11 Aug Don’t snarl during overheated dog days, just offer something cool
It’s not hard to put together this Supercharged Salad.
Ah, the dog days of summer when sizzling temperatures can leave you in a slump.
Astronomically speaking, these days are named for the time of year when Sirius, the Dog Star, rises and sets with the sun. The brightest star in the sky at this time, the Dog Star historically was credited with adding to the heat of the sun, giving this season of scalding temperatures its nickname.
Call them what you like. When the mercury rises into the 90s, all you feel like doing is running through a sprinkler or jumping into a pool. The last thing you want to do is fire up the stove and cook. And yet, if you’re the cook, you’re responsible for feeding the brood.
Luckily, there are plenty of satisfying meals that require no cooking at all.
I give you my roundup of chill out in the kitchen recipes. Here’s to kicking back, keeping cool and enjoying the last few weeks of summer.
An Antipasto Platter is made effortless by the endless options available at grocery stores. Why not pick up some sliced salami, smoked gouda, marinated artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes, and kalamata olives from the deli department? Slice up a fresh bakery baguette. Arrange it all attractively on a platter, and dinner is served.
Appetites tend to wane during hot spells. A fresh Poppy Seed Fruit Salad will satisfy most in the heat of the summer.
Select ripe seasonal fruit with contrasting colors, cut into bitesized pieces and serve with a prepared poppy seed dressing and breadsticks.
Rotisserie chickens can be a godsend this time of year. Leave the cooking to the deli, and bring home an already roasted chicken. Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces, add 1 cup real mayonnaise, a teaspoon or two of curry powder and a dash of salt and pepper, and you’ve got Curried Chicken Salad ready to wrap up in tortillas, make into sandwiches or serve as an entree salad with grapes and toasted almonds.
Proscuitto-Melon Kabobs can be prepared ahead of time and kept refrigerated until mealtime.
Pick up ¼ pound of thinly sliced prosciutto from the deli.
Cut a ripe cantaloupe in half, and then use a melon-baller to make melon balls out of the fruit. Alternate thin strips of prosciutto with melon balls on 4-inch wooden skewers, and garnish with fresh basil for a delicious appetizer or first course.
Wow your guests with Spicy Shrimp Cocktails you throw together in minutes.
In a medium bowl, combine ½ cup each of diced ripe avocado, canned black beans (drained), corn and diced tomatoes. Add ¼ cup fresh lime juice, ½ tsp. salt and 1 tsp. chili powder or more, to taste. Stir to combine. Distribute mixture in the bottom of four martini glasses.
Place four cooked, shelled jumbo shrimp, which are available in the seafood department, around the rim of each glass.
Top with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of chili powder. Serve with cocktail forks.
Savor the best the season has to offer by highlighting seasonal berries in an ultra-healthy and delicious Supercharged Salad.Buy a rotisserie chicken, 1 pint blackberries, 1 pint raspberries and 1 pint strawberries at the store.
Whisk together 1 cup balsamic vinegar, ¼ cup olive oil, 2 tbsp. honey, 1 tsp. curry powder, 2 tbsp. heavy cream, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Toss 4 cups mixed greens with dressing and distribute the dressed greens among six salad plates.
Arrange sliced rotisserie chicken over dressed greens.
Top each plate with chopped walnuts, blackberries, raspberries and sliced strawberries.