Yep, they’ve arrived. You know, the days where emergency cooling stations are required, you can’t seem to drink enough water, and you sweat before, during and after your shower. And forget about cooking. Turning on your oven in these conditions is self inflicted torture. Yep, we are now officially in August.
But I’m not about to give in. Rather than running for the nearest air conditioned restaurant I decided I’d shoot for something refreshing. By minimizing the heat from the stove, and by maximizing the cooling flavors I thought I could beat the heat. It’s very tough to cook a delicious meal without cooking. Meaning, sometimes you just have to use the stove. But rather than using the oven, I stuck to the stove top minimizing how long the flame was burning.
I was inspired by a conversation I had with Nancy (one of the $15/15 challengers) regarding a vegetable terrine she had just made that sounded absolutely delicious. In ramekins I stacked a layer of each: roasted red pepper, grilled zucchini, goat cheese, basil, tomato, grilled eggplant and a portabello cap. Using my grill pan, I was able to cook the thin layers of eggplant, zucchini, and mushroom without filling the apartment with unnecessary heat. Pressing the layers in the refrigerator for a few hours helped meld the flavors and the layers leaving a beautiful and flavor packed component of my meal. The flavors were amazing and extremely refreshing and look how great it looks! But I knew this wasn’t going to be enough for a full meal (although on it’s own, this terrine would be an amazing appetizer).
One of the ways to get around the inevitable cooking heat leak is by grilling outside. Score one for mother nature, zero for the New York City small apartment inhabitant. But you can’t have it all. So, by once again relying on my grill pan I paired these terrines with basil oil and lemon marinated swordfish skewers. Fish, even meatier fish like swordfish, is much lighter and therefore often more refreshing than chicken, pork, or beef which makes it perfect for summer meals. Knowing I couldn’t get the great grill flavor from my pan, I finished these skewers with a gremolata of lemon zest, garlic, and basil. Cooked perfectly with a bit of red onion and zucchini, these skewers were the perfect compliment to the colorful terrines.
All in all, I barely used the stove and barely worked up a sweat in making this fantastic dinner that I will be sure to make again! Do you have any tips to make it through this heat?