Cool summer no-cook treats

February 23, 2012

Food, Recipes

We just want to stay cool, and this means preparing meals that we do not have to slave over a hot stove to cook — think cold soups, wonderful garden fresh salads and chilled drinks.

by Joanne Henning Tedesco — 

Summer is definitely an “I do not want to cook” time. So far this year, the local temperature has hit 118° F, and we have had a monstrous haboob that deposited sand and dust everywhere. We just want to stay cool, and this means preparing meals that we do not have to slave over a hot stove to cook — think cold soups, wonderful garden fresh salads and chilled drinks. Here are some cooling summer recipes to try.

 Summer Tomatoes


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons malt vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon packed, light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt or fleur de sel
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cut crosswise into
  • 1/2-inch slices 1 scallion, thinly sliced diagonally


Whisk together oil, vinegar, brown sugar, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Arrange one-third of tomatoes in a single layer on a large plate, then drizzle with some dressing and sprinkle with some scallion. Make two more layers of tomatoes, drizzling each with dressing and sprinkling with scallion. Or, tomatoes can be sliced and dressed without scallion six hours ahead and chilled, covered with plastic wrap. Sprinkle scallion over tomatoes just before serving. Serves 6.

Rhubarb Ginger Cooler


  • 3-1/2 pounds fresh rhubarb stalks, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (10 cups)
  • 2-1/2 cups cold water
  • 1-3/4 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped, peeled, fresh ginger
  • About 2 cups sparkling water


Bring rhubarb, cold water, sugar and ginger to a simmer in a 4- to 5-quart pot over moderate heat, uncovered, stirring once or twice for 1 minute. Remove from heat and let steep, uncovered, for 1 hour. Pour mixture through a large fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl, gently stirring but not pressing on solids (discard solids; you will have about 6 cups syrup). Chill syrup completely, about 45 minutes. (Syrup keeps frozen for three months.) Serve syrup in glasses over ice with a splash of sparkling water. Syrup can be made three days ahead and chilled, covered. Add sparkling water just before serving. Makes 12 drinks.

Chicken and Strawberries Over Mixed Greens


  • 2 cups chopped, precooked skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 2 breasts)
  • 2 cups quartered small strawberries (about 1 pint)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 cups gourmet salad greens


Combine first five ingredients in a large bowl. Combine sesame seeds and next six ingredients (sesame seeds through pepper) in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Pour over chicken mixture; toss well to coat. Cover and chill 1 hour. Serve over salad greens. Serves 4. (Serving size: 1-1/4 cups chicken mixture and 1 cup greens.) Serve with focaccia, topped with coarse salt and rosemary to complement the sweet strawberries and raisins in the salad.

Banana Ice


  • 1 small banana, peeled, sliced and frozen
  • 3 tablespoons 1% low-fat milk
  • 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts


Place frozen banana pieces and milk in a blender or food processor; process until thick. Top with walnuts.

Cranberry Spinach Salad


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3/4 cup almonds, blanched and slivered
  • 1 pound spinach, rinsed and torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons minced onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil


In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Cook and stir almonds in butter until lightly toasted. Remove from heat and let cool. In a large bowl, combine the spinach with the toasted almonds and cranberries. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, onion, paprika, white wine vinegar, cider vinegar and vegetable oil. Toss with spinach just before serving. Serves 8.


Sources:,, and Joanne’s recipe box.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 30, Number 4, Aug/Sept 2011.

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