Strategies for cooking without heat
Can you cook without heating a single thing? Bowl of cereal to the rescue!
Oh, you want to cook cook? And end up with an actual meal? Good news: You can do that, too. (Just don't judge me on the rare nights when I do eat a bowl of cereal for dinner.)
Especially in the summer, the desire to keep your kitchen and yourself cool is very real. Consider these tips for putting together a meal without turning up the heat.
- Go raw. Yes, of course, giant piles of fruit and vegetables in a salad are a glorious summertime meal. But don't forget about the ways you can enjoy seafood and meat without cooking. Follow the lead of South America and make ceviche, which cures raw fish with citrus juice. Or do as Hawaii does, and enjoy some poke. You can even develop your own specialty and cure fish with your choice of flavorings. Sushi is, of course, another option. As far as meat goes, a beef carpaccio (or its close relative, carne cruda) is always in style. Ditto steak tartare and Ethiopian kitfo.
- Let someone else do the prep for you. Rotisserie chickens are one of the most versatile store-bought ingredients out there. (They often are close in price to a whole raw chicken.) Along the same lines, consider oil-packed tuna or anchovies. A can of beans is a great, not to mention inexpensive, shortcut. And it doesn't get much simpler than purchasing deli meat for a sandwich or wrap. Tofu is ready to be eaten straight out of the package if you so choose.
- Be smooth. Your blender and food processor are two of the best tools for easy, no-cook dishes in the summer. Gazpacho and other cold soups will never cease to be refreshing. Whip up a hummus or other dip for a light meal. Prefer a smoothie for breakfast or lunch? Go for it.
- Package small bites into a satisfying spread. I'm a huge fan of noshing my way through lunch or dinner. Whether it's just for you or a large crowd, a well-stocked collection of cheese, charcuterie and suitable accompaniments (crackers, dried fruit, olives, etc.) can be fun and filling. Snag inspiration from the Mediterranean with a mezze spread of hummus, tzatziki, pitas, jarred roasted red peppers, crudit s and more.
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