Cool Food for a Hot Day


The heat is here and the humidity’s rising. Who wants to fire up the stove or turn on the oven?

Here are some summer-perfect recipes which involve little cooking or can be reheated for a hot day meal. All items should be readily available in an air-conditioned store or try a local farmers’ market for the fresh produce.

Cold soups are great dishes to serve during the summer. They can be made of vegetables or fruit and provide a variety of tastes and textures. Try one…you may really like them.

And, of course, all kinds of salads have their special place on the summer table.

This first recipe- courtesy of Aileen Grossberg -was a surprise hit at the MESH recognition Kiddush. This cold soup is mild but the tapenade gives it a bit of Mediterranean kick. Amounts are flexible. If you like tzatziki, you’ll like this cousin to the Greek dip. Serves 4

recipe june30 cucumber soupCold Cucumber Soup with Tapenade Garnish (serves 4)

4 Persian cucumbers or one long English cucumber
2 green onions, sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tablespoons mint
3 tablespoons basil
1-12 oz. Container Greek yogurt
1 cup water
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ tsp salt or to taste
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil for drizzling (optional)

¼ c Kalamata olives
1 tablespoon capers
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1. Chop cucumbers coarsely.
2. Put in blender or food processor with green onions, garlic, mint and basil.
3. Blend or process until finely purees.
4. Add Greek yogurt, water and lemon juice and process again until well blended. Add salt to taste.
5. Put soup in a container and chill for at least one hour.
6. Prepare tapenade by pureeing olives, capers, garlic and olive oil together.
7. Serve soup with a dollop of tapenade and a drizzle of olive oil (optional).
NOTE: This soup could be made pareve by substituting non-dairy sour cream for the yogurt.

If you are adventurous you might try the following fruit soup a favorite of Whole Foods website readers.

recipejune30 pineapple soupPineapple Cucumber Gazpacho (serves 4 -6)

3 cups chopped pineapple
3 cups chopped, seeded and peeled cucumber
1 ½ cups pineapple juice
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 jalapeno, halved and seeded
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ cup thinly sliced green onion, white part only
2 tablespoons finely chopped macadamia nuts (for garnish)
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

1. Put pineapple, cucumber, pineapple juice, oil, lime juice, jalapeno and salt in a blender and puree until smooth.
2. Add green onions and puree until just combined.
3. Transfer to a bowl, cover and chill for at least 2 hours.
4. To serve, ladle into bowls and garnish with macadamia nuts and cilantro.

NOTE: Try toasted coconut instead of macadamia nuts as a garnish for this soup..

While the following dish (courtesy of Lynne Kurzweil) does need to be cooked. It will do well in a counter top oven. Or make it in the cool of the evening and serve at room temperature the next day with a refreshing salad. And it’s not just for breakfast.

recipejune30 spinachSpinach, Feta, and Artichoke Breakfast Bake (serves 8)

1-10 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and all excess liquid squeezed out.
½ cup scallions, finely chopped
¾ cup chopped canned artichokes, drained and patted dry
1/3 cup diced red pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
8 large eggs
4 large egg whites
¼ cup milk (nonfat is fine)
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
½ cup crumbled feta cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with oil.
3. In a small bowl combine spinach, scallions, artichokes, red pepper, garlic and dill.
4. Pour into the prepared dish, spreading evenly.
5. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, milk, parmesan, salt and pepper.
6. Mix in feta cheese and pour over vegetables
7. Bake until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean, 32-35 minutes.
8. Let stand 8-10 minutes before cutting into 8 pieces.

NOTE: Mozzarella, Havarti or queso fresco may be substituted for the feta.

Chick peas have become a favorite for a salad. Pop a few into a green salad or build an entire
salad around them. This salad features Mediterranean flavors. It can easily be multiplied. Serve with
pita bread or chips.

recipes june30 chick peasChick Peas Provencal (serves 12)

4 cups chick peas, rinsed and drained
¼ c sun-dried tomatoes, plumped, drained and julienned
¼ cup coarsely chopped olives
½ cup artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed and quartered
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped red onion

4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Juice of one lemon
½ c olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
1 tablespoon coarse salt

Combine the salad ingredients. Pour dressing over the vegetables and mix well.

NOTE: Use less dressing if you like your salads less saturated. A chopped cucumber and/or tomatoes can be added. For a quick way to add sun-dried tomatoes, use Trader Joe’s sun-dried tomatoes in a jar. Drain and toss into the salad.

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Aileen Grossberg

Aileen Grossberg

Aileen Grossberg, a professional librarian, is a long-time congregant and serves as volunteer librarian for Shomrei's Lampert Library. The library, one of the best-kept secrets at Shomrei is used by the Rabbi, congregants, students and teachers of the JLC (Hebrew School) and Preschool. It's a tremendous resource completely supported by your donations and gifts. Aileen also heads the Shomrei Caterers, the in-house food preparation group. Can there be any better combination…good food and good books!
Aileen Grossberg

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