Melissa Clark Turns Down the Heat

Friday, July 27, 2012

This summer has been hot! New York Times Dining Section columnist and cookbook writer and Melissa Clark shares some ideas and recipes for making summer meals without having to turn on an oven. Her most recent cookbook is Cook This Now: 120 Easy and Delectable Dishes You Can't Wait to Make.

Do you have questions about how to make meals that require minimal cooking—or suggestions to share? Let us know by leaving a comment!


Melissa Clark

Comments [29]

greg from Food Nerds from harrison, ny

Thank you guys for having his discussion. For this summer especially, all these ideas have come as a welcome addition to our cooking habits. I contributed the avacado soup part of this discussion. If you would like to see a picture of the avacado soup please check out Food Nerds on Facebook. We are food lovers who look all the time for new and interesting pairings of flavors and foods. To all of you who have contributed info on the salt types, thank you. I can't wait to try some of these in new salads.

Jul. 27 2012 01:18 PM

anonyme, thx for the info.

Jul. 27 2012 01:04 PM

ellen from Manhattan:

There's a fish sauce recipe in Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig. You can also buy it at Whole Foods - Thai Kitchen is a good one (not artificial flavors, real fermented fish) A little goes a long way.

Jul. 27 2012 12:46 PM

Steve and Leonard - I missed the name of the (gray, moist) sea salt - but there's celtic sea salt from Noirmoutier or Guerande - full of trace minerals - great if you can ascertain that it's been raked by "paludiers" who do the traditional thing (back to Roman times they knew things we don't consider now) and rake the salt in the salt flats with wooden rakes (metal messes with trace minerals) It's real salt, no processing. My farmer sells it reasonably - also some buying clubs may as well.

Maybe she was mentioning delicious Fleur de Sel which IS really expensive - that's the whitest salt, sits atop the salt drying in terra cotta flats in Brrittany (Guerande)

Jul. 27 2012 12:41 PM
Tim from Westchester

THIRTY TWO cookbooks? And that's just one author. I think number thirty three will be, Melissa Clark's "How To Make Dough."

Jul. 27 2012 12:40 PM
nb_nyc from manhattan

i don't think you've mentioned grilled pizzas, made right on the grill. delicious.

Jul. 27 2012 12:37 PM
Fred from Bushwick

I'm loving this show as I'm currently at home preparing a "summer salad" that my mother used to make for my sisters and I during hot summers in North Carolina. A cold pasta (rotini or penne), tossed with olive oil and fresh basil, and then mixed with halved cherry tomatoes, chunks of grilled chicken, green, yellow and red peppers and topped with monterey jack cheese either grated or cut in small's delicious and perfect for leftovers (it's actually better the next day).

Jul. 27 2012 12:36 PM
Jason from Queens

Watermelon soup topped with mint...the secret is xanthan gum. It thickens the soup without overpowering the delicate watermelon flavor.

Jul. 27 2012 12:33 PM
Marie from Brooklyn


Good ole' jello, that is, except savory, not sweet. I make one with mango, avocado and cold shrimp, all with a SE Asian bent: the jello is spiked with lime, fish sauce, chili peppers, sugar for balance.

Jul. 27 2012 12:32 PM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

LiteLife makes some really good vegetarian sausage.

Jul. 27 2012 12:31 PM
Danielle Jensen

i have a great room temp sauce for pasta. In a blender:peeled and seeded cucumber,chopped tomatoes,
salt pepper little chopped garlic balsamic vinegar, goat cheese, little evoo. You do have to cook the pasta. Toss with
sauce. It's delicious!

Jul. 27 2012 12:30 PM
C. Imbimbo from Teaneck

I recently made a salad with mixed organic greens, strawberries, walnuts, goat cheese, oil cured olives, with white balsamic & olive oil. I also use honey & white wine in my dressings often. Or I may use just lemon & olive oil, which seem to go better with wine. Those black oil cured olives are great with slices of fresh orange and with other fruit. They offer a salty pungent contrast to the sweetness of the fruit.

Jul. 27 2012 12:29 PM
foodaggro from Brooklyn

Nick from UWS: I think Ms. Clark may want to try including crushed powdered Xanax in one of her delicious sounding culinary concoctions. Just enough to slow her down so we can follow her. Delicious.

Jul. 27 2012 12:29 PM
Jack Jackson from Central New Jersey

I am one of the unfortunates for whom cilantro tastes like soap...What is a good replacement for cilantro in recipes.

Jul. 27 2012 12:29 PM

what is the name of the black peppercorn the caller just raved about? Thx!

Jul. 27 2012 12:28 PM
Frank from Lindenhurst

In the winter I bake bread almost every day. I miss it. What do I do in summer to satisfy my doughy/grainy cravings?

Jul. 27 2012 12:26 PM
Grace Piper from Park Slope

Hi Leonard,
You might try quick pickles with your turnips. So simple and tasty. It is best after a week and will last about a month.

Here's a nice basic recipe.

Jul. 27 2012 12:26 PM
Gerry from Manhattan

GAZPACHO!!!! My favorite for summer, when the tomatoes are real, local and
delicious. Here's a question: how do you skin tomatoes? I have done it by
dipping them in boiling water, then under cold water and peeling off the skin. I have also done it by singeing the skin over a flame, putting them in a paper bag for a minute or so, taking them out and then peeling off the skin. This does give the tomatoes a slightly grilled taste, so for some recipes it might not be right.

Jul. 27 2012 12:25 PM
Caroline from Brooklyn

At a recent barbecue, a friend made fresh blueberry salsa as a condiment for the grilled pork chops. Forget the chops - the salsa was so fresh and bursting with flavor it was delicious all by it's lonesome. Blueberries, fresh tomatoes, jalapeno, lime juice, a little salt...there may have been a few other ingredients but not too many.

Jul. 27 2012 12:23 PM
Hal from Brooklyn

Please suggest ways to use the microwave.

Jul. 27 2012 12:23 PM
ellen from Manhattan

Where do you get or how do you make fish sauce?

Jul. 27 2012 12:22 PM
Chriss from Montclair

Love Melissa's videos on

Is that her kitchen, or a set?

Jul. 27 2012 12:22 PM
Gabrielle from Manhattan

I have so much kohlrabi from my CSA. I have roasted it and pureed it, but have heard it is good shredded as a cole slaw. Melissa, do you have a good recipe for kohlrabi slaw?

Jul. 27 2012 12:22 PM

What is the name of the moist sea salt Melissa mentioned was really good? Btw I have no prob with her speaking on the quick side ... so what.

Jul. 27 2012 12:21 PM
john from office

Put vegtables in your salads, I am taking notes!

Jul. 27 2012 12:20 PM
Elaine from Baltimore

I make an amazing refreshing lavender lime sorbet. And what about the blossoms from zucchini plants!

Jul. 27 2012 12:19 PM
georgie from ann arbor

Maldon's sea salt is hands down the best of the sea salts. I know many people who carry it in their handbag also! Everyone I have introduced to it becomes a convert!

Jul. 27 2012 12:18 PM
Nick from UWS

This woman ought to do a little less cocaine before coming on the radio. Can't understand half the things she is saying, she seems to be talking to herself. "Do you have an electric mumble?" for cous cous.

Jul. 27 2012 12:17 PM
john from office

Making a living on common sense?!

Jul. 27 2012 12:09 PM

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