Hot Weather Cooking – Tips to Beat the Heat in the Kitchen

By: Johanna Bergan – Education and Outreach Coordinator

Summer gets hot here in Iowa. There is much fun to be had what with swimming, biking, canoeing and more. It seemsheat that my family turns to the grill to eat frequently during this season. I love our grill, don’t get me wrong, but I simply cannot stomach the idea of eating from it every single day. Sometimes meals just need to come from the kitchen. Following are simple tips and ideas to help make cooking in the summer just as nutritious and delicious as the rest of the year while leaving the heat behind.

Eat raw foods
Fruits and vegetables can easily be eaten raw (meaning no heat needed) and there is a world of style outside of carrot sticks. Spend the time you save from cooking over the stove in cutting fruits and vegetables. Grated carrots and beets make a simple addition to salads and sandwiches. Matchstick turnips, carrots, zucchini, broccoli stalks and more work great to serve with dips or in a salad.

Put the heat outside
Some of my favorite gadgets are just perfect for summer cooking. A rice cooker allows you to cook rice, quinoa, millet and amaranth without standing over the stove. Better yet the rice cooker can plug in out on the porch – leaving you with good smelling food without the heat and steam inside the house.

Swap cold for hot in the A.M.
Are oatmeal, omelets, or pancakes a staple breakfast throughout the cold months? Welcome the season of chilled grains and smoothies in June. Swapping a green smoothie with an extra dose of protein for the bowl of whole grain hot oatmeal leaves you feeling cool from the get-go and just as satisfied. Many grains traditionally served hot can be modified to eat chilled. See the Overnight Cocoa Oats recipe below.
Check out our summer class calendar as it features several cooking classes especially designed for the hot summer months. Classes include Juicing and Smoothies, Spring Rolls, Presto! Pesto!, and more. I look forward to seeing you in the Co-op classroom soon.

Overnight Cocoa Oats
Recipe from Living Without
1 cup steel cut oats
2 tablespoons chia seeds
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup or honey
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange zest
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup milk of choice, more for serving
1 cup raspberries
¼ cup unsweetened flaked coconut
Place oats, chia seeds, maple syrup, cocoa, vanilla, orange zest, cinnamon and nutmeg in a glass jar or other container. Pour in milk and stir contents together well. Secure lid and refrigerate mixture overnight or up to 4 days. When ready to serve, divide soaked oats among serving bowls and top with additional milk, raspberries and coconut. Soaked grains keep in the refrigerator up to 4 days.
Raw Beet Salad
1 pound red beets, trimmed and peeled
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon minced shallot
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
2 ounces crumbled goat cheese
In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar and mustard. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to make the dressing. Add the chopped mint and shallots and mix well. Using a mandolin, grater or the shredding blade of a food processor, shred the beets. Add the beets to the dressing and toss well to coat. Let the beets marinate at least 15 minutes. Garnish with crumbled goat cheese before serving.
Reprinted by permission from Find more recipes and information about your food and where it comes from at