No cook summer recipes from Tacoma food experts

By Kim Thompson on May 29, 2014

What is the one thing that virtually no one wants to do when the South Puget Sound temperatures push into the upper 80s and beyond?

If you guessed slave over a hot stove to cook dinner, you would be absolutely correct.

Who wants to cook when the temperatures are sweltering? Getting hot and sweaty over a stove burner or by the oven is just no fun whatsoever. Even the barbeque grill on some days can be oppressive.

And who necessarily wants piping-hot food anyway when you're absolutely wilting from the heat?

The easy way out is to prepare a simple green salad, a cheese and fruit plate or maybe cold sandwiches, right?

Yet, do those ideas seem a little, well "yawn-worthy?"

Well, it doesn't have to be that way. There really are some terrific, easy and interesting no-cook dinner ideas out there for those warm days (or really any summer day). Many of them take great advantage of the bounty of fresh and seasonal produce available locally this time of year.

We asked local food experts for their takes on easy and delicious recipes that require no cooking at all.

So sit back, chill out and prepare to be inspired.

Hearty Guacamole Salad

Recipe: Your Kitchen Beautician, Aura Mae

When she's not busy "making over" recipes, local food pundit and personality The Kitchen Beautician (a.k.a. Aura Mae) shares her no-fail and delicious recipes for summer. This hearty guacamole salad, for example, can be served on its own, or if you are feeling ambitious, serve it with salmon. "It's so fantastically good this way." Mae said. "Also, serve this salad with chips or bell pepper wedges."

Stir vigorously, smashing some of the avocado, but not all. Garnish with queso fresco and crisp bacon.

Want more Aura Mae? Click here.

Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad

Recipe: Terra Organics

Terra Organics, an innovative produce delivery company that provides fresh, local, seasonal and organic produce goodness throughout the South Sound, has a simple recipe that takes advantage of our delicious local fresh strawberries. "This simple salad is bursting with the best flavors of summer: ripe, juicy berries and bright, sunny basil," said Julianne Bell of Terra Organics.  "Goat cheese adds a lovely savory dimension."

Mix the dressing in a small bowl, add the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and whisk thoroughly to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.

In a large bowl, toss the sliced strawberries with the dressing.

Stack the basil leaves and roll them tightly. With a sharp knife, slice them crosswise into thin ribbons.

Sprinkle with goat or feta cheese, almonds (if using) and basil over the strawberries and toss gently. Serve immediately.

Want more Terra Organics? Click here.

Copper River Cerviche

Recipe: Hotel Murano's Executive Chef Matt Stickle

Coveted Copper River salmon is a tasty treat from the sea during the summer season. Hotel Murano is considered one of the crown jewels of downtown Tacoma for its culinary fare, and Executive Chef Matt Stickle gives his simple yet elegant spin on this tasty seafood. "Be sure to dish this into fun martini glasses and serve with popcorn or plantain chips," he said.

Use the skinless Copper River salmon and dice into 1-inch cubes. Wash and cut tomatoes in half. In a mixing bowl, add salmon, lime, shallot, cilantro, jicama, jalapeno and tomatoes and toss. Cover and let sit for one to two hours to let lime juice "cook" the salmon and blend the flavors.

Want more Hotel Murano? Click here.

Strawberry and Fresh Stretched Mozzarella Salad

Recipe: Metropolitan Market

Metropolitan Market is well known throughout the Puget Sound for its culinary creations, advice and terrific, fresh and delicious products. This popular and inventive no-cook recipe takes the concept to a very sweet new level. And believe it or not, it can be served beautifully with grilled fish or chicken. Note: this recipe serves two people.

Combine strawberries, fresh stretched mozzarella, mint, balsamic and pistachios in a medium-sized bowl.

Drizzle with olive oil and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Lightly toss. Serve on a piece of vanilla pound cake.

Want more Met Market? Click here.