Too Hot to Cook?

By on 4 June, 2011 in Cooking, Davena McRae, Food with 0 Comments

Photo by Davena McRae

I don’t have to tell you this, it’s quite obvious. It is hot in Alabama. It is (in my Pacific Northwest-born opinion) too damn hot to cook! According to the 10 day forecast, it’s not about to cool down anytime soon and the humidity is here to stay. It’s almost too hot to eat, but we must.

Turning on the oven isn’t really an option when the air conditioner is already doing all it can to cool our old house down to 80 degrees. That’s not so cool, but enough so that I am extremely grateful. Grilling isn’t an option because, well, it’s outside. Where it’s hot. We could go get take out, but you have to go, um, outside to get it.

I have opted to exist temporarily on food that doesn’t need to be cooked. For those of you who don’t like to cook this is a non-issue. For those of us who get giddy when protein hits a hot surface, this may take some getting used to. The husband has tried to convince me that peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cold cereal and canned fruit cocktail are perfect hot weather foods. I’m not saying they’re not, but I do know that he makes a similar argument in the dead of winter about these things being great cold weather foods.

The following recipes will satisfy you, keep you cool and are pretty enough to share with company. The shrimp in this recipe needs to be cooked, but not by you. Just smile nicely and ask your friendly fishmonger at your local market (I love Destin Connection) to lightly steam your shrimp. Smile even bigger and bat your lashes (men and women alike) when you ask them not to overcook your shrimp. It ain’t peanut butter and jelly, but give it a chance anyway. Bon Appetit!

Tropical Salsa with Skewered Gulf Shrimp

  • 1 cup finely diced peeled firm-ripe papaya
  • 1/2 cup finely diced peeled firm-ripe mango
  • 1/2 cup finely diced peeled firm-ripe pineapple
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh jalapeño chile, including seeds
  • 24 large Gulf shrimp, steamed

Combine first 8 ingredients in medium bowl; toss to blend. Season salsa with salt. Chill to blend flavors, at least 1 hour.

Thread 6 steamed and chilled shrimp onto 8” skewers and serve with salsa. Serves four.

Photo by Davena McRae

Fruit Skewers

  • 2 kiwi fruit, peeled and cut lengthwise into eighths
  • 8 strawberries, washed, hulled and halved
  • 16 blackberries
  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt (optional)

Thread fruit onto small cocktail sticks or onto halved bamboo skewers, alternating the fruit varieties, so that each stick has one of each. Serve with yogurt.

Davena McRae is a chef and cooking class instructor living in Montgomery, Alabama. She is the mother of  three dogs and the wife of one man.

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