This is the time of year when I rarely feel like partaking in a hot meal. It’s almost like my body is whispering to my brain, Don’t cook…it isn’t necessary. I often give in. But we still need to eat, and our three boys don’t let us forget this fact. Ever.
When Mother Nature turns up the heat, this mother turns to some of our family’s favorite cool meals.
The all-time classic BLT is in constant rotation on our menu. You can cook up a bunch of uncured, pasture-raised bacon ahead of time. I like to bake my bacon in the oven to avoid making a splattery mess on the stovetop, but we had a neighbor in Colorado who cooked his on the grill. Brilliant! (Wait, is that what the “B” stands for?) Surely you have some greens and tomatoes that need harvesting, you lucky duck, so snagging the “L” and the “T” are a piece of cake. At the last minute, throw a couple slices of sprouted grain bread or homemade sourdough in the toaster, and dinner is served.
Sometimes we’ll also throw on an “A” (avocado) or “E” (egg, fried), which just adds to the simple deliciousness of this classic sandwich. If you’re lucky enough to have access to eggs from free-range chickens, that gorgeous yolk will make your whole sandwich creamy as all get-out.
On those nights when something light seems just right, we often grab the ingredients for Caprese Salad. Since summer is the ultimate season for tomatoes, it never tastes better than at this very minute (though I crave it year-round).
Putting this meal together is as easy as strolling to your garden for some tomatoes and a few sprigs of fresh basil (or a lot, if you’re like me). Then head to the refrigerator for that ball of fresh mozzarella that’s been calling your name all day and the pantry for those voluptuous bottles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar that practically jump off the shelves every time you walk in there. Oh, you’ll need some Celtic sea salt and fresh ground black pepper too. Slice, layer, drizzle, and sprinkle—these are the only cooking skills you need to make this beauty.
If you’re looking for some variety, you can chop up all the ingredients and throw them in a bowl with some leftover chicken or whole grain pasta. Or give Briana Goodall’s Grilled Eggplant Caprese Salad with Homemade Mozzarella a try. Wowza!
If you find a good deal on some wild-caught salmon or shrimp, think about ceviche. This fantastic make-ahead meal leans on lime juice to do the “cooking” rather than the heat of your oven. If you’ve never made this delightful summer meal, check out Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions for a couple of recipes that will get you started. Maria Atwood also lists ceviche as one of the “good guys” for collagen formation in her blog post “Help! My Body is Getting Flabby.” Nice!
When it’s hot, my family likes to eat cool. What are your favorites?
Photo of BLT from iStock/bhofack2