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summer dinner ideas
citrus juices
beneficial bacteria
neck of the woods
lime juice
types of fish
twenty four hours
added bonus
hot one
More Summer Dinner Ideas
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More Summer Dinner Ideas

We have experienced a particularly brutal heat wave in my neck of the woods. And from what I've heard, you probably have too. Summer has really just begun so we could be in for a long, hot one! Not only have I given my oven an LOA (Leave of Absence) until things cool down, I am even reluctant to turn on my stove. Time for some alternative methods of food preparation that don't involve a lot of heat.

I do this by using various techniques to preserve or lightly pickle foods. This has the added bonus of providing foods that are easy to digest and contribute beneficial bacteria to your intestinal tract. All cultures have their traditional preserved or pickled dishes.

Ceviche

There are ways to "cook" without using any heat at all. What I mean is, there are ways to change food from "raw" to ready-to-eat without cooking them. For instance you can prepare Ceviche, which is a fresh, usually white-meat fish, that is marinated in citrus juices plus salt and usually something hot like chili peppers, onions or garlic. The citrus processes the fish which will actually changes from having a raw, translucent-looking flesh to a tender, opaque, white flesh. The salt and hot-tasting additions counter any possible growth of microorganisms and they give the finished dish a lot of gusto.

Ceviche is simple to make and you will find many recipes online for it. It is important to use fresh ingredients--fresh lemon or lime juice and of course, your fish must be impeccably fresh. I have, however, seen recipes for ceviche using flash-frozen fish but haven't tried this. Types of fish to marinate for ceviche could include any good whitefish, red snapper, grouper, barracuda, corvina or even shrimp or scallops. Depending on the size of the pieces of fish, ceviche can take as little as two hours but usually more like eight to twenty-four hours to be ready to eat.

Ceviche is traditional in Spanish, South American, Central American and Caribbean cuisines. I particularly like it with Mexican food such as salsa and tortilla chips.

Pickling and Pressing

Salt can be used not only to preserve foods, but to change their quality from raw to gently processed and ready to eat. I have written before about one of my favorite salad methods, the pressed salad. Briefly, this is a process in which thinly sliced vegetables or salad greens are mixed with sea salt and allowed to sit with weight on top of them. The salt and weight presses out some of the liquid and changes the quality of the vegetables so they are not quite like raw though they haven't been cooked. This is really a gentle or partial pickling process.

Another dish that can be made without cooking is called "tofu cheese." To make this, you would slice a cake of extra-firm tofu, press out some of the water in it, and then coat each piece completely with miso. Different types of miso result in different flavors of tofu cheese. I like using white miso for a light color and taste and barley or rice miso for a darker color and stronger taste. It takes a couple days for the tofu to ferment and voila! You have what is called tofu cheese. While this is not going to taste like regular cheese, it does have a great taste of its own. Tofu cheese provides low fat, high-quality protein and though it is an Asian tradition, it is quite versatile. It can be used like feta, for stuffing in Italian pasta dishes, on pizza, or blended with herbs and other ingredients for a spread or a dip.

One of my new favorite preserved foods is preserved lemon rinds. This is a Mediterranean condiment that has all kinds of uses. Preparation involves taking fresh lemons and quartering them almost all the way through. You coat the lemons inside with course sea salt and put them in a jar with water. The processing takes about a month. Then you can take the lemons as you need them and scoop out the flesh and use the marvelous preserved rinds as an addition to all kinds of dishes such as on fish, in couscous or bulgher salad. Perhaps you will enjoy some preserved lemon rind with your ceviche, accompanied by toasted pita with tofu cheese dip and a pressed salad!

Sprouting

There is a lot to explore when it comes to food preparation without cooking and many of the techniques such as the ones I gave you here will also enhance the nutritional value of the food by maintaining its natural enzymes that would otherwise be destroyed by cooking. You can also look into sprouting as a food preparation technique. You've probably seen mung bean sprouts or sunflower sprouts added to salads or stir fry. But you can also sprout other legumes, whole grains and even nuts such as almonds. Generally speaking, when you sprout foods, you will get a decrease in calories and carbohydrates, and an increase in protein, minerals and some vitamins. You will also benefit from greater digestibility, especially of protein in sprouted food.

Sprouting any seed or legume or grain requires soaking them in water and then setting them up in jars, containers or bowls where they can remain moist but well-drained. The bean, seed or grain germinates and then sprouts. This is like gardening on your kitchen counter or pantry shelf! Depending on what you're sprouting, this can take anywhere from a day or two to about a week.

You don't have to be totally into eating only raw food to enjoy the benefits of raw food preparation all year long. We can incorporate these methods into whatever else we've got on the menu and benefit our health, our nutrition and get some relief from those hot summer days. So take a break from the stove or oven and try some of these alternative "cooking" methods!


Street Talk

looking good!

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Thanks so much!

Reply
  about 8 years ago
Meredith  

Yum! Do you deliver?

Reply
  about 8 years ago

LOL Love that!

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Thanks David!

  
  about 8 years ago

Ha Ha! No, never got into catering! I deliver ideas and inspiration (or try to).

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Good info - indeed sounds healthy. Thanks Patty - great article.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Thanks Cynthia!

Reply
  about 8 years ago
Joan S  

Sounds so healthy. I want to do the sprouts. Have never done them before. It's so good for you. Like the way they taste too. We make salads in the summer, all kinds. Delicious. This is such an informative article Patty. I can tell you're a real pro.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Thanks Joan! I really love cooking. Sprouts are pretty easy. One of my favs is radish sprouts. They're spicy. Let me know how the sprouts turn out!

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Sounds good to me. Anything to beat the heat ;)

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Thanks Dave! Do you do any cooking?

Reply
  about 8 years ago

I sure do. I have been cooking for about 20 years now and mostly self taught.

  
  about 8 years ago
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