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a home + living guide for the post-college, pre-parenthood, quasi-adult generation

07.21.2003

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hot food, 
c
ool cook  
3 no-cook summer pasta sauces
by Yee-Fan Sun
1 2 3 

Every year I think that this year, finally, I'll be used to it: summer in Tucson. Otherwise known as hell on Earth. As the temps break 105F every day, I'll be cool as a cucumber inside my swamp-cooler-tempered little abode, barely breaking a sweat on those rare occasions when I'm forced to venture forth into the scorching sunlight. I'm getting better, I suppose, because this year, that "It's so ungodly hot I must be a damn fool for living here" feeling of sweat-induced crankiness didn't hit until oh, three days ago, mid-July, when I got back from a fabulous road-trip around lovely high-altitude, cooler-temperature New Mexico, to discover that in the week-plus that I'd been away from home, the humidity had inched up just high enough that my evaporative cooling system no longer felt like going to the trouble of actually working.

So for the last three days, I've been sweating like a piglet despite my best efforts to simulate an immobile lump. The simple act of walking out the door to get the mail is enough to send my sweat-glands into a frenzy: staying absolutely, perfectly still seems the only solution to the over-heating problem. Given the fact that ninety-nine-percent of my work involves sitting on my lazy ol' butt at the computer in my home office, this is surprisingly easy to achieve, for most of my waking hours, at any rate. Sadly, however, my tummy eventually begins to grouse, voicing its complaints in low grumbles of discontent, forcing me to take some action towards getting some much-needed food into the system, propelling me towards my kitchen.

Don't get me wrong: I love my kitchen. But when it's this hot, slaving over a hot gas stove sits pretty high up on my list of activities I'd rather avoid. Salads, smoothies and the like are all great quickie cold-meal options, but when I'm really hungry, there's still something about a warm dinner that just seems more satisfying to me. At times like these, uncooked pasta sauces are key: just get the pasta cooking, then find a nice, cool spot far, far away from the stove to peel, chop and toss. All three of the sauces in the recipes that follow can be thrown together in a speedy five minutes time - and the only time you'll have to face the hot stove are when you toss in the pasta, and when it's time to pull the pasta out. Outside, and in your kitchen even, the temps might be swelteringly steamy, but there's no reason in the world you have to be sweating too, right?

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