Thursday, July 21, 2011

This Kitchen Sure is Hot!

Although I love summer and cooking, I abhor the challenge it brings when it comes to cooking meals in a hot kitchen. What would be great if I had an outside kitchen on one layer of my multi leveled patio with prep area, refrigeration, stove and sink overlooking a view of my pool with cool air circulating from the multiple ceiling fans.  Unfortunately I do not have that, central air or air conditioning in the kitchen. So the windows are up and the fan is on. My kitchen also has a door that closes itself off to the rest of the house so I can contain some of the heat.

 Here are several ideas that may help you beat the summer heat in your kitchen

Plan your meals by the week.

Knowing what you are going to eat in advance may help you save time and money. The first stop should be your pantry, then your freezer to see what you have on have. After which check the grocery circular for sale items and make a shopping list.

When planning think in turns of using a main item more than once. For example Chicken breast may be grilled with a sauce one day and made into a salad for another meal. Consider purchasing poultry, fish or meats in family pack or larger amount which can be cleaned, seasoned and divided into portions according to your family size for cooking convenience later.

 Take advantage of the eating fresh vegetables and fruits raw.

Summer is one of the best times to practice being green. Preparing meals without heat from the produce in your garden or by purchasing locally grown produce can save energy and provide nutritional value to your diet.There are problem a bounty of recipes for Salads, Cold Soups, and Wraps you may find easy to prepare and delicious.

Consider preparing two or more entrees during one cooking session.

Mis en place Have all the recipe ingredients prepped and ready before actually cooking.  Use two main burners to cook two entrees at the same time. Use quick cooking methods like Steaming vegetables, Stir Fry or Sautéing. If have a pressure cooker use it to cook grains, greens or beans.  A pressure cooker cooks fast and emits little heat. Be sure to read directions for use to ensure safety. .

Maximize your electric cooking units.

A Crockpot is good to use all year long. It will not over heat the kitchen. Just keep in mind lighter food preparation likes Asian Beef Short Ribs, Vegetable Bean Chili or Chicken Taco; verses Hearty stews. A rice cooker can be a handy tool not only for preparation of side dishes like rice or Quinoa but entrees too. Cold rice or quinoa can make a great Fried rice or grain entrée the next day with Shrimp, tofu, vegetables or whatever you fancy.

Of course we cannot forget the electric deep fryer for Fish, Chicken, or Vegetables,

Work the Grill.

A gas grill with or without burners can be used just like your stove. The good thing is that it is outside. Charcoal grills are great too but require a little more attention when come to regulating the heat for different foods.  Just about everything can be cooked on a grill. Outside of Meats, Poultry, Fish, Vegetables think Pizzas, Baked Potatoes, Kabobs, and Baked Beans.

Depending on the temperature, consider cooking early in the morning or later in the evening when temperatures are cooler.  Preparing a home cook meal in the summer may be challenging when it come to the heat. But a person that loves to cook always finds a way to beat the heat.

 Try one or both of these recipes.  Your feed back is welcome!

Pineapple Fried Quinoa with Cashews



1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth
3 eggs
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoons chili oil
1/2  cup Bean Sprouts rinsed tail and removed                            
3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 bunch green onions
3/4 cup diced fresh pineapple
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4  cup Cashews
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes


Rinse quinoa until water runs clear. Bring the quinoa and vegetable broth to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender, and the liquid has been absorbed, about 15 to 18 minutes. Let the Quinoa cool. Can be made the day before.
Beat the eggs in a bowl. Heat a skillet or wok over medium heat with a little sesame oil. Cook and stir eggs until scrambled then remove eggs from the skillet and set aside. Heat remaining sesame oil and chili oil over medium-low heat. Cook and stir garlic for 2 minutes, then stir in green onions to heat through. Stir in pineapple and cilantro, then add the chilled quinoa. Toss mixture in skillet with scrambled eggs, soy sauce, and red pepper flakes until thoroughly heated .Add bean sprouts and cashews before serving.

Slow-Cooker Asian Short Ribs

Serves 4


·         1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce

·         1/3 cup brown sugar

·         1/4 cup rice vinegar

·         2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

·         1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

·         1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

·         1 cup of beef broth

·         2 tablespoons cornstarch

·         1 tablespoon sesame oil

·         4 scallions, thinly sliced


1.    In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, garlic, ginger, beef broth and red pepper. Add the short ribs and arrange in a single layer.

2.    Cook, covered, on high for 5 to 6 hours (or on low for 7 to 8 hours), until the meat is tender and easily pulls away from the bone.

3.    Transfer the short ribs to a plate. Pour sauce into a sauce pot and skim fat off the cooking liquid and discard fat.

4.    Bring the cooking liquid to a bow, over medium heat.  In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water until smooth. Whisk into the cooking liquid and cook until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the sesame oil. Spoon the sauce over the short sprinkle with the scallions.
This is my rendition of a recipe adapted from


  1. Great idea! I'll be checking often and sending it to others. Can I get some samples of your finished recipes?? LOL

  2. Thanks! Check back often for recipes and pictures.