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Hot weather calls for cool food

Many of us have been sweltering lately with the summer weather really hitting. In the north of the country where I am, the humidity is sapping on the energy, and we don’t even get much relief at night with the temperature only dropping a few degrees.

In weather like this, often the last thing we feel like doing is standing over a hot stove. Or even setting foot in the kitchen, for that matter. Luckily our bodies tend to crave lighter, cooler foods about now. Here are a few of the things I’m doing right now to make for easy, hot-weather cooking.

Let the oven do the work

I know, even turning the oven on makes us feel hot. But if the oven’s doing the work, you don’t have to; you don’t even have to be in the room. I’m all about the baked chicken breast or piece of salmon right now; pop it on a baking tray with some baking paper and an interesting rub; bake for 15 minutes or so and you’ve got the protein component of your meal done. Add to some salad for a super low-stress dinner. 

Don’t forget the microwave

Boiling spuds and steaming veges on the stove top holds zero appeal right now. But spuds steam really well in the microwave – just pop them in a bowl and put a plate on top; cook for 7-8 minutes until they’re tender and it’s all done. Eat warm, or cool and dress for potato salad. 

Keep it cool

Hot pasta and noodles don’t feel right, but chilled noodle salad and pasta salad can be a delight. I am loving the Japanese soba noodles and Thai rice noodles right now; both are traditionally eaten cold. I toss through lots of shredded veges (even easier, a bag of pre-chopped slaw) and dress with a flavoursome dressing and some spring onions. Serve with a bit of meat, chicken, fish or tofu for a refreshing and easy dinner. 

Go raw

I don’t mean go all raw-foodie – but salad as a meal on a hot summer day can be just what we feel like. It doesn’t have to be a pile of boring leaves. Use up leftover cooked veges and shred leftover meat; use smoked or canned salmon or tuna. It’s a great time to try some of the world’s classic salads: Caesar salad with a yoghurt-based dressing and some chicken is delicious; so is a Nicoise salad with olives, beans, tuna and egg. 

 

Use your imagination and take advantage of technology and dinner is served, no sweat. 

 

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First published: Feb 2016
Last updated: April 3 2017
Last science review: October 10 2016



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