Let's all chill out...
July 17, 2006 4:05 PM   Subscribe

TooDarnHotFilter: Since most of the U.S., including me, is having a broiling heat wave right now, I thought it would be useful to share suggestions on keeping cool. Particularly, what are the best recipes? What I'm looking for are things that heat up the kitchen the least. I tried the slow cooker today, but it's still making things hotter than I like in the kitchen, and tomorrow's forecast is 102. There is always grilling, but that requires (eek!) going outside. Other suggestions for keeping cool for the under-A/C'ed (like myself) or the A/C-less?
posted by Shoeburyness to Food & Drink (38 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Get a white sheet wet and hang it over your largest window. Wet water will blow in on you.
posted by k8t at 4:10 PM on July 17, 2006

Anything you can cook in the microwave. ;)
posted by magodesky at 4:12 PM on July 17, 2006

Sashimi and cold beer.
posted by mr_roboto at 4:19 PM on July 17, 2006

Tuna sandwiches with tomato salad (cherry tomatos cut in half, cubes of feta or mozzarella cheese, chopped basil or other herbs of choice, olive oil & white vinegar). Yum.
posted by leapingsheep at 4:19 PM on July 17, 2006

mmm, greek salads. If you need meat, grill up a bunch of chicken at once and then refridgerate it. So only one day of torture for a week or two of grilled chicken salad.

Lots and lots of jello - you can boil the water in the microwave.
posted by muddgirl at 4:19 PM on July 17, 2006

Take one lime. Slice.
Insert into cold, cold Corona.
Add one deck chair.

Mix vigorously.
posted by Drunken_munky at 4:26 PM on July 17, 2006

1. Hummus, cheese, and crackers - good, easy, tasty snack
2. rotisserie chicken from the grocery - warm/hot food without cooking. Leftovers can be used for salad
3. Caesar salad - Use the left over rotisserie chicken
4. Frozen fruit pops - cool and tasty, plus it counts as a serving of fruit
5. Toaster waffles with yogurt - Toaster doesn't heat up too bad and yogurt makes it cool

Cooling yourself:
1. Take a cool shower being sure to rinse underarms and groin well with cool water. It will cool you down very, very quickly and allow you to take the heat a while longer.
2. See a movie, go to the library, sit in a bookstore. All provide free A/C.
posted by karmaville at 4:28 PM on July 17, 2006

Best answer: Could you plug in the slow cooker outside? Or place a toaster oven outside?
posted by fish tick at 4:29 PM on July 17, 2006

Gazpacho is great, as are cold fruit salads. I've spent my life in the California desert and found that drinking plenty of cool water, along with wearing light-colored, loose fitting, long-sleeved clothing made of cotton and a hat is the best way to stay cool.

My grandmother used to wrap a napkin around the bottom of a salted icecube and give them to my sibs and I on real hot days. I'm in my 50s now and I still haven't found anything as refreshing as sucking on a salted icecube after spending the day out in the hot sun. Stay away from sweetened drinks but squeezing a lemon into your water is a nice touch.

It gets extremely hot here (123 degrees a couple of days ago) so we have a stove and sink alongside the BBQ on the patio and do most of our cooking out there this time of year.
posted by buggzzee23 at 4:30 PM on July 17, 2006 [1 favorite]

Some suggestions (nothing very earth-shattering nor new) at Wikihow : How to Cool Yourself Without Air Conditioning, How to Sleep Comfortably on a Hot Night.
posted by XiBe at 4:33 PM on July 17, 2006

Los Angeles is deadly right now.

This may seem completely obvious, but if you don't already have one, get a fan.

Also, if you want to freeze, get a small towel, soak it in water (or even ice water), wring it out a little and put it around your neck.

It gives me a fat guys in the steam room vibe, but you'll be so refreshed and cool that you won't care.
posted by redteam at 4:37 PM on July 17, 2006

Seconding the gazpacho tip. Garnishing it with avocado bulks it up a bit.

