Beat the Heat: Dinner ideas that keep the kitchen cool

With temperatures projected to climb toward triple digits this afternoon, turning on an oven or stove-top at dinnertime sounds less than appetizing. The Town Crier's local food columnists have provided inspiration from our archive for alternate dinner options this week, either uncooked or thrown on the grill:

Wheat beers offer surprising diversity of seasonal flavors

Courtesy of Derek Wolfgram
Modern Times Fortunate Islands is a hoppy, tropical wheat beer made in San Diego.

Because beers made with wheat are lighter in color and more delicate in flavor, they are sometimes thought of as less interesting.

In the early days of American craft brewing, many brewpubs offered a simple, often boring American wheat beer on tap. However, today’s brewers use wheat as the basis for interesting sour beers (Berliner Weisse or Belgian lambics), lighter ales featuring spicy or fruity notes (Witbier or Hefeweizen) or brews that showcase fruit or hops.

Try wines from lesser-known U.S. regions this summer

Christine Moore/Special to the Town Crier
Matching wines to different wine regions across the United States can open the palate to new flavors and create a fun way to “travel” while imbibing this summer.

Pack your shopping bags and set off for the grocery store – that’s all you need to take a wine region road trip across the United States this summer.

In season this week: Squash blossoms bring a burst of color to the plate

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Female squash blossoms often have baby gourds attached to their ends. Squash blossoms can be fried, stuffed with a ricotta-like cheese, or both.

Squash blossoms are a “get it while you can” June treat at local farmers’ markets.

The highly perishable flowers are nearly impossible to find in supermarkets, as they last for hours – if you’re lucky, a day or two – after being picked. If you’ve never eaten one before, don’t hold back. The simplest preparations require nothing more than tearing a few flowers to shreds and dropping them, raw, over a salad or soup.

'Unofficial' moms in our lives deserve celebration, too

Courtesy of Christine Moore
Varied blooms in a unified color easily make up multiple bouquets in honor of the “other mothers” in your family’s life this Sunday.

Some years ago, when many of my working-professional friends became moms in rapid succession, I sent Mother’s Day cards by the stack.

We were all new to the mommy gig, and I watched as ultra-confident women questioned their every decision. Should they wake the baby or let him sleep? If the pacifier calms her, is it worth risking “nipple confusion” for the peace achieved? Never before had anything been so important to us, and nothing could have prepared us for how much we wanted to get it right.

Devil's Canyon hosts kid-friendly Friday nights

Derek Wolfgram/Special to the Town Crier
Devil’s Canyon Brewing Co. opens to visitors every Friday, but the last Friday of every month includes food trucks and live music in addition to the brewery’s standard, family-friendly fare.

Although a number of Bay Area brewery tasting rooms and beer bars/restaurants allow children to visit, readers have asked about places with activities or spaces that make them especially kid-friendly. The best local example I have come across is Devil’s Canyon Brewing Co. in San Carlos.

Founded in 2001 by husband-and-wife team Chris and Kristiann Garrett, Devil’s Canyon expanded into its large San Carlos facility in 2013. With large indoor and outdoor spaces, Devil’s Canyon is a popular event space for parties, musical performances and fundraising events. It is only open to the general public on Fridays starting at 4 p.m., but the Friday gatherings are packed with families, and leashed dogs are welcome inside and outside the brewery building as well.

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