Late July and August are some of the hottest weeks of the year and, not unexpectedly, we’re in the midst of a heatwave here at Shiloh Farms. It’s left us wilted, weary, and dreading the thought of entering a kitchen to cook. But never fear. We’ve come up with some solutions to deal with the heat and are sharing them with you! So here they are – our top summertime tips for keeping cool in your kitchen:
1. Make Ahead: Sacrifice one day to the kitchen and make meals ahead to freeze. Alternately, prepare components that require cooking ahead of time (like grains and beans) and store in the fridge. Then, all you have to do is assemble and reheat.
2. Be Strategic: Plan to cook in the early morning or late evening, during the coolest times of day. And be sure to get all of your chopping and prep done before you even turn on the stove or oven. That will minimize the time you must spend in the kitchen while it is being heated.
3. Think Small: If you must cook, consider opting for smaller-sized vessels. Bake your meatloaf in muffin tins (bonus: individual serving sizes!) and don’t use a pot any larger than necessary. Also, try to cut veggies & proteins into smaller pieces that will cook more quickly.
4. Use Economy: When cooking grains, pastas, veggies, or beans on the stovetop, use the least amount of liquid possible. This will minimize the amount of time it takes for your pot to heat. (And just a friendly reminder that is always a good idea to pre-soak beans, as this will reduce cooking time!)
5. Don’t Peek: Remember that every time you lift that lid or open the oven door, you are adding to the cooking time. You may be tempted, but keep those checks to a minimum.
6. Embrace Breakfast: Protein-rich, highly customizable, and ready in minutes, omelets and scrambles are just as welcome at lunch or dinner as breakfast! Also consider experimenting with savory variations on oatmeal and yogurt.
7. Go Raw: Salads are an obvious summer choice, but there are so many other delicious options that require no cooking at all. Consider doing a simple spread of fruits, nuts, and cheeses. Or, make a quick gazpacho by blending fresh seasonal veggies and herbs with premade broth.
8. Slow Down: Slow cookers aren’t just for hearty winter stews. Prep in the morning, then let it cook away while you are at work, out running errands, or relaxing by the pool!
9. Get Out: Summer is the perfect time to put your outdoor grill to good use – and it can do so much more than just burgers! Try kebabs, empanadas, flatbread pizzas…
10. Accept It: Some days are just going to be too hot to bother with the kitchen, period. Realize that it’s occasionally okay to just curl up on the couch with a bowl of cereal and call it a day!
And one bonus that has nothing to do with cooking:
11. Look Around: Your stove isn’t the only culprit – other appliances give off their fair share of heat, too. Consider turning off the heated dry cycle on your dishwasher and letting your dishes air dry instead. Or, set the dishwasher to run overnight while you’re in bed.