The Cold Kitchen 100

This past Fourth of July, I made the mistake of baking a from-scratch pie. Yes, pies and America’s great cookout of a birthday party have shared a longtime liaison. (And, yes, it was delicious.) But when the air is so heavy that even a feeble waft from a quick flip of a magazine page offers relief, it’s too hot to twist any oven dial—let alone bake a pie. If you’re like me, kitchen production almost comes to a screeching halt during these slow-moving dog days. Who wants to cook when it’s hot?

Although we can’t do anything about the heat outside, we can help you turn down the dial in the kitchen. We’ve gathered some of our coolest recipes to get you through the sweltering blasts of August. From summer sippers (both naughty and nice) to salads, and from icy soups to frozen desserts, none of these cold-kitchen recipes require any heat. Pacific Oysters with Asian Vinaigrette will evoke memories of a salty, ocean breeze, if only for a moment. A lovely Pear, Basil and Pecorino Salad will cool you from the inside-out.

LC recipe testers chime in with their own temperature-reducing remedies as well. Longtime tester Cindi Kruth turns to yogurt pops when things get humid. Her recipe:

Mash ripe berries, bananas, or stonefruit with some sugar, and stir the mixture into plain, unsweetened yogurt. Freeze in plastic molds with popsicle sticks, and serve when frozen.

For a meal, tester Brenda Carlton offers up The Ubiquitous Watermelon, Mint, Feta and Balsamic Salad: Just toss all ingredients in a bowl and serve.

It may be too hot to stand staring down the stove, but it’s the perfect weather for cold-kitchen comforts. So if you can, peel yourself off of that couch and shuffle over to the fridge. You’ve got some non-cooking cooking to do.

Oh, why the Cold Kitchen 100? We were determined to offer 100 cooling recipes, but came up 28 short. So that’s where you come in. What are some of your no-heat recipes for the summer swelter? Let us know below and help us get to the big 100 mark.—Cynthia Furey

Naughty and nice.

Perfect Iced Tea

Ruby Sangria

Singapore Sling

Lillet Aperitif

Mexican Mojito

Sweet Tea
(If you don’t have simple syrup on hand, just stir in the same amount of sugar until dissolved.)

Tinto de Verano

Pineapple-Tequila Refresco


A knife and blender is about all you need.


Iced Cantaloupe Soup with Jalapeno and Basil

White Almond Gazpacho

Yellow Gazpacho
(Keep it no-cook by omitting the ratatouille.)


Dips and spreads and tapas, oh my!

California Dip

Tapenade Trio

Cream Cheese, Fig, and Walnut Spread with Smoked Salmon

Gravadlax with Sweet Mustard and Dill Mayonnaise

Salami and Cheese Tapa

Portuguese Green Olive Dip

Green Olives Filled with Piquillo Pepper and Anchovy

Citrus-Olive Tapenade

Cheese-Stuffed Dates with Prosciutto

Pacific Oysters with Asian Vinaigrette

Cherry Tomatoes with Tequila-Lime Vinaigrette

Tuna Tartare with Cucumber Salad and Avocado

Miso with Japanese Crudites
Place some yellow miso in a small bowl. Add a splash of rice vinegar, some hot pepper flakes, and a ton of ground sesame seeds.  Add cold water, whisking constantly, until the mixture has the consistency of a creamy dip.  Serve with veggie sticks—carrots, daikon, snow peas, sugar snaps, celery, green beans, fennel, kohlrabi, and whatever else you find in season at the greenmarket.—Chiyo Ueyama


No one ever said a cheese course can’t constitute supper.

Marinated Idiazabal Cheese with Rosemary

Yogurt Cheese Balls in Garlic-Dill Oil

Chutney-Nut-Stuffed Brie


We’re not just talking leafy greens here.

Asparagus and Pecorino Salad

Shaved Fennel Salad

Caprese Salad

Red Pepper, Pomegranate Molasses, and Walnut Dip
(Hey, just buy some jarred roasted bell peppers rather than roasting them yourself.)


