There are two things I've tried recently to help keep the heat out of the kitchen:
(1) Bake using the toaster oven!
I recently made Berry Baked Oatmeal in the toaster oven -- it was so nice to have a warm breakfast but not heat up our little apartment!
I watched it carefully, cooked the breakfast on the bottom rack and adjusted the temperature and cooking time a bit, but I did it with success! And, will certainly be trying it again since my little 9x9 pan fits perfectly in the toaster oven.
I'm interested in trying out more things in my toaster oven this summer:
- roasting veggies/potatoes
- making oven fries (a summer "staple" when we grill)
- quick breads
- pasta bakes
- bread sticks
- pot pies
- and cookies!
(2) Only boil foods for a few minutes.
I've tried making pasta with only 3 minutes of "heat" time. Dump your pasta in the water right away and cover the pan. Then, turn on the burner long enough to heat the water to a slow boil (with my gas stove, that takes about 2 minutes). Allow the pasta to slow boil for about another minute. Next, turn off the burner.
Your pasta will keep cooking in the warm water.
Cooking this way does take more time, but it really cuts down on the heat/steam in the kitchen.
I've also tried this with potatoes, boiling them just a little longer (~8 minutes) and allowing them to sit for 30-40 minutes.
Saving Energy in Addition to Heat --
Not only does it keep the heat out -- but, it cuts down on your energy use too!
- You know your oven is the "hummer" of the kitchen, right?!
It's the most fuel inefficient portion of our kitchen, and the stove top isn't much better.
If you do need to use the oven, consider trying a similar approach -- place the food in the oven without preheating it. Then, bake (especially a pasta dish of sorts) for half or 3/4 of the cooking time. Turn off the oven and do not open the door. Allow the dish to continue cooking in the warm oven as it cools. This works wonderfully for most things, except breads/baked goods.
- And, you know that water boils at 212 degrees, right?
So... heat it to a slow boil and turn the gas/electric burner off. You'll save tons of energy in the process, and keep your kitchen cooler!
That's my kitchen-tip for today... for more, visit Tammy's Kitchen Tip Tuesday.