Can’t stand the heat? Get into the kitchen!

Weather_forecast_2016-07-21This week’s forecast: highs in the nineties, with “feels like” temps shooting into the 105°F – 115°F range. No matter how crisp your outlook, it’s hard to keep a “cool as a cucumber” attitude when just the walk from the house to the car, and from the car to the office door causes you to melt.

We’re experiencing the worst of what summer has to offer this week. The four horsemen of the hot-pocalypse: Sunburn, Sweat, Swelter, and Sunstrock are hot on our heels.

Can’t stand the heat? Get into the kitchen!

No – really. Fling that refrigerator door open, and create your own delicious oasis of coolness.

Here are some great no-stove cooking ideas that make use of the season’s fresh fruit and veg, and will help you chill out, figuratively and literally.

To fight the four horsemen of the hot-pocalypse, we suggest inviting the four fairy godmothers of summer survival: Soup, Salad, Sandwiches, and Sorbet.

serious_eats_picnic_sandwichSoup. We usually think of soups and stews as cold-weather entrees, hearty and toasty. But here in midsummer, cold soups like gazpacho are light and cooling, and the uncooked fresh ingredients keep their full and vibrant flavor.

Salad. Make the most of the local and sustainable produce at the farmers’ market and toss together a salad. Whether it’s served as an entrée or as a colorful side, a fresh fruit or vegetable salad packs a high-fiber, healthy fats (when you use smart fats like Olive Oils, nuts, avocaodes, etc), good-nutrition wallop. Plus, summer salads taste good and look pretty. And you don’t have to heat up anything to “cook” it! Win-win-win.

Coastal_Living_sandwiches-hummusSandwich. Grab some bread (or a pita, or some tortillas) and pile it high with your favorite summer ingredients. Make your sandwich open-faced, or, as the kids used to say, put a “lid” on it, and you’ve got a stove-free meal.  Our favorite summer sandwich short-cut (and stove avoidance technique) is to buy carryout rotisserie/roast chicken, which we subsequently chop up and make into chicken salad sandwiches.

Sorbet (or other frozen desserts). This cure for summer malaise does require trotting out a kitchen appliance – the ice cream freezer. But (if you go the non-custard route) you can avoid using the stove altogether when you make sumptuous frozen desserts.  Keep that churning cylinder in the freezer at all times, just in case you develop a sudden need for sorbet (or sherbet, ice cream, or gelato). A handy guide to which kind of frozen yum is which is right here.

What’s *your* favorite no-stove food when the comfort index strays into the “miserable” range? We’d love for you to share your “secret weapon” for beating the heat, and enter our 2016 Summer Side Dish competition! We’re taking entries until July 30, and announcing a winner Saturday, August 13.  Write up your recipe, and send it to us at

Can’t wait to hear about all your best summer sides!

Photo credits: weather map – Mashable
Yummy sandwiches – Serious Eats and Coastal Living