Keep Cool Without AC! (Strawberry, Basil, Lime, Gin Sorbet)

With temperatures of at least 93F and a RealFeel (whatever that is) of 98F, New York is hot today. Some people are lucky enough to have central air conditioning or electricity included in their rent. I am not one of those people.

When you combine cheapskate+hot weather+air-conditioner-that-is-an-electricity-hog-no-matter-how-energy-efficient, you get someone who goes to great lengths to avoid using the air conditioner. First, it’s expensive. Second, it’s expensive. Third, it’s expensive. Fourth, I managed to survive 4 years in Western Samoa with an air conditioner we turned on only when stateside friends came to visit. I don’t even remember if it worked. I guess it must have, but I’m not sure.
Therefore, I present to you:
 Keep Cool Without AC! 

(1) Close your blinds and doors.
Close any blinds or curtains during the day to block out sunlight. Close all inside doors, include cabinets and closets, to keep the cooler air in from overnight. You can open them at night when it’s cooler again.

(2) Open the windows at night. 

Open windows at night so that cooler air blows through overnight. Create airflow by opening windows at opposite ends of the house or apartment. Open all interior doors, including cabinets and closets, to keep daytime heat from being trapped.

(3) Use fans.
Use a box or portable fan and position it to blow cooler air from down near the ground up towards the warmer air that collects near the ceiling.

(4) Use ice to make your own AC.
Make a DIY air conditioner. Put a 2 liter bottle of frozen water in a bowl (to catch drips) and position a fan to blow on them. Freeze the bottles once they’ve melted and re-use them.

(5) Don’t make more heat.
Don’t use the stove or oven when possible. Eat out, eat cold food, or use the microwave. Turn off the computer, the TV and other electronics when you’re not using them, as they and their power-adapters give off a lot of heat.

(6) Avoid steam and humidity.
During day hours, don’t take a hot shower or wash dishes in hot water. If you must cook, make sure potlids fit tightly.

(7) Turn off the lights.
Lightbulbs give off a lot of heat.

(8) Sleep cool.
+”Egyptian Method”: dampen a sheet or bath towel that is large enough to cover you with cool or cold water. Use the wet sheet as your blanket
+Wet socks: Dampen a pair of cotton socks in cold water and wear them to bed. Cooling your feet helps lower your overall body temperature.
+Take a soft ice pack to bed with you. Slip it under your neck, which also helps lower your overall body temperature.
+Freeze your pillowcase. Put your pillowcase in a giant Ziploc bag and store in the freezer during the day.

(9) Cool off.
+Take a cold bath, shower, or sponge bath and don’t dry off completely. Evaporation will help cool you down.
+Dampen your face with a washcloth or towel.
+Run your wrists under cold water.
+Eat cool, not icy, foods. Icy foods require your body make extra heat in order to process it.
+Get naked.


I really feel bad about the name of this dessert. I mean, I don’t like just naming recipes by what’s in them, but I couldn’t figure out what to leave out of this title. I did leave out “sugar,” but that’s about it. Everything else is such a key player, and it makes for such a delicious and interesting sorbet. It’s perfect for a quick dessert, a hurried snack or (don’t tell) breakfast on the run or dinner in your underwear.

You can, of course, substitute another fruit, herb, or alcohol in here, but it won’t be the same. Maybe you’ll discover something even better.

Feed Others: Feed them just this, or have a light, hot weather meal with shrimp ceviche and a cucumber, radish, and orange salad.

Strawberry, Basil, Lime, Gin Sorbet
Original Recipe
Makes 1 pint. Allow at least 15 minutes preparation time and 30 minutes of chilling time. 

1 lb strawberries

1/2 cup sugar
1 lime
4 basil leaves
1 tablespoon gin
Hull and slice the strawberries and toss them with the sugar. If you have time, allow them to sit for anywhere from an hour to four hours to allow the berries to macerate a bit. Juice the lime. Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth, without any chunks.
Strain through a sieve, stirring if necessary to lift the seeds off the bottom of the sieve. Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and freeze according to your ice cream maker’s directions.

Posted from: New York

This entry was posted in Advice Column, Dessert, Frozen, Gluten Free, New York, Samoa. Bookmark the permalink.

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