The book is done, and I'm raring to make supper. But it's too darn hot to cook. When it's so hot that the AC runs all day and all night, the last thing you want to do is turn on the range, not to mention the oven. That's why God invented outdoor cooking.
Sadly, we don't own a barbie, and [Luddite alert] neither do we own a microwave oven. So I am very inventive with my cold suppers.
Try this for a summer supper salad: drain and rinse a 15 oz. can of black beans, combine it with a 12 oz. package of frozen corn kernels that have been thawed - either briefly zapped or boiled in a little water for two or three minutes (I like Trader Joe's roasted kernel corn. It has a nice smokey flavor). Add a couple of tablespoons of chopped red onion, two cups of halved grape tomatoes (heirlooms are best), a half-cup of ranch dressing. Toss it all up and serve it with corn chips, and there you go. A small side dish of cubed watermelon sprinkled with mint that you just snipped from your herb bed goes with it very nicely. If you've never had fresh mint with your watermelon, you don't know what you're missing.
We also like to warm up a couple pieces of store-bought garlic naan in the toaster oven and eat it with whatever's handy. Don likes to melt cheese on top of his, maybe a little garlic, raw tomato, basil leaves. I like a smear of cream cheese and some thinly sliced cucumber.
I asked my mom once how her mother managed cooking for the family when it was very hot, for after all, Grandma cooked on a wood stove and nobody ever heard of air conditioning. My mom told me that sometimes they would just open up a jar of one of Grandma's home-canned vegetables and eat a bowl of it cold along with a piece of buttered bread. If you're talking about a bowlful of garden tomatoes that were canned in my grandmother's kitchen fifteen minutes after leaving the vine, I'll have some of that.