Orange and Radish Salad

Apple, Parmesan, and Mixed Green Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

Arugula Salad with Almonds, Olives, and Tangerines

Hearts of Palm Salad

Butter Lettuce and Fresh Herbs with Maytag Blue Cheese

Cannellini Bean Salad
(Simply stir raw chopped tomatoes in with the beans in place of the roasted tomatoes.)

(Forget sautéing the bread and simply use day-old bread drizzled with olive oil instead.)

Marinated Raw Fennel Salad with Radishes, Carrot, and Spring Greens
(You can conveniently forget to toast the cumin seeds, we won’t tell—and neither will you.)

Chickpea and Spinach Salad with Cumin

Pear, Basil, and Pecorino Toscano Salad

Sliced Tomatoes and Sweet Onion
Slice a Creole tomato (or any kind that you have growing in the back garden) and toss with very thinly sliced sweet onion and your favorite balsamic and olive oil. You can add sliced olives and chunks of any kind of sured sausage you might happen to have on hand as well as sliced mozzarella or feta. Basil is also nice. Actually, this is a blank canvas just waiting for your favorite “toss-ins.”—Karen Depp

The Ubiquitous Watermelon, Mint, Feta, Balsamic Salad
Chop chilled watermelon and feta into chunks and toss with mint, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil.—Brenda Carlton

Debbie’s Salad
Tomatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks
Raw sweet corn, sliced off the cob
Bocconcini (little fresh mozzarella balls)
Basil, cut into chiffonade
Vinegar, whatever kind sounds good
Olive Oil
Coarse sea salt

Stir all of the ingredients together right before you’re going to serve, because you don’t want to refrigerate the tomatoes and the basil doesn’t improve after being cut.  It might not be the most original but I’ve been making it for a long time and never had a real recipe.—Debbie White


Sometimes a sleeper of a side can surprise you and turn into supper.

Salt and Sugar Pickles

Coleslaw with a Hint of Maple Syrup

Cucumber and Black Bean Salad
Toss together canned, drained black beans, diced cucumbers, chopped and seeded tomatoes, lime juice, hot sauce, and cilantro.—Chiyo Ueyama

Simple Italian Kale
Just wash and dry a bunch of Lacinto or Nero di Tosca kale and then thinly shred  or slice the leaves crosswise into ribbons, as if for slaw. ?Toss the kale with a vinaigrette made from a not-too-pungent olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and lemon zest to taste.?Refrigerate for at least an hour or two, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.— Marilyn Canna


Some of these require a little creativity to get into the no-cook category, but we’ve got a few slips and tips to keep you cool.

Pea Shoot Salad
(It’s easy enough to rely on leftover grilled or rotisserie chicken.)

Radishes with Butter Dressing
(Let the butter turn into a puddle at room temperature.)

Cold Chicken Chutney Salad
(Ditto. Leftover grilled or rotisserie chicken stands in nicely here.)

Grilled Thai Beef Salad
(Cold leftover steak, thinly sliced, is quite lovely atop this salad.)

Caesar Salad
(Forget the croutons and you can keep it cooking-free. And if you have leftover chicken or shrimp or salmon, well then, there you go.)

Radish Ravioli with Yellow Tomato Sauce

This is a classic no-cook tofu dish for the loooong, hot summer in Japan. Place a block of silken tofu (you can cut it in four or six pieces if you’d like) on a plate. Scatter lots of grated ginger and chopped scallion over the top and drizzle with really good, full-sodium soy sauce.—Chiyo Ueyama

Scrounging for Supper
These days when it hits 90 plus, I’m not very innovative. It’s mostly salads with greens from the garden or farmers market and whatever leftover protein scraps are in the refrigerator. A freshly made vinaigrette with herbs from the garden can change the whole nature of whatever meat or cheese or bean dish we had two nights before.—Cindi Kruth


Sure, you could simply grab a piece of fruit. But c’mon, how surprising is that?

Strawberry Mascarpone Tart

Watermelon and Ginger

Raspberry Fool

Black Cow

Burger Bar Milkshakes

Fresh Lime Ice with Berries

Mexican Chocolate and Chipotle Shake

Girl Scout Cookies
Preferably from a stash in the freezer

Fancy Figs
Fresh figs, quartered and splayed, with a dollop of mascarpone or ricotta, a drizzle of honey, and pistachios or walnuts.

Guinness Float
Pour Guinness as usual. Top with scoops of vanilla ice cream.

Yogurt Pops
Take the ripest fruit on the counter—cherries, berries, bananas, peaches—and mash with a little sugar. Then stir into plain unsweetened yogurt. Freeze the pops in plastic molds using popsicle sticks from the craft store. Serve with some carrot sticks and sliced bell peppers to the little ones for dinner.—Cindi Kruth

Grape Sorbet
Combine 6 cups grapes, 3/4 cup superfine sugar (or just blitz granulated sugar in a blender until finely ground but not powdery), and 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice in a blender and purée.  Strain and refrigerate.  Freeze in ice cream maker.—Brenda Carlton

Ice Cream Sandwiches
Nothing beats great store-bought ice cream. Grab some Leibniz Butter Biscuits and assorted ice cream flavors.  Guests are happy because they can create what they want, and you’re happy because there are no cake plates or little dessert forks to wash.—Chiyo Ueyama



  1. I don’t think there is anything more wonderful or refreshing than cold soup on a hot summer’s eve, either as an appetizer or main course with a terrific light salad. Here are a couple from old masters that I have copied from my Cold Soups folder—ENJOY!

    Gazpacho Gelées (Jellied Soup) with Avocado Cream
    Serves 4

    Philippe Braun, who created this soft, slightly spicy tomato jelly topped with an unctuous avocado cream, is the extremely talented executive chef at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Paris. One of Joël Robuchon’s closest associates, Braun travels with the master to keep standards high at outposts in Las Vegas, Tokyo and, later this year, New York City.

    1/2 cup drained canned tomatoes, chopped
    1/2 cup peeled, seeded and chopped cucumber
    1/2 cup peeled and chopped red pepper
    1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
    1/4 teaspoon very finely chopped garlic
    Dash of Tabasco
    Pinch of ground cumin
    3/4 teaspoon powdered unflavored gelatin

    1 Hass avocado—seeded, peeled and chopped
    1/4 cup water
    1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
    2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

    In a blender, puree the tomatoes with the cucumber, red pepper, vinegar, garlic, Tabasco and cumin. Pass through a fine strainer into a glass measuring cup. Season with salt.

    Transfer half of the mixture to a small saucepan. Sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the mixture and let stand for 5 minutes. Cook the mixture over moderate heat until the gelatin is melted, about 1 minute. Stir in the remaining tomato mixture. Pour into 4 small glass bowls and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

    Meanwhile, clean out the blender, then puree the chopped avocado with the water, lime juice and olive oil. Season with salt. Spoon the avocado cream over each gelée and serve.

    Make Ahead: The gelées and avocado puree can be refrigerated separately overnight.


    Strawberry Orange Soup Recipe
    By Rebecca Franklin,
    Serves 8

    Both children and adults love this fresh berry soup. It’s lovely when used to round out an entrée salad for a light, healthy meal.

    2 pints strawberries, hulled, plus extra for garnish
    1 cup heavy cream
    1 cup plain yogurt
    1/2 cup orange juice
    1/3 cup water
    1/3 to 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

    Using a blender, process all ingredients until smooth. Chill for 1 hour before serving. Garnish with thinly sliced strawberries cut lengthwise.


    James Beard’s Cold Minted Pea Soup
    Serves 8

    This spring-inspired soup from James Beard’s 1981 cookbook, The New James Beard, features tarragon, a unique variation on the traditional pea-and-mint pairing. Beard loved the anise-flavored herb; he once famously declared, “I believe that if ever I had to practice cannibalism, I might manage if there were enough tarragon around.”

    6 cups chicken stock
    1 small onion stuck with 2 cloves
    1 clove garlic
    1 teaspoon tarragon
    3 pounds freshly shelled peas or 3 packages frozen peas

    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    3 cups heavy cream or plain yogurt
    Finely chopped fresh mint

    Put the chicken stock in a saucepan with the onion, garlic, tarragon, and peas. Cook until the peas are just tender.

    Remove and discard onion.

