Baby, It’s HOT Outside!

22 Jul

I was going to share a super-fast veggie recipe with you today for Super Fast Friday, but I’ve heard from a bunch of you this week, wondering if I have any strategies for cooking in the heat. And it’s no wonder–walking outside my house yesterday made my sunglasses immediately fog up, and my poor air conditioning unit is barely keeping the house comfortable. Today’s supposed to be even hotter.

There are several ways I keep food coming to the table when the weather outside is frightful in a Dante’s Inferno kind of way. And the first? I don’t cook. Doesn’t mean we don’t eat, but we rely on things like tuna on crusty bread, salads made with lots of summer-fresh veggies and some rotisserie chicken or pre-cooked fish, and, to be totally honest, cereal some nights. Good enough for breakfast; good enough for dinner, I say. Take-out is another totally fine option too. Give yourself a break, y’all. There is nothing wrong with food out of cartons from time to time.

I posted something about a roasted chicken on Twitter the other day, and somebody asked me if I was really cooking in the heat. Yeah, I was. But I tossed the bird into the oven at something like 9 a.m., so he was all ready to go by 10:30. He went into the fridge, the oven was turned off well before temps got unbearable, and by lunchtime, the kitchen felt like the rest of the house. Dinnertime meant popping his parts into the microwave, which doesn’t heat things up at all (he was also delicious cold, by the way).

Meals that don’t need much stove time are also fantastic in this weather. Think scrambled eggs, quesadillas, grilled cheese, stir-fry. Yes, you have to turn the stove on, but for like 10 minutes. Wham, bam, thank you dinner.

You know those small cooking appliances hiding underneath your countertops? Your Crock Pot? Your Foreman Grill or panini press? Those are your friends this time of year. The slow cooker makes delicious light meals without heating up the house, and the indoor grills/presses don’t generate enough heat to make a difference in the kitchen.

Want to hear a secret? C’mere. Ready?

I have been known to plug in my slow cooker and my Foreman out on the back deck when there is no threat of rain. Seriously. They work just as well, and there’s no heat in the house (it also keeps food smells out, which is great if you’re expecting company the next morning or your house is on the market or something like that). Just take care to set them on a level, non-flammable surface, and keep your eyes to the skies so you don’t fry the poor things.

Those are just a few hot summer day strategies. I’d love to hear yours!

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One Response to “Baby, It’s HOT Outside!”

  1. Laura Beutler August 2, 2011 at 6:01 pm #

    Slow cooker outside? Huh. And I’ve got a covered porch. Pure genius, Kim! I’ve been using it (indoors), or pan-frying stuff (fast stuff), but even that is brutal when it’s 105 degrees outside. I’m soooooooo ready for fall!

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