Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Summer food

We're just entering the so-called monsoon phase of the summer this week, which is a relief. It has been so hot. I find myself much less excited about cooking when it's really hot. I find my whole eating style changes, actually. I don't like to fuss over a meal, and I don't want to spend much time on it. In cold weather, I make soups and stews, loving the sense of filling myself with warmth when I eat. In summer, I prefer to eat cool.


Dinner alone, late in the evening, while my husband was away: spaghetti with the dregs of a jar of pesto. I halved grape tomatoes and put them in the bottom of the colander before I drained the spaghetti. They cooked lightly under the hot spaghetti, releasing enough juice to help the pesto spread out. Eaten while I binge-watched Law & Order (don't judge).


A Virtuous Breakfast of fat-free Greek yogurt over sliced strawberries, drizzled generously with honey.


Impromptu salad of cannellini beans, sliced grape tomatoes, sliced kalamata olives and a little feta, dressed with olive oil, red-wine vinegar, oregano and garlic. Served alongside lemony, peppery grilled chicken breasts.


It's-too-hot-for-a-real-lunch salad of greens and cucumbers, with leftover dressing from the above bean salad.


Fruit salad of peaches, strawberries and black grapes. I make fruit salad whenever there's just a little left of several different kinds of fruit. The only thing I don't like in a fruit salad is bananas because they turn black and mushy.


Afternoon snack of Boursin and cucumbers atop whole grain crackers. I can always find a home for Boursin.


 Homemade peach smoothie pops made with yogurt and honey. Deliciously icy and tart.


A glass of Smithwick's on an empty stomach (oops).


Pizza made with a quick tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, basil and homemade basil oil.* I can sometimes be persuaded to use the oven at high temperature for a short time, as for baking a pizza. I heart pizza.

*Puree 1 part olive oil with 2 parts fresh basil leaves and salt to taste. (I usually make 1/4 cup at a time: 1/4 cup oil and 1/2 cup basil leaves). Strain through a very fine sieve to remove basil bits, decant oil into a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Keeps a couple of weeks in the fridge but you should let it sit at room temperature before using to make it easier to drizzle. Delicious on pizza, crusty bread, vegetables, pasta or anything else, really.

How does your eating change in hot weather?

48 comments:

  1. I eat a lot of salad and then put lots of unhealthy dressing on it. I also eat a lot of fruit and load it with ice cream or fresh cream or sometimes both. I don't want to go on a diet but I am going to eat better just to lose the pounds I gained on holiday.

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  2. Jennifer, oh my.. I'm hungry now! :) Everything looks delicious. During the summer we enjoy more salads. Something light, refreshing and ready to cool us down. Being pregnant during this heat is no joke. -Which I know you know all about it! I absolutely love making fresh Popsicle's. -Watermelon, peach, honeydew and more. Light tossed pasta is also enjoyable during this time in our home.

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  3. Deliciousness everywhere. That beer looks good, I'd never heard of Smithwick's until now.

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  4. This sound like my kind of food except the beer of course!!!

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  5. I am catching up on my blog reading having just finished my evening meal of pasta (G.F.) with halved pomadorino tomatoes, pesto, asparagus and feta and what should pop up on my screen but your almost identical meal...spooky lol xx The others look delish as well :)

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  6. Yes, I don't like to be in the kitchen either when it's really hot. We are eating lots of grilled fish, salads, pasta with herbs and parmesan cheese, and pizza. All of your food photos look so fresh and yummy! Your pizza is gorgeous, and it looks delicious. Do you make your own crust? And do you grill it or bake it in the oven? Your smoothie pops look delicious. Would you mind to share your recipe? I think my daughter would love them!

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    1. Oh yes, I see that you baked your pizza in the oven.

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  7. I totally agree with the cooking as little as possible when it is hot! Although, I do quite like spicy things when it is hot as they cool you down somehow! In fact we have had spicy the last three nights in a row now! xx

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  8. Mmm, the Virtuous Breakfast and the peach smoothie pops look divine! I actually tend to eat better, heartier meals in the summer because I either go visit my parents or my boyfriend; they break me of my school-year habit of only eating once a day!

