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Tomatoes make the perfect no-stove summer dinner (so do peaches!)

Tiny tomato bruschetta.
(Genevieve Ko/Los Angeles Times)

Coming off a heat wave, all I want are refreshing cold dishes and lots of juicy tomatoes and stone fruit in both sweet and savory fare. These no-cook meals and dessert come together easily and make the most of the heirloom tomatoes, peaches, nectarines, plums, pluots and other stone fruits at the market.

You can tell stone fruit is ready when its aroma, a blend of flowers, honey and wine, perfumes the air in the kitchen. If you squeeze it gently, you should feel it give like a fully inflated beach ball. Ripe tomatoes feel the same way. Before that stage, the fruit works well in savory dishes where its tanginess offers welcome tart complexity and its firmness keeps cut wedges intact.

Bruschetta With Tiny Tomatoes

Time 20 minutes
Yields Serves 2 to 4
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Small grape and cherry tomatoes keep garlicky bruschetta from getting soggy while adding bursts of sweetness.

Obika's chilled organic tomato soup

Time 20 minutes
Yields Serves 4 to 6

If you have super ripe tomatoes on hand, blend them into this quick and easy soup.

Summer Kale Salad with Peaches and Pepitas

Time 25 minutes
Yields Serves 6 to 8
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Make a big batch of this salad today to eat for lunch all week.

Plum or pluot table salsa

Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Yields Makes about 1 cup

This tangy salsa is meant to be served with fish or plant-based ceviche and would be just as good over grilled seafood or meat.

Nectarine-cardamom ice cream

Time 2 hours
Yields Serves 8
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A hint of cardamom highlights nectarines’ honeyed side in this no-bake dessert.

Ask the cooks

I have a scone recipe that calls for 1/2 cup of heavy cream. I was out of heavy cream, so I substituted what I had on hand: 1/4 cup of crème fraîche and 1/4 cup half-and-half. It worked fine. Are there other substitutions I can use?

— Barbara Bilson

Your substitution sounds smart and delicious. You also could have used all half-and-half or even whole milk. Scones made with heavy cream come out the richest, but dairy with less fat, including light cream, works too. The resulting pastries will taste a touch less decadent and not be quite as melt-in-your-mouth tender.

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Crème fraîche has a nice amount of fat, so your swap is a very close approximation, with the added bonus of crème fraîche’s complex tartness. Other tangy swaps for heavy cream include whisking acidic dairy options such as sour cream, buttermilk, crema, labne or plain Greek yogurt with light cream, half-and-half or milk. If you want to substitute more than half to the full amount of heavy cream with an acidic dairy product, you’d actually be better off using a recipe that specifically calls for it.

Scone recipes

18 Recipes

Baking powder and baking soda quantities are tailored to recipes depending largely on whether the liquids are acidic or alkaline, so fully swapping one liquid for another will alter the chemistry — and deliciousness — of the scones.

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