August 2012 Monthly Highlights

Turn off the oven; it's better than air-conditioning

August brings on a languid laziness that's characteristic of high temperatures.

That torpidness applies even in areas of the country that rarely see the thermometer rise above 80 degrees.

Daylight lasts longer, offices empty out more quickly and our ovens go untouched while we move toward the tools in our kitchen that inspire our most refreshing meals.

For our August Monthly Edition, we're spotlighting a month of appropriately care-free cuisine, one that embraces room-temperature food and make-ahead staples. From simple, flavor-packed salads to a cake that requires no baking, this month's recipes will blow the heat right out of your kitchen.

To start, we're taking cues from a new crop of prepared-food stores that blend the convenience of a grocery store with the inspired flavors of a restaurant. We gathered recipes for a spunky Moroccan carrot salad, classic Southern pickled shrimp and healthful, refreshing summer rolls to make a delightful picnic suitable for a road trip or a day in the park.

We promise your oven won't take it personally.