Summertime, and the chillin’ ain’t easy.
Temperature’s rising, and the heat index is high.
Oh, you may be rich and very good lookin’,
But remember, baby, hot weather makes everyone cry.
For the past few months, we have been sweating like some kind of farm animal here in the Coachella Valley to the extent it is hard to tell tears from perspiration. So we are always looking for some Summer Chillin’ that does not involve running the A/C full blast 24/7 or walking zombie-like around and around the local, highly air conditioned mall.
Slaving over a hot stove can be deleterious to one’s health, so we try to minimize our use of the oven and stove. Salads, soups, and pastas that can be served room temperature or cold are indispensable during the summer. And if appliances must be used, an icy cocktail or cold glass of rosé wine is an essential utensil.
We recently discovered a “risotto” dish from the Extra Virgin Cookbook that is perfect for Summer Chillin’. You don’t normally think of risotto as a room temperature dish, but Gabriel Corocoros found inspiration for this dish while living in sunny L.A. This risotto is light and fresh and justifies the time spent in front of the stove. The bits of cantaloupe and speck provide that fantastic sweet and salty combination that is the foundation of so many delectable dishes. Garnish with some fresh basil from the garden or, if you are lucky and live in a temperate climate, some zucchini or squash blossom flowers. As if by prestidigitation, the heft of the risotto is balanced by the lightness of the cantaloupe and the freshness of the basil. Oh, and for extra panache use the cantaloupe as your serving vessel. Just remember to cut off a bit of the bottom so it does not flop around on the plate like a drunken sailor.
- Camping Sangria from Simply Healthy Family
- Mocha Madness Milkshake from Desserts Required
- Salt Savory Greek Yogurt Lassi from Sue’s Nutrition Buzz
- Skinny Watermelon Mojito from Peanut Butter & Peppers
- Southern Sweet Tea from Gluten Free Crumbley
- Strawberry Mango White Sangria from The Texan New Yorker
- The Polar Cap Drink from Seduction in the Kitchen
- Vanilla Root Beer Cream Soda from Feed Me, Seymour
- Avocado Hummus Dip from Shockingly Delicious
- Chilled Beet Soup (Chlodnik) from Curious Cuisiniere
- Chilled Cucumber-Buttermilk Soup from The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Gazpacho from Jelly Toast
- Green Gazpacho from The Not So Cheesy Kitchen
- Homemade Bak Kwa (Grilled Chili Pork Jerky) from Food Lust People Love
- Rabarbersuppe Med Vin (Danish Rhubarb Wine Soup from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Mexican Flag Guacamole from What Smells So Good?
- White Gazpacho from The Little Ferraro Kitchen
Snappy Salads and Sides
- Antipasto Tortellini Pasta Salad from Neighborfood
- Broccoli Salad from Flavor Mosaic
- Cold Peanut Noodles from girlichef
- Greek Orzo Salad from Casa de Crews
- Korean Salad from Noshing With The Nolands
- Layered Salad from Delaware Girl Eats
- One-Hour Pretzel Bites from Mess Makes Food
- Pesto Pasta Salad from Supper for a Steal
- Picnic Orzo Salad from A Mama, Baby & Shar-pei in the Kitchen
- Red, White and Blueberry Watermelon Delight from Granny’s Down Home Sassy Southern Cooking
- Spinach Salad with Curried Apple and Cashew Dressing from Peaceful Cooking
- Tortellini Pesto Salad from Serena Bakes Simply from Scratch
- Tuna and Potato Salad from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Quinoa Fruit Salad from Simply Gourmet
- Risotto with Melon from Confessions of A Culinary Diva
- Tuna Tartare from Kimchi Mom
- Watermelon, Mango & Arugula Salad from Take a Bite Out of Boca
Refreshing Main Dishes
- Buffalo and Blue Cheese Chicken Salad from Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad from Cookin’ Mimi
- Jalapeno Ham Salad (for sandwiches) from Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen
- Melon and Salami Sandwiches on Rye from Highlands Ranch Foodie
- Shrimp Ceviche from Kudos Kitchen by Renee
- Surimi Salad from Pescetarian Journal
- Zucchini Lasagna from Nosh My Way
- Berry Ice Cream Bomb from Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
- Cherry Cream Cheese Ice Cream from Magnolia Days
- Chocolate, Nutella and Pistachio Gelato from La Bella Vita Cucina
- Dairy Free Lemon Ice Cream from Healthy. Delicious.
- Lemon Curd Parfait from Life Tastes Good
- Lemon Thyme Ice Pops from Country Girl in the Village
- Mocha Latte Ice Cream from The Foodie Army Wife
- No Maker Required Berry Ice Cream from Hot Momma’s Kitchen Chaos
- No-Bake Penuche Drop Cookies from Killer Bunnies, Inc.
- No-Bake Raspberry and Japanese Yuzu Citrus Bars from NinjaBaking.com
- Olive Oil Gelato from The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen
- Pluot Ice Cream from Crazy Foodie Stunts
- Raspberries and Cream Panna Cotta from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Salted Caramel Gelato from Manu’s Menu
- Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Pie from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Sandwiches from The Redhead Baker
- Strawberry Yum Ice Cream from Brunch with Joy
- Trio of Fruity Ice Cream Toppings from Foxes Love Lemons
- Vanilla Bean Chia Seed Pudding from Pies and Plots
- White Chocolate Fruit Dip from Hezzi D’s Book and Cooks
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- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1 cup Arborio rice (can also substitute farro)
- ½ cup dry wine
- 1 piece of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind
- 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 cantaloupe cut in half and seeded
- 1 cup chopped cantaloupe fruit from cantaloupe you seeded
- ½ pound hand cut speck, sliced into ¼ inch long pieces
- freshly chopped basil
- In a small pan, heat the stock over medium-low heat until just before boiling. Reduce the heat to low and keep warm.
- In a risotto pan, or deep 14-inch non-stick sauté pan, heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-high heat until the butter melts. Add the shallot and sauté for 4-5 minutes until softened but does not color or caramelize. Add the rice and stir well, evenly coating all the grains. Add the wine and cook for 2 to 3 minutes to let it reduce. Add the cheese rind and season with pepper to taste. Reduce the heat to medium-low and slowing start adding the stock, a 4-6 ounce ladle at a time. Stir constantly and give the rice time to absorb the liquid each time before adding another ladleful, until the rice in al-dente, 15-25 minutes.
- Remove the rice from the heat and season with sea salt to taste. Stir in remaining tablespoon of butter and the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Set aside to cool for 5-8 minutes, until the risotto is room temperature. Add the melon and speck, stir well, garnish with basil. Serve immediately.