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Toaster Oven Magic

January 24, 2011

In the midst of our Sunday baking yesterday I turned to fill the preheated oven with a pan full of little breakfast kolaches. Sitting in their glass pan perfectly rounded and puffed beautifully, I was so eager to smell the scent of baking dough fill our house. Sadly, when I opened the oven door no waft of warm air hit my face and no soft red glow emanated from the bottom of the oven. For the third time in as many years our oven decided it had had enough.

If we didn’t have home warranty coverage I’m sure we would have thrown in the towel and purchased a fancy new oven long ago. We dream of some day setting the oven to 350 and having the thermometer read 350 instead of 475. We dream of making Saturday morning omelets that are evenly cooked instead of paper-thin on one side and thick on the other. Having an oven that is not the same age as me would be a remarkable thing, but we can make do and so we do.

With my pan of kolaches needing to be baked and a bowl of brownies ready to be mixed, I tried to think of creative alternatives to heat them. As I began to dream up-far fetched solutions, Regan stopped me and suggested he simply run out and buy a toaster oven. Somehow that guy has all the solutions. An hour later he returned toting our new appliance (and our dog’s new arch-enemy) and we made our kolaches and enjoyed some warm brownies last night. I went to work this morning happily carrying all my tasty and nicely prepared food for the day and not until it approached 5 did I, as I always do, begin to think about what to make for dinner. With no oven and no stove top I thought it might be a challenge, but then I came across this little gem of a recipe over at Smitten Kitchen. Sweet potato discs covