Make us your home page

Keep your kitchen cool in the summer heat with these no-cook recipes

it won't be long before an ice-cold slab of watermelon is about the only thing that sounds good to eat. Florida's summer swelter does that to us.

The thought of turning on the stove, and keeping it blazing for an hour or more, is almost too much to bear. And stirring a pot of roiling anything? No, thanks.

It's time to lighten up with foods that evoke coolness, such as salads, fruit and chilled seafood. Plan on finger foods for all-appetizer dinners or cold soups with chilled rotisserie chicken. If you must cook, keep the heat outside and embrace the grill.

Consider the following foods as your summer staples for simple, refreshing meals. And remember, there's always cold cereal awash with bobbing berries.

Frozen cooked shrimp. It's convenient to have a bag of cooked shrimp in the freezer. Take out what you need and keep the remainder frozen. Use them for salad toppers or chop them into a salad dressed with mayonnaise, lemon juice and fresh dill. Or dunk them in cocktail sauce.

Canned tuna. Good-quality tuna, especially packed in olive oil, is quite versatile. Use it in salads and sandwiches, of course, and I like it on a bed of lettuce with blanched green beans, hard-cooked egg wedges, tomatoes, cucumbers and capers. An olive oil vinaigrette over all.

Rotisserie chicken. Let the market do the cooking and you reap the benefits of well-seasoned chicken. Use it in multiple ways or simply carve and serve.

Fruit and yogurt. Though summer is Florida's quiet growing season, the rest of the country is in full fruit. Take advantage of the luscious cherries, apricots, peaches, berries and plums, pairing them with yogurt in parfaits with granola, icy smoothies or just gobble out of hand to keep you hydrated.

Cold cuts and cheese. Good for wraps and salads, deli meats and sliced cheeses add flavor and protein to meals. These are excellent go-to refrigerator staples for those nights when the sweat is dripping from your nose.

Canned beans. Chickpeas can be used for hummus; white beans make an excellent dip for vegetable sticks and kidney beans are delicious in salads. Lots of protein, too. Drained and rinsed, they are ready to eat.

The heat is on. Now if we can just ban it from the kitchen.

Janet K. Keeler can be reached at or (727) 893-8586.


Panzanella With Mozzarella and Salami

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 small clove garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

3 large tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/4-inch dice

1 tablespoon chopped chives

8 kalamata or other large black olives, pitted and coarsely chopped

4 cups diced leftover country white or Italian bread

1 bunch arugula, stemmed, washed and dried

1/4 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch dice

1/4 pound spicy Italian-style salami, sliced 1/4 inch thick, then cut into 1/4-inch dice

Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar and garlic in a small bowl. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well, so that the bread absorbs the tomato juice and dressing. Let it stand for 10 minutes, mixing once or twice. Serve immediately.

Serves 4 as a main dish.

Source: Cool Kitchen by Lauren Chattman (Morrow, 1998)


Lemony White Bean Dip

2 (15-ounce) cans white beans, drained and rinsed

2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Vegetables or pita chips for dipping

Place the beans, garlic, parsley, lemon juice and oil in a food processor or blender. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides once or twice as necessary.

Scrape the mixture into a bowl and stir in the salt. The dip can be made 2 or 3 hours before serving, covered in plastic wrap and kept at room temperature.

Makes 2 cups.

Source: Cool Kitchen by Lauren Chattman (Morrow, 1998)


Summer Minestrone

6 large, ripe tomatoes (about 3 pounds), cored and cut into 1/4-inch dice

1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped

1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into
1/4-inch dice

6 cloves garlic, peeled and slightly crushed

6 scallions, green and white parts, chopped

1 medium cucumber, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice

2 1/2 cups water

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1/2 cup croutons

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Garlic toast on the side

Combine the tomatoes, peppers, garlic, scallions, cucumber, water and vinegar in a large bowl. Refrigerate the soup until it is well chilled, about 1 hour. (It can be refrigerated for up to 6 hours until ready to serve.)

