Somerville Local First

Eating Local Like It’s Hot, When It’s Hot

Jul 28 10:19 am

by Abbe Cohen Dvornik

For much of July, Somerville’s been hotter than usual. Despite the heat, I still like to keep my eating “local” (even local to our fridge and our kitchen, when I can)! Here are a few suggestions for Somerville summer meals to keep cool with when it’s too hot to cook - from the farmers’ markets and your neighborhood independent grocers, to the restaurants around Somerville.

Asian Spring Rolls

Pop into Reliable Market in Union Square for some round rice paper wrappers, a sweet chili or peanut dipping sauce, and some basil. Then, chop up crunchy vegetables into thin strips - cucumber, cabbage, carrots, and lettuce are all good options that you’ll find in season at the farmers’ market. You can also slice up some leftover meat - even plain sliced turkey from the deli counter at McKinnon’s, if you haven’t got leftovers and don’t want to cook!  Tofu cut into little strips works well too, and you can buy locally-made tofu at The Dairy Bar in Davis Square, as well as at Reliable Market.  The only “cooking” to do is the rice paper wrappers, which soak one at a time in a flat pan of hot water for about a minute until they’re soft and translucent.  Our family loves to eat this as a make-your-own dinner; each person can choose what to put in his or her own rolls.

ingredients for asian spring rolls from Reliable Market

Cool Market Suppers

Pick up a loaf of crusty bread and combine it with any of these cool or room temperature options for a simple market supper!  I love to eat caprese salad with farmers’ market tomatoes and basil, and a ball of Somerville-made fresh mozzarella cheese from Fiore di Nonno (also available at the farmers’ market). Stack slices of tomato and fresh mozzarella, add leaves of basil on top, and then drizzle with olive oil and salt - that’s it!

caprese salad made with fresh mozzarella from Fiore di Nonno

Or pick up some prepared foods. At the farmers market in Davis Square, Seta’s Mediterranean Foods (based in Jamaica Plain) has some nice prepared options: hummus, lentil salad, and a lemony potato salad among them. We’re also in love with Naragansett Creamery’s Olive Treasure, a salty olive-flavored feta cheese spread. Or, at Dave’s Fresh Pasta, you should try a container of artichoke and lemon pesto, another great spread on bread. And if you fancy doing a little more of your own cooking, there are lots of simple vegetable and grain dishes that taste delicious served cold. Make them when it’s cool in the morning or late evening, and stick in the fridge for dinner another day.


And of course, when the hot weather is making you more sluggish than that, there’s always takeout, or a trip to a local restaurant’s air conditioned dining room.  In the summertime, I love Indian buffets such as India Palace in Union Square, Yak and Yeti in Ball Square, or Namaskar and Diva in Davis Square.  I make sure to pile my plate high with foods that are eaten cool rather than steaming hot -  fresh vegetables and raita (a refreshing yogurt sauce), pakora (fried vegetable fritters), and tandoori chicken.

And to get dinner to my hot dining room table, I might call up Redbones (bike delivery!), or order chicken fingers and sides from Eat at Jumbo’s, which I can easily let cool a bit and then eat with something green from my fridge.  Or for a fully cold meal, I might choose some sushi rolls from Yoshi’s.

Take your pick, and stay cool!

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