Cool Food For HOT Days Summer recipes defeat the heat


IT LOOKS LIKE we're in for another hot, humid summer. Here are some recipes to let you maintain your cool while entertaining your friends.

Our beautiful display was inspired by Italian-style antipasto platters. And while the meal looks impressive, it couldn't be easier -- it's mostly a matter of opening jars and cans and slicing cheeses and meats. Simple side dishes, which can be made ahead of time, round out the meal.

The center of the platter in our photograph contains a simple marinated salad of tomatoes, olives and onions coated with an Italian salad dressing. Use an oil and vinegar-type dressing, not a creamy one. Be sure to serve this with a slotted spoon. The savory tomato appetizer, recipe below, can be substituted if you like.

Also on the platter are spicy pepperoncini -- available at most grocery stores in the international foods aisle. Do not substitute jalapeno peppers -- unless you enjoy watching your guests gasp for air.

Serve with bread sticks, crispy crackers or fresh Italian bread. Also, a tray of crisp bite-size vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots and zucchini provide a cool contrast to the hot and spicy meal.


1/4 to 1/2 pound thinly sliced pepperoni

1/4 to 1/2 pound thinly sliced salami

1/8 to 1/4 pound each of several assorted cheeses, such as Gouda, Cheddar or Swiss

Marinated pitted black or green olives (see recipe below; also available at some deli counters)


Lettuce and other greens to line plate

Arrange as shown in photograph. This recipe will serve about six to eight people. Use these amounts as a guide, adding more or less to suit your needs.

Hot Spiced Olives

8 garlic cloves, peeled

1 quart (about 1 1/2 pounds) imported black olives, such as Kalamata or oil-cured

4 1-inch sprigs fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoons dried

4 1-inch strips fresh orange zest (orange peel with none of the bitter white pith attached)

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

About 2 cups extra-virgin olive oil

With the side of a heavy knife, lightly crush the garlic. Remove the stem ends.

In a six-cup jar or crock, layer one cup of the olives, two garlic cloves, a piece each of the rosemary and orange zest and one-quarter teaspoon each of the red pepper and peppercorns. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, except the oil.

Add enough olive oil to cover the ingredients completely. Cover the jar and refrigerate for at least one week before serving. These keep well for up to one month.

-- "The Antipasto Table" by Michele Scicolone; William Morrow and Co. -- $20, 1991

Stuffed Pepper Wedges

3 large red bell peppers

1 large ripe tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped

1 large garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped

12 imported black olives, such as Kalamata, pitted and thinly sliced

1 2-ounce can anchovy fillets, drained and chopped

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

Freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Cut the peppers lengthwise into quarters and remove the seeds and white membranes. Arrange the quarters skin side down in the prepared dish. In a bowl, combine the tomato, garlic, olives, anchovies, parsley and pepper to taste. Spoon the mixture into the pepper wedges. Drizzle with the olive oil. Bake for 45 minutes or until the peppers are tender when pierced with a fork. Refrigerate up to 24 hours in advance. Serve at room temperature. Serves six.

-- "The Antipasto Table"

Savory Tomato Appetizer

18 pickled imported Italian black olives, pitted

6 large tomatoes, cubed

1 small red onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings

1 cup diced Genoa salami, about 8 ounces

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, about 2 ounces

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon large capers, drained

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

Mix all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate at least two hours but no longer than four hours. Serves six.

Tuna and Vegetable Salad

1 large tomato, cut into wedges

1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced

1 small cucumber, peeled and sliced

1 16 1/2 -ounce can tuna packed in olive oil, drained

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled

Freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl, combine the vegetables. Break the tuna into chunks and add to the bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients together until blended. Drizzle over the salad. Toss to combine and refrigerate no longer than four hours before serving.

-- "The Antipasto Table"

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