Author Topic: Summer Cooking  (Read 1457 times)

Mgmny

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Summer Cooking
« on: July 11, 2018, 04:42:12 PM »
Hello fellow home-cooking enthusiasts!

What do you do about using your oven/stove in the summer? Every time I fire up my oven for baking ANYTHING, the temperature in my house raises 2-3 degrees, and the air conditioner can't keep up.

I know the conventional answer is to grill, but a lot of times that just isn't an option! You can't grill a lot of baked goods! Even boiling a large pot of water for a pasta salad seems to push out a lot of heat. I'm almost to the point where I think I should find an old free oven on craigslist and put it in my garage to cook. Does anyone else have any hacks or good ideas to keep the temp down in the summer while cooking?

Spudd

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Re: Summer Cooking
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2018, 04:58:55 PM »
Instant pot, slow cooker, microwave, grilling out. Also, eating cold meals such as salads or sandwiches.

Raenia

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Re: Summer Cooking
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2018, 05:03:05 PM »
Mostly, I just try to do less baking in the summer.  When I do have to bake, I try to do it in the evenings when it's cooler, and as much as possible do several things at once so the oven doesn't have to heat all the way up multiple times.  E.g. if I need bread for the week, muffins for breakfast, and cookies for a friend, I'll try to do them all in the same day and time the prep so one comes out as the next goes in.  As much as possible, I cook on the stovetop instead (e.g. saute veggies instead of roasting), and use crockpots, rice cookers, instapots, etc as much as possible as they produce less heat.  I also tend to turn the AC off while I'm cooking, and just suffer through it until I'm done, but we don't have central air, only wall units.

Alf91

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Re: Summer Cooking
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2018, 06:14:44 PM »

-sandwiches /wraps
-green salad, bean salad
-crackers w cheese and sausage
-raw veggies and hummus

Cranky

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Re: Summer Cooking
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2018, 06:53:59 PM »
I donít bake much in the summer, but I do use the crockpot and the bread maker. We just eat different food in the summer, and I enjoy that!

Blackeagle

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Re: Summer Cooking
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2018, 07:10:44 PM »
I don't use the oven in the summer (the AC unit on the place I'm renting is undersized enough that it can't keep up on a hot day even when I don't use the oven, firing up the oven would push it completely over the edge).  I do a lot with the slow cooker, sous vide, and stuff I can do on my stovetop.  I also cook more premade microwavable stuff (not very mustachian, I know).

One of my dreams for the house I'll buy when I FIRE is an outdoor cooking area with an oven to get around this problem. 

OtherJen

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Re: Summer Cooking
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2018, 08:52:20 PM »
We eat out maybe once a month and donít have central AC. I tend to get up early to bake (I baked a fruit crisp at 7 this morning) or use the stovetop, and we do as much outdoor cooking (grills, smoker, propane stove) as possible.. A lot of things are prepared in the electric pressure cooker.

We do tend to eat a lot of cold salads and grilled foods during summer.

Gone_Hiking

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Re: Summer Cooking
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2018, 10:12:47 PM »
Have you tried making English muffins?   They are actually toasted on a pan - kind of fun to do instead of baking.  They are my family's go-to morning roll alternative during summer months when the AC runs and our oven is off limits.    Jello parfaits with fruit are also a nice change of pace.

chemistk

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Re: Summer Cooking
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2018, 05:34:27 AM »
As others say, we typically eat cooler foods in the summer (no roasts, stews, soups, cassaroles, etc.) - lots of very quick stovetop stuff, sometimes cookies and pizza.

For pasta - if you know you're going to have it, I might suggest cooking it ~3/4 of the way the night before and refrigerating it.

Don't rule out dutch ovens for grill-baking!

Mgmny

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Re: Summer Cooking
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2018, 07:01:24 AM »
Great ideas. I'll have to check out the crock pot route!

My wife doesn't particularly like "charred" foods so grilling can be a task, but I'll explore some online recipe options. Thanks for all the great advice!

Linda_Norway

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Re: Summer Cooking
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2018, 07:02:26 AM »
As this spring and summer have been very warm here in south Norway (28-32 C), I can give an answer here.
We just use the oven very often, as well as the stove. Our house does not have AC. We ventilate the house with opposite windows open as soon as the temperature outside is lower than inside, usually some time after dinner. We change to shorts as soon as we get home and I put my hair in a ponytail to cool down. If it is not too windy we eat outside in the shadow.

