The last thing you want to do when it feels like 45 C outside is cook a roast chicken for supper.
So we asked Chef Natasha Frank from Bistro Nash in Kitchener for her top five hot weather meal suggestions.
"By the time I get home I've been in front of panini grills and ovens all day so I'm hot and sticky and I don't really want to eat anything or cook," says Frank.
"So I find we're doing a lot more greens, a lot of tomato salads and chilled things instead," .
Natasha Frank's top 5 recipes:
- Salmon nicoise salad: Take cooked salmon (either on the BBQ or in a larger batch to portion for several meals over the week) and place on top of greens. Add hard boiled eggs, green beans and tomatoes.
- Refreshing apple pear pecan salad: Fresh market greens (arugula or leafy greens — anything but iceberg, says Frank). Cut apple and pear julienne-style into thin strips, squeeze lemon juice on top of the fruit to keep it from turning brown. Sprinkle salad with roasted pecans and pair with a strong cheese like cambozola, which is a mild extra-creamy blue cheese. Drizzle with a apple cider vinaigrette.
- Gazpacho (chilled soup): Put fresh or canned tomatoes, chopped red pepper, green pepper, cucumber and red onion into a blender, and blend roughly. Add in some cilantro or parsley. For a little extra protein, Frank suggests adding avocado to make the soup more hearty. Finally, squeeze in some lime or lemon juice and white wine for an extra fresh flavour.
- BLT (for vegetarians OR meat-eaters): Take advantage of this classic with in-season tomatoes and lettuce. Take a fresh loaf of bakery sour dough bread. Use thick slices of Ontario tomatoes, fresh basil leaves and market lettuce. Sprinkle with fresh-cracked pepper, and add bacon if you want. Embellish, if you so choose, with a spread of goat's cheese or aged smoked cheddar.
- Custard fruit tart: Store-bought tart shells are more than okay says Frank. Cook them for 5-7 minutes in the oven and let cool. You can make your own custard with egg yolks, sugar and cream. Or pick up tinned custard from the grocery store or from your local bakery. Top with in-season blueberries, strawberries or raspberries and chill.
And though a cool glass of Chardonnay or frosty beer may feel like the best choice on a hot afternoon, remember alcohol causes dehydration. So if you imbibe, keep a glass of ice water nearby.
Or try a maple ice coffee, suggests Frank.
"Some people, they need the coffee, they need it so badly, but they don't want it to be hot. So we are brewing our own espresso and we finish it with pure maple syrup and cream. Then you load that onto ice, and you're done. It probably takes about 10 minutes to make, just with the brewing process," she said.
She also suggests people try making coffee ice cubes to give that extra shot of caffeine, and keep your iced coffee from getting watered down.
Got a great summer meal idea? Leave your suggestions in the comments section below.