07/16/2012 02:55 EDT | Updated 09/15/2012 05:12 EDT

Use barbecue's side burner to keep kitchen cool during summer heat

Christine Cushing, television host and author of the cookbooks "Pure Food," "Fearless in the Kitchen" and "Dish it Out," says a barbecue with a side burner means that an entire meal can be prepared outdoors, helping to keep the cook and the kitchen cool.

Use your fridge to keep a refreshing no-cook dessert on ice till you're ready to serve it.

Here are two recipes from Cushing to make summertime living easy.

Corn and Pepper Succotash

Succotash is a southern combination of corn and lima beans but has many variations. This is a quick fresh version that shows off the summer's harvest. To beat the summer heat, Cushing uses her barbecue's side burner to sauté all the vegetables. For extra flavour, grill the corn, husked and on the cob, for a few minutes, then remove kernels and add to sauté pan.

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cooking time : 15 minutes

30 ml (2 tbsp) butter

1 onion, chopped

1 red pepper, diced

1/2 jalapeno, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

2 cobs corn, kernels only

250 ml (1 cup) baby lima beans (fresh or frozen)

Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

1 small plum tomato, chopped

30 ml (2 tbsp) chopped fresh cilantro

In a large skillet with over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add onion, red pepper and jalapeno and sauté for 4 minutes, just to soften. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute , just until golden.

Add corn kernels, lima beans and tomato and reduce to medium heat, season and cover. Cook until tender, 7 to 10 minutes, until corn and lima beans are softened. If pan is dry before beans and corn are tender, add a couple of tablespoons of water.

Season with salt and pepper and add chopped cilantro.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Source: "Pure Food: How To Shop, Cook And Have Fun In Your Kitchen Every Day" by Christine Cushing (Whitecap Books, 2010).


Strawberry Mango Mojito Salad

This refreshing no-cook summer dessert combines the delicious lime-and-rum combination of the classic Cuban drink known as the mojito with sweet mangoes and ripe strawberries. Serve it over yogurt, ice cream or on its own. You won't know whether to serve this colourful dessert in a bowl or a drink glass. You can also go virgin by eliminating the rum.

Prep time : 15 minutes

Chilling time: 30 minutes

500 ml (2 cups/1 pint) fresh ripe strawberries, hulled and cut in half

1 medium Ataulfo mango (less stringy than other varieties), peeled and diced

50 ml (1/4 cup) white sugar

1/2 bunch fresh mint leaves, washed and chopped finely

Grated zest and juice of 1 lime

60 ml (2 oz) white rum, or to taste (optional)

Lime slices and mint sprigs, for garnish

In a medium bowl, combine strawberries and mango. Sprinkle with sugar, mint leaves, lime juice , zest and rum, if using.

Let stand for about 30 minutes before serving to allow flavours to develop.

Serve in a martini or rock glass for maximum impact, with lime slice on edge of glass and mint sprigs.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: "Pure Food: How To Shop, Cook And Have Fun In Your Kitchen Every Day" by Christine Cushing (Whitecap Books, 2010).