Cool Tip to Cut Down on Cooking

By Donna Wright

In the summer heat, the very last thing anyone wants to think about is cooking

Every bit of energy I can come up with most evenings in this "I can’t believe we're still in July" weather, even in a cool air-conditioned home, is to make a bowl of cold corn flakes for myself and call it a day.

I confess that I live in the luxury of being a partner marriage with the children grown moved out of the house. My husband is able to fend for himself. Although I can’t pull that off too often, given my husband’s enthusiasm for garden vegetables. In the spring, he planted peppers, corn, cantaloupes, several kinds of beans, watermelons, plus a dozen varieties of tomatoes.

Now his vegetable crop is coming to fruitation and we are now inundated with fresh vegies that’s as fresh as they come. Gene’s line of reasoning to get me out into our kitchen is a robust one. I spent a lot of tome growing these vegetables. The least you can do is cook them. v Eventually, I am persuaded by his logic plus my Catholic guilt upbringing. It tears at my heart strings to see our yield from the garden be wasted or tossed into the compost pile.

So I have been pouring through cookbooks looking for recipes to quickly get me into and away from the kitchen. So far, my favorite being a raw pasta sauce which is very flexible. I slice up some tomatoes and mix in olive oil, salt and pepper and balsamic vinegar, add rinsed capers, slivered basil and briny olives to taste. Then I let it sit while the pasta is cooking . Even on the extremely hot days, I can take stove-top cooking for 10 minutes, and when I don’t feel like making pasta, I bread toast slices and create bruschetta.

I'm going to share this original recipe that instigated my reworked version and insist that you to give it a try and go with what you have at hand: Parmesan cheese substuted for the feta, black olives substuted for fancy ones . And the best part, the pasta is still good cold the following day. Pasta with Raw Tomatoes, Capers, Basil, Feta, and Olives This sauce improves whrn it sits an hour or more. If you desire to preserve the vivid color of the basil, omit it out until right before being served From "Mediterranean Harvest: Vegetarian Recipes from the World’s Healthiest Cuisine," by Martha Rose Shulman.

    • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
    • 3 cups of halved cherry or chopped fresh ripe tomatoes
    • 11/2 tablespoons rinsed capers
    • 1/2 cup halved or chopped Greek or black Italian olives, like Gaeta or kalamata
    • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil
    • 3 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
    • Salt and fresh ground black pepper
    • 3/4 pound  usilli or penne
    • 2 ounces feta, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)

Combine the tomatoes, olive oil,, capers, parsley, olives,basil, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Let the mixture stand for half an hour or more. Bring to boils a large pot of water. Sprinkle in a tablespoon of salt and add the pasta. Cook until al dente, drain and immediately toss with the tomato sauce and the feta. Serve hot or at room temperature. Makes: 4 servings. Jul 29, 2011

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