It's hot, and you're hungry. The last thing you feel like doing is firing up the oven or sweating over a sizzling stove. Even boiling water seems like too much cooking.
Well, there are always the good ol' standbys – ham and cheese on rye or cold cereal with milk, with a cooling second – third – course of ice cream.
But let's say you'd like to elevate summertime non-cooking a notch. We scouted up some ideas for when your environment seems too steamy to fry, bake or broil.
Microwaved instant oatmeal takes what – 2 minutes? – and barely raises the temperature of the kitchen. But if that seems too much to stomach, try a no-cook recipe for a twist on oatmeal you start the night before. The recipe takes old-fashioned oatmeal, half a sliced banana, 1/2 cup Greek-style plain yogurt, 1/2 cup milk (skim or non-dairy is OK), 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and sweetener to taste. Everything is mixed up and allowed to sit, covered, in the refrigerator overnight; you eat it cold and can top it with fresh fruit or nuts.
Soup or salad? It can be hard to decide with all the fresh produce from garden or market, says Vickie Hadley, extension educator for the Allen County office of the Purdue Cooperative Extension. She suggests a cold gazpacho with a bit of bite that uses what's coming in from the garden and goes great with baguettes or breadsticks.
For the gazpacho, whir in a blender four cups tomato juice; two cups chopped tomatoes; a clove of garlic; three tablespoons fresh lemon juice; 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar; a teaspoon each of dried tarragon, basil and sugar; 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley; and a cut-up onion, green pepper and cucumber. Add salt and pepper to taste, some sliced green onion and plain yogurt or sour cream to garnish, if desired. Best chilled for a couple of hours to allow flavors to mellow.
If you're short on time, try the Maza approach – a bunch of small dishes, Middle Eastern style. Stop by the deli for pre-made hummus, babaghanoush (eggplant dip), feta cheese, olives and maybe a lentil or Greek salad. Then dip and dunk warmed pita bread to your heart's delight. Who should know more about no-cook cooking than folks with a heritage of living in a hot climate?
More no-cook recipes