The summer heat has only just begun and we’re already experiencing some soaring temperatures! When it’s hot like the past few weeks have been (at least here in the Northeast!) the only thing I want to do is sit in the AC and sip something cool. Here are a few of my favorite drinks to enjoy on hot summer days.
I had Cardamom iced coffee for the first time last summer at Hampton Chutney Co which has a few locations in New York, and since then I have not been able to get enough! The cardamom is a strong flavor and not for everyone, but if you’re looking for something new go ahead and give it a try. The Food Yenta has her own guide to making this treat, a perfect way to add some excitement to your morning, or afternoon, coffee.
Watermelon is perhaps the most refreshing treat on a hot summer day – sweet and hydrating, I can’t think of anything better! Except perhaps a cool drink like this Watermelon Strawberry Agua Fresca from Food and Wine magazine.
2 quarts water
3 Tbsp dried hibiscus leaves
1/2 lemon, sliced
1/2 orange, sliced
1/4 cup simple syrup
Bring water to a boil and turn off heat. Add hibiscus leaves and let steep for 20 minutes.
In a large container or pitcher add simple syrup, citrus slices and orange slices.
Pour water through fine mesh strainer into container or pitcher. *Note: if using a glass pitcher, add a large metal spoon before pouring hot water to ensure the glass doesn't break.
Pour tea over ice and serve with fresh mint and lemon slices.
Ah, summer tomatoes – so fresh, so many varieties, so what to do with them?
Of course the most simple thing to do is to make an easy summer tomato salad such as this Marinated Heirloom Tomato Salad from The Shiksa in the Kitchen. Don’t have heirloom tomatoes? You can try the same marinade with cherry, grape or any variety of tomatoes.
Hankering for some chips and salsa? Try making your own fresh salsa such as this Orange and Tomato Salsa recipe from Emeril Lagasse. Fresh salsas are also delicious served on top of grilled chicken or fish.
A great way to turn turn a batch of tomatoes into a summer meal is by making Gazpacho! You can try a traditional version such as this recipe from Ina Garten or my own updated version of Bloody Mary Gazpacho.
My last recommendation for a summer tomato treat is perhaps the most indulgent and a bit more work, but well worth the effort and calories! I love serving this Tomato and Mozzarella Tart for Shabbat lunch or even at Sunday brunch.
Happy summer cooking!
1 prepared tart crust (I like Julia Child’s recipe, which you can find here)
4 medium sized tomatoes, sliced thin
1 large ball (around 8 ounces) of buffalo mozzarella
¼ cup olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp finely grated parmesan cheese (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Set out sheets of paper towel, and remove excess water from the tomato slices by laying out the tomatoes on top of the towels to blot.
Slice mozzarella into even circles. Layer the tomato slices and mozzarella slices alternately, creating a circle pattern and ensuring that the mozzarella is covering as much of the bottom of the crust as possible.
In a small bowl, mix together olive oil, basil, garlic, salt and pepper. When thoroughly combined, drizzle over tomato and mozzarella.
If desired, sprinkle parmesan over tart before baking. The extra cheese will add a nice crusty layer to the tart after it is baked, and also add an extra layer of flavor.
Bake at 375 degrees for 45-50 minutes, until golden brown.
The tart can be served warmed, or at room temperature, perfect for a Shabbat lunch.