I'm a Chef and These Are the Alternative Cookers I Use When It's Too Hot to Turn on My Oven
Cooking outside in the summer is idyllic. It's what most of my childhood memories are made of: grilled Long Island corn, piles of steamed clams, and bits of blackened marshmallow stuck all over my hands, face, and clothes. Cooking inside in the summertime is another story—one that is notably less idyllic as a professional cook who lives in an old house without central air conditioning. Making a full dinner in the summer without overheating my entire house is a feat I've only recently conquered; I had to learn the hard way that simply praying that the ceiling fan would keep my kitchen cool never seems to do the trick. Here's what I've learned:
Not every dinner in the summer is an elaborate backyard barbecue. Sometimes, you just need to get a meal on the table quickly. Turning the oven to 350 degrees every time you want to roast some chicken thighs or bake a piece of salmon isn't feasible, especially when it's even hotter and muggier inside than it is outside. After too many years of screaming "out of the kitchen!" in an overheated stupor to anyone who crossed my path, wiping beads of sweat with the back of my chicken-covered hand, I decided to switch up my summertime cooking strategy.
Lately, I've been relying on some alternative methods of cooking, specifically countertop cookers that emit less heat than a regular oven. By utilizing other gadgets, I'm able to make a healthy and filling dinner without turning on my traditional oven. More importantly, I'm able to keep my kitchen (and my temper) a little cooler. If you run into the same issue every year, try employing one of my go-to gadgets for cooking indoors during the dog days of summer. I've rounded up four of my favorites to get you started.