Shrimp and Avocado Tostadas
When July rolls around and the temperature climbs, I love to ditch my dining room and eat alfresco. I also love to ditch the hot stove, especially when I have company. Sure, I can cook early in the day to avoid heating up the house, but not cooking at all is even better. That's what I had in mind when I crafted these recipes.
I use precooked shrimp -- one of my favorite grocery store shortcuts -- to make some killer tostadas; add lemon-marinated cucumber and buttery avocado, and the crunchy-meets-silky texture is pretty irresistible.
Get the recipe: Shrimp and Avocado Tostadas
Galia Melon Soup
Seasonal ingredients always inspire me in the kitchen, and I'm crazy for Galia melons, which look like cantaloupes on the outside and honeydews on the inside. The bright green flesh is juicy and has the perfect bit of acidity. I blend them up for a soup that's lightly sweet and refreshing.
Get the recipe: Galia Melon Soup
My Niçoise-inspired salad skips some of the traditional time-intensive ingredients, but oil-packed tuna, capers and olives still give it plenty of South of France flavor.
Bonus: You can make these dishes almost entirely ahead of time, so you'll be cool and relaxed when your doorbell rings -- and ready to give guests a warm welcome.
Get the recipe: Romaine Salad with Tuna, Tomatoes, and Olives
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