3 tomatoes and a bottle of vino

August 16, 2011

I love a stroll through the farmers market in the summer. The smell of bunches of fresh basil intoxicates me and those beautiful tomatoes call my name. On those sweltering days when I wouldn’t dare turn on the oven, I find that simple meals made with summer’s bounty are incredibly satisfying. Here are some of my favorite recipes that help me beat the heat.

Caprese Salad – Nothing could be simpler, yet more elegant, than a Caprese salad. Slices of fresh off the vine heirloom tomato, salty mozzarella cheese, a drizzle of good olive oil, and a few basil leaves are layered together to complete the Mediterranean goodness. A little balsamic reduction sauce like the one in this recipe gives it an added kick, but it’s not necessary.

Blender GazpachoChop a few fresh veggies, throw them in your blender with some herbs, vinegar, and olive, oil, chill in the fridge, and you’ve got a delicious, nutritious classic, cold soup that will satisfy you on the hottest summer days.

Ceviche – Ceviche is an amazing dish. Seafood cooks in the acid of lemons and limes, so this “cooked” seafood dish is as a simple as putting together a salad and letting it sit for 3 or 4 hours. Grab tomatoes, red onion, a chili pepper and lemons & limes from the farmers market and some red snapper fillets from the fish market for this dish that can be turned into Ceviche tacos (Yum! Love seafood tacos) or used as a dip for tortilla chips.

Sangria – I can’t forget the simple libations, can I? Sangria is the ultimate summer drink and a great way to use a bottle of wine you were given as a gift might not be what you usually drink (a.k.a not a great bottle and you might need more savvy friends!). Basil and peaches are plentiful at my farmers market by mid-summer, so this Peach-Basil White Sangria is the perfect treat on an August evening to share with my girlfriends.

Your turn, chicka……. How do you create cool, refreshing meals on the hottest days of the year?