Leave it to Ina Garten to keep her cool when everyone is practically melting—she's shared another tip for summertime cooking, and it's straight from her yet-to-be-released cookbook, Cook Like a Pro.
Luckily, her sage advice is also totally simple to pull off. When the temperature soars, Ina relies on fresh, in-season vegetables to turn a simple grilled protein into a fabulous meal. Here's what she says:
“When the weather in East Hampton gets really hot, I don’t feel like spending a lot of time in a hot kitchen. Instead, I’ll grill some fish or chicken and make a big salad from ingredients I can find at almost any farm stand. My new favorite is the Tomato & Avocado Salad from my new book ‘Cook Like A Pro’ that comes out this October, and I’ve been making it so much this summer I just had to share it with you early! It’s tomatoes, avocados, red onion, with arugula and a fresh lemon vinaigrette. Hope you love it as much as I do!”
Hang on...Ina just gave us the sneakiest sneak peak ever, didn't she? We know what's for dinner tonight. (Thanks, Ina.)
Prior to hitting the grocery store or market, make a list to avoid excess purchases. But don’t punish yourself for occasional impulse buys—even Garten sometimes splurges on sweet treats (and hence why she has Lidey handle most of her ingredient shopping). Her favorites are Tate's chocolate chip cookies and vanilla Häagen-Dazs.
Everyone loves pancakes and French toast but both require multiple ingredients to make. (Not to mention the mess!) Garten keeps it simple and eats the same breakfast every.single.day. For the last decade, she’s had a cup of coffee and McCann's Quick-Cooking Oatmeal. No lie.
3. And Salt Makes All the Difference
That Eeyore-inspired breakfast Queen Ina eats every morning? Garten adds a heavy shaking of salt so her oatmeal doesn’t “taste like wallpaper paste.”
4. Instead of Take-Out, Prepare ‘No Cook’ Options For Lazy Days
Even the Barefoot Contessa has days where she doesn’t feel like cooking. “I always have soup in the freezer that's hearty enough to be a meal, like Tuscan white bean, split pea, cauliflower, or Loaves & Fishes' tortellini en brood,” she says. Simply come home, zap it in the microwave and voilà!
5. Coffee + Chocolate Are a Delicious Combo
Garten adds coffee to chocolate to “give it a depth of flavor.” Bonus: The delectable pairing satisfies chocolate cravings and caffeine fixes.
If starting from scratch isn’t your thing...don’t start from scratch. Garten’s mantra: Unless you can make something that's better than what you'd buy, there's no point in spending the time! Less time cooking equals more time eating, ladies.
10. And It’s Not Always About the Food
OK…food does take priority, but no Garten meal is complete without a beautiful bouquet of flowers to brighten the table.