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Is it just me or are you feeling a bit like this lately? It's mid-August and all of the maps of daytime temperatures across the US show firey shades of red, orange and yellow. It's undeniably hot outside and it seems like everyone's talking about it. The blogosphere and the news are abuzz with chatter about the heat and ways to combat it and we thought we'd share with you some of the best ways to beat (or enjoy) the heat that we've found this week... Tomato and Zucchini Gratin
This week's challenge was tomatoes, and if you're a reader of Mattbites you'll know that I tend to go overboard during summer when it comes to these things. I was going for a bit of restraint this year. Yea yea I know, restraint and me don't really get along. I'm trying.
One of our favorite bloggers, Matt Armendariz offers up this tantalizing summer treat made with some of the season's best vegetables. It's a bit more of a road map than a recipe, but I think that makes it all the more summer-appropriate! The Igneous Petrology of Ice Cream
Ice cream is an igneous rock. You begin with a liquid slurry containing a hodgepodge of chemicals, and by bringing it below its freezing point, you create something solid - or at least solid-ish. Good ice cream or sorbet needs a little give, a bit of liquid remaining between ice crystals so that you can comfortably dig into it with a spoon.
This is what happens when a person with a master's degree in Earth Sciences starts thinking about one of our favorite ways to cool down in the summertime - ice cream! And speaking of ice cream, has anyone out there tried avocado ice cream? Nice Ice Cream and opening the young coconut
Young (Thai) coconuts (you can find in Whole foods) are different from the easier to find brown coconuts we may have grown up with, inside they are gelatinous and full of fresh coconut milk. You need a butcher knife-like implement to open it (cutting a square in the top ideally with 4 whacks) and they come in an all white shell.
Have you ever had a young coconut? Oh, you don't know what you're missing! They're exceptionally more flavorful (and full of delicious coconut water) than the dry brown versions many of us are accustomed to seeing. There's a great little video showing how to properly open one along with a long list of raw ice creams for those who may be avoiding some of the ingredients that make up more traditional ice cream. Enjoy!

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Kim Selbert says …

I have made a refreshing cucumber and watermelon salad that was in Issue 24 of Everyday Food that i recommend for these hot days and warm evenings. The ingredients are: 3 cups peeled and cubed (1/2 inch) English cucumber, 3 cups cubed (1/2 inch) seedless watermelon, 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, coarse salt, and ground pepper. In a large bowl, toss cucumber and watermelon with lime juice, 3/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper. Serve immediately. If you don't serve this immediately, leave out the salt. Refrigerate salad, covered, up to 4 hours. Just before serving, toss with salt. Per serving: 49 calories; 0.3 gram fat; 1.3 grams protein, 11.8 grams carbohydrates; 1.2 grams fiber. Enjoy!

Ingrid says …

Summer is the best time to eat raw foods like salads. The next best is lightly steamed or stir-fried vegetables. The Chinese believe that most people have excess "hot chi" in the summer and need cooling foods to balance their chi (energy). Cucumbers and seasonal produce are cooling. I also eat lots of watermelons since they are also cooling. I hope to do a "Balancing the Chi with Food" cooking demo at Whole Foods soon. Keep cool.

Tina Steven says …

The Coconut Avocado Ice cream is the greatest ice cream I have ever had. THANK YOU!! I want to try and make it at home!

Elza says …

I love young Thai Coconuts. I am in the inland empire and no Whole Foods close by. Where can I purchase same quality coconuts found in your market?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@ELZA - Unfortunately I'm not familiar with what other stores carry young coconuts so I would give your local coop a call to find out what they have in stock.