Every summer has a story

Humid summers are not a fun time to be slaving over a hot stove and during this time, our bodies want lighter, cooler foods.

by Joanne Henning Tedesco — 

Sometimes it is the same old story. Humid summers are not a fun time to be slaving over a hot stove and during this time, our bodies want lighter, cooler foods. This is easier to accomplish when you have plenty of no-cook recipes to fall back on, such as delicious appetizers, cold soups and salads that require little or no cooking. The result makes for a cooler kitchen and a happier you. Plus, your family will love the results.

Remember to visit your nearby farmers’ markets to buy local, organically grown fruits and vegetables. Even in the summer, you can still find healthy choices to feed your family.

The following are some recipes to add to your collection:

Beet Gazpacho


  • 1 medium leek (white and pale-green parts only), halved lengthwise and coarsely chopped
  • 2 beets (3/4 pound without greens), peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1/2 medium onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1/2 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, or to taste
  • 1 bouquet garni (two large sprigs fresh parsley and two large sprigs fresh thyme tied together with kitchen string)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons plain, whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon dill, chopped


Wash leek in a large bowl of water, agitating it to loosen dirt particles. Cook leek, beets, onion and apple in oil in a heavy, medium pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened, 10 to 12 minutes. Add water, vinegar, bouquet garni, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and cook at a bare simmer, uncovered, until vegetables and apple are tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Discard bouquet garni. Purée soup in batches in a blender (use caution when blending hot liquids), cover when cool, then chill until cold. Just before serving, season soup with salt and pepper if needed, and drizzle with yogurt and sprinkle with dill. Serve cold. Can be chilled up to three days. Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

Cold Curried Carrot and Coconut Milk Soup


  • 3/4 cup scallions, finely chopped (about 1 bunch)
  • 1 small onion, chopped (about 2/3 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh gingerroot, finely grated and peeled
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1-1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced thin (about 4 cups)
  • 2-1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 to 1-1/2 cups canned unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, plus additional, to taste
  • Ice water for thinning soup
  • Trimmed scallions for garnish


In a large, heavy saucepan, cook chopped scallion, onion and gingerroot in butter with curry powder and salt and pepper, to taste, over moderately low heat, until softened. Add carrots and broth to the mixture. Simmer, covered for 20 minutes or until carrots are soft. In a blender, purée mixture in batches with coconut milk until smooth, transferring to a bowl. Stir in 1 tablespoon lime juice and chill soup at least 6 hours or overnight. Thin the soup with ice water and season with additional lime juice, and salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish soup with trimmed scallions. Yield: About 6-1/2 cups.

Cold Honeydew and Mint Soup in Cantaloupe


  • 1/2 large honeydew melon, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, rinsed and spun dry; plus, if desired, 6 mint sprigs for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar, to taste
  • 3 cantaloupes, halved and trimmed decoratively


In a blender or food processor, purée in batches the honeydew, mint leaves, lime juice, sugar, to taste, and a pinch of salt until smooth. Transfer the soup to a bowl and chill, covered, for at least one hour or overnight. (The soup may be made two days in advance and kept covered and chilled.) Arrange the cantaloupe halves on six small plates, ladle the soup into them and garnish each serving with a mint sprig. Yield: About 6 cups.

Panzanella (Italian Bread) Salad


  • 6 (1-inch-thick) slices very stale Italian bread
  • 2 to 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves, torn or coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


Soak bread in cold water to cover for 10 minutes. Working with a handful at a time, squeeze as much water as possible from bread and coarsely crumble into a serving bowl (you should have about 4 cups). Gently toss with tomatoes, onion and basil, then drizzle with oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper, and toss well. Yield: 6 servings.


Sources: www.gourmet.com and Joanne’s recipe box.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 31, Number 4, August/September 2012.

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