But, despite the cooling temperatures, I'm pretty sure we'll never really get truly cold here. One of my favorite things about living up north is that in the winter, I don't have to worry about food safety when it came to chilling things quickly. You never worry about putting hot soup into the refrigerator; you just stick it outside! It's like the largest walk-in cooler ever! I'm pretty darn sure I'll never be able to do that here.
That means I have to stick with using a chilling bat when I have hot liquid I want to cool down quickly. Putting a big pot of hot stuff into your refrigerator not only means that the liquid will take a long time to chill down but it will also warm up the other items in your chill box. That leaves a fair amount of time for little microscopic critters to get a foothold in your food. Down with food creepy crawlies! Away!
In restaurants, they use a chilling bat... or paddle... or wand. The gizmos go by many names, but they all have the same purpose: to help cool down your hot liquids quickly so that they spend less time in the temperature "danger zone." Here is a picture of a chilling paddle from the Webstaurant store. Do you know food service suppliers want over twenty bucks for such a device? Crazy!
But, don't you fret, because for less than $1.50, you can have your own chilling bat. Just carefully wash and remove the label from a 2-liter soda bottle. Fill it with water until it's about an inch shy of being full, put the cap on, and store in your freezer. The next time you make a pot of something that needs to be chilled down quickly, you've got it made! I reuse mine over and over. Just wash the outside between each use and replace in the freezer.
Not a bad deal until I can make my way back to the land of real winters...