Updated 2011-06-20 20:09:59 ID=645:0

© 2011 The Romantic Table
©2008 The Romantic Table, Susan McGourty's Table Talk, a California Central Coast Lifestyle blog. 2011-06-09 16:33:16:80
©2008 The Romantic Table

Susan McGourty's Table Talk

Summer Is Finally Coming On Strong!


We've had a really cool Spring, and now that the weather has made-up its mind and switched to "summer-mode", we cooks have to come up with menus that beat the heat and keep us cool as we prepare them!

I don't know about you, but I'm having a hard time switching from Spring-cooking style to that of Summer! Due to the LONG late-winter weather, my metabolism is "stuck" in "cool weather mode." But now that it's HOT! I've got to reach into my bag of tricks and come up with some easy foods for this hot weather that won't heat up the house as well.

This being a "Monday" means that this is chemo-therapy day for my German Shepherd. That means a long day of waiting for him to be ready to pick up in late afternoon in another town. So on these hot late-supper nights, we plan practically cook-less meals. Tonight we're having something very simple, but oh! so delicious! We're having Provolone and Prosciutto on San Luis Rosemary and Olive Oil Sourdough Bread Paninis with my Orange, Fresh Fennel and White Onion Salad accompanying them!!! (A Panini Press is worth the investment! It turns "what might be a dull sandwich" into a celebration!) And the Orange, Fennel and Onion Salad is so refreshing this will really help cool us off for the evening. This salad is definitely a "keeper" for those ungodly hot nights of mid-summer!

Another "cool as a cucumber," but more sophisticated meal is our Seared Ahi with mixed greens and Lemon Vinaigrette. You lightly sear the Ahi Tuna on a grill, then thinly slice it and serve it on mounds of Spring Mix that are drizzled with our Lemon Vinaigrette. Then serve with some crusty peasant bread such as a Pugliese and a glass of chilled wine. -It's scrumptious!

Another idea is to make my Grilled Eggplant Pizzettes with Fresh Herbs. These are so good and simple to make! If you like pizza and eggplant, you'll go crazy for these!

If you're lucky enough to have fresh off the vine ripe tomatoes, another favorite for hot nights is my uncooked sauce Savory Summer Pasta which in addition to the raw tomatoes, uses Kalamata olives, anchovies, canned tuna and fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil on quickly cooked shell pasta (on hot nights, we heat the pasta water on the grill!!) that together combine to make a symphony for your mouth!

So here are a few ideas off the tip of my head that as you read them, might get your own ideas going and help make this transition to this "hot-time of year" here on the California Central Coast much more enjoyable.




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A tip from Sue!

Use A Pasta Pot for Pasta

If you like pasta and are planning on having it often, I recommend getting a pasta pot.

After trying different sets, the best one I’ve found was the original, least expensive one. It’s a stainless steel pot with separate built-in pasta basket. It also comes with a vegetable steamer. Something like it is available on the Internet for about $40.00. and at several local supermarkets as low as $30.00.

You don’t need to have a real heavy pan---otherwise you’re going to waste all your time heating the pan instead of getting it to boil quickly. Don't worry about hot spots since all you’re going to be doing with it is boiling water.