Summer Food

When it's really hot, the last thing you want to do is cook. Fortunately Mark Bittman has prepared a list of 101 great dishes ready in ten minutes or less that won't heat up your kitchen too much. My personal favorites? Couscous topped with tomatoes, sardines, olive oil and black pepper (no. 17), pasta tossed with sauteed garlic cloves and ground Pecorino (no. 33), fish browned in olive oil or butter served with lemon juice and capers (no. 55),  and pasta frittata (no. 89). You could also just take your cooking out of the house. If you're not an experienced griller, you might want to check out a beginner-friendly guide such as Grilling for Dummies or Weber's Big Book of Grilling. If you're not as enthusiastic a carnivore as some of us, try Grilling from the Garden: Vegetarian Dishes for the Outdoor Cook or Bobby Flay's Grilling for Life, which includes vegetarian recipes such as Grilled New Potatoes with Lemon-Garlic Aioli and Chives, Grilled Asian-Style Eggplant Salad, and Grilled ZucchinI Succotash. For grillers who have already gotten started and are ready to take their grilling to the next level, I suggest Taming the Flame: Secrets for Hot-and-Quick Grilling and Low-and-Slow BBQ. If you're interested in grilling with more of an international flavor, you can't go wrong with Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way and The Japanese Grill: From Classic Yakitori to Steak, Seafood and Vegetables. On some hot days, there's nothing better than going the cold liquid route to feed yourself. One muggy morning several years ago in southern Mexico I walked into a hole-in-the-wall place that sold cold drinks.  The owner tossed some pieces of mango into a blender full of ice-cold milk, turned it on for a minute, and poured the results into a glass. I still remember that as one of the best breakfasts I've ever had. It was just what I needed at the time.  If a frothy cold drink sounds good to you, you can get some ideas from Smoothies, Shakes and Frappes: 750 Refreshing, Revitalizing and Nourishing Drinks. If you're in mood for something sweet, consult Frozen Desserts: The Definitive Guide to Making Ice Creams, Ices, Sorbets, Gelati and Other Frozen Delights. And over at the Boston Globe, one of their correspondents writes that this is the prime season for soft-shelled crabs (the article includes links to recipes). Savor the summer every way you can.

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