Beat the heat tonight and keep your kitchen cool with these refreshing dinner ideas:
Crab salad with cucumber: Fresh chunks of crabmeat are tossed with a bright lemon vinaigrette, then layered with very thinly sliced cucumber on a plate. It's a beautiful presentation that's perfect for company, but also simple enough to serve as a weeknight family meal.
Chickpea salad with chorizo: Whether you call them garbanzo beans or chickpeas, if you're a fan, you won't get a much better chance to enjoy them than this refreshingly bright salad, one of our Top 10 Recipes from 2011. Marinate chickpeas in a blend of lemon juice, olive oil and salt, then toss them with some Spanish chorizo, tomatoes and a little garlic, green onion, parsley and bell pepper. Marinate the beans first thing in the morning, then assemble the salad in the last few minutes before you sit down to eat. It makes a colorful side or a perfect light meal.
Chilled avocado and watercress soup with shrimp: Creamy avocado and fresh, slightly peppery wartercress, marry perfectly together in this soup topped with shrimp.You can find the recipe below.
CHILLED AVOCADO AND WATERCRESS SOUP WITH SHRIMP
Total time: 35 minutes | Serves 8
Note: Adapted from Jake's Grill in Portland, Ore. The restaurant serves this soup with crayfish instead of shrimp.
1 bunch watercress
1 bunch cilantro, plus 8 sprigs of cilantro for garnish
3 cups chicken broth (vegetable broth may be substituted)
4 avocados, peeled and seeded
1 cup sour cream
2 cups plain yogurt
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound cooked and shelled medium shrimp
1. In a blender, puree the watercress, cilantro and broth. Set the mixture aside for 10 minutes to steep, then strain, discarding the solids and reserving the liquid.
2. Rinse the blender, and puree the avocados, sour cream, yogurt, cumin, coriander and cayenne until smooth.
3. Pour the puree into a bowl set over an ice bath and whisk in the reserved watercress liquid, 1 cup at a time. Continue to stir until well-chilled. Season with salt. This makes about 6 1/2 cups of soup.
4. Pour the soup into bowls, and divide the shrimp among the bowls. Garnish each with a sprig of cilantro and serve immediately.
Each serving: 311 calories; 18 grams protein; 14 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams fiber; 22 grams fat; 6 grams saturated fat; 127 mg. cholesterol; 6 grams sugar; 623 mg. sodium.