What Do You Cook When The Summer Heat Doesn't Come?

This summer has thrown us for a bit of a loop. We're used to sweating our way through June, July and August in the sweltering Chicago humidity, sticking with cold dishes as much as possible and refusing to turn on our oven for months. But this year, things have been a little different.

Why? Well, it just hasn't been very hot.

With temperatures staying in the 70s much of the time, we've only been moved to turn on our little window air conditioner on a couple of occasions and we're spending more time in the kitchen.

We imagined our summer would be filled with panna cotta and stovetop desserts (which would have been wonderful), but instead we've been cranking up the oven and baking up a storm, pouring our fresh-picked summer fruit into pies, muffins, crumbles and buckles.

The unusually cool weather also has us lingering over the stove a little longer at dinner time. Being grill-less in the city usually makes us grumble a bit as we throw our dinner on the grill pan, cooking it as quickly as possible and retreating to a cooler room. But this year, our Dutch oven is getting a lot more summertime attention than usual. We've even made a couple of seasonal stews. It's all just a little bizarre.

But things may be returning to normal soon as the forecast has temperatures reaching into the 90s over the weekend. We'll believe it when we see it. And we have our panna cotta recipe ready just in case.

Are you experiencing an unusually cool summer too? How has it affected your cooking?

Related: The Taste of Summer: What Says "Summer" to You?

(Image: Flickr user jessicafm, licensed under Creative Commons)

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