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  9. Hmm...all looks so yummy and healthy
    Tracey xxx

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  10. Everything looks colorful and healthy! You should write a cookbook! I make potato and macaroni salads and baked beans.. not as healthy as yours but it's our go-to summer food along with BBQ chicken and hot dogs.
    ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  11. Now this is a perfectly yummy post, Jennifer! Great ideas for hot weather food, beautifully presented...and I smiled at your narrative where you hoped I would, I think [Law and Order and Smithwicks :) ] xx

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  12. It all looks very yummy, Jennifer. :o)

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  13. Fruit and salad and home grown things are very appealing when it's hot, although the heat here isn't massive most of the time. I love the meals you've chosen, they do seem just right for a sweltering day. I love the tip about basil oil, I'm growing some basil, so if it's successful I'll try this. CJ xx

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  14. I am the same with food in hot weather, quick and simple and not hot (but I am always up for pizza). I would love to come for lunch and dinner at yours! Unfortunately we rarely have such hot weather in Scotland.

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  15. It all sounds and looks yummy Jennifer, I think we are all the same in the Summer something quick light and easy, I am in my salad and fruit eating mode at the moment all nice and healthy too. :)

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  16. Absolutely fabulous photos...and so delicious looking!
    I am like you...enjoy winter foods more...but also love my salads...
    Lovely post Jennifer...
    Enjoy the rest of your week...
    Cheers!
    Linda :o)

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  17. That all looks wonderful, and so healthy. It's definitely easier to eat more lightly in the summer. I am loving the look of that bean salad, and served with chicken breasts too, yum. x

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  18. Everything looks delicious and so fresh! Summer food is good!

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  19. We have similar eating habits when it gets hot. We are off to Spain next week so many more salads and fresh fruit for the next 3 weeks x

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  20. Everything looks so fresh and healthy! I love your idea of the grape tomatoes in the colander. I never though of that! We eat lighter in the summer too.

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  21. Great looking food and a lot of what I like, cold here (winter) so about to enjoy some soup for breakfast ☺
    And I made some yummy foccacia yesterday to have with our pasta last night

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  22. I can so relate to this post - and I did a similar one recently! I just don't have the passion for cooking in the summer. And I can't stand eating heavy or hot meals either. I eat a lot like you do - different salads, cheese and crackers, fruit salad. Boursin and cukes on crackers with some fruit actually sounds like a perfect lunch to me. Oh - and I heart pizza, too! One of my favorite foods.

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  23. YUM! What delicious summer food :) Those smoothie pops look amazing and I think I could eat a slice of your basil pizza right now!

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  24. Everything looks refreshing and cool ... just how I like to eat in the summer too, but usually with something BBQd. We still turn the oven on really high for Saturday night pizza too (my fav!). It gets the A/C chugging, but we live dangerously :] Wendy

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  25. Oh my Jennifer it all looks so delicious! I have totally lost my cooking mojo lately. I seem to exist on poached eggs. Thank God for Beryl and Jean. I love the peach smoothie lollies. A good idea to make for pops. Did you make the smoothie yourself?
    Leanne xx

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  26. Your hot weather menu looks a lot like mine. Although so far this summer temperatures in the UK have not risen above 27. I love hot weather and could do with it a bit hotter but at 25 with a light breeze it's certainly easier to get the chores done (and I'm still knitting with wool

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  27. Yummy! Those all look fantastic, Jennifer. We do a lot of grilling this time of year, but even that is not fun because it's so blasted hot outside. I also do a lot of things in the crockpot -- pop something in the pot in the morning and forget about it!

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  28. Our weather has been horrible this year, the humidity was 85 percent today with temps in the mid 90's. The humidity is what does me in, it feels like a swamp this week :( I eat a lot of cool food when the temps get high too. Salads are one of my favorite summer meals!

