Sunday, December 4, 2011

improvising, december without an oven

I've mentioned often that I am not a baker. It's not that I can't bake. It's just that baking is neither where my interest nor talent lies. But baker or not, I do use my oven a lot. I should rephrase that; I did use my oven a lot. Our oven has been performing badly for months, and only just before Thanksgiving (with 20+ people expecting a beautiful roast turkey to come out of my oven) did I realize why. It was heating a little, very little, with no air circulation, and this is a convection oven. Yikes! I had thrown out two different oven thermometers recently thinking they were not working. Apparently, they were working just fine; it was the oven that had gone south. 

To make matters worse, if that were possible, and as it turns out is possible, my oven is not that easy to service. It's not very old, but it's also not very common, so it's taken weeks to get someone to agree to look at it, and we still are up in the air about actually knowing if it can be fixed. So here we are in December, more family dinners, the dream of my (once a year only) holiday baking and a chance to use some newly acquired almond and coconut flour recipes, and of course, we do need to eat!  This time of year, at least in our house, eating implies roasting. I roast beets, sweet potatoes, squash of all denominations, onions, garlic, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, turnips, carrots, and meats galore. That is I would if I had an oven. Again, Yikes!

In reality, I guess I sort of have an oven. The clock works. The broiler works. And given 3 or 4 hours with the oven set at 450F, the temperature will get almost up to 300. Of course, there are hot spots you wouldn't believe, and I'm not running this stinking oven around the clock. 

Broiling meat is an option. It means using cuts of meats we don't often eat, those that will cook quickly enough to not be burned to a crisp on the outside. I like slow roasting or braising, especially when it's cold, so I usually focus on bigger pieces of meat and dense vegetables.

These chicken legs are a rarity in my kitchen. I bought a package yesterday, partly because they were on sale at our natural foods store, and partly because the kids like them. My plan was to toss them in the freezer. Of course, I had hoped, silly me, that our appliance repair duo would get the thing up and running when they were back out yesterday. That didn't happen, it had been a long day, and I had nothing planned for dinner. We decided on broiled chicken legs and gluten-free Dutch apple pie, another food that rarely makes it into our house. A weird dinner for sure.

chicken legs, seasoned and ready for the broiler
I seasoned the chicken directly on a baking sheet with Frontier Herbs savory seasoning mix, Spice Hunter Chef's Blend, sea salt, and a bit of olive oil. Coconut oil would be better for baking. I was being lazy. The seasoned chicken was in the broiler, set on low,  about 20 minutes. I turned it regularly as it browned.

ready to eat, simple and very good
This was a serious lazy cook's meal after a busy day. We didn't even add a vegetable, though sweet potatoes would be great, as would steamed broccoli. Dessert, which we have maybe 3 times a year, was a store-bought apple pie. This is a first. I virtually never buy anything ready-made. It was almost completely grain free (a bit of rice starch) and sweetened naturally without sugar. GK was less than fond of it, but he eats this kind of stuff more often, way more often, than I. It's been over a year since I ate anything calling itself a pie.

Mine is the sad little piece alone on the plate. His is 3 times the size and loaded with whipped cream. 

I have to share a recent breakfast, note my computer keyboard in the background. More about my versions of Paleo breakfasts soon. These shrimp, by the way, are available frozen from Wellness meats. They're from the US west coast, safe, and responsibly caught.
scampi for breakfast


  1. Yummy foods, there are so many foods, whose name I don't know. But is very tasty. disaster food aid

  2. where's your slow cooker? My oven broke once, and I had to use the slow cooker ALL the time! :-)

  3. Confession time, Carrie. I am seriously inept at using my slow cooker for anything that doesn't turn into a version of a soup, a stew, or a pot roast.

    I'll have to learn.

  4. :-) Yay!! maybe my cookbook can help! lol :-) And I agree, it's really easy to overcook stuff.. i've learned most meats (if you're making a roast/ chicken, etc..)don't need to be cooked more than 3 hours on high or 6 hours on low... which means, it's actually easier to use it on the weekends to cook things like that, so you can cut it off when it needs to stop cooking. I don't use it much during the week, but I can prepare meats on the weekends, so they are easy and ready to eat during the week! :-)

  5. Looking forward to your book, Carrie.
    Sometimes when I don't plan ahead (silly me, I rarely plan ahead,) I pop a frozen chuck roast into the crock pot as is, no thawing. I toss in some carrots, onions, celery, and garlic cloves along with a couple ounces of water and some sea salt. Then I set it on low and head out the door. Luckily, I work 7 hour days and the school is 2 miles from my home, so it works out quite nicely.


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