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Five Tips for Cooking in Hot Climates

October 24, 2009 Le Cordon Bleu Las Vegas 0 Comments

Las Vegas summers create a challenge for cooking at home. Not only does heat suppress an appetite, but the high temperatures make it difficult to withstand the heat in the kitchen. Follow these five tips for better cooking (and better eating) in hot climates.

#1 - Eat Food to Cool You Off

The benefits of water cannot be understated. Water rehydrates your body, thins your blood, aids digestion, and cools you off. Drinking your eight glasses of water and eating foods with high water content are your best bet in the summer. Look to foods such as melons, lettuce, and cold, non-dairy based soups.

Keep in mind that very cold foods and beverages may be refreshing at first, but foods such as ice cold beer and ice cream do not cool your body in the long-term. Your body will work less (and therefore produce less heat), if you consume food and drink that is room temperature.

Other foods that will decrease your body temperature include:

  • Spicy foods (i.e., chillies, peppers) promote sweating and therefore body cooling.
  • Sports drinks contain electrolytes that will help replenish sodium, potassium, and magnesium, which are lost during perspiration. Just don’t overdo it, since some of these drinks are loaded with sugar.
  • The receptors in your body respond to mint with a cool, tingly reaction. While your core body heat might not decrease, a bit of mint in your drink or dessert will have a nice cooling affect.

#2 - Meal Ideas that Don’t Require an Oven

Thaw pre-cooked shrimp with running water for a salad you won’t forget. Make a large batch of cucumber soup and dish up a cool cup for lunch. Port wine cheese tastes better at room temperature and makes an easy meal when you add deli meats, crackers, and sliced raw vegetables to a platter.

#3 - Meats that Require the Least Cooking Time

There is not an absolute when it comes to the fastest cooking meat. Cooking time depends on the size and thickness of the piece of meat, how thorough you cook the meat, and how you choose to cook the meat.

However, baking any kind of meat will almost always take the longest. This is especially true for a roast where you place the meat in an oven bag and bake for upwards of three and half hours. Likewise, baking chicken could take anywhere from 35 minutes to three hours.

The faster cooking methods include pan frying, deep frying, broiling, and grilling. Pan fry cube steak in eight minutes. Deep fry a fillet of fish in three to five minutes. Broil a one-inch steak in five minutes. Grill a chicken breast in eight minutes.

#4 – Take it Outside

As mentioned, pan frying and broiling are two methods that take the least amount of time in terms of cooking meat and fish. But turning on a hot oven or stove top is counter-intuitive to cooling your home, so take it outside and fire up the grill instead. Most all meats and fish can be grilled in about 10 minutes, but again, this depends on thickness. For example, an entire fish may take 20 minutes to grill.

#5 – Tomatoes and Blueberries

Fruits and vegetables that contain antioxidants will help to prevent cell damage from free radicals in the environment. These harmful elements that come from the sun, wind, and pollution all impact our bodies, including our skin. Spinach and berries are great sources of antioxidants.

Additionally, pink or red fruits and vegetables (think grapefruit and tomatoes) contain something called lycopene, which is known to have natural sun block qualities. This summer, eat your way to healthier skin and a cooler body.

This article is presented by Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Las Vegas. Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Las Vegas offers Le Cordon Bleu culinary education classes and culinary training programs in Las Vegas, Nevada. To learn more about the class offerings, please visit Chefs.edu/Las-Vegas for more information.

The jobs mentioned are examples of certain potential jobs, not a representation that these outcomes are more probable than others. Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Las Vegas does not guarantee employment or salary.

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