Or your refrigerator.
Credit: Getty / Big Cheese Photo

Whether you are lucky enough to live in a place with central air, or have window units humming away, or suffer through the season with fans and open windows, one thing about the hottest part of summer is that the last thing you want to do is turn on an oven or crank up the stove. Summer is a time for light dishes that are more assembly than cooking, and if you are going to cook with a heat source, it is all about grilling outdoors so that you do not do anything to hot up the inside.

But that doesn't mean that on the nights the grill stays cold you are relegated to salads. When I want a lovely hot meal in the middle of summer? I grab one of my favorite appliances... the sous vide.

Why sous vide cooking makes so much sense in the summer

Sous vide cooking, circulating a hot water bath around food that has been vacuum-sealed, is a gentle cooking method, and the best part? It tends to top out between 125-180 degrees, which means it is not even hot enough to create steam. You can cook sous vide all day long and never heat up more than the food inside it. Proteins cook to their perfect internal temperature; eggs can get poached, soft-, or hard-boiled; garden-fresh vegetables can cook to just toothsome in their own juices. Rice can cook to perfect fluffiness, potatoes to tender perfection.

You can also use sous vide to re-heat frozen dishes like soups, stews, or braises straight from frozen, so you can cook dishes on cooler days, vacuum seal before freezing, and then just pop them in your sous vide to warm up before dinner. Add a bag of rice, potatoes, or polenta, and your whole meal is cooking at the same time.

While it is true that most proteins cooked sous vide will need a quick sear in a hot skillet to brown and crisp the exterior before serving, you are talking about a maximum of 10 minutes total of having your stove on between heating the pan and searing your dinner. And the the best part is no need to rest the meat afterwards, you are ready to serve!

Summer sous vide recipes to try tonight

Ready to rock? Check out some of our favorite summer sous vide recipes to get you started:

BONUS: If you love your cocktails, use your sous vide to infuse your booze!