5@5 - What to cook when it’s hot outside
June 23rd, 2011
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

If you can't take the heat, you don't have to stay out of the kitchen - but there's really no reason to crank the oven up to 500 degrees. That is, unless you want to get your Bikram Yoga in during dinner prep.

If anyone knows about handling the heat and getting people fed, it's Tory McPhail. The James Beard nominee is the executive chef at the storied Commander's Palace in Eatocracy's adopted second home, New Orleans.

Summer in the Big Easy means average high temperatures well above the 90-degree mark so pass the gazpacho, wontcha?

Five things to cook when it’s too darn hot to cook anything: Tory McPhail

1. Yellow heirloom tomato Bloody Mary
"We buy the ugliest yellow tomatoes that we can find late in the day at the farmers markets. Once they’ve been picked over, the farmers generally sell them to you at a lower price.

Grind the tomatoes in a blender with lemon, cayenne, prepared horseradish, grainy mustard and salt, then strain over ice. We finish ours tableside with great vodka that’s been frozen overnight in huge blocks of ice."

2. Summer brunch melon parfait with Mint Julep mousse
"During the hot summer months, melons are at their peak. Get a wide selection of all the melons you can and spice them all differently.

You can also make an easy mousse by puréeing cream cheese in a food processor then adding mint, sugar, and a few splashes of great bourbon. Serve in an attractive glass or plate as a first course."

3. Local tomato “ceviche”
"This is a great vegetarian dish with all the bright flavors of summer chilies, ginger and crushed lime.

We pair ours with a coconut milk gazpacho as the sauce, and garnish with hand-pulled 'crab boil' mozzarella to finish this Latin caprese salad."

4. Black skillet peach cobbler
"This is the fastest cobbler that you’ll ever make. Make a ginger-spiced pecan pancake batter, cut your fruit and pre-heat an old black skillet on your outside BBQ to 350 degrees.

Simply flip some butter and brown sugar into the pan to make caramel. Add your fruit and stir for about 2 minutes.

Pour on the batter, sprinkle on streusel topping and close the lid. Turn the BBQ to low and continue to cook until batter is set in the middle. This dish will stay hot for hours on the picnic table as you and your guest enjoy a backyard party."

5. Jamaican-spiced shrimp salad
"Shrimp is America’s favorite seafood, so use this recipe for all occasions. Buy only wild-caught American shrimp to support local fishermen that have been hit hard by recent disasters.

You don’t have to buy expensive spice rubs either. Just take your favorite seasoning blend and add curry powder, sugar, cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg to yield authentic jerk seasoning.

We grill pineapple, mango, papaya and limes alongside our shrimp. Simply chop up the fruit, crush the grilled limes over summer greens and shake on some jerk spice. Then all that’s left is to enjoy!"

How do you keep your cool cooking in the dog days of summer?

Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.

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Filed under: 5@5 • Bite • Cooking • Make • New Orleans • Think • Travel

soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Brian

    Ok everyone, here it is: THE MAJORITY OF THE FOOD WE EAT IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE COOKED. Adding heat (above 118 degrees) kills the nutrients for which we eat the food for in the first place. It's a known fact and doctors on the forefront of the medical community are now acknowledging this. Humans do not have the enzymes it takes to digest cooked food. Do a search of raw foods, raw fooods lifestyle etc. to learn about this.

    June 26, 2011 at 12:13 am |
  2. Steen Bean

    Last night I had hummus, pita bread, tomato cucumber salad and sliced bratwurst. Simple and easy, and so tasty!!

    June 24, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  3. jessicaber

    Collin, They were asking for bloggers. There is a contest excerpt in here. Did you read the whole article?

    June 24, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
  4. collin uout

    Congratulations on your blog! Thanks for advertising it in response to another post on another blog rather than contributing to the discussion of what's going on here!

    June 24, 2011 at 9:58 am |
  5. collin uout

    Is this hypothetical "friend" paying you to advertise on other blogs?

    June 24, 2011 at 9:56 am |
  6. The_Mick

    I like to cook meals on hot days that don't require a lot of time around the stove, provide a couple days of leftovers, and are easy to heat up in the microwave like ham/potatoes/green beans (I add carrots, onions, and anything leftover I need to use up), sloppy joes [a sloppy joe mix can calling for 1 lb of ground beef can be stretched to 2 lb and I add bell pepper, onion, and garlic] served with potato and/or macaroni and/or green-veggie salads. A big batch of spaghetti sauce, made with your choice of meat, lots of summer squash, bell pepper, onion, garlic and extra diced tomatoes can be stored in half-gallon containers in the fridge and are easy to heat up and use with reduced amounts of pasta (the squash replaces it).

    June 24, 2011 at 9:41 am |
  7. Brian

    "Get a wide selection of all the melons you can and spice them all differently."

    That's helpful. I've never spiced a melon and have no idea what he means by this. Examples, perhaps?

    June 24, 2011 at 8:43 am |
  8. soley

    why don't you all cook your food and out it in refrigerator to cool down and then you have a so coool dish to eat.

