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Louisa read my mind this week! It’s so hot! I can’t even think of turning my stove/oven on. I love our slowcooker and use it frequently during the winter months, but never even considered it for the summer! Loving Louisa’s tips and I think I’ve been inspired to pull mine out of winter storage this week!
5 Tips for Summer Slow Cooking
Guest Post by Living Lou
It has incredibly hot in Toronto, like it feels like 110 degrees with the humidity. And let’s be honest, even as an avid cook, the last thing I want to do during the dog days of summer is turn on my oven or my stove top. I’m lucky because I have a barbecue and am able to do lots of cooking outside, but if you’re living in a small apartment or maybe aren’t quite experience with a barbecue, a slow cooker is the next best thing for summer cooking.
I know what you’re thinking, soup and stew in the summer? No way! But let me show you the wonders of a slow cooker. The best thing about slow cookers is that they don’t heat up your space the way a stove does, so you can be cooking food without heating up your apartment. It makes cooking in the summer a breeze– these chicken legs flavored with jalapeño have become a summer staple.
Here are five tips for summer slow cooking:
1. Use fresh herbs
Herbs are plentiful in the summer and they are a great way to brighten up any dish. Herbs are a delicate ingredient so save them for finishing off a dish at the end instead of throwing them in the slow cooker. Top slow cooked tacos with cilantro for a bite of freshness!
2. Shred everything
Braising meat in the slow cooker is a great way to pack a ton of flavor with minimal effort. Opt for fatty cuts like pork shoulder for melt-in-your-mouth pork carnitas or tacos. You can also braise chicken and beef for flavorful alternatives. A great tip is to add sauce at the end for a scrumptious meal, add your favorite barbecue sauce or a refreshing yogurt sauce (the acidity will help cut through the fat).
3. Cut ingredients into uniform size
Cutting all ingredients uniformly will ensure that particular elements are not overcooked. Cut chicken and hearty vegetables such as potatoes and carrots into similar sized pieces, while more delicate veggies like peppers and zucchini should be cut slightly bigger to avoid becoming mush and added in the last hour of cooking.
4. Save the dairy products until the end
So you want to add a touch of yogurt or cream to your dish? Save it until the end! Dairy will curdle in the slow cooker.
5. Don’t open the lid!
This may seem like common sense, but I felt the need to remind everyone: never open the lid. While it is tempting to take a look at what is cooking, this lets out the heat and results in additional cooking time – this may also take your meal into the heat danger zone and become a breeding ground for bacteria.