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greenmama 06-03-2002 02:24 PM

I should tell you that my house is not air conditioned, the kitchen is on the south side of the house and on hot days the kitchen gets about 90 degrees. I've been known to say "Don't you dare cook anything."

i also am personally not very interested in eating when I'm too hot. My idea of summer food is salads and fresh vegetables cooked on the grill. But: we are vegetarians. With my 30 month dd I worry about protein in the summer. In the winter I consider fresh or frozen green beans, peas and corn vegetables. In the summer I say oh legumes and grains we're covered. but really I doubt that is right.

Also in the summer I spend more money because I will not bake so I buy all our breads et al at the store. I also buy canned beans (uck!!!) because I refuse to have the stove on long enough to cook the dried ones we eat the rest of the year. So I'm spending more money and our food is less nutritious (except for the yummy fresh garden vegies)

Does anyone else have this problem... what do you do. I do try to cook things first thing in the morning before it heats up, but I remember last year we were waking up to a kitchen already 75 and ready to bolt.

amy mama 06-04-2002 11:42 AM

I'm in Miami-so I feel your pain. (or your heat) I make a no-cook pasta sauce sometimes that's really yummy. I just cut up a bunch of good tomatoes (plum or grape usually), put them in a bowl, add a bunch of slivered basil, olive oil, salt, and fresh ground pepper. Let it sit for at least a half hour or so (it can sit for much longer). Then I add just cooked pasta, chunks of fresh mozzarella (for protein), stir it all up, and it's very tasty! Also making pizza is good, because it cooks in less than 15 minutes. I make enough dough for 2-3 pizzas, then freeze the other ones for a lazy day.

GranolaMommy 06-04-2002 12:34 PM

Have you considered using a crock pot for the beans? It uses WAY less heat and you can stick it outside if you don't want it to heat up the kitchen and house.

Also, make things in the early morning that can be eaten cold or at room temperature (like frittata for example) and then serve them for dinner later.

Also, I have heard interesting things about solar cookers. Maybe it is worth making one. They aren't expensive (mostly aluminum foil and cardboard)


AutumnWind 06-07-2002 03:43 AM

I'm not much of a cook, myself (wish i were......... ). Like you, all summer I keep a big fresh salad of romaine/spinach/veggies, and a big container of seasonal fruit salad, so we can pull it out to have with an entree. Right now our entrees consist mostly of good sandwiches & cheese. Like a BLT made with Morningstar veggy bacon, which doesn't help you, cause you have to cook it. We also do hard boiled eggs in the salad to add protein, which also doesn't help ya. Hey what about putting the vegitarian pepperoni in the salad? (......I don't know how high that is in protien, actually.......) Good luck!

AutumnWind 06-07-2002 03:48 AM

Oh, Greenmamma, that reminds me: Vegitarian sushi. If you've got a rice cooker, mine doesn't generate heat, really. You can get creative with what to put in 'em. And it's good picnicking food.

Greenfrogs 06-07-2002 04:45 PM

How about hummus and tabuli. You can make it and eat for three days. Both require no cooking. Hummus has protein and tabulit has grains, toss in a whole wheat pita and your set. Ok I am rambling, but I think that is all I eat when is hot. As for bread have you ever thought about getting a bread machine. It generates no heat.

greenmama 06-07-2002 07:04 PM

I thought you had to cook tabbouli.
Yes, I have thought about a bread machine. I've always been opposed because I love to make bread by hand (temperature allowing) and I really try to avoid machinery I don't really need.

Which leads to my new position. I'm pretty sure I'm going to finally give in and get a AC. I do feel guilty in many ways because I object to them on many levels, I"m much too environmental to have an AC. But...
My justification is that it will ultimately be for the best because I will actually can my own fruits and vegetables, which I never do because the house is too darn hot.
And, I know I will only use it when the house is unbearable.

This is really amazing in that I have managed to live without a clothes dryer for 5 plus years also and most people would think that weather would make that more necessary than an AC in central pennsylvania, where I admit an AC is really only necessary about five to six weeks (spread out over a three month period) of the year here. But in those weeks/months I REALLY can't cook at all.

I'm going to look into a solar cooker also, that will make me feel better about the AC in a warped kind of thinking. Balance, you know.

Sierra 06-07-2002 08:14 PM

Tabouli doesn't require cooking. I mean, to make it from scratch, probably, because the definition of tabbouli is precooked grain, but if you get some tabouli in bulk from the whole foods store, it should be pretty cheap and easy. All you have to do is mix it with tomatoes, onions or chives, and hot water (if you want, just use the hot water from your sink, otherwise just put on the kettle to boil for a couple minutes).

catnip 06-09-2002 01:01 AM

Here's a recipe for a soup that tastes great served cold. It's my favorite summer recipe and it can be made a couple of days ahead and kept chilled to last through a heat wave. Carrot/sweet potato soup with ginger I serve it with a salad with (for my family of lacto-ovo veggies) cheese, walnuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and some of those evil canned beans (garbanzo or kidney) and a sweet vinagrette dressing, plus bread and butter.
You can cook the soup veggies in a crock pot overnight, saute the onions and puree the soup first thing in the am, and serve it chilled for dinner. The seasonings can be added after dishing up portions for picky kids.
Made ahead quiche works well served cold, and there are all sorts of other chilled soups. What about a three bean salad and cold couscous dish?