Also, cold yogurt soup: equal parts plain yogurt and chicken broth, with lots of crushed or minced garlic, chopped cucumbers and radishes, and cilantro or mint.
posted by goofyfoot at 4:59 PM on July 17, 2006

I usually end up doing cold cuts in the summer time...
Salad is a great option as well.
posted by Vantech at 5:11 PM on July 17, 2006

I've had two people swear to me that reading this story will chill you to the bone even in the midst of a heat wave. I haven't read it on account of global warming; I'm saving it up!
posted by kimota at 5:13 PM on July 17, 2006

My two favourite self-cooling techniques (along with the towel around the neck mentioned readteam) are touched on by karmaville, but I take a slightly more extreme approach:

1 - I put head under a strong running faucet on EXTREME COLD for a few minutes. Sooooo deeply satisfying after the initial shock and provides an immediate cool down.

2 - When I am not doing anything too active I put a bunch of ice cubes in two plastic bags (crushed ice is even more comfortable), wrap the bags in cloth napkins and stick 'em in my armpits.

Anwhere that there is significant blood flow close to the body's surface is a prime spot for this kind of low-tech direct cooling.

YMMV when it comes to such aggresive cooling in the groin: it takes a bit of blocking and immobility but if you can get an insulated ice pack up against those femoral arteries without freezing your precious parts all the better.
posted by persona non grata at 5:16 PM on July 17, 2006

Keep fresh oranges, strawberries, pears, apples, watermelon, etc. in the fridge.

Buy heart-healthy nuts like almonds, cashews, walnuts, etc.

Mix and match options from both groups, and you have a very healthy, easy-to-prepare snack or light meal.
posted by invisible ink at 5:18 PM on July 17, 2006

The hot commodity around here is quirt bottles. Mist yourself away. I even give myself a nice misting just as I lay down to sleep (with the ceiling fan on) and oh, that is just awesome.
posted by snsranch at 5:24 PM on July 17, 2006

Take warm as opposed to cold showers. It makes the air feel cooler.
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:33 PM on July 17, 2006

1. Lots of cold pasta or rice salads. As mentioned above, you can grill up a bunch of chicken and use it all week. Make up a bunch of rice and pasta, and keep that in the fridge too. Then just pick a culinary theme and toss in veggies. I've had great luck with a chicken-mango-cilantro-lime theme; greek (feta-tomatos-olives-red onions) is also pretty tasty. Use dressing, or season with olive oil and vinegar.

2. Rice with tuna fish and tomatoes. Drizzle a little olive oil and vinegar, chop up some tomatoes and instant meal.

3. And if you're going for the Spanish gazpacho route, don't overlook that other mainstay of the no-cook Mediterranean meal: melón con jamón. Just slice up some melon (honeydew or cantaloupe is fine) and serve with thin cut proscuitto or jamón crudo.
posted by matematichica at 5:38 PM on July 17, 2006

deli platter & stick bread supper!
posted by maloon at 5:40 PM on July 17, 2006

The microwave is your friend. It heats the food, not the environment. Next the toaster oven or the frying pan, but low heats. Boiling liquids is not good and of course the oven is just right out. Best of all, cold food -time for salad and gazpacho!
posted by caddis at 5:45 PM on July 17, 2006

Lots of fresh salads, interesting dips, varied cheeses, cold meats from a delicatessen, long cold glasses of ice tea, beaded with condensation.

Brrrrr.... (It's winter where I live).
posted by tomble at 5:51 PM on July 17, 2006

Enough with the gazpacho...how about ceviche?
posted by cabingirl at 6:33 PM on July 17, 2006

Put one of these homemade air conditioners in the kitchen then make whatever food you want.
posted by jldindc at 6:44 PM on July 17, 2006

Freeze some grapes (instant mini-popsicles). For pasta, couscous (boil water, add, then let sit 5 minutes).
posted by ejaned8 at 6:50 PM on July 17, 2006

^ Where's the ice water come from? If it's coming from your freezer, you are heating your home more than cooling it.
posted by knave at 6:53 PM on July 17, 2006

Sounds like the perfect time to explore raw foods. (I don't know much about raw foods, that's just the first link Google gave. Some foods are, I understand, more nutritious when cooked...)

Sandwiches are exactly what you need. Also melon, cucumber wedges with salad dressing/dip. Fancy salads with beans (cooked the previous night or weekend mornings) on them. Pickles. Popsicles, especially the all-fruit kind. If you're young enough to deal with the sugar, the little freeze-your-own ones in the plastic envelopes aer handy and delightful. Nuts and peanuts are good for protein. Hummus. Cheese, if you're into that. In other words, why cook at all? You'll be using electricity that's at such a premium.

