Eat with­out heat

When it’s too hot to be in the kitchen, th­ese dishes will fill you up, easy breezy

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE - Se­same-Lime Chicken Salad, KELLY BRANT

We’ve been for­tu­nate this sum­mer.

We’ve yet to hit 100 de­grees this year. As of dead­line, Lit­tle Rock has yet to hit 95 de­grees, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice.

But even with tem­per­a­tures in the up­per 80s and low 90s, it can still feel too hot to cook. Be­sides, who wants to toil away in the kitchen when there are so many other things to do that don’t in­volve heat or flames?

The fol­low­ing recipes can be pre­pared with lit­tle to no cook­ing. Some let the gro­cery store do the cook­ing, while oth­ers rely on fresh, canned or frozen foods that don’t re­quire cook­ing.

No recipe, no cook meals:

■ Cheese, fruit and char­cu­terie plat­ter: Ar­range as­sorted cheeses, fruits, nuts, pick­les, crack­ers and salami or other cured meat on a large plat­ter or board. Plan 2 to 4 ounces of meat and cheese per per­son.

■ Abend­brot: Ger­man for “evening bread,” this sim­ple din­ner is sim­i­lar to the one men­tioned above, but on but­tered bread in­stead of crack­ers. Think but­tered pumper­nickel topped with sliced radishes or sliced toma­toes. Or wedges of crusty bread but­tered and spread with a bit of Braun­schweiger (a type of liv­er­wurst). Or pret­zel rolls but­tered and stuffed with ham or smoked gouda. Along­side, serve some pick­les, hard-cooked eggs (avail­able al­ready cooked and peeled at some gro­cery stores), grapes and wedges or slices of cheese. But­ter­ing the bread is a must for true Ger­man-style abend­brot.

Chilled Cu­cum­ber and Avo­cado Soup With Red Chile and Mint

1 English cu­cum­ber, roughly chopped (see note)

½ avo­cado, peeled, pit­ted, chopped Leaves from 2 (5-inch) sprigs mint

Juice of ½ lime, or more to taste

Gen­er­ous pinch smoked

pa­prika

Salt

Olive oil

Red chile flakes or hot sauce,

to taste

In a blender or food pro­ces­sor, com­bine cu­cum­ber, avo­cado, mint and lime juice. Process un­til smooth. Add up to 1 cup cold wa­ter to thin to de­sired con­sis­tency. Sea­son with smoked pa­prika, ad­di­tional lime juice and salt to taste.

Serve with a driz­zle of olive oil and sprin­kle of red chile flakes or hot sauce.

Makes about 4 ( ½ cup) serv­ings.

Note: Can sub­sti­tute 2 peeled and seeded reg­u­lar cu­cum­bers. Recipe in­spired by The New York Times

A quick soak in rice vine­gar, maple syrup and crushed red pep­per gives the cu­cum­bers on this sand­wich some zip. We re­placed the tra­di­tional crust­less white bread with heartier, fla­vor­ful pumper­nickel to take this sand­wich from tea time to sup­per time.

Cream Cheese and Pick­led Cu­cum­ber Sand­wiches

For the cu­cum­bers:

1 cup very thinly sliced cu­cum­bers (we used ⅓ of an English cu­cum­ber) 2 ta­ble­spoons rice vine­gar 1 tea­spoon maple syrup or

sugar, or to taste Pinch crushed red pep­per

flakes

For the sand­wiches: 4 full-size slices pumper­nickel, toasted if de­sired

4 ta­ble­spoons cream cheese Fresh dill fronds, chopped Salt

Place cu­cum­ber slices in a shal­low dish. Add vine­gar, maple syrup and red pep­per flakes; toss to coat. Let stand 10 to 15 min­utes.

Spread each slice of bread with 1 ta­ble­spoon of cream cheese. Top cream cheese with cu­cum­ber slices, over­lap­ping slightly. Sprin­kle with dill and

sea­son with salt. Serve open­faced or closed for a tra­di­tional sand­wich.

Makes 2 serv­ings.

Here we turn to ro­tis­serie chicken for a fill­ing yet not­too-heavy sum­mer main-dish salad.

Se­same-Lime Chicken Salad

1 red chile such as Fresno or

ripe jalapeno (see note) 2 ta­ble­spoons olive oil 2 ta­ble­spoons veg­etable oil

(we used sun­flower) 3 ta­ble­spoons lime juice (from

about 2 limes)

1 tea­spoon sugar or other sweet­ener ¼½to tea­spoon sesamechile oil (can sub­sti­tute plain toasted se­same oil) Salt and ground black pep­per,

to taste

1 small head ro­maine let­tuce,

torn into small pieces 2 medium car­rots, grated 2 green onions, thinly sliced Shred­ded meat from 1 ro­tis­serie chicken OR about 3 cups shred­ded left­over cooked chicken ¼½to cup crunchy chow mein noo­dles such as La Choy OR crispy fried onion or crispy fried onion jalapeno (such as French’s) or a com­bi­na­tion

1 large hand­ful cilantro leaves

Cut the chile in half length­wise; re­move and dis­card seeds. Mince half of the chile. Thinly slice the re­main­ing half; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk to­gether the oils, lime juice, the minced chile, sugar and se­same oil. Sea­son with salt and pep­per to taste, adding more lime juice or sugar, as nec­es­sary. Add the let­tuce, car­rots, green onion, sliced red chile and shred­ded chicken and toss to com­bine.

