Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Cooking without an Oven

It's not exactly pioneering, but it is a pain.

Our oven has not worked for the last 6 months.  And the year and a half before that it was hit or miss. We rent, so we are not going to buy an oven. And our landlords are not really stingy or annoying.  It's just that I've adapted my cooking to not having a stove and rather enjoyed the challenge.  So we have not mentioned it.  I did finally mention it last week and they do have an extra working oven in the basement. It's just a matter of coordinating schedules to get it up here.

Roast chicken was the hardest to adapt. Ok, so it was not hard at all, it just took me the longest.  But, as it turns out, it's really easy to make a whole chicken on the stove top.  I cut it up (cut the thighs and wings off, and cut the body into half) and put it in my largest sauce pan with about a cup of chicken broth.  I set it on low and let it simmer for 2 hours.  It's nice and tender.  I also like to add seasonings to the broth, like garlic, onions, bay leaves, cilantro, salt and pepper.  It changes every time, but it adds some nice subtle flavor.  The reason this was a problem for me was because we love the skin crispy and it doesn't get crispy if you cook it that way. But... I found that once it was done, I could heat up my skillet with butter and lay down the pieces, a few at a time, skin down, and it got nice and crispy.  I also found that if the skin wasn't crisping, I could take it off and fry just the skin in the butter.  Easy peasy!!

Fish was another 'challenge'.  Not that it was a challenge really, but I just didn't know how to do anything but broil it.  My stovetop fish always ended up dried out.  Now, truth be told, I don't know how I used to bake it on the stovetop. But, I found that I can easily just fry it up in butter.  I melt some butter in my skillet and put the whole fillet in it.  I cover it and put it on really low.  It takes about 15 to 20 minutes.  I drizzle the butter over the fish and it's yumm-o!  And simple.

Bread.  Well, that is one that I have not managed on the stove top or oven yet.  But, I have been using this simple, yummy buttermilk biscuit recipe in my toaster oven and it seems to be an acceptable substitute.  I just bake them in my toaster oven.  That toaster has gotten a lot of use over the last few years!

We don't do much for pizza, but if I did, I think I could make smaller ones and put them in the toaster oven.

I've been able to do butterscotch bars and caramel corn as well. And sloppy cornbread works well in the toaster also.  Muffins are a pain, so I haven't done much with those.

But, it has been fun to be creative and find new ways of cooking things.

And hopefully, soon, I'll have a working oven again.

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