Remove and discard the garlic. Stir in the salt.

Ladle the soup into 6 serving bowls. Sprinkle each bowl with croutons and drizzle with olive oil. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Cool Kitchen by Lauren Chattman (Morrow, 1998)


Smoked Salmon Platter With
Dill Sour Cream

1 pound sliced smoked salmon

1/4 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons chopped shallots

1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained

Crackers or bread

Arrange salmon slices on large platter. Mix sour cream and dill in small bowl to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon sour cream mixture in center of salmon. Sprinkle shallots and capers over salmon. Serve salmon platter with crackers or bread.

Serves 4 as an entree or 8 as an appetizer.

Source: Bon Appétit


Smoked Turkey Wraps With Mango and Curried Mayonnaise

Curried mayonnaise:

1 teaspoon curry powder

1/3 cup light mayonnaise

1 to 2 teaspoons lemon juice

Salt and pepper


4 large wraps or flour tortillas

8 ounces thinly sliced smoked turkey

4 cups thinly sliced romaine lettuce

2 cups peeled, thinly sliced English hothouse cucumbers

1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted, chopped (about 1 cup)

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

1/2 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, thinly sliced

To make curried mayonnaise, stir curry powder in heavy, small skillet over medium-low heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer curry powder to small bowl. Stir in mayonnaise and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

To assemble sandwiches, spread wraps or tortillas with curried mayonnaise. Place 1/4 of turkey in center of wrap. Top turkey with 1 cup lettuce, 1/2 cup cucumber, 1/4 of mango and 1/4 of cilantro. Top with 1/4 of avocado slices. Fold in short sides of wrap, then roll up like burrito, enclosing filling completely. Repeat process for remaining 3 wraps. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap; keep refrigerated.) Cut wraps in half crosswise.

Makes 4.

Source: Adapted from Bon Appétit


Meze-in-a-Minute Platter

1 bag hearts of romaine, chopped

1 cup prepared tabbouleh

1 cup prepared hummus

1 dozen dolmas (stuffed grape leaves, see note)

1 cup brine-cured black and green olives

4 pita breads, cut in wedges

Spread the romaine evenly across a large platter. Arrange the tabbouleh, hummus, dolmas, olives and pita wedges on a platter. Serve immediately.

Serves 4 as a main dish or 8 as an appetizer.

Note: Stuffed grape leaves can be purchased in cans at many delis or specialty stores. They also can be ordered as takeout from Greek restaurants.

Source: Simply Salads by Jennifer Chandler (Rutledge Hill Press, 2006)


Tuna Waldorf Salad

This tuna salad can be served in a croissant with lettuce leaves or on a bed of lettuce.

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon prepared Dijon-style mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

1 (6-ounce) can oil-packed tuna

1 shallot, finely chopped

1 Granny Smith apple, cored and diced

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/3 cup diced celery

1 teaspoon sweet pickle relish

In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper. Add tuna, shallot, apple, walnuts, celery and pickle relish and toss until all ingredients are coated.

Serves 2.

Source: Adapted from


Asian Chicken Slaw


2 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (about 1 pound)

3/4 cup finely chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped sugar snap peas

1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1 (10-ounce) package angel hair slaw

1 (8-ounce) can sliced water chestnuts, drained

Dressing (see note):

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted

1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted

To prepare slaw, combine the first 7 ingredients in a large bowl.

To prepare dressing, combine cider vinegar and next 6 ingredients (through black pepper) in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Pour dressing over the slaw; toss to coat. Cover and chill 1 hour. Sprinkle with slivered almonds and sesame seeds.

Note: The dressing is better if you make it yourself but you can substitute a store-bought Asian vinaigrette if you'd like.

Serves 6.


Keep your kitchen cool in the summer heat with these no-cook recipes 06/07/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 22, 2011 4:53pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours