1. Cool off with a summery drink. I’ve really been enjoying a Vinho Verde called Famega this summer – if you have not experienced a Vihno Verde, pick one up ASAP, they’re a “green wine” from Portugal. Slightly effervescent, crisp and minerally, Famega is a refreshing after-work or pre-dinner wine. It’s also nice at the end of the day, when the sun sets and it’s finally cool enough to sit outside and sip. Word of warning: don’t violate your city’s open container laws. Or, at least subvert them with clever packaging.
2. Make the heat and sun work for you: grow an herb. My favorites for ease and usefulness are basil and mint. Both thrive in a container in the sun, are not fussy about water and grow so rapidly that once the plant is established you can harvest it liberally. Use the basil on a homemade pizza or whip up a quick pesto. Use the mint in mojitos, or sprinkle fresh chopped leaves over summer fruits like watermelon, strawberries or peaches.
3. Beat the heat with indoor activities. Don’t be a hero – embrace free climate control when the weather is sweltering. Hot summer afternoons, and those evenings that just never cool off are perfect for visiting a museum or seeing a movie. In addition to enjoying a cool outing, you can leave your own A/C low or off while you’re out and save a little on your bill.
4. Cook lightly. It’s easy to heat up the house cooking, so opt for things that can be prepared in advance (like, in the morning while it’s cooler), cooked quickly, or not cooked at all. Visit my recipe section for a cool and delicious avocado bean salad, or chickpea and tuna salad, or just a plain old fresh garden salad with farmers market veggies. For quick cooking, a stir fry is hot but fast. And for summer’s best veggies, cook minimally. Last night, I made this delicious lentil and chickpea salad that, had I gathered the ingredients before this afternoon, could have been made in the morning and left to cool in the fridge till dinner. Next time!
5. Take advantage of summer’s bounty. Visit the farmers markets and feast on the local fresh produce. Nothing tastes like early summer lettuce and asparagus, midsummer peaches and squashes, tomatoes and peppers and watermelons. Eat your way through the brief weeks of summer, and you’ll realize fall comes all too soon. Farmers markets are a good excuse to get up early too, and get out before the heat smothers you. Then take your goodies home and eat up all that sunshine in the cool comfort of home.
6. Take advantage of outdoor arts. Many cities offer outdoor summer concerts and plays, often free to the public. Venture out in the evenings and find some culture and camaraderie. And walk or use public transit if you have it: don’t add to the swelter by revving up one more car. I can’t wait for Screen on the Green - the weekly movie shown on the National Mall – to start up this year.
7. Make use of that gym membership. If it’s too hot to enjoy the out of doors, make use of the air-conditioned gym and work out. A swim, whether indoors or out, is remarkably refreshing when it’s hot outside. Exercise is always good for your mental health – plus your summer wear looks better on your bod. With our honeymoon trip to California right around the corner, you can bet I’m working out!
These are my personal remedies for the hot hazy days ahead. Share yours!