    Add salt and pepper to taste and puree in a food mill, blender, or food processor.

    Combine with cream or yogurt and serve well chilled with a generous sprinkling of mint.

  2. Reading all of these wonderful suggestions prompted me to add one of my own. My absolute favorite coleslaw is from a (sadly) now-defunct seafood restaurant. Luckily, I was able to get the recipe for the Bleu cheese/Fuji apple slaw before it closed its doors. I made a few tweaks, but here it is:

    4 Fuji apples, peeled, cored and small-diced
    1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
    1/2 cup buttermilk
    1/2 cup sugar
    3 tablespoons olive oil
    Salt and pepper, to taste

    1 head Napa cabbage, shredded
    3 celery stalks, diced
    8 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
    Handful of chopped parsley, to taste
    Handful of candied pecans (as much as you want!)

    In a large jar or tupperware container, combine all dressing ingredients and shake well to combine. Refrigerate while you chop the slaw. Place slaw in a large serving bowl, pour dressing over and toss. Serve!

  3. Why not try this cool vintage recipe for Russian punch, which was originally published in the 1925 recipe booklet “Iced Specialties from Servel.” Servel, along with Norge, Frigidaire, Kelvinator and other refrigerator companies, used to package such booklets with their products to help housewives “cast off the shackles of ice” and take full advantage of their novel appliance.

    4 cups boiling water
    6 teaspoons orange pekoe tea
    1 cup sugar
    juice of two lemons
    1 orange sliced very thin
    1 quart of fresh strawberries, halved
    1 cup cracked ice
    1 pint carbonated water
    a few sprigs of fresh mint

    Steep tea in the boiling water for five minutes. Strain and chill, Add sugar, lemon juice, sliced orange, lemon and strawberries. Cover and place in Serv-el food compartment (though any refrigerator will do, haha). When ready to serve, add chilled carbonated water and the cracked ice. A sprig of mint may be placed in each glass before pouring in the punch.

    1. Chris, I agree! I was telling David you could totally turn it into a postcard or invitation for a potluck or something.

  4. I love the idea of not cooking and just eating cold food. I made a killer Greek Salad the other night. Just combine your favorite crispy lettuces, Persian cucumbers, baby heirloom tomatoes, thin sliced onion, feta cheese, pepperoncinis and charred red bell peppers (you can buy them in a jar if you have none on hand). Throw in some Kalamata olives and toss with a lemon olive oil vinegrette. So yummy and refreshing. Serve it with some crusty bread. Hi Cynthia, so nice to see your name here.

  5. Assuming it’s been a couple of days of avoiding the kitchen due to the heat, sushi rolls are a great no cook meal. If you haven’t been cooking there’s sure to be some leftover takeout sticky rice and along with that, just about any other bits and pieces can be pulled into service to make great, if far from authentic, sushi rolls.

    Season the rice with some sugar whisked into vinegar, rip open a package of nori sheets and raid the fridge for whatever you can find. To keep it simple, just roll up some ingredients with the rice into a cone-shaped handroll. You can even put all the ingredients out and let everyone make their own.

    A few ingredients you may already have around to try include raw slivered vegetables like carrots, cucumbers or radishes, smoked salmon or oysters, cream cheese, sliced deli meats (you can use them as the wrapper instead of seaweed, too), horseradish mayo, frozen peas (they’ll thaw by the time the roll is ready), chopped grilled veggies, fish, seafood or meats, avocado, fruits, peanut butter or chopped nuts and seeds and fresh herbs.

  6. My favorite summer drink: Kir—chilled white wine, black currant, or raspberry syrup, a bit of sparkling water.

    My favorite dip, other than Maionese de Leite :-), Bean Dip – purée beans (white, black, whatever you have) with lemon juice, tahini, salt, chiles, or chili sauce. Serve with raw veggies or pita chips. Much like hummus, just creamier.

      1. And I forgot #75: European Cucumber Salad: Finely slice cucumbers, add salt. Leave for 10 minutes, discard the fluid. Chop a big handful of dill, mix with yogurt and sour cream, pepper, add to cucumbers, eat.

Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Attach it below. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.

Upload a picture of your dish