Hello everyone and HAPPY CANADA DAY! I am so excited that it has finally arrived…SUMMER!!! The long days, the warm evenings, wearing flipflops, days at the beach and wearing bathing suits…well, maybe I’m not as excited about the bathing suits, but everything else is something that we long for since, well, last summer!!! And so I thought about what to write that related to both kitchens and summer and the list got rather short. I don’t want to spend time in my kitchen cooking and using the oven on a hot day and I bet neither do you! And so I have compiled a list of things to do to keep cool in the kitchen even on the hot summer days. I hope you enjoy this and the recipes I am sharing-they are tried and our family favourites.
When researching how to keep cool in the kitchen, lots of things pop up, but for those of us who don’t have central air conditioning, it can be a real challenge. For starters, the biggest suggestion was:
- Don’t turn on your oven! Yup. That’s a big one. Instead of using your oven, which heats your entire kitchen and home, try using alternative appliances to cook your meals. Remember the slow cooker? It’s a great way to avoid using your oven and keep things cool in the kitchen. If you have an instant pot-lifesaver this time of year! But don’t discount the toaster oven, electric grill and rice cooker. Obviously, there are times you will need to turn on your stove, but to keep the heat and steam at bay, use your exhaust fan. From what I have read, at least some of the heat is removed and it is still not as hot as using your oven! Another great idea for summer cooking is to use an induction stove. They use less heat and, if you want to be truly creative, you can plug it in outside and not cook inside at all!
- Cook outdoors. See above regarding induction stove and a long extension cord! Also, the grill! What is more Canadian that a barbeque for Canada Day festivities? That is why I have included my knock off “In N Out Burger” recipe! I usually use a grilling mat because the patties are very thin-the style of In N Out Burgers and, using the mat, has the added bonus of keeping the grill clean! The worst part about using a BBQ is the clean up and now you don’t have to! Of course, here at Elite Kitchens we can give you a hand if you are wanting to go further than a BBQ on the back deck and incorporate an outdoor kitchen-truly the thing dreams are made of! We have been a part of helping our customers design and create their perfect outdoor entertaining space and this is the time of year to enjoy it!
- Plan your meals and cook in bulk. If you need to use your oven, consider cooking in the early to mid morning when it is coolest and then reheat your dish at mealtime. Also, if you are going to be cooking in your oven, try to plan cooking numerous items that can be made into a number of meals during the week. I gotta admit-this is not my strong suit. I am a “cook what I feel like eating today” kind of gal and I just don’t meal plan far in advance, but to those of you who do-a great way to reduce the use of your oven!
- Turn off your lights. Yup-that’s what is suggested. I guess it makes sense since we have so much daylight this time of year anyway, but the suggestion is that it reduces heat as well. So, there you have it. Keep the lights off to keep cool.
- Keep the sunlight out by drawing blinds/shades. This seems to be contradictory to what I just wrote, but I think the idea is that this applies to the windows where the sun is streaming in, not all the windows in your home. That way you still have sunlight, but you are keeping the heat out. Apparently it’s the way things are done in restaurants, according to my research.
- If you don’t have air conditioning, using a countertop fan or a ceiling fan can provide relief from the heat. It doesn’t actually cool a room, but it moves the air and makes it more comfortable than still air. I read this trick-haven’t tried it myself but if you do and find it works, please let me know: Put a damp towel on the front of the fan to blow cool air…sounds logical, right? Also, another article I read suggested attaching a frozen bottle of water to the back of the fan. It sounds like it would work-let me know if you try it and it does work. That would be a great and cheap alternative to air conditioning!
Ok-so we have some great ideas to help you keep cool in the kitchen this summer, but I just wanted to leave things on a positive note…what are the benefits of heat in the kitchen? For instance, yeast dough will rise without being put in the oven on “bread proofing” cycle! That’s a plus…except then you will need to use your oven to bake the bread. Hmmm, well, at least we now know that any baking should be done early in the day to take advantage of the morning temperatures.
Another plus is that if you are pickling, whether it is sauerkraut or pickles, the heat will speed up the fermentation process! Quicker pickles in the summer! Bonus!
My favourite bonus is that your coconut oil will remain liquid! Yes! Now you won’t have to melt it before you bake with it…oops, just remembered that baking would require the oven again. Oh well, the summer heat has many other benefits such as spending time with friends and family on warm summer evenings and getting outside to play a game of Yardzee and sitting by the campfire roasting smores…may you make lots of wonderful summer memories that will keep you warm in the winter and may you enjoy these tips to keep you cool in the summer! Happy Canada Day everyone from all of us here at Elite Kitchens & Bathrooms!
Check out our new Canada Day recipes for 2019: