It seems the older I get, the less tolerant I am of the south Louisiana heat and humidity.

That’s why I set out to cook this weekend without turning on the oven. And, if I couldn't cook in an air-conditioned house, I figured I really couldn’t ask my poor husband to sweat over the grill in the scorching heat.

So, I plugged in the slow cooker and tossed in some fresh country-style cut pork ribs from my local butcher. While the ribs cooked, I sat under the fan and thumbed through my recipes for side dishes that required minimal stovetop time.

I Eat La.: Recipes for Bloody Mary Braised Pork Ribs, No Mayo Potato Salad, Quick Pickled Fresh Okra

The ribs cooked on low heat for several hours until they reached tender perfection in a tangy bath of bloody mary mix, onions and spices.

Meanwhile, I pickled some crunchy okra I bought at the farmers market and stored those in the refrigerator. To round out our meal, I made a light potato salad that doesn’t require mayonnaise and chilled that, as well. If you've got the stamina to go picnicking in this weather, this potato salad will stand up to the summer heat.

We still have nearly two more months of summer, sigh. So if you can't beat the heat, get out the slow cooker.

Teresa B. Day is a local food writer and author of the "I Eat BR" blog. You can reach her at