The lazy, hazy days of summer can quickly sap the energy of even the most avid cook when it comes to preparing meals. Instead, many prefer assembling simple, straightforward dishes created from the season's bounty that require little - or no - heat. We consider ways to stay cool and eat well, even on the hottest days of the year.
Summer Recipes To Beat The Heat
*1 3/4 pounds flank steak, cut across the grain in 3″-4″ wide pieces
*3 Tablespoons Asian Fish Sauce
*3 Tablespoons Hoisin Sauce
*2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed with the back of a knife
- Place the pieces of flank steak in a container, preferably one in which the meat can lie flat.
- Rub the steak surfaces with the smashed garlic to rub some of the garlic oil onto the meat. Leave the garlic in the container with the meat.
- In a small bowl, stir to combine the fish sauce and Hoisin. Add the sauce mixture to the meat pan.
- Spread the sauce mixture over all of the meat surfaces. Turn and rub the individual pieces to ensure it is all well covered.
- Marinate for 20 to 30 minutes, or, overnight.
- Grill the meat over a hot fire to your desired doneness. You want to grill this meat over a high heat in order to caramelize the marinade on the meat. Flank steak is relatively thin, so it will cook fairly quickly. Alternately, you could broil the meat.
- Once it’s cooked, remove it from the heat and allow it to rest for 5- 10 minutes.
- Slice the meat across the grain into thin serving pieces.
Once cut, the steak will cool rapidly, so serve immediately and enjoy! Serve this steak over a salad with steamed rice, or, steamed rice and any veggies of choice.
Recipe below is for a single Artichoke; multiply quantities as necessary
*Artichoke (about the size of a softball)
*Snug-fitting, microwave-safe glass or ceramic bowl with lid
- The tips of artichoke leaves have little spikes. Using scissors, trim the tips off the leaves about 3/4 of the way up the artichoke.
- Using a serrated knife, cut the top off the artichoke.You will see the purple center.
- Next, cut the stem off the artichoke. You can leave them on and trim them if you are so inclined.
- Rub the trimmed base, the top of the artichoke, and the trimmed leaves with a lemon.
- Place the artichokes in a snug-fitting glass, ceramic bowl, or other container suitable for microwaving. The original instructions for this cooking method came from Barbara Kafka’s 1987 book Microwave Gourmet. She used saran wrap to enclose the artichokes. I no longer use plastic in a microwave due to health concerns. Instead, I place the artichokes in a bowl and cover them with a plate as a lid.
- Cook a single, medium-large artichoke (bigger than a softball) for 7 minutes, two medium artichokes for 11 minutes, or four artichokes for 17 minutes. Be careful when you remove the lid so you don’t get burned from the hot steam escaping.
- The artichoke is done when you can pull a leaf off easily and cleanly. You shouldn’t be able to lift the artichoke when pulling off a leaf; it should remain resting on the bottom of the bowl. The base of the leaf should be soft, tender, and slide easily off into your mouth when you pull it through your teeth. If it’s still a bit firm, cook the artichokes for another minute or more.
- Enjoy with dipping sauce.
*1 medium tomato, cored and cut into quarters
*1 small cucumber, peeled and cut into large chunks
*Flesh from 1/2 avocado, cut into large chunks
*3 large basil leaves
*1/2 jalapeño (optional)
*3/4 cup lightly packed watercress or baby spinach leaves
*1 small celery stalk (optional)
*1 clove garlic, crushed
*1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, or more to taste
*1 tablespoon honey
*2 ice cubes
*Filtered water (optional)
*Kosher or sea salt
*Freshly ground black pepper
*1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Reserve one-quarter of the tomato, two cucumber chunks, two avocado chunks, and one basil leaf. Combine and finely chop for garnish.
2.Stem and seed the jalapeño half and reserve the seeds. Cut the jalapeño into several pieces.
3.Combine one or two pieces of the jalapeño with the remaining tomato, cucumber, avocado, and basil and the watercress or spinach, celery, garlic, red wine vinegar, honey, and ice cubes in a blender or the bowl of a food processor; puree until smooth.
- Add 1/4 cup or more water to thin the mixture, if necessary.
- Taste and season with salt, pepper, and more vinegar, if needed. If you want the soup spicier, add more of the jalapeño, a little at a time, as well as some of the seeds if desired, blending and tasting after each addition.
- Refrigerate until cold, then pour into a bowl and top with the reserved chopped tomato, cucumber, avocado, and basil and a drizzle of olive oil, and eat.
*1 pound fresh asparagus
*Ends of asparagus stalks, chopped into 1′ lengths
*1 cup green leek tops, chopped into 1/2″ lengths
*1 bay leaf
*1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped into 1″ pieces
*1 celery stalk, chopped into 1″ pieces
*4 parsley sprigs
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*5 cups cold water
*The cleaned and prepared tops of 1 of asparagus- Cut off the most attractive tips and reserve for garnishing the soup, cut the stalks into 1/4″ pieces
*3 tablespoons butter
*2-3 leeks, white part only, washed and cut into 1/4″ pieces
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*asparagus stock (above)
*salt and pepper
*1/2 Meyer lemon, regular lemon or regular lemon and orange, grated peel and juice
*1/4 cup cream
*2 tablespoons sour cream, Labne (Kefir cheese), or yogurt
- Snap off the tough root ends of the asparagus stalks. To do this, hold a stalk below the tip and at the root end. Bend the stalk until it snaps apart. Use the root ends for your stock and the greener, top section for the soup and garnish.
- Combine the prepared stock ingredients into deep saucepan or small stock pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
- Cook for 25 minutes. Strain. Set aside.
- Start making the soup by heating the butter in small stock pot or large sauce pan.
- Add the leeks and cook, stirring often, until they are very wilted and soft, but not browned, about 8-10 minutes.
- Add the chopped asparagus, salt, and stock. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
- Cook for about 5-6 minutes. You want the asparagus cooked tender, soft enough that it can be finely pureed, but still green, not grey green.
- Blend the soup well.
- Scoop or strain the vegetables out of the liquid.
- Place the vegetables in the blender or food processor. Add just enough liquid so that the vegetables will puree. Transfer the smooth puree to a bowl.
- Stir in the remaining stock, tasting as you go. If you think the flavor balance is good before you’ve added all of the stock, don’t add any more. If you think the flavor of the soup is a bit strong, add a bit of water.
- If you’re serving the soup cold, chill it. Otherwise, add a dash of freshly ground pepper. Then balance the seasoning of the soup with lemon juice and salt. Add a squeeze of lemon, then add salt to taste.
- Make the soup garnish. Blanche the reserved asparagus tips in salted water for 1-2 minutes. You want them just tender, but still bright green.
- Grate the rind from 1/2 a lemon. Reserve.
- Whip the 1/4 cup cream lightly, until the soft peak stage. 16. Whisk in the sour cream, Labne, or yogurt.
- Season with salt. Set aside.
- Place the soup in serving bowls. Add a dollop of your cream mixture. Divide your reserved asparagus tips between the bowls. Sprinkle the grated lemon rind over the top.