Too Hot to Cook!

In San Francisco, summers are usually cool, so rarely is it too hot to cook. But elsewhere, temperatures are rising and no one wants to be chained to a stove.

My favorite no-cook summer meal is a salumi platter – hot copa, prosciutto, mortadella or other cured meats, plus some thinly sliced ham, all arranged on a wooden board or platter with one or two cheeses, some peperonicini or cornichons, roasted red peppers, sliced cucumber and a baguette or two with a good Dijon mustard. While it’s a delicious, no-fuss appetizer for company, a salumi platter can also make a welcome light supper on its own.

Want more no-cook ideas? I surveyed a year of Special fork blog posts looking for recipes from all our bloggers to pull you through the dog days of summer.

Katie Barreira, who posts on Tuesdays, is our Cooking Newbie blogger. Her day job is as the test kitchen associate at Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine. Lori Powell, who blogs on Wednesdays, writes about cooking for households of one or two. You’ll find her blog posts listed in Special Fork as “One or Two Bites.” She is the current food director of Prevention magazine and was the former food director of Real Simple and Ladies’ Home Journal. Marilyn and Andrew Hunter blog about family cooking. Andrew, a professional chef, was a vice president at Wolfgang Puck before starting his own business, Culinary Craft. Andrew and Marilyn, a stay-at-home mom who helps with the family business, have two sons, Benny and Nicky. Their blogs are categorized under “The Family Table.”

Appetizers: These simple appetizers make entertaining easy.

  • Flavored Goat Cheese Trio from Katie starts with an 8-ounce log of chevre, cut into three pieces, then each is rolled in a different-flavored topping.
  • Guacamole from Andrew is a nice starter for a barbecue. He provides the classic version with ideas for add-ins to help you customize and add your own signature touch.
  • Heirloom tomato salad and salsa from Lori offer two simple ways to use exquisite summer heirloom tomatoes.

Sandwiches: Why not sandwiches for dinner? A sandwich is a convenient meal-in-one. Enjoy it picnic-style in the backyard, instead of at the dinner table.

  • Italian heroes from Marilyn are hearty sandwiches made with cold meats, cheese and a salad of romaine, tomatoes and onion with Italian dressing, tucked in hero rolls.
  • Vietnamese Bánh Mì sandwiches, also from Marilyn, start with crusty baguettes that are filled with sweet and salty pork, pickled vegetables, fresh herbs and slivered jalapeño.

Salads: Crisp salads will perk up sluggish appetites and allow you to take advantage of the wide variety of produce available in the summer.

  • Five chef’s salads from Katie are each distinct and different, and each would make a delightful main dish.
  • Watermelon Salad from Andrew combines cucumber, watermelon, feta, fresh mint and a balsamic vinaigrette for a refreshing taste of summer.

Assembly Meals: Start with pre-cooked ingredients and assemble them in fresh new ways.

  • Lori takes a rotisserie chicken and repurposes it in eight creative ways, mostly without cooking.
  • Also from Lori, tantalizing fish tacos is made with leftover cooked fish.

Drinks: A cooling drink will quench summer thirsts.

  • Summertime teas from Katie include recipes for classic Southern style iced tea and Thai iced tea. (Well, you do have to boil the water.)
  • Apricot piña colada is a blender drink that takes advantage of fresh summer apricots. Make it with rum or without. This is a Special Fork Video Friday blog.

Desserts: Freezer desserts make a refreshing finale on a sweltering summer day.

  • Tropical Ices are made by pureeing fresh fruit with water and sugar, freezing in ice cube trays and pulsing in a food processor to slushy goodness.
  • Clementine Campari Granita from Katie is a sophisticated frozen dessert that requires no special equipment; just stirring with a fork every 30 minutes to get that icy granita texture.

Special Fork features a new blog every day, from Monday through Friday, where you will find more quick seasonal cooking ideas. Happy summer!

Special Fork is a recipe website for your smartphone and PC that solves the daily dinnertime dilemma: what to cook now! Our bloggers blog Monday through Friday to give you cooking inspiration. Check out our recipe database for quick ideas that take no more than 30 minutes of prep time. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Posted: Jun 19th by Sandy_Hu