Keeping it Cool During the Dog Days of Summer
August 2022 Issue
By Leslie Rohland
Photography by Lucy Rosen
By the time August rolls around, the blistering summer heat often makes the thought of turning on the oven, or cooking over a hot stove, just about the last thing most people want to do. This year in particular, the record-setting heat throughout the South has encouraged many people to re-think summer meals and seek new ways to get creative and stay cool, while holding on to these last weeks of summer boat rides, crashing waves and family cookouts.
There are so many easy ways to incorporate the fresh foods of summer in your August menu planning and some great ways to get creative while going beyond the typical summer salads—think chicken salad. It’s easier than you think to turn up the flavor without turning up the heat. The key is to keep it simple, keep it fresh – and keep it cool – when it comes to solving that age-old dilemma throughout these dog days of summer: What to make for that poolside or patio lunch, weeknight dinner or end-of-summer backyard get-together when it’s just too hot to cook.
Here are just a few of my favorite recipes to perfectly capture the chill, summertime, no-fuss vibes. Not only are they a fresh take on some classics, they also make a great presentation without a lot of prep-time. Most importantly, keeping it simple and cool will enable you to make the most out of these last weeks of summer, spending your time with family, friends or a good book, rather than spending hot evenings in the kitchen.
From a flavorful burrata salad that packs on perfectly ripened local peaches, to a refreshing Key Lime Pie (summer’s signature sensation), see how easy it is to beat the heat with these refreshing and ever-so-cool additions to your end-of-summer menus.
Burrata Salad with Fresh Peach
2 (6 oz) balls of Burrata cheese, patted dry and halved
6-8 cups Fresh mixed greens (your choice)
Kosher salt and fresh-cracked black pepper
1 large Peach, ripe, pitted, sliced
3 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
½ cup Mint leaves, pulled from stems
In a serving bowl, toss Burrata cheese, mixed greens, salt and pepper, with the balsamic vinegar and olive oil, until mixed well and slightly creamy. Place the sliced peaches on top, then sprinkle with fresh mint and almonds.
Hammy Jammy Baguette Sammy
4 oz Goat cheese, softened
¼ cup Unsalted butter, softened
1 good quality Baguette, toasted if desired
5 oz Prosciutto, thinly sliced
1/3 cup Berry jam (blackberry or blueberry is best!)
¼ cup Arugula
Combine the goat cheese and butter in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Cut the baguette in half, lengthwise and toast the bread if desired. On one half of the baguette, spread the goat/butter mixture and on the other, spread the jam. Layer the prosciutto on the bottom half of the baguette and lightly top with arugula. Bring both halves of the baguette together and slice into pieces for serving.
Cold Lemon Zoodles
2 Lemons, zested and juiced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Garlic powder
1/3 cup Olive oil
Ground black pepper
3 medium Zucchinis, cut into zoodles using a spiralizer
1 ripe Tomato
Whisk the first six ingredients together in a bowl to make the dressing and set aside. Using a spiralizer, transform the zucchini into zoodles. Toss the zoodles gently with the dressing. Garnish with chopped radish, fresh basil and tomato. Drizzle the salad with more olive oil!
Classic Key Lime Pie
1 Graham cracker pie shell (store bought)
3 Tbsp Lime zest, plus more for garnish
3 large Egg yolks
1¼ cups Sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup Key lime juice, or fresh squeezed
Whipped cream, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 325°. Whisk the lime zest with the egg yolks for about 4 minutes, until color has lightened and mixture has thickened. Stir in the condensed milk, mixing until smooth. Whisk for about 3 minutes, as the mixture will thicken. Add the lime juice and stir to combine. Pour mix into the prepared crust, and bake for 25 minutes until set around the edges. Sprinkle more lime zest on top, chill the pie until completely cold, then garnish with whipped cream.
Leslie Rohland, owner of the Cottage Cafe, Bakery and Tea Room in Old Town Bluffton, is an award-winning recipe creator who is known for her delicious and ever-changing menu at her extraordinary restaurant. She is also the owner of the popular healthy eatery The Juice Hive and the micro-roastery May River Coffee Roasters. For more information about The Cottage Cafe, visit www.thecottagebluffton.com or call 843-757-0508.