The following ideas should keep your kitchen (relatively) cool and your stomach satisfied all summer long.
New Yorkers may be wilting now, but in Mississippi, things got steamy back in June. Fittingly, The Natchez Democrat's Christina Hall discussed simple summer recipes, the most enticing of which is a "Greek Yogurt Dip," involving nothing more complicated than grating a cucumber. Pair the creamy, garlicky finished product with sliced vegetables or smear it on a sandwich.
For something more substantial and protein-packed, try this "Honey Balsamic Bean Salad" recipe, cited on the 101 Cookbooks website. To make this salad a bit more weather-appropriate, skip the fresh beans in favor of canned options, and look for toasted almonds at the store instead of slaving over them yourself.
New Yorker Cathy Erway, author of "The Art of Eating In," has quick, healthy and fresh eating down to a science. Her recent post is a winner: "Soy-Sesame Marinated Zucchini," which requires no cooking and has a pickled tang, without the dehydrating sugar and sodium. Ever cost-conscious, Erway suggests allowing the zucchini to sit in the fridge with just "a few dashes of vinegar and soy sauce," for a pungent kick.
If you've got a vacuum sealer, we envy you right now. As The Kitchn explains, with some food coloring, fruit juice, plastic vacuum seal bags and straws, you've got the makings of the long, slender ice pops we consumed as kids. Looking for something more sophisticated? Try these pretty "Greek Yogurt and Pomegranate Juice Pops" or add your favorite liquor – The Kitchn website suggests a refreshing "Campari-Citrus" combination.
We're also drooling over these "Hawaiian Popsicles," featuring a summery blend of coconut milk, pineapple and banana. The recipe, sandwiched between a few others on Babble's The Family Kitchen site, is great for little ones -- but isn't feeling like a kid part of the thrill of summertime? If you're not convinced, try adding coconut rum for a grownup kick.
Making labneh, a Lebanese yogurt cheese, involves nothing more than a tub of Greek yogurt and your refrigerator. According to the blogger at She Craves – who uses labneh as a dip, a bread topping, an accompaniment for roasted red peppers and olives, or a basis for good olive oil and sea salt – a few hours of refrigeration "in a paper towel-lined sieve" results in a "creamy and thick incarnation." Yum.
Cool Cooking Tips
If you must cook in this sweltering heat, consider the tips provided by Apartment Therapy readers last summer, including using crockpots, toaster ovens and countertop grills instead of the stove and regular oven. One reader suggests preparing meatloaf in a muffin tin to cut cooking time in half, a technique that could also be used for casseroles.
Stay cool, readers and remember when all else fails there's that pint of ice cream in the back of your freezer.
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