Hope your Independence Day weekend was fun, relaxing and not-too-hot. A major heat spell has hit our neck of the woods, to the point that it is almost too hot to play outside. Our family went to the local swimming pool on Sunday and the water, while still refreshing, was not the usual crisp “you’ll-get-used-to-it” cool.
It surprised me when our family went to a local store to look for a patio table and chairs this weekend that the outdoor inventory was decidedly low and everything was marked “end of season clearance!” It never ceases to amaze me that once the 4th of July passes, summer merchandise is cleared out and within mere days, back-to-school supplies begin hitting the shelves. Why is it that July 4th, which by my count is just shy of two weeks into the summer season, is the de facto mid/late summer holiday, after which begins a seemingly quick countdown to school beginning again?
Regardless of whether you feel summer has just begun or is begin to wane, it is hot, hot, hot and at least for this family cook, the heat often zaps the desire to cook right out of me.
Here are three Tuesday’s Tips to help keep your cool in the kitchen when the mercury is hot:
• Think cold. Salads, sandwiches, and dips, such as hummus and bean dip can serve as a great meal without having to heat things up. Get creative—do some veggies and dip with some cut up cheese and bread, along with some salsa and chips…voila dinner is served!
• If you do have to cook, make it fast and try and avoid the oven. Ovens can really heat up a kitchen, a wonderful thing on a cool, crisp autumn day or in the middle of winter, but when it’s already scorching, avoid turning on the oven. Instead, opt for dishes that can be quickly prepare on the stovetop or even with a toaster oven.
• Even better, do your cooking outside! Grilling is great in the summer and keeps the heat outdoors. Be sure to think outside the grill and grill up your sides and even desserts along with your main dish.
With these three simple tips, your kitchen (and the rest of your home) will stay slightly less cooler during these dog days of summer.