Sultry days do not inspire me to cozy up to a hot stove. Some folks make a run for fast food joints. Not me. Much too wary of weather-encouraged bacteria growth. I want something from my own nicely sanitized kitchen, although I admit that some days I’m tempted to just sit in the air-conditioning and pop a jar of lupini beans.

Sultry days do not inspire me to cozy up to a hot stove. Some folks make a run for fast food joints. Not me. Much too wary of weather-encouraged bacteria growth. I want something from my own nicely sanitized kitchen, although I admit that some days I’m tempted to just sit in the air-conditioning and pop a jar of lupini beans.

Lupini are my rediscovered treat. As addictive as potato chips, but healthier. A 4-ounce serving is fat-, cholesterol-, and sugar-free, and contains 3 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber. But as no good snack goes unpunished, there’s also 195 milligrams of sodium.

An Italian specialty food, brined lupini are packed in jars. The cream-colored round beans, about the size of a nickel, have a slight opening on one end. It takes slight but precisely placed pressure with the thumb and forefinger to pop them from the skins. At first the beans go flying across the room, but after a few practice shots, you get the hang of it. (Seek out someone who appreciates this “delicacy” for a demo.)

Somewhere in the world, a cook might be shelling lupini for a salad, but I’ve never heard of it: likely she’d eat them all as a reward for the work of shelling them.

Oppressive heat does inspire me to:

- Re-read silly food clippings like this excerpt from The Peppery Sayings of an Old Salt from 1869:

“Here, Miss,” I says, “what d’ye call this?” “Soup, Sir,” she says. “Soup?” Soup? Well, blast me then!” I says, polite-like. “Is that what I’ve been sailin’ on for the past fifty years?”

- Ripen hard peaches by placing them in a paper bag with an apple overnight. Nice and sweet for breakfast.

- Explore an (air-conditioned) market that serves new Americans, wandering through aisles of perfectly ripe mangoes and avocadoes or prettily speckled quail eggs that will sit in my refrigerator a day or two until I decide how to cook them.

- Browse shelves at a local bookstore for something food-related. I consider re-reading the Spenser series. Parker’s passing this year left a hole, although the cooking instructions had long been replaced with descriptions of restaurants in his mysteries.

- Talk with other foodies about the fools parted from their $145 million when they invested in “Candwich” — sandwiches in a can. Dreaming of cashing in on time-strapped parents with PB&J sandwiches in pop lid cans, they anticipated huge returns. And were promised more with canned French toast and pepperoni pizza. (How about feeding your kids a can of chemicals?) The scheme fizzled and they lost it all.

But check out the frozen food aisle, rife with frozen sandwiches and plenty of other foods you could prepare at home for a lot less cash in minutes! Could canned versions with a longer shelf life be far behind? Can’t you see consumers snapping them up by the case in the big box stores? Maybe they were onto something …

- Watch the film “Food Inc.” and one poignant scene haunts me: A family shops for groceries. The littlest girl’s eyes light up as her older sister chooses and weighs some fruit, then counts up the pieces and notes that they can not afford a piece for each family member. Slowly, they return the fruit to the bin, pile into a car, and pull up to the more affordable fast food drive-up window. Yeah, maybe those investors are onto something, but at what price?

TAKE OUT-STYLE GREEK SALAD
Makes 6 servings, easily doubled

1 head romaine lettuce, washed and dried
2 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and diced
12 large cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 very small red onion, sliced very thinly in rounds
1 carrot, cut into thin strips with a vegetable peeler
1 small green bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
1/2 pound feta cheese, crumbled or diced
1/2 cup pitted black (kalamata) olives
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, minced
1/2 cup olive oil
salt, pepper, to taste

1. Trim, wash, and dry the romaine. Tear into bite-size pieces. Transfer to a large salad bowl. Add cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, carrot and pepper strips.

2. Whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, oregano, and olive oil. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Toss half with the lettuce mixture.

3. Add the cheese and olives. Toss again. Add remaining dressing individually to taste.

ASIAN-STYLE MELON SALAD
Makes 4 servings, easily doubled

4 cups mixed melon – watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew – cut in 1-inch cubes
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
Pinch cayenne
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts (unsalted)

1. Toss together the melons, lime juice, vinegar, and pinch cayenne in a large bowl.

2. Just before serving, add cilantro and peanuts and toss again.

GRILLED PEACH, ARUGULA, AND GOAT CHEESE SALAD
Makes 4 servings, easily doubled

If you happen to be grilling hot dogs or burgers, throw some peaches on the grill as well for this salad.

4 peaches, pitted and cut in half
Olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
5 tablespoons olive oil
10 cups baby arugula, washed and dried
6 to 8-ounce log favorite goat cheese, crumbled

1. Brush peaches with olive oil. Place them skin-side up on the grill for about 7 minutes, enough to sear grill marks into them and give them a slightly smoky flavor. Set aside to cool.

2. Whisk together the lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil for the dressing. Taste and add salt and pepper. Whisk again.

3. Slice the peaches into thick slices. Transfer to bottom of salad bowl. Add arugula. Drizzle in half the dressing and toss gently so that the peaches do not break. Sprinkle in the goat cheese. Toss gently once more before serving. Add remaining dressing individually to taste.

Linda Bassett is the author of “From Apple Pie to Pad Thai: Neighborhood Cooking North of Boston.” Reach her by e-mail at KitchenCall@aol.com.