Cold Treats

The heat of the summer can really kill an appetite. As a result, finding the right thing to eat for dinner is often a real chore.

In today's post, I share a few of my favorite summer-time recipes that are quick to make, don't heat up the kitchen too badly (or at all), and are great on a hot day.

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at HomeWhatever you decide to eat, the best dessert is ice cream! I'm a huge fan of Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream from Ohio. She just published a cookbook of her most popular flavors - in case you're feeling ambitious and want to make your own. Stay cool!

 - Alex

Cold Cucumber Soup

When your cucumber vines are overflowing, this versatile and easy soup is a great way to use them up. Get creative and experiment with the ingredients to get the flavor profile you prefer. I've provided some suggested options below.

recipe serves 4

2 medium to large cucumbers - peeled, seeded, and course-chopped
2 cups of plain yogurt
Mint or dill - depending on which flavor you prefer
optional - 1/2 cup of either buttermilk or sour cream depending on which flavor you prefer
optional - scallions, chives, or sweet onion (finely chopped) - reserve a bit for garnish
Salt and pepper

Put the chopped cucumbers and the mint or dill (and scallions/chives/onion if you're using that) in a blender and puree. In a separate bowl, combine the yogurt, buttermilk or sour cream (if using either), and the salt and pepper. Mix well. Fold in the cucumber puree being careful not to overwork the mixture. Chill for about an hour. Serve cold with some chives/scallions/diced onion or a  mint/dill sprig as a garnish. Pairs nicely with a heavier salad, like potato or macaroni.

Cold Tuna Salad

An extremely simple, cold version of a tuna-noodle casserole, the minimal ingredient list belies the wonder of this salad. It's just right when you want something that fills you up but doesn't compete with the summer heat. You'll find yourself eating this over and over again.

recipe serves a lot

1 large can of white (albacore) tuna packed in water
1 box of elbow noodles
1 medium to large red onion (vidalia will work as well) diced finely
Salt and pepper
(optional: some fresh, uncooked sweet peas are a nice addition if you have them)

Cook the box of macaroni until al dente (usually about 15 minutes - follow the box directions). Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Let the macaroni stand in the colander for a minute to drain off as much water as possible. Transfer macaroni to a bowl. Drain the tuna and stir into the macaroni. Stir in the chopped red onion. Add mayonnaise, salt and pepper to taste. Serve right away. After storing leftovers in the refrigerator, you may find that you need to refresh the dish with a little more mayonnaise before serving.

Caprese Salad

I love going to the Farmers' Market and getting the really interesting heirloom tomatoes. And, my favorite thing to do with them is make Caprese Salad. Everyone's seen a traditional Caprese - slices of tomato with a bit of mozzarella and basil on top - but I like mine to be more of a meal.

recipe serves 6

2-3 cups of large-diced tomatoes (use any fleshy variety, including cherry tomatoes!)
1 cup of medium diced fresh mozzarella cheese (you can also use those little marble-sized balls and not even cut them up)
10 leaves of basil - chiffonaded (rolled up and cut into very thin strips)
A large bunch of arugula
Olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Whisk together the olive oil and vinegar. Set aside. Mix the tomatoes, cheese, and basil together. Cover with the dressing. Serve the tomato mixture on top of a bed of arugula. 


  1. Oooh, very tasty looking indeed :)

  2. If you are fan of cold soups I definitly recommend apart jogurt,cucumber,chives or/and dill of course, horse radish and leafy tops of beetroot.They make this cold soups pinki beautyful.Best for spring/early summer treat.

  3. Ania, thanks for the tip! I love the idea of horseradish and beet greens as a soup. Borscht is one of my favorite hot soups so I'm looking forward to trying a cold beet soup too!