Is the year half over, or has the adventure just started?

June 30th is the midway point in the year, with July 1st starting the downhill of the current yearly cycle. If you look at the year as half over, then you most likely have already started planning Christmas and New Year 2022 events. If you take the position of the yearly cycle has only partially started, it frees you up to see where the 2021 adventure can take you. I think most people are in the middle of the two, kind of seesawing back and forth depending on the moment and topic. I think that can be applied to food as well. Is the day or meal half over, or is one part of your brain looking ahead to dessert or deciding what to fix later? I am definitely the latter, always thinking about food and what I can create with what is in the pantry and fridge.

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Have you decided what you are fixing for the 4th of July? I know for sure I am making ice cream (time to get back into the tradition my dad started when we were kids), most likely corn on/off the cob of some sort, and maybe even toss ribs or tri-tip in the smoker. I don’t know what the weather is where you are, but in the Central Valley it is HOT. I love cooking and baking (but dislike the obligatory dishes that go along with it) and the extended heat creates challenges to find ways of prepping or preparing meals without spending a lot of time in a hot kitchen. I’ve switched my bread proofing and baking schedules a little, so that the majority of the bulk rise is done overnight and baking can be done early in the day to mitigate heat buildup in my small kitchen. Canning is also challenging as the hot water bath turns half the house into a sauna. I think if I ever won the lottery, I would use part of the money to make an outdoor kitchen just for that reason. I’ve also started utilizing my collection of small appliances and the sous vide. The toaster oven can handle pretty much everything needed for a dinner for two, and the electric grills work well enough for a quick burger. Nothing quite replaces using the BBQ for certain things, but sometimes you don’t want to brave 100+ for just a few small chunks of animal meat.

Do you have a favorite small appliance? Several? Which ones make life easier for cooking at the end of the day? I love the Instant Pot and the Zest rice cooker. My Anova sous vide is another one that is becoming a regular part of the kitchen crew, plus the zippy red toaster oven (adult Ez-Bake). We actually had to buy a new coffee maker (Ninja) because the old one up and kicked the bucket a month ago. Talk about major researching and debate as to what to purchase! The hubby wanted certain features, and I just wanted something that would make coffee. In the end, we found one that made us both happy campers. Now, the big discussion on the weekend is drip or pour-over.

Stay cool, keep hydrated, and drop a comment on which kitchen gadgets you love or hate.

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