It’s hot. My dog is hot. My cat is hot. I’m hot. We’re in the middle of a heat wave in the Northwest. Temps are in the 90’s, pushing 100, and some places over . You may think that is not all that hot. But, in this part of the country, the majority of us do not have air conditioning, and we’re just plain not used to it. As I’ve mentioned before, anything above 60 degrees is hot to me. I’m a heat wimp. I will own those words. Heat Wimp! That’s me.
Add to this, there are big fires in British Columbia right across the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the smoke is drifting here. There are no clouds in the sky but it looks like a thick layer of fog is out there. The mountains of Olympic National Park have disappeared…
When the sun comes up in the morning, it is red…
…and when the moon rises at night it is red.
The color of the light on the ground has an orange cast to it. It looks like…smog. Social media and the news are calling it Smokezilla. We are told that the air quality in Bejing is better than here right now…lots better.
It will pass, but I try not to be out too long except to keep the garden irrigated, and give Gretapie and I a stretch of our legs, until it does.
And pie during this time?
Well, I’m not turning my ovens on until this weekend when it is predicted to cool down…some. I’ll be using these hot tips and tricks to keep my doughs…and me…cool. If you are in a hot zone, you might find some of them helpful, too.
- If you have a crockery bowl, pop it in the freezer, and then make your dough in it. It will help the fats stay cool.
- Try double bowling with a layer of ice inside the bottom bowl or set out frozen gel packs or homemade ice packs on a towel and set your bowl on top of it.
- Dip your hands in ice water or hold ice cubes to cool them down when you have to touch the dough. Butter starts melting at 59F.
- Freeze your butter and grate it. Measure and sprinkle flour from the freezer over it.
- Put the bowl of dough in the fridge or freezer for a bit if the fats are melting. Finish up when they feel chilled.
- Preheat AFTER you have constructed the pie. Let it chill in the fridge while you wait.
- Keep the lights off in the kitchen if possible. They add degrees of heat.
- Keep windows covered during the days and open at night to let the hot air out and the cool air in.
- Use a spray bottle with scented water (my current favorites are rose and lavender) to spritz on your face and skin to keep chill. It’s quite refreshing!
- Keep hydrated. Drink lots of ice water flavored with mint, lemon verbena, or lemon balm leaves that you can slightly bruise with your hand (just give them a firm handshake before popping in the pitcher or glass).
- Make some lemonade.
- …or a gin and tonic!
And please remember to take care of our furry four-legged family members, too. Be sure that their water bowls are full and replenished through the day and night, that they have shady places to be if they are in the great outdoors, and never ever leave them in the car with windows up…or down…during the “dog days of summer.”
Rule #1: Keep Everything Chilled, Especially Yourself!