Coast Cooking

Try these recipes to help keep your cool during this hot summer

Few vegetables and herbs pair together as well as tomato and basil.
Few vegetables and herbs pair together as well as tomato and basil. Special to the Sun Herald

Whew! It’s hot outside.

No one wants to slave over a hot stove much less over a hot grill on such hot days as we are having.

Today I’m sharing three simple recipes that I believe you will enjoy and will help you keep your cool during these hot summer days.

The first is for deviled eggs, which are a Southern favorite, but the recipe I’m sharing today gives deviled eggs an Italian flair by using an olive salad, which can be found premixed in most grocery stores and is best known for making muffulettas.

The other two recipes have a European slant, and the photos for each were taken at Stalla, the Italian restaurant at the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino, which is my favorite Italian restaurant.

Feel free to put your own spin on these recipes, use your imagination and impress your family and guests.

Deviled Eggs

This recipe is simple. The worst you could do is to overcook the eggs making them hard to get out of the shell. Use the freshest eggs you can find. You can usually find eggs that are only a day or two old at your local farmers market.

2-3 eggs per person

Olive salad

Red pepper flakes

Additional olive oil as needed

Cook the eggs in rapidly boiling water for 7-8 minutes, remove and place in an ice bath. Carefully remove the shell, cut the eggs in half, and remove the yolk. Mix the yolks, olive salad and a good pinch of red pepper flakes and refill the halved eggs. If the mixture is too dry, add a little more olive oil. Chill and serve with a well-chilled bottle of dry Riesling.

Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

Many of you will recognize this recipe as being Caprese Salad, an Italian classic. It is perfect this time of the year, but you must buy the best tomatoes you can find. Remember the tomato test: smell it, if it doesn’t have any smell, it doesn’t have any flavor. Use a best quality olive oil. Remember olive oil is not just a lubricant to cook in, it is an ingredient that should be bursting with flavor.

3-4 best quality tomatoes

Best mozzarella cheese

Fresh basil leaves

Best olive oil

Slice tomatoes about a quarter inch thick, or leave them in big, bite-size chunks. Slice the cheese in the same proportion, garnish with the basil leaves (whole) and drizzle with olive oil. Serve with a good Italian red wine or a cold craft beer.

Cheese and Fruit Platter

This is another simple summertime idea that I think you will love. The quality of your ingredients will determine your success. If you use processed cheese, the results will be grim. Many grocery stores carry a good selection of imported cheese such as Parmigiano-Reggiano, aged gouda, a variety of domestic and imported blue cheeses (Gorgonzola, Maytag) Swiss and French Gruyere and Spanish Manchego. For fruit, just use what is in season, fresh and fragrant.

If you would like to stick with a theme, such as French cheese, make sure to serve French wines. Food and wine that come from the same regions always go together well. If you want to serve a nice ripe French brie, pair it with a nice Burgundy or a Bordeaux.