Trans­fer to a serv­ing plat­ter. Top with crunchy noo­dles

(or onion and jalapeno) and cilantro.

Serve im­me­di­ately. Makes 4 serv­ings.

Note: Can sub­sti­tute ¼ sweet bell pep­per for a mild ver­sion.

Stuff this chicken salad into fresh ripe toma­toes or serve it as a sand­wich fill­ing or on a bed of let­tuce. It can be made with ro­tis­serie or canned chicken.

Chicken Salad With Pe­cans and Grapes

¾ cup plain Greek yo­gurt OR may­on­naise, or more to taste Finely grated zest and juice of

1 le­mon

1 ta­ble­spoon coarse-grain mus­tard ½ tea­spoon smoked pa­prika ½ tea­spoon sugar Kosher salt and ground black

pep­per

Shred­ded meat from 1 ro­tis­serie chicken (about 3 cups) OR 2 (13-ounce) cans chicken breast, drained

1 cup red grapes, halved Heap­ing ½ cup toasted pe­cans

½ cup diced cel­ery

4 green onions, sliced

In a large bowl, whisk to­gether the yo­gurt, le­mon zest and juice, mus­tard, pa­prika, sugar, salt and pep­per to taste. Stir in re­main­ing in­gre­di­ents and toss gently to coat. If mix­ture is too dry, add more yo­gurt or may­on­naise. Taste and sea­son with more salt, pep­per or mus­tard. Re­frig­er­ate un­til ready to serve.

Makes about 6 serv­ings.

Tech­ni­cally this dish re­quires a lit­tle cook­ing, as you’ll need to boil some wa­ter to soak the rice ver­mi­celli noo­dles, but the cook­ing is min­i­mal.

Viet­namese-In­spired Shrimp Sum­mer Rolls

For the rolls:

1 tea­spoon fish sauce 1 tea­spoon minced lemon­grass Ground black pep­per

¼ tea­spoon gran­u­lated sugar 24 small cooked shrimp,

peeled and de­veined

6 ounces dried rice ver­mi­celli ½ cup juli­enned or shred­ded car­rots ½ cup juli­enned cu­cum­ber 1 avo­cado, peeled, pit­ted and cut into thin sliv­ers ½ cup juli­enned red bell pep­pers

1 mango, sliced into thin sliv­ers Fresh mint or basil leaves 24 rice pa­per wrap­pers (see

note)

1 small head of but­ter, bibb or Bos­ton let­tuce, leaves sep­a­rated, torn to fit Dip­ping sauce:

2 ta­ble­spoons Asian fish sauce 2 ta­ble­spoons fresh lime juice 2 ta­ble­spoons sugar 2 ta­ble­spoons wa­ter

1 small red chile, minced

In a bowl, com­bine fish sauce, le­mon grass, black pep­per, sugar and shrimp; set aside.

Cook noo­dles ac­cord­ing to pack­age in­struc­tions. Drain well, squeez­ing out as much wa­ter as pos­si­ble. Set aside.

Re­move shrimp from mari­nade. Cut each shrimp down the mid­dle of its back so that you have two iden­ti­cal halves.

Ar­range veg­eta­bles, mango and herbs on a plat­ter. Fill a wide shal­low bowl or other dish with wa­ter. And let din­ers as­sem­ble their own rolls.

To as­sem­ble: Dip one rice pa­per round in the wa­ter for 2 sec­onds, or just un­til slightly soft­ened. Place on clean, dry work sur­face. Blot dry with a pa­per towel. The wrap­per will still be a lit­tle stiff. Lay a let­tuce leaf near the bot­tom third of the round. Top with 4 shrimp halves, ver­mi­celli noo­dles, car­rots, cu­cum­ber, avo­cado, bell pep­per, mango and mint or basil leaves. Try to keep the in­gre­di­ents com­pact and piled on top of the let­tuce. Start­ing with the side clos­est to you, roll the wrap­per tightly around fill­ing. The wrap­per is self-seal­ing. Serve with dip­ping sauce. To make the dip­ping sauce, com­bine all in­gre­di­ents in a small bowl. Taste and ad­just sugar, lime or fish sauce as needed.

Makes about 12 rolls. Note: Look for rice pa­per wrap­pers on the in­ter­na­tional aisle at the gro­cery store. If you can’t find them, leave the let­tuce leaves whole and make let­tuce wraps.

Food styling/KELLY BRANT Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/BENJAMIN KRAIN

with the help of a ro­tis­serie chicken from the deli, keeps the kitchen cool while fill­ing you up.

Food styling/KELLY BRANT Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/BENJAMIN KRAIN

Cream Cheese and Pick­led Cu­cum­ber Sand­wiches

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