With summertime in full swing and Brother Sun often bringing the heat in triple-digit temperatures, staying cool grows more challenging. The appeal of grilling and barbecuing notwithstanding, there comes a point where it’s not only undesirable, but unhealthy to be outside slaving over charcoal hellfires in pursuit of hot, heavy meals. Here, apart from the obvious ice cream and popsicles, are a few options for cool eating that will fill you up without slowing you down during the hottest months of the year.
Sure, not everyone digs on uncooked fish, no matter how artful its presentation or how delectable others claim it tastes. But sushi chefs and those who revel in devouring their renderings will agree that a sushi meal rises and falls on the quality of the rice used. As for the rawness perceived unpalatable by some, there are multiple maki (rice rolled into sheets of dried seaweed with vegetables and/or seafood, and sliced) options. A kampyo maki filled with dried Japanese gourd, or a California roll of rice, avocado, and cooked crabmeat are only two such alternatives that sushi offers both to omnivores and vegetarians alike.
Not the steaming bowls you enjoyed fireside last Winter; we’re talking about chilled gastronomic boons to all mankind flavored with things like fruit, cilantro, potato, and mint, to name a few. Vichyssoise, a flavorful puree of potatoes, leeks, onions, chicken stock, and cream, is one example that manages to be hearty, but not heavy. A nice gazpacho offers innumerable recipe variations; more than enough for even the most selective eater to find at least one to like. AllRecipes.com is an excellent resource for cold fruit and/or vegetable soup recipes like Cream of Mango soup, Green Pea-Mint soup, and Chilled Cantaloupe soup.
Salad doesn’t have to consist solely of leafy greens and stale croutons. Ceviche is a delicious raw seafood salad traditionally flavored with cilantro, onions, diced tomatoes, and fresh citrus juices whose acids lightly “cook” the seafood ingredients. Because its interpretations have been many, countless ceviche recipes exist. Thai cuisine gives us Larb Gai, made with minced chicken, crunchy red onion, chiles, and fresh lime juice. A tasty green mango salad, chickpea salad, or crab salad is also a wonderful way to cast off often oppressive summer heat.
Be they Japanese Soba noodles in sesame sauce, Korean Naeng Myun, or any other variety, cold noodles as a meal or light snack bring down the temperature quickly. TheKitchn.com has great recipes for these and other traditional cold noodle dishes, and it can be fun trying them out or creating new ones. Where the imaginative soul meets the adventurous eater, there’s no shortage of delightful dishes best served cold.