Kanga Mom 06-09-2002 06:10 PM

We used to live in Nebraska, and though we had an AC, I would not run it.

Here are some things we did: A rice cooker- doesn't heat up much (and you might be able to plug it in outside somewhere), and you can cook other things in it. I often add dried or fresh veggies, raisins, reconstituted TVP, etc, to the rice and it all cooks together.

Cook up one HUGE batch of beans at once (doesn't take any more heat than one batch) and freeze extras. I have lots of recipes for cold salads using corn, grain, and beans.

Tofu- may be an acquired taste, but one of our favorite summer meals is simply cold tofu, diced, with amino acids (or soy sauce) over the top and maybe green onions or chives sprinkled over that. I've seen a recipe somewhere for mock egg salad using tofu, instead. We've made it a few times, but we do eat eggs, and I thought it a waste of tofu's deliciously mild, cooling flavor.

Tofu smoothies- put tofu in a blender with fruit. Eat with a spoon.

Nuts and seeds are good sources of protein- add lots of those to your salads and sandwiches.

I'm sorry, I forget if the original poster was vegan or vegetarian. Cottage cheese in potato salad (made with canned potatoes if you don't want to bake or boil potatoes). I suspect the op must be vegan, though, because cheese, eggs, and milk would take care of the protein worries.

Bulgar- you boil water (in the tea kettle), pour over the bulgar and let it soak for half an hour. Use as a base for salads.

I make salads with frozen peas and/or corn, and I don't cook the frozen veggies. Sometimes I thaw them on the counter, but when we had no AC in the middle of hot, humid, midwestern summers, I just poured the frozen peas into a bowl and added minced onion, some kind of dressing, and maybe a sliced boiled egg or diced cheese.

Cous-cous is cooked the same way as bulgar, except soaking time is only half an hour.

I never did this, but it looked interesting- have you looked into solar cookers? There are instructions for making your own on teh web somewhere.


rocketmom 06-10-2002 05:22 AM

Have you tried cooking tofu on the grill? We do that alot here. Love it. Marinate it in what ever you want and throw it on the BBQ with other veggies. Then make a salad and volia a wonderful meal!

daylily 06-10-2002 10:22 AM

One of the Tightwad Gazette books (volume III, I think) has directions for making a solar oven. It's essentially 2 cardboard boxes, painted black on the outside and lined with tinfoil and a sheet of glass as a cover and a reflector made of tinfoil covered cardboard. I meant to make one last year, but was sick all summer and didn't have the energy. Anyway, once the oven is made, you set it out in the sun and use it to bake whatever. (I suspect tricky things like cakes wouldn't work.) According to the book, these ovens never get as hot as a conventional one so you need to allow a lot more time to get your stuff baked. I'm assuming that means you'd put your lasagna in at noon and it would be ready in time for dinner.

One of my favorite summer recipes is the "Israeli Salad" from "The Enchanted Broccoli Forest." You can eat it with pita bread and maybe some scrambled eggs or scrambled tofu.

AmyB 06-10-2002 01:09 PM

Back in the old days they used to have a "summer kitchen" outside for when the weather got hot. I sometimes use my camping gear to make a dandy summer kitchen.

What you mainly need is a sturdy table, a propane or gas stove, and a big plastic waterproof box to store things in. You can use a dutch oven for baking if you have a firepan.


greenmama 06-10-2002 05:40 PM

I have dreamed of a summer kitchen. I will definately have one on our next home because we will design and build it ourselves using alternative building methods like straw bale and cord wood, but I don't see getting one on this house that we won't be in many more years. I definately want to be out of this area before dd is school age, even though we hope to homeschool.

petitemama 07-02-2002 04:24 PM

If I had things my way I would Not own a stove or any other kind of cooking device, but my dh was a chef when we met and loves to cook. I enjoy cold fruit or green salads year round. my ds who is two usually eats fruit, applesauce, organic cold cerals, and raw veggies with dipping sauce. It is hard not to worry about protein but my ds is very healthy, happy and strong on this diet. He is also breastfed though. Cascadian Farms makes some great organic foods that can be microwaved. I am not crazy about microwaved foods but sometimes it is better than turning on the stove. Maybe you could get some recipes from a raw foodist website also.

amy mama 07-02-2002 06:32 PM

Also-sandwiches and fruit salad sound like a great summer supper to me. Or different types of dips with pita and crackers and cheese. Or gazpacho. Or there's no rule that says cereal and milk is only for breakfast.

Valerie.Qc 07-02-2002 11:29 PM

I just bought hemp nuts (?? in french it says
noix de chanvre on the package) that you can pour on your salad, add to you cereals, put in you cake or muffins or simply eat them like sunflower seeds.

Hemp has more protein than fish or cheese so that could be something interesting if you want to add protein without cooking

tessamami 07-04-2002 02:47 PM

DH and I want a pressure cooker. It would be great for beans and lentils.


ksmeadowlark 07-06-2002 09:31 PM

I hate turning the oven on in the summer. I just broke down and got a George Foreman grill. Ya, DH ribbed me about buying something so infomercial-like, but I absolutely love it! It heats up in about 3 min and cooks so quickly too (2 chicken breasts in about 5 mins.) Granted, I mostly use it for chicken, but I have also used it for fish, quesadillas, grilled cheese, grilled veggies, veggie burgers, etc. It doesn't give off any detectable heat and it is pretty easy to clean too.

dfoy 07-07-2002 04:18 PM

Ditto the Foreman grill....I'm asking for a bigger one for my birthday (I have the small one) so I can cook for more than one person at a time. They are great!

elnachick 07-09-2002 01:58 PM

Rice steamer! Crock pot! Bread Machine (maybe better than turning on AC?)! Camp stove outside! Grill! I love these things, especially in the hot summer.

Big salad with greens, red onion, red and green bell peppers, avocado, dressing of olive oil, lime juice, garlic, chopped cilantro and jalepeno pepper buzzed in blender, with tossed in chunks of montery jack cheese if you eat it, and quickly sauteed chunks of tempeh.

Big second for hummus and tabouli, that is probably one of my favorite sandwiches from my old bagel shop in Mass - a nice fresh everything bagel with hummus, tabouli, shredded carrots, sliced tomatoes and red onion, lettuce and sprouts, yum!

Falafel - you've got to cook it on the stove but you could cook up a big batch early in the morn and have it in the fridge to snack on for a few days

Smoothies with silken tofu buzzed in are a great simple solution for a snack, an easy lunch, etc. Freeze them for pops, too!

Gado Gado (in first Moosewood book) is super easy - diced raw tofu, shredded raw cabbage, carrots, onions, etc., garnish with lime juice, chopped cilantro and crushed red pepper, put all this over some steamed rice (gotta love the steamer) and top with a simple, good peanut sauce, all you need to cook on the stove is the sauce (and it can be done on the camp stove!)

I've made pizza on the grill, it is delicious that way!

Marinate sliced tofu in some goodies and use it as protein on loaded veggie sandwiches. Tamari, garlic, and ginger, or italian style seasonings or cumin and oregano and garlic and hot pepper or...

Add some shucked, grilled corn on the cob to your canned black beans, diced red onion, some lime juice and olive oil, cumin, garlic, oregano, chopped cilantro, some chili powder, simple and good bean salad

Diced avocado, chopped red onion, olive oil and lemon juice, crumbled tempeh, and some feta cheese, salt and pepper (or use shrimp for tempeh if you eat them), scoop up with corn chips

I grew up in Mass, I remember humid eastern summers, hang in there

Sierra 07-10-2002 03:03 AM

Originally posted by elnachick
[B]Rice steamer! Crock pot! Bread Machine (maybe better than turning on AC?)! Camp stove outside! Grill! I love these things, especially in the hot summer.
Sounds like you are naming items of my bridal registry LOL...and let the truth come out...the person who really wrote my registry was...yammer!

Strange but true facts.


DebraBaker 07-10-2002 12:57 PM

I spend more money in summer because I don't cook as much from scratch.

I have AC but avoid it if possible (and don't want to generate heat when I do to conserve energy) My kitchen is facing south as well (beautiful sunny window in the morning but heat as well)

I'm thinking about investing in a rice steamer (after I pay for my daughter's wedding 10 more days to go)

How much $$ are they and what are the best ones for quality.

I now have two friends who are really good sushi makers and I love sushi and am eager to learn how to make it but not without a steamer!!

Some of my summer options (beyond the obvious) veggi chilli (in crockpot?)

Lots and lots of salads.

Veggie sticks with dip

If you're not vegan (we're not) deviled eggs or cheese slices as well.

I eat far too much packaged food in summer (including a lot of veggie burgers and dogs)

Debra Baker

elnachick 07-16-2002 01:16 PM

I thought of this thread last night - couldn't decide what to have for dinner since I was on my own, didn't want to eat junk, didn't want to cook in the heat. So I had some sliced hearty crusty bread spread with locally produced goat cheese with herbs de provance, fresh strawberries, and steamed red chard from our garden, yum!

DB - I've had a Black&Decker rice steamer (not just a rice cooker, it's a steamer, more useful) for about ten years. I think it cost about $20.00 when we bought it. In a household of four adults, we use the steamer probably 4 nights out of 7. Some nights we fire up two, one for rice and one for veggies. For me, it's among the best $20 I've spent for anything to do with the kitchen. I'm guessing that you might have to pay more in the neighborhood of about $30 for a nice one, these days?

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