But yesterday I was having a bad time with my body temperature nevertheless. I had done the cooking and as soon as I sat down at the dining table, I felt overheated. I guess eating colder food would have been a much better idea.

NV Teacher

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Re: Summer Cooking
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2018, 07:09:59 AM »
I bought a toaster/convection/air fryer oven that I put on the back patio to do my summer time baking.  Has worked like a charm.

Mgmny

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Re: Summer Cooking
« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2018, 07:30:20 AM »
I bought a toaster/convection/air fryer oven that I put on the back patio to do my summer time baking.  Has worked like a charm.

What model / do you have a link? This is the type of idea i'm looking for!

ToTheMoon

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Re: Summer Cooking
« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2018, 07:47:02 AM »
We have two small folding tables that we set up on our patio, and during really hot weeks we create a mini kitchen out there to cook. We have our camping Coleman stove (2 burners), the bbq, and we will use the rice cooker or slow cooker out there as well.

We do own a toaster oven as well, but it has not become part of the outdoor "kitchen".  We can usually find enough things  to make without requiring baking - but I guess now it is an option if we really need it. :)

Unique User

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Re: Summer Cooking
« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2018, 07:58:21 AM »
I bought a toaster/convection/air fryer oven that I put on the back patio to do my summer time baking.  Has worked like a charm.

I do this too and use a GE toaster oven I bought when our oven was broken and I didn't want to be rushed into buying a new one, I doubt I spent more than $25 on it.  I've also plugged in an electric roaster out on the patio (just set the dial to bake).  I didn't have much luck with bread baking, but quick breads, muffins, etc, turned out great. 

SilveradoBojangles

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Re: Summer Cooking
« Reply #15 on: July 12, 2018, 08:01:36 AM »
We eat a lot of salads (hearty salads, with nuts and grains and cheese and beans and protein). Tonight I'm making a french lentil salad (lentils cooked in the instant pot) with feta and kale and a sherry vinegar dressing.

Those rotisserie chickens you can buy at costco are great for summer - they do the roasting for you!

Tacos are another great option - we grill or slow cook meat (or cook up some tilapia for fish tacos) and top them with shredded cabbage, radish slices, onions, cilantro, lime, and avocado.

Sometimes I make a platter of cut up veggies with hummus, cheese and crackers, olives, nuts, fruit, etc. and we eat that.

jlcnuke

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Re: Summer Cooking
« Reply #16 on: July 13, 2018, 05:40:33 AM »
Since no one else mentioned it yet, I'll say that you may need to have your A/C system checked. A properly sized A/C unit should have no problem maintaining temps in the house just because you decided to use the oven. Undersized units, or units that aren't operating properly, are at high risk of premature failure.

NV Teacher

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Re: Summer Cooking
« Reply #17 on: July 13, 2018, 07:02:33 AM »
I bought a toaster/convection/air fryer oven that I put on the back patio to do my summer time baking.  Has worked like a charm.

What model / do you have a link? This is the type of idea i'm looking for!

Love it.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01K0W8LTE/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

RWD

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Re: Summer Cooking
« Reply #18 on: July 13, 2018, 07:20:39 AM »
As this spring and summer have been very warm here in south Norway (28-32 C)
That's cute. The average highs in July here are 93F (34C) with the extreme as high as 111F (44C). Plus humidity... And the previous city I lived in got even hotter with an average of 100F (38C) and record of 117F (47C) in June. At least that one was in a dry climate.

Since no one else mentioned it yet, I'll say that you may need to have your A/C system checked. A properly sized A/C unit should have no problem maintaining temps in the house just because you decided to use the oven. Undersized units, or units that aren't operating properly, are at high risk of premature failure.
This was my thought as well. Or they could be setting the thermostat too low. We set our A/C to maintain 79F in the summer which it doesn't have any problem maintaining even in our fairly hot climate while using the oven/stove.

Mgmny

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Re: Summer Cooking
« Reply #19 on: July 13, 2018, 07:43:32 AM »

Since no one else mentioned it yet, I'll say that you may need to have your A/C system checked. A properly sized A/C unit should have no problem maintaining temps in the house just because you decided to use the oven. Undersized units, or units that aren't operating properly, are at high risk of premature failure.
This was my thought as well. Or they could be setting the thermostat too low. We set our A/C to maintain 79F in the summer which it doesn't have any problem maintaining even in our fairly hot climate while using the oven/stove.