    June 24, 2011 at 2:15 am |
  9. Atlanta Cook

    For dinner tonight, I had sliced turkey, cole slaw, sliced pickled beets, marinated artichokes, a deviled egg, and lime Jell-O with chopped pears.

    Cold plates–too hot to cook here in Hotlanta. Hot enough to fry eggs on the driveway.

    June 23, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
  10. Andy

    How about the recipe for the tomato ceviche? Why bother telling us about it without providing some guidance?

    June 23, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
    • Meggie

      Exactly!! That sounded great to me. Lame article doesn't provide a link to a recipe......

      June 23, 2011 at 9:05 pm |
  11. jessicaber

    My mom used to let us pick out what we wanted as kids on hot nights from the local grocery store's salad bar. It was a treat and I would always pile on the chocolate pudding with whipped cream at the end. That would make her smile, but I know that she was thinking come on...you don't need all of that sugar.

    June 23, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
    • Mark Lewis

      My guilty childhood salad bar pleasure was the hawaiian salad, a.k.a. five cup salad; I think we used to get it at the IGA or A&P when it was around. It's been a couple decades now.

      June 24, 2011 at 4:47 am |
  12. someone

    I fail to see where cooking is actually involved in this... i guess this was meant to be simple ideas but wheres the cooking? i see shrimp.. and i see pie... GIMMIE SOME MEAT

    June 23, 2011 at 7:53 pm |
    • EuphoriCrest

      Ya think shrimp grow on trees? Shrimp ARE meat! And cooking is the preparation of food using heat. Did you read the article?

      June 23, 2011 at 10:44 pm |
  13. LP

    Flank steak on the grill, a green salad, corn on the cob (which admittedly involves steaming, unless you grill that too). Cold beer to drink, ice cream for dessert. Done.

    Of course, summer doesn't arrive in my town till July 5th, but I'll be ready!

    June 23, 2011 at 7:45 pm |
  14. BECKY


    June 23, 2011 at 7:43 pm |
  15. erica

    Whatever happened to peanut butter and jelly sandwich or jelly and cheese sandwich on a hot night?

    June 23, 2011 at 7:42 pm |
  16. Andrew

    A Bloody Mary is cooking? OK....

    Also, when it's hot you don't want to COOK anything. Perhaps Mr. McPhail would consider this. There are plenty of dishes (food, not alcoholic beverages) requiring no cooking whatsoever.

    June 23, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
  17. jessicaber

    That is why I was looking at this site tonight. I was looking for cold soups. I live in Vermont and cold soup in the summer sounds like such a novelty to me.

    June 23, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
  18. Dan in Los Angeles

    The only dish you'll ever need on a hot summer day – Dongchimi Guksu, or Cold Noodle Soup! It's a Korean dish – cold radish broth with perfect noodles. You won't understand until you try it, and you have to try it in Los Angeles at The Corner Place! You'll never be hot again, I promise.

    June 23, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
  19. jessicaber

    Dusty...I like to cook different things in the summer...fresh corn on the cob, strawberry short cake and there are different kinds of things that I want to try like grits with fresh garden asparagus. When you are a stay at home mom cooking different kinds of things can stir things up.

    June 23, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
  20. Dusti

    Seriously? Who eats this stuff?

    June 23, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
  21. Troy from S'port

    I'm not sure what hand-pulled crab-boil mozzarella is but we once had a Peter Pull at St. Taffy's Church....or was that a Taffy Pull at St. Peter's.

    June 23, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
    • Michael

      Probably, Taffy did a peter pull at church. That sounds right...lol

      June 23, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
  22. Bill

    Holy yellow teeth batman!

    June 23, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
  23. Fluffy

    Try a shrimp and macaroni salad; or spaghetti; or tuna wraps; or spinach salad; or cold melon soup; or a veggie stir-fry.

    No oven time for any of these. Yum-o.

    June 23, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  24. Harry

    Turning the stove on in 100+ degree weather is usually a not a welcoming idea to me. My family usually does salads and other ideas that don't involve actually cooking. That or order out if its REALLY hot.

    June 23, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  25. Pubeera

    Damp meat loaf is good in the summer.

    June 23, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
  26. Fee-Sees

    This is the lamest article with the lamest grossest food I've ever heard of. Why aren't there any dishes with eggs in them? I like eggs. Also, pigs feet is good in the summer, with ketchup. Dip that in iced vinegar and you have a cool treat. What is wrong with CNN? Why can't they be practical?

    June 23, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
    • Tenderitis

      I suppose making love to your sister also keeps you cool, like your parents did.

      June 24, 2011 at 7:06 am |
  27. Andrea M

    How do I keep cool with cooking in the summer? Either fast cooking things or just order out.

    June 23, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
    • mccccccc

      BBQ is where it's at. Why turn on the oven when you can sit out in the backyard with a nice cold beer. Anything BBQ'd is delicious.

      June 28, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  28. fob

    I like this, but what the heck is hand-pulled 'crab boil' mozzarella??

    June 23, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
    • NOLAforever

      hi fob – 'crab boil' is an aromatic spice blend added to the water for boiling seafood in Louisiana cooking. It comes in both liquid and powder forms and adds a great kick to steamed veggies (or cheese, in this case) Try it out sometime!

      June 24, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
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