Here in the Pacific Northwest we had a long, cold, wet spring that just ended a couple days ago, but now we’re joining many of you in the summer heat wave. I don’t know about you, but on days like today, I just don’t want to turn on the stove, let alone the oven! We’ve got a few options, though.
1. Salads and uncooked meals seem refreshing on hot days. This Food Network site has quite a few no-cook summer recipes, including salads, sandwiches, and chilled soups. Or, with minimal cooking, you can make pasta or potato salads. I’m not sure about you, but while these are very welcome recipes, if the heat wave lasts long, eventually you crave more solid food, at least part of the time.
2. Barbecues were made for weeks like this! Sausages, steaks, pork chops, chicken, burgers, asparagus, zucchini slices, and veggie packets work well on the grill. You can also bake pizzas, roasts, and whole chickens or even turkeys this way. If your grill has a side burner, so much the better. (Ours isn’t very adjustable, sadly.)
3. Toaster ovens are usually very portable. I plug mine in outside on the deck if I want to bake something small, like sweet biscuits for strawberry shortcake.
4. Slow Cooker. There’s no rule that slow cookers have to be operated indoors either. Feel free to load up your favorite meal and plug it in outside. Of course you need to be careful with where you do this (or the toaster oven), but most of us have outdoor plugs that are in safe places. This is a terrific option when you’re going to be gone all day but need a real meal quickly when you get home.
5. Solar Cooker. If you’ve got full sun and are home to pay occasional attention to it, you can cook any slow cooker type meal in a solar cooker. All you need are a few inexpensive supplies, notably an accordion-style foil windshield reflector and some velcro. Here’s a post describing mine, including two meals I’ve done in it. On our agenda is building an actual solar oven so we can control the heat better for baked goods.
6. An outdoor brick oven is also on my wish list! Just think of the pizzas and breads. Someday. . .
There you have it! A few ways to enjoy real food during a heat wave without adding to the indoor temperature.
What are your favorite methods? Any tips to share?