10 Cool Summer Cooking Tips!
The season of warm weather, barbeques, beaches, and picnics has finally arrived!
We’d like to share some tips and tricks to help you enjoy your summer!
- Salads are healthy and refreshing on warm summer nights. Instead of the same old salad dressing, change it up! Add some very thinly sliced fennel and orange zest to store brand vinaigrette for a delicious new taste. (Use a mandoline slicer -it slices hard vegetables into various shapes -from paper-thin to thicker slices. Slice the bulb of the fennel into very thin slices).
- Freeze some coffee in ice cube trays and serve with your iced coffee to avoid watered-down beverages. This trick works for teas and juices too!
- Prep some of your favorite sliced fruit and berries and place in the frig. Keep some whipped cream, angel food cake, or chocolate handy for a sweet treat on the patio.
- Couscous is a wonderful flavor-absorber and a perfect substitute for pasta, especially in the summer. Since it only takes a few minutes to cook, your kitchen will stay cool. It is delicious in both hot and cold dishes. Simply add organic broth to your favorite vinaigrette, then toss in some cooked spinach and garbanzo beans. Crown with some cool orange slices for a lovely summer salad.
- Bananas are the perfect smoothie ingredient. Keep several bananas in your freezer so they are ready for those mornings when you want a quick and healthy breakfast. Just toss into the blender. Experiment with some of your favorite foods by adding frozen fruit chunks (available at supermarkets or club stores), a scoop of peanut butter, or fruit juices. Ice is optional but typically not needed since the frozen fruit will help keep the drink cold.
- Skewers for kebabs should be soaked in water for about a half hour before placing on the grill to make sure they don’t catch fire. Prep your kebabs the night before a barbeque and place in a large plastic bag with drizzled marinade -store in the frig overnight.
- Berries should only be rinsed just before eating them to avoid early spoilage. If you find yourself with an abundance of berries like strawberries or blackberries simply add them to your dinner. Serve pork with a vinaigrette made of 1 tbs of balsamic vinegar, 1 tbs of oil, 1 tsp of mustard, and a few pinches of salt. Toss with some cooked spinach and fennel and mix before add berries. Cherries and berries are best when used within a few days of purchase.
- Fruit storage is the key to reducing spoilage. Some fruits such as bananas prefer room temperatures and should be left on the counter or frozen. Cantaloupe can ripen in a paper bag but can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days if cut (5 maximum if whole). Remember to thoroughly wash the rinds of your fruits and dry before cutting to reduce the spread of bacteria. Refrigerate cherries for up to 3 days, Clementines for up to 5 days, and grapes for a week. Cranberries are safely refrigerated for up to 1 month.
- Crock-pot cooking keeps your kitchen cool and makes for easy meal preparation. Chicken, roasts, vegetables, and summer stews are perfect for those lazy, summer days!
- Grilling up some chicken? Double up on the effort by grilling enough for 2 meals! Add some barbeque sauce to half and store the rest of the chicken for later in the week. Store in the frig and when ready, shred it and serve fajitas with some savory salsa, a spritz of lime juice, and grilled onions, all wrapped in a warm tortilla.
Experiment with a new recipe every week or two. Try using ingredients you have never heard of, and don’t be afraid to mix some of your favorite flavors! Happy Cooking!