Five more ideas on how to eat in the heat

Bleah! It’s still searingly hot outside. (Too hot for grilling, imho.) Who wants to cook anything, even if your kitchen is in air-conditioned comfort? OK, A/C does help. But still. Who wants to eat a heavy cooked meal when it’s 100 degrees out? (Have some more water.)

sandwich

Sandwiches can save the day when it’s fiendishly hot, but try ’em with some different sturdy bread or rolls. (Photo by Laura Groch)

So what can we do to feed ourselves and beat the heat, short of eating ice cream three times a day? (wait, not such a bad strategy …) Here are some reminders of cool basics for summertime meals that might spark your imagination. (Find more ideas here.)

• Remember the “beeg salad”? Invite it to dinner. On a bed of lettuces and/or greens (raw kale, cabbage shreds), add something starchy and/or grainy (cooked quinoa, pasta, bulgur, beans, potatoes), some cooked meat, chicken, tuna or hard-boiled eggs, veggies galore (tomato, chopped celery, onion, shredded carrot, cucumber, zucchini, olives, cooked Continue reading

What’s red, and red, and red … 3 ideas to use tomatoes

Fans of farmers markets are enjoying the bounty of fresh, flavorful tomatoes, but if you’ve run out of ideas, I have a few standbys from the kitchen files.

tomatoes

Nothing is so tasty as a glorious ripe tomato. Or two, or three … dozen … try these ideas to use some of the crop.  (Photo copyright Laura Groch 2015)

First up is my favorite, panzanella, the Italian bread salad. The juices from chopped tomatoes moisten day-old Italian bread (or other sturdy bread, like country white or wheat bread).

I keep it simple, using day-old Italian bread and toasting about half a loaf’s slices to dry them further. I let them cool before tearing them into bite-sized pieces, then add two good-sized juicy tomatoes, cut into chunks, unpeeled.

Next into the bowl goes half a peeled cucumber, chunked; two thinly sliced green Continue reading

Three ideas to “uncook” during summer heat

sandwich

The old sandwich will keep things cool when temperatures become intemperate, but what about dinners? (c) 2015 Laura Groch

We’ll be hitting the 100s this weekend and probably beyond, so I’m ready for some cool cooking.

The kitchen can stay pretty temperate for breakfasts (cereal, toast, yogurt) and lunches (sandwiches, wraps). But sometimes dinner is another story. (No, ice cream is not sufficient. Keep thinking.) Grilling keeps the heat outside, but if you can’t stand to be outdoors that long, here are Continue reading

Thrifty AND nifty — finding those perfect odds and ends

Revere Ware pot lids

Two Revere Ware lids are among the potential finds at this local thrift store. Photo by Laura Groch

It’s frustrating to break the glass lid of a Corningware or Calphalon pot, or lose a kitchen utensil to the chaos of the office potluck. But you might not have to lay out big money to buy replacement pieces.

If you’ve got some thrift stores in your city or town, you’d be surprised at the kitchen items you can find there for pennies. Caveat emptor (oh, look it up): The pieces might have some small chips or dings or dents in them that don’t affect Continue reading

For hot weather, some cool memories

 Southwestern Tabbouleh Salad

Southwestern Tabbouleh Salad is cool, nutritious, low-fat — and ridiculously easy to prepare. And did I say cool? (Photo by Laura Groch)

Hot, muggy weather of the sort we’ve been having lately makes me want to find cool and easy summer meals. After 25 years of relying on fans, we’ve got A/C in our home now, which is nice, but I still don’t want to heat up the kitchen too much.

Which makes me wonder — what, in those long, hot summer days before widespread air-conditioning, did my mom and her fellow homemakers do to put dinner on the table?

Continue reading

Singing the praises of soppressata

soppressata sandwich

A soppressata sandwich was a great way to wind down our brief getaway recently. (Photo by Laura Groch)

Spent a few days in San Antonio and Abilene, Texas, recently —- and I’m embarrassed to say that we never once tasted any authentic Texas cooking! Circumstances dictated that we did most of our eating at chain restaurants. Although I did manage to snag a forbidden sausage patty every morning at our hotels’ free breakfast buffets, Continue reading

Top this: Slaw Dogs for the Fourth, and all summer long

slaw dog

Coleslaw might not be your first thought when it comes to hot dog toppings, but I find it very refreshing. Photo by Laura Groch

July 4 is a holiday full of patriotic observance, parades and flags, and rightly so. We also celebrate in that all-American of ways, by cooking and/or eating outdoors in a burger-hot-dog-ribs-chicken-picnic-barbecue fest. Also rightly so.

We’ll probably grill a few sausages and maybe a turkey hot dog or two. DH is strictly a mustard-and-onion topping guy, but I like to change things up. My latest favorite for hot dogs (and I might try this on a bratwurst, too) is a simple slaw. It’s Continue reading