So, this is super possible to be an issue. We have our house set to 72 (pregnant wife gets what she wants ;)  ). We have a Nest thermostat and it "predicts" how long it will take to get to a lower temperature, and when I put in something like 71 randomly or if we come home from being away it takes HOURS. The nest will tell us it will take "2+ hours" to go from 72 to 71 degrees.

My father does some AC work for his job, and he insists that nothing is wrong with our unit (refrigerant levels are within the proper range), and when he tests the cold air in the immediate space outside the blower it reads like 60 after 15 mins of running, so supposedly that's in the "good" range.

I have 2 thoughts:

1. 72 is reasonably "cold" for 85+ degree days.
2. Our house may have subpar insulation.


Sorry to hijack the thread from cooking, but it is something I think about somewhat frequently. If we have any AC experts out there reading this, I would love to hear your thoughts.


Back to cooking: Does anyone have a NuWave (or similar) type cooking contraption? Is that what the convection/air fryer device others mentioned before was?

We have a screened in porch right off our kitchen, so this would be an ideal area for a "summer kitchen." I usually put my deep fryer out there the 1-2x a year i use it to reduce the smell and splatter from being inside. 

mm1970

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Re: Summer Cooking
« Reply #20 on: July 13, 2018, 09:43:13 AM »
We've had some 100+ degree days already too.

In years past, crockpot.  I'm not that good of a planner anymore.

So:
instant pot (mac and cheese, pasta, potatoes, rice, beans)
toaster oven (pizza, baked chicken pieces, grilled cheese)
stiry-fry (saute on the stove, then cook rice in the rice cooker)
grilled cheese (on the stovetop or in the George foreman)

we kind of avoid the oven, except for occasionally cooking a frozen pizza.  Then we judiciously choose the day.

BrightFIRE

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Re: Summer Cooking
« Reply #21 on: July 13, 2018, 09:57:12 AM »
Toaster oven and crockpot. I made pulled pork flatbreads last night. I had made the pulled pork in the crockpot (previously) and bought pre-made flatbreads from Aldi. Toasted them in the oven for maybe 10 minutes and had a salad on the side.

If it's going to be cool enough in the morning on a weekend, I'll make bread dough the night before, shape it and pop in the oven in the morning. Also, pro-tip, you can put almost everything in a cold oven and it will start cooking as the temp comes up, instead of waiting for it to pre-heat and then putting the food in. You could do some roast veggies at the same time as the bread. Or do multiple pans of veggies, sheet pan suppers, what have you.

Last summer, I learned you can make granola in your crockpot. It's amazing what people will figure out how to do in order not to turn on the oven!

Oh, I almost forgot to add: microwave steaming. Veggies can be blanched or fully cooked, fish can be cooked, nuts can be toasted; my mom has a microwave rice-cooking bowl that she loves.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2018, 11:14:54 AM by BrightFIRE »

Cool Friend

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Re: Summer Cooking
« Reply #22 on: July 13, 2018, 10:01:00 AM »
Overnight oats! Some people don't like cold oats, but they taste fine to me and beats eating piping hot cereal when the weather is muggy and hot.

lbmustache

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Re: Summer Cooking
« Reply #23 on: July 13, 2018, 10:33:46 AM »

Since no one else mentioned it yet, I'll say that you may need to have your A/C system checked. A properly sized A/C unit should have no problem maintaining temps in the house just because you decided to use the oven. Undersized units, or units that aren't operating properly, are at high risk of premature failure.
This was my thought as well. Or they could be setting the thermostat too low. We set our A/C to maintain 79F in the summer which it doesn't have any problem maintaining even in our fairly hot climate while using the oven/stove.

So, this is super possible to be an issue. We have our house set to 72 (pregnant wife gets what she wants ;)  ). We have a Nest thermostat and it "predicts" how long it will take to get to a lower temperature, and when I put in something like 71 randomly or if we come home from being away it takes HOURS. The nest will tell us it will take "2+ hours" to go from 72 to 71 degrees.

This was my first thought as well. Based on your comments, it's likely that your air conditioning is working fine, but is improperly sized for the space - which is why it can't keep the house cool enough when one appliance runs (i.e. the oven) or it takes hours to drop the temp 1 degree. Air conditioning should take into account the size of the space (sq ft) AND sun levels, windows, appliances that generate heat, insulation, etc.

