TL;DR – This is now our 8th inspiration series where we start with what to eat based on the weather outside.

Recipe: Our final result was a refreshing Bruschetta served over pasta, perfect for a hot summer day.

Inspiration

It is easy to underestimate the effect of weather on one’s mood. I mean, it’s not like we get much interaction with the weather anyway. Instead of sticking our arms outside the window to check the weather, we roll over in bed an check our phones. Instead of walking, we Uber from the apartment to the office, where we spend the next 8-12 hours being inside, weather-less, shrouded in too much artificially-cooled air.

Yet, the weather does have an impact on my mood. A large at that. When it is sunny, I wake up ready to take on the world. When it is rainy, I grumble about my soggy commute, yet look forward to the after-rain smell of the city on my way home – a little dusty, damp, all wet stones and pebbles. Warm weather makes me antsy to play, too hot and I will sit on the couch all day, jonesing for a cool drink.

The weather also greatly impacts the way we eat. After being outside on a chilly Autumn day, I can’t wait to get my hands around a warm bowl of tomato soup. When it is below zero, there is nothing better than to gather a group of friends for hot-pot. When it is hot out, all I want are fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, right off the vine. That, and popsicles.

Being able to match food to weather creates a holistic experience in which you are in tune with nature, and in tune with what your body needs. Today, I create a recipe based on the weather outside.

Research

1. Check out the weather.

Makes sense to do that first, right? Today in New York – A high of 85° and a low of 70°, currently wavering around 82°. But I don’t mean just glancing at the weather app on your phone. Go outside, take a short walk. How does the heat make you feel? Energetic? Lethargic? What are you craving to eat?

You might only vague have an idea of what you want to eat, maybe start with just a flavor: sour? Sour is a popular choice for the summer heat. Spicy? Maybe just a pinch. Nothing super rich or buttery.

2. Another approach traces to the concept of TCM, which outlines “warming” and “cooling” foods based on the effect foods have on the body. In the summer, the body tends to accumulate heat which lead to dry mouth, break-outs, and a generally heightened sense of anxiety and stress. In these instances, my grandma always served “cooling” foods such as cucumber and watermelon. You’ll notice that these foods tend to be what your body craves as well. It’s rare that I get a hankering for fettucine alfredo when it’s 90° out.

Development

As I walked to the grocery store, a few ingredients popped in my mind: ripe, juicy tomatoes, crunchy onion. I also wanted to eat something cold.

Bruschetta would be the perfect food to put my cravings together.

But 2 caveats: 1) It is really hot and my apartment is tiny so I will not be using my oven to toast bread. and 2) I always disliked the hard bread part of bruschetta – it hurts to eat sometimes.

Therefore, I decided to do a “Bruschetta in a Bowl,” with Fusilli as the carb base instead of bread.

Concept Draft

“Bruschetta in a Bowl” will essentially be a form of pasta salad, but with only bruschetta ingredients. It will taste like a bruschetta.

As I browsed the supermarket aisles, I noticed freshly-made Italian sausage. This would be great to serve as a side to made the meal a little more substantial. Bruschetta in a Bowl is great for a lunch, with the Italian sausage on the side, it can be served for dinner.

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Recipe (Testing/Execution)

Plating #1: “Bruschetta in a Bowl”

  • Dice 2 ripe tomatoes, 1/3 purple onion, and a handful of basil
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  • Mix with olive oil, salt, and pepper on a bowl – you want to make it salty enough to flavor plain pasta later
  • Let sit in the fridge for >30m for flavors to mingle
  • Boil pasta – Fusilli or any other short twisty shape is best – for more pasta shapes, read this
  • Rinse the pasta in cold water, mix with the bruschetta, drizzle with olive oil
  • Serve cold

 

Plating #2:

 

  • This plating accommodates the addition of the sausage, sadly, it is no longer in a bowl
  • As the bruschetta mixture sits and mingles in the fridge, start cooking the Italian sausage
    • Add chopped garlic to hot canola oil in a pan (optional)
    • Take out the garlic, and fry sausages in the garlicky-oil

 

Post Game Analysis

East Coast

  • Hot weather food is all about simplicity – There are less than 5 ingredients to the dish and prep time <25m
  • This was tasty, fresh, and enough carbs to give you energy without weighing you down
  • Some freshly cracked pepper on this would be amazing, but sadly I ran out
  • Skip the pasta and double the bruschetta for an ultra-low carb meal