Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Must-Have (For Me) Summer Cooking Tools

On sweltering hot days when my poor, ancient air-conditioner can't keep up, and my husband is hounding me to close the blinds, curtains and windows to keep the sun and hot air out, it pains me a little to fire up my gas range. I usually adore it, but in the middle of summer, it becomes uncomfortably obvious how much heat the thing gives off.

Bring on the BBQ (and by BBQ, I mean the Canadian version, not the BBQ of the deep south, nor whatever Australians consider BBQ. I only know that my version and the Australian version differ somehow). My gas grill has to have a burner on the side on which I can steam veggies, cook beans from scratch, or fry fish in the relative comfort of the outdoors, thus preventing my house from overheating any more than it already is.

I've also discovered a new way to use the gas grill as an oven, without burning the things I am trying to roast: my Lodge Logic Cast Iron Reversible Grill/Griddle is heavy enough to handle the heat and makes perfect roasted vegetables every time. Halved new baby potatoes are my family's new favourite thing, and with the griddle on the back half of the BBQ, I still have room to grill burgers and steaks up front, or even do a roast on indirect heat by leaving one of the burners off.

Today I made another version of chickpea and carrot soup from scratch, even with the humidex up high, thanks to the side burner that simmered the beans all morning. Coming up: grilled pizzas to use up ingredients that went into bush pies and Denver sandwiches during our long weekend camping adventure. Soup and pizza, without turning on the range or the oven. My kind of summer cooking.

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