How to Hack the Heat and Feed Yourself Without Starving or Going Broke
In this hot-ass weather, there are a few things you must know about feeding yourself. First, never cook. Second, you don't need to survive on expensive takeout to avoid starving to death, nor do you have to brave restaurants that might not be air-conditioned, accidentally committing yourself to a full meal with only the wheezy ceiling fan left to contend with ventilation needs.
So do what Gwyneth Paltrow says (fun fact: she actually authored several cookbooks) and DRINK WHILE COOKING. I'd recommend a dry rosé with a fat ice cube (classy, I know, but you know what else is classy? Not sweating your face off while preparing dinner, and the ice helps) and lots of frozen fruit.
If you don't drink alcohol (and you shouldn't, it's a filthy habit), make a similar drink with juice or seltzer and drink that instead. And don't even think about turning on the stove unless you want to pass out right now.
Herewith, a few rules for beating the heat in the kitchen.
Married people, did you get that Cuisinart off your wedding registry? Bust it out. Single or otherwise un-Cuisinart-ed folk: if you can't justify buying a Cuisinart right now (though you won't regret it, promise), a blender will do. This is the only kitchen utensil that matters in a heat wave.
Rule no. 2: Now that you have that Cuisinart on your counter, think about the food pyramid and try to hit as many sections as often as possible in one cold, blended concoction.
For example, Exhibit A: Traditional Andalusian Gazpacho.
Here's my recipe (a variation on something I found on Epicurious years ago):
(Yields sixish servings)
6 inches of a baguette (stale is fine)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium shallot, minced (1 small onion works, too)
3 tablespoon red wine vinegar (any light vinegar will do)
2ish lbs ripe tomatoes, quartered (that's about 8 vine tomatoes)
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (the darker, the better)
1/2 of a large red bell pepper, sliced
Cut baguette in half and soak in water while you cut veggies. Squeeze water from bread and place half of it in food processor. Dust veggies with salt and put half of each in food processor with bread. Blend until smooth; add half the oil and blend until really smooooOooth. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, then place those in the bowl with the rest and mix thoroughly.
Now garnish with other food pyramid categories: I like to add crumbled feta, chopped Black Forest ham, arugula, and hard-boiled egg to mine, but other veggies and legumes--like avocado, bell peppers, cucumbers, radishes, black beans, chick peas, spinach, fennel, and endive--are also great candidates. See if you can hit all five food groups in proper proportion.
Serve immediately or cool for days.
Look for more heat hacks on the next page.