are done.

                                                                          1. Caprese salad
                                                                            Cucumber salad/Greek salad
                                                                            Good cured meats with olives, bread, and oil
                                                                            Cold soba with noodle sauce and cucumbers
                                                                            Watermelon lots of watermelon

                                                                            Really when summer hits, I become a seasonal vegetarian just due to the glut of all the wonderful produce in season.

                                                                            1. Cold somen over ice with matchstick cukes. I like a bit of wasabi and green onions in the dipping sauce. Looooooove cold noodles.

                                                                              1. Tomato sandwiches, salads of all kinds, summer rolls. I try not to turn on the oven, but I use my crockpot to make things like pulled pork - doesn't heat up the whole house.

                                                                                I got a big toaster oven at Christmas specifically so I can use it as a mini oven this summer - panini! pizza! roasted veggies!

                                                                                Also, watermelon agua fresca, sangria, home made ice cream and popsicles. The way I know it's "summer" is when i decide to make the first pitcher of iced tea (not sweet anymore, though I grew up on that). That happened last week, and right now I'm working my way through a 3# cold roast beef.

                                                                                1. Mint chocolate chip ice cream

                                                                                  1. Grapesicles--really, no one eats grape-sicles? Nice fresh green grapes out of the freezer.

                                                                                    Smoked salmon and strawberries over baby spinach.

                                                                                    Forget the booze, ice water with fresh lemon juice.

                                                                                    1. Forgot about tea sandwiches- finger sandwiches made from thin sliced cucumber with mayo, or curried egg salad with chopped green olives & pimiento, or cream cheese & hot pepper jelly.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                                                        Mmmm, I love the pepper jelly and cream cheese spread onto wheat thins.

                                                                                      2. Cold lemon curd scooped out of the jar with pistachio biscotti.

                                                                                        Actually, I take that back. I enjoy cold lemon curd with biscotti no matter what the weather is like.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                          Substitute "iced tea spoon" for "biscotti" and there's a favorite of mine.

                                                                                        2. Couple of steamed lobsters, a bag of Cape Cod chips, and nice cold Smuttynose.