July 05, 2012

The Importance of Chilling

If you are anything like me, you are doing everything you can to stay cool right now. I'm not a summer girl to begin with and the fact that our upstairs air conditioning has been out for the better part of this week isn't helping.

On a regular non-heatwave Summer day, I do my best to plan meals that don't require a lot of afternoon/evening time in the kitchen. Now I'm avoiding them like the plague.

We have a commercial range. Not a commercial style range. A COMMERCIAL range. Before you go getting all envious, let me tell you that a) it keeps my kitchen about 10 degrees warmer than the rest of the house b) I don't care what kind of stove you have, right now I'd trade with you and c) the oven went out 2 days ago . Yep the dollars are just flying out of my wallet. You know what they say. No good vacation goes unpunished. What? That's not the saying? Oh. Then it must be Wanna hear God laugh? Made a budget. Ha ha, indeed.

One of my favorite ways to beat the summer dinner heat is to bake a big batch of chicken in the morning and use it for 2 or 3 meals that don't require cranking up the oven in the evenings. Big salads are my favorite. I love making dressings. My mini food processor makes it super easy. It's a worthy investment. This Balsamic Vinaigrette is a favorite. You just can't have goat cheese in a salad without balsamic. If you suggest differently, I'll call you a liar.

A boule baked earlier in the day served with some roasted garlic is never turned down by my
carb-o-tarian family. They're smart like that.

Since I'm in desperate need of cool dinner suggestions,  I'm hoping you'll share what you're serving for dinner to beat the heat. In exchange for this info I'm happy to share my Balsamic Vinaigrette recipe. You will say goodbye to the bottle of Kraft forever.

Balsamic Vinaigrette
 1/4 c balsamic vinegar
1 large garlic clove
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3/4 c olive oil

Put in mini processor and blend.

Yep. That's the recipe. Do you feel cheated because it's so easy?
If you don't have the processor you can mince your garlic finely and mash it up with the salt and your knife to break it down a bit, put it all in a jar with a lid and shake away.


  1. I love balsamic vinegar so thanks for the recipe. I'm no help because I hate to cook, period. Barbeque perhaps? I want to see a photo of your stove please.

  2. perfect timing. I have been thinking of tinkering with my usual balsamic vinaigrette to kick the caprese salad up a notch. Thanks!...ooooh, and totally gonna be making the bread!!!

  3. Please can you send your heatwave to Buckinghamshire, UK. As you probably realised when you were visiting London, we're not really having much of a summer at all here in the UK. Apparently it's all the fault of the jet stream! Hmmm. Love the sound of that dressing. I'll definitely give it a go if it ever gets warm enough here to eat salad again! Fiona x

  4. Jen, we are on the same page. I do my best not to turn on the stove or the oven. Shrimp boil, a quick few minutes with a burner on, and lots of salads. We also love gazpacho. It goes well with...boiled shrimp and salads:) Ice cream...lots of ice cream. It is too hot to fire up the grill here. Oh the bread looks lovely and delicious. Try to stay cool.

  5. Crock pot or bbq- best ways to make meals at our house during the summer- looks like it will be in the double digits here. Going to use your dressing with chicken in the crock pot-I was going to look for one and well-Thank You! Stay Cool!

  6. sounds yummy...ur trip looked marvelous

  7. sounds yummy...ur trip looked marvelous

  8. Your salad looks and sounds great! I hate cooking in the summer also. I try to do everything in the morning also. Not a fan of the heat. :)

  9. That salad looks delish. I have been beating my head against the wall for weeks now because I don't feel like cooking- too damn hot and nothing sounds good to me but fruit and raw/cold veggies. Well and ice cream too. Maybe we will just have root beer floats for dinner...

    Stay cool sis- sleep on a bed of popsicles if you have to! Or just move in to my sunroom....

  10. Just put a chcken in the oven before I sat down for a minute...using it for tacos later...we are on the same page. Thanks for the recipe...sounds like a keeper.

  11. yes less oven use the better!! Loved your salad ideas!!

  12. That recipe sounds wonderful, Jen. I do the same thing- cook chicken and then use it for three or four days. My favorite is chicken diced with mayo added to taste, sea salt, fresh ground pepper, blue cheese crumbles, pecans or cashews, dried cherries and a few sunflower seeds with a bit of tarragon thrown in. YUM...guess what I am going to make tomorrow after I wrote this out?

    I will try your dressing, too! xo Diana

  13. We are big fans of BLT's especially on good crunchy toasted bread. Lately I have been adding sliced bread & butter pickles to them. Also I am loving grape & cherry tomatoes browned in butter on pasta with grated Romano. Loved your Paris adventure despite the mishaps or maybe loved you more because of your honesty !! Joining one of my daughters for a week there the end of this month & your pictures inspired me

  14. Hi Jen I still have meat in my freezer from the beginning of May


    when I did my grocery day meal prep- it sure has lasted a long time and now that we are going veg it will last a bit longer yet lol

    I found a cracker pizza recipe- my oven was on for a total of 10 minutes

    This is another 10 minute oven recipe and real yummy Bean n Corn Burritos

    Another tip I have is to get a counter top Pizza Maker I have done potato skins in it, frittatas and pizzas both store bought and hand thrown if u click on the recipes page on my blog it will come up on the 3rd page it is the coolest thing
    Hope these add to your ability to stay cool in the kitchen... it's so hot and windy here we can't even grill.

  15. That looks wonderful. I'm writing down that balsamic recipe right now.

  16. Please send those salad tongs to me pronto.
    And a loaf of that gorgous bread.
    Thank you very much.

  17. yep like everyone says it looks very yummy, especially the bread,what do you do with the roasted garlic ? spread it on the bread ? dont bake bread would love to start so maybe you need to share that recipe too ;-), my favourite salad is beetroot and goatscheese with balsamic syrup.

  18. that salad looks delicious. my daughter loves balsamic so i need to make this for her. stay cool!!

  19. I always make my own salad dressing, and one of our favorites is a balsamic dressing just like the one you posted! I don't use a food processor though - I just put the ingredients in a jar and shake. SO much better than any bottled dressing and much healthier, too! No chemicals or preservatives. ;-)

  20. It's 2 am (and I am up, why? I don't know...) and I just realized that you WENT ON YOUR VACATION!!!!! I was just looking through some pictures and will have to come back in the morning to POUR through them some more!!! YAY!!!!

  21. I like to keep kitchen cool in the summer months too! Your salad looks yummy. I love balsamic on salads, in fact it is one of my favorite dressings.

    I am about to make a Greek pasta salad for the week.

    Stay cool.

  22. Yum. That bread looks amazing! What type of oil did you use? Olive?

  23. that looks yummy. and i'm so sorry about your oven. :(

  24. Recipe look great folks. Richard from the Amish settlement of Lebanon,pa

  25. That looks amazing! I am going to use the recipe, we love balsamic vinegar here!


Thank you for taking the time to say hello today! I always love to hear what you have to say.