For example, my bedroom is average sized (maybe 250sq ft), but an AC sized for the space doesn't work well, because my bedroom gets A LOT of sun and is routinely 10 degrees hotter than the rest of the house. Thus I got a bigger AC to compensate - I use a 10k BTU AC even though "size wise" that's for about 400-450sq ft. (You don't want it too big though, otherwise it can't pull enough humidity from the air.)

« Last Edit: July 13, 2018, 10:35:28 AM by lbmustache »

TrMama

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Re: Summer Cooking
« Reply #24 on: July 13, 2018, 11:09:54 AM »
I live in a climate similar to Linda's so we also don't have AC. We live primarily on the 2nd floor of our house and it gets hot up there.

Get some teflon mats for your bbq and learn to bake pizza and pitas on it. They're delicious and sooo fast. Otherwise, I don't bake much in the summer and any baking that does happen is carefully planned around the weather.

pinkfloyd4ever

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Re: Summer Cooking
« Reply #25 on: July 17, 2018, 11:37:55 AM »
INSTANT POT!!! They are absolutely worth their weight in gold, even for a Mustachian. Especially for those who cook the vast majority of their own food and don't have lots of free time.

I saw the DUO60 model was on sale for less than $70 for Prime Day yesterday, but unfortunately it looks like it's out of stock now. The LUX60V3 is still in stock though for $79.

We got one a couple years ago on either Black Friday or Prime Day and I'm not sure what we'd do without it.

freeat57

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Re: Summer Cooking
« Reply #26 on: July 17, 2018, 01:18:30 PM »
I bought a toaster/convection/air fryer oven that I put on the back patio to do my summer time baking.  Has worked like a charm.

I do this too and use a GE toaster oven I bought when our oven was broken and I didn't want to be rushed into buying a new one, I doubt I spent more than $25 on it.  I've also plugged in an electric roaster out on the patio (just set the dial to bake).  I didn't have much luck with bread baking, but quick breads, muffins, etc, turned out great.

I will throw out a third endorsement for this!  When I lived in the desert where 100+ was normal in summer, I had a GE convection/toaster oven that I put out on the covered patio.  It required a little adjustment to times, but I roasted chickens, baked casseroles and cakes with great success.  I bought it at a thrift store.  Now I am kicking myself for getting rid of it before I moved here.   I have a large balcony on my condo here and it would come in handy.

For frying and sauteing, get a portable butane burner.  If you have Asian grocery stores in your area, they may have these, often for less than $20.  I like to cook with a lot of smelly seasonings, so I plan to get one to keep from smelling up the house.  If you look at any cooking videos on youtube, especially Asian ones, they often use these little burners. 

bognish

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Re: Summer Cooking
« Reply #27 on: July 19, 2018, 12:16:25 PM »
I just bought a Camp Chef 2 burner stove (Pro 60x if you are curious). The main purpose was to upgrade my car camping cooker. After doing a test cook on the driveway we got a 100+ heatwave for a week and kept cooking outdoors on it. I have only done stove top stuff with it, but you can get an oven addon if you need to bake in the summer. Its not the cheapest suggestion, but its well built and should last forever.

robartsd

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Re: Summer Cooking
« Reply #28 on: July 19, 2018, 03:15:01 PM »
Yeah, don't bake in the summer. Cook outdoors. Use efficient appliance like Instant Pot/Crock Pot/rice cooker/microwave. Use smaller appliance like toaster oven.

Back to cooking: Does anyone have a NuWave (or similar) type cooking contraption? Is that what the convection/air fryer device others mentioned before was?
When you say NuWave, I think of the "as seen on TV" portable induction cooktop, but you might be thinking of their oven pro.

I've actually been considering getting a portable induction cooktop as our range stopped working recently (controls all act fine, but no heat). As it is summertime and we don't want the heat in the house, we've been using alternatives rather than making fixing or replacing the range a priority. IKEA is not far away and has a portable induction unit for $45 which we might try.

asauer

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Re: Summer Cooking
« Reply #29 on: July 19, 2018, 03:32:14 PM »
I just donít use the stove/ oven much.  We do tons of sandwiches and salads, grilling and instant pot in the summer.  Note, you can put a pot on the grill if itís not a non-stick.  I do that all the time to boil water for pasta and grill the meat and veggies that will go into said pasta.