This time last year we still had a somewhat functioning stove (if you could call two burners on an old kitchen range a stove), so that winter weekends at the Red House could at least yield a bowl of soup.
Since I wasn’t particularly thrilled about having to grill outside in the snow, when I saw a plug-in “extra” burner on sale at the supermarket, I thought I’d give it a try.
This handy little gadget became our “flame,” and with a little bit of planning and lots of creativity on my part, was the answer to our lack-of-stove problem.
The first morning we used it, we plugged it in, and since not all of the electrical wiring is done in the house, we managed to blow out all the lights on the first floor! Sigh, yes, we realized too late that we couldn’t have the toaster oven and the “flame” going at the same time.
Consequently, Lynn went down to the basement and flipped the switch that had tripped. Meanwhile, I turned the toaster oven off and we continued “cooking.” Turns out though that we still needed to be a little conservative with anything else we had plugged in when the “flame” was on because once we turned it on high, the lights in the dining room started flashing on and off. Wow, disco this early in the morning!
I scrambled some eggs from Jones Family Farm, went outside to get some fresh chives that are growing in a big barrel by the side of the house, and voila, breakfast was finally served.
The other thing I discovered was that the “flame” was the perfect dimension for my wok. This resulted in my making a really wonderful shrimp curry with some green beans and onions and a couple of red grapes thrown into the mix, too.
The only draw back was that since I was working with one single burner, the rice I had made before I could make the curry was cold by the time we sat down to eat it. Minor details.
So far, I’ve cooked a lovely piece of salmon (which we ate with some baguette from Fairway and a creamy brie), macaroni and cheese, chicken every which way, and a really big pot of chili which we ate with a homemade pizza one night.
Obviously, I still need a kitchen with a real working stove and an oven. Oh yeah, I need a new fridge and a dishwasher, and counters and cupboards would be nice, too. Right now I’m entering every single contest that is offering these goodies, since that’s probably the only way I’m going to get an entire kitchen in the next few years.
However, I’m happy to know that we don’t have to rely solely on the grill to cook our food and that we’ll make it through the winter at the Red House just fine with this single burner.
So, yes, I would welcome any chef, or chef-wannabe to a Red House cooking challenge. One burner, no oven. Try me.