Savoring the Seasons: No-heat cooking keeps kitchen cool

For The Recorder
Published: 8/16/2016 12:21:41 PM

This summer’s heat has inspired me to create cool meals that avoid heating up the kitchen. The solar oven I got at the Solar Store in Greenfield has done a fine job cooking chicken, which I chill and eat sliced in salads.

In July, I had a great email conversation about “smashed tomato sandwiches.” I had never heard of them until Walker Saville wrote asking about them. Here’s what I learned from Walker Saville and my friend Diane Sievers.

What a perfect way to enjoy the really ripe tomatoes and fresh garlic, available at farmers markets and farmstands.

Another cool, tasty treat I’d never heard of is apple cider slush. Becky Clark told me about it when I saw her at Clarkdale’s farm store on Upper Road in Deerfield. The Clarkdale folks made lots of cider with last year’s bumper crop of apples — and froze it. Now, you can get that cider, thaw it part way and enjoy it as a refreshingly cool cider slushie.

While at Clarkdale, I tried two new-to-me early apple varieties, Zestar and Sansa, along with the familiar Paula Reds. All were tart, crisp and juicy, with slightly different flavors and textures. I went home with a bag of Sansas for work lunches.

Speaking of orchard farm stores, check out the gorgeous view from the lovely new Apex Orchards store on Peckville Road in Shelburne. Learn more at their website:

I hope you’ll join me at the Greenfield Community Picnic on Sunday, Aug. 21, from 4 to 7 p.m. on the Greenfield Town Common. It’s free and open to everyone. It was organized by several folks, because the Free Harvest Supper is taking a break this year. This is a do-it-yourself picnic. No food will be served, so bring your own everything to the picnic — food, beverages, dishes, utensils, seating. Want to learn more? Contact 413-325-8251 or email:

Even though it isn’t a potluck, I encourage everyone to bring something easy, tasty and local to share. Something I love about the Free Harvest Supper is meeting new people.

Come to the Community Picnic, introduce yourself to five people you don’t know and share some food. I’ll probably bring cherry tomatoes or ground cherries. What will you bring?

This week we’re eating …

Smashed Tomato Sandwiches

By Walker Saville of Greenfield and Diane Sievers of South Deerfield.

From Walker Saville: I think it might be called The Spanish. Toast good quality baguette slices, and rub the toast with sliced garlic with vigor. Have two tomatoes at hand, one slightly overripe.

Slice the soft one in half horizontally and rub it into the toast, leaving bits of flesh on the surface until almost used up. Slice second tomato in thin slices and place on top of toast with very thin slices of white onion, salt, and pepper. Top with Hellman’s mayonnaise (only) and, if desired, crisp bacon slices. Eat over the sink as it is VERY messy. The ones I made last summer did not include the onion slices or bacon and were fabulous, but the recipe I found last night had added them and sounded really good. It you have great tomatoes, this is definitely the way to eat them! Enjoy!

From Diane Sievers: At first, when you said smashed tomato sandwiches, I had no idea what you were talking about, but now I do. I had these in Barcelona. Not the toppings; that sounds American. In Spain, they bring toasted baguette slices to the table and a tomato cut in half and garlic cloves, and you fix it yourself. It is amazing that by rubbing the toasted bread with garlic it does impart the garlic flavor. Then, rub cut tomato over it, which leaves bits of tomato. Drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkling of salt. Yes, these are delicious. They are one kind of tapas.

Local food advocate and community organizer Mary McClintock lives in Conway and works as a freelance writer, brand promoter and writer-editor. Send column suggestions and recipes to:


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