I find that mineral (fizzy) water is better than flat water for replenishing me after being out in the heat.

Back when I was in college and riding the (Atlanta) buses to work in summer, I'd sometimes carry a damp washcloth in a ziploc bag to cool myself off with while walking to/from and waiting in the bus station. On truly stifling nights with no AC (not often), I'd use rubbing alcohol to cool my body. Probably horribly unhealthy, but so cooling.
posted by amtho at 7:10 PM on July 17, 2006

In the summer, I crave vietnamese summer rolls! I usually buy them, but you only need to cook (boil) the shrimp and soak the vermicelli in hot water. There's a recipe here.

Also, cold showers with peppermint soap (like Dr. Bronner's) is really refreshing.
posted by hooray at 7:40 PM on July 17, 2006

You can make a perfectly good pasta salad by cooking the pasta in the microwave. Put the pasta in a bowl with just enough water to cover, and start it for 10 minutes. Check for doneness and continue cooking in 1 minute increments until you're satisfied. You aren't going to end up with French Laundry perfect al dente, but it cooks up surprisingly well.
posted by TungstenChef at 8:25 PM on July 17, 2006

Another not-food idea: In Taiwan, where it got really hot and really humid pretty much every summer, I started 1) taking two showers a day and 2) filling the sink with cold water, then putting my face in and blowing bubbles. Doing the latter really made me feel cool for a couple minutes, although it didn't help the rest of my body much.
posted by jiawen at 9:29 PM on July 17, 2006

Get a little spray bottle and fill it with cold water. Spray yourself with the mist every so often while laying in front of the fan. Works for me!
posted by drstein at 9:53 PM on July 17, 2006

Half-fill a 2-litre plastic bottle with water. Freeze it. Before you go out, take it out of the freezer and top it up, so you have ice water to drink (at least until the ice melts). If you freeze a full bottle either the bottle will split or you'll be waiting too long for the ice to melt and will end up with tiny mouthfuls.
posted by essexjan at 2:06 AM on July 18, 2006

Get a George Foreman grill for cooking meats and vegs--heats up the kitchen much less than an oven. Put it outside and do all your cooking out on the patio with your microwave, grill, toaster oven, whatever.

Do laundry at night, and try to hang clothes out to dry in the sun instead of running the dryer.
posted by gg at 5:04 AM on July 18, 2006

A persian food classic:
Take yogurt, ice cubes, walnuts and raisins and mix together in a large bowl.

Find the lowest part of your residence like a basement. turn off the lights, sit still and chomp away. Think of breezy places.
posted by omidius at 10:30 AM on July 18, 2006

Blender drinks. Strawberries, some frozen lemonade or limeade concentrate, ice cubes. Tequila, vodka or rum is optional.

Gazpacho and good french bread.

If you make pasta salad, add frozen peas to cool the hot pasta quickly. Spiral pasta + tuna, black olives, red peppers, peas + your favorite dressing or 1 envelope of salad dressing mix and some mayo.
posted by theora55 at 11:14 AM on July 18, 2006

I like this cookbook, Cool Kitchen. My favorites (can't remember the actual names) are a) dates stuffed with herbed goat cheese and b) bulgar wheat with smoked chicken, olives, raisins and pine nuts (I make it without the chicken). Unusual flavor combinations, not for the timid palate.
posted by marsha56 at 11:31 AM on July 18, 2006

Two suggestions, one cooking and one not.

1) The Kuhn Rikon Durotherm thermal pans are great for not heating up your kitchen in the summer. The pans have integrated insulation, so you blast them with a little heat on the stove, and they continue to cook the stuff inside after you remove them from the heat. They are not, however, cheap (even for high quality cookware). You can, as I did, occasionally find them on sale at high end kitchen supply stores. It takes a little practice to get the timing down, but I've gotten good results. They are particularly good for grains, where the timing is not critical.

2) Chillow. (link goes to my full review.)
posted by Caviar at 9:52 PM on July 18, 2006

For the homemade air conditioner option I mentioned above, yes, you'd have to go to the store to get a bag of ice. Most people probably go past a store on their way home from work, so maybe this is not such a hard thing to do.
posted by jldindc at 9:46 AM on July 19, 2006

« Older Please help me find shirts which are interesting...   |   When and how to give my kid a computer? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.