When it’s too hot to turn on the oven, there are other appliances and gadgets that can do the job.
Here are tips from registered dietitian Cara Rosenbloom and cookbook author Rose Reisman, who specialize in healthy eating.
If you have a backyard grill, you can cook almost every component of your meal on it while enjoying the outdoors. Apartment dwellers needn’t despair. There are electric grills available, which don’t generate much heat inside the home. Though the food won’t turn out quite the same as with an outdoor grill, you can cook thin cuts of meat with satisfying results, says Reisman.
SLOW COOKER/RICE COOKER
If you want a cooked meal ready when you return home after a day at the beach, a slow cooker can be your best friend. It can be left for hours and doesn’t heat up the kitchen the way the oven will. Pulled pork or bone-in turkey breast turn out well in the appliance, providing the fixings for delicious sandwiches, says Reisman.
Slow cookers and rice cookers are also great for cooking double or triple batches of grains to provide fibre and protein to a side dish or to top a salad, she adds.
Brown rice usually takes an hour to cook, but parboiled brown rice ‚Äî which has been partially boiled ‚Äî just takes 10 to 15 minutes, says Rosenbloom. Freeze extra by laying it flat in zip-close bags. Reheat in the microwave.
Salmon can be poached quickly and served cold. Reisman likes to dust trout fillets with a little cornstarch, then pan-fry in a skillet with a little oil for just 2 1/2 minutes a side. Serve with a fresh salsa made with watermelon, bell pepper, feta cheese and cucumbers.
Vermicelli or Thai rice noodles (there are brown rice versions) need only be soaked in warm water to soften. Boil water, then let it cool slightly first. After draining the noodles, add some sesame oil and soy sauce, beans and vegetables for a salad, says Rosenbloom.
Kids also love making rice paper rolls, says Rosenbloom. Submerge wrappers in water to soften for about 30 seconds. Top each wrapper with some fresh tofu, chopped basil or mint, julienned carrots, cucumbers, red peppers and vermicelli noodles, then roll up. Dip in peanut sauce mixed with a little soy sauce.
Hard-boiled eggs last about six days in the fridge, which isn’t true of most fresh foods, says Rosenbloom. Cook some on the weekend and use them for the rest of the week. Grate over a spinach and mushroom salad or chop for sandwiches
Make cold smoothies with fresh local seasonal fruit. Puree cold soups, such as gazpacho or melon, until smooth.
Use a peeler to make carrot ribbons for a salad that’s pretty, light and elegant looking or to add to sandwiches, says Rosenbloom. Remove the outer layer of a carrot. Rinse the peeler and carrot, then simply keep peeling off strips. “You can toss that with a vinaigrette, add some pumpkin seeds, add some cinnamon, some cumin. It’s delicious.”
Reisman suggests twirling a cucumber or other vegetables in a spiralizer. “You get these beautiful strands and you can add that for decoration to your salads.”