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  29. Gorgeous spread here Jennifer! Every bit looks so delicious and fresh! I am so with you on cooking in the summer..light dishes are best for us as well! And those smoothie pops look like they would hit the spot! Well everything looks like it would hit the spot! If you lived closer I would so be over to share a glass with you on the patio!! Happy 4th! Nicole xo

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  30. Love your summer food. I have some fruit that I'm going to make into a fruit salad and have later. It's definitely too warm for cooking.

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  31. Absolutely. I'm not a particularly enthusiastic cook. Summer is a great excuse for salad!

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  32. It;s absolutely true!!! You do eat "cool" in hot weather!!!! Summer is really just so much easier!!! Have a fab happy weekend and "Happy Independence Day"!!!!
    Love
    AMarie xxx

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  33. So delicious Jennifer, that is how I like to eat. I am addicted to grape tomatos and go through a punnet every week all by myself. I really like the salad with the cannelini beans - delish, and the fresh fruit is perfect. Happy 4th July to you from Australia! x

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  34. Oh my goodness, that all looks so delicious and it's making me very hungry, nearly lunch time here. I think that pizza looks amazing. We tend to eat things which don't take too much preparation in summer, I don't want to be spending a long time in the kitchen.

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  35. This is all just great summer food - exactly what we love over here too, including those delicious smoothie pops.

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  36. You've come up with some yummy looking summer food, Jennifer! I'm like you - I love soups and stews in the cooler weather, but they just don't appeal in the summer heat. Your pizza reminded me I have a homemade gluten-free pizza crust in the freezer. That solves the problem of what to make for dinner tonight. Thanks! :-)

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  37. The pizza looks glorious, just how I like it. I'm after a wood fired oven for outside cooking thought that wont be happening before next summer! In fact all of your summer food looks good, have a great week. xx

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  38. L:ovely light summer food, Jennifer, and beautifully photographed. I feel hungry now... :-)

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  39. Yum! They all look so good! Well Jennifer, I would say I am the opposite as I love cooking in the summer and get really excited. We get the barbecue going most evenings and I cook everything on it, usually steamed fish in tin foil, and vegetables etc. There is something about the summer that makes me happy, so I love cooking. But you have to bear in mind that it the weather is bearable here, I am not sure I would be quite as enthusiastic if the weather was very hot. In the winter I like to hide away and really can't find any energy to cook. The dark mornings really do not mix well with me. I love the idea of stews and soups though, so will often buy them from the supermarket and have them as comfort food in front of the fire. Thank you for sharing the photos of your lovely food, the pizza looks so tasty!

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  40. That pizza looks so lovely! I love summer food, we eat lots of fruit and salads and quiches, things like that and we also use the barbecue as often as we can.
    Marianne x

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  41. your food looks lovely. It's a shame in the summer to be in a food rut, but I think I am! I like the look of the bean salad and dressing. Also must get some boursin. The pizza looks amazing, i could eat that now, even though I've had my tea! x

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  42. I do love summer cooking - no fuss, fresh and healthy. We are in the thick of winter stews and soups right now, and enjoying the warmth they offer. But we are heading north to the sunshine for two weeks camping in the desert and I am paring everything back to make it as simple as possible. Thanks for the memories of summer days! x (love your blog Jennifer - especially those beautifully evocative colour collaboration pieces)

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  43. Hi Jennifer,

    Oh yes, salads and lighter foods for summertime - yours looks healthy and fresh.
    Over here we are into soups, casseroles and having the oven heating up the house.
    We had pizza last night for dinner - my husband cooked and always a great Friday night meal.
    Happy weekend and 4th of July - enjoy the summer
    hugs
    Carolyn

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  44. Oh we definitely go for lighter, quicker food too, a lot of salad and fruit, eggs, grilled veggies and flatbread and of course ice cream, which can be classed as a meal if you have fruit with it I reckon! x

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  45. Yes, yes, yes...my favorite way to eat all of the time! Gorgeous food! xo Jen

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  46. Some lovely ideas here for summer food and some very tempting photos too!

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  47. It all looks so delicious!! It's nice not to make the house even hotter with the heat from the but I can always make an exception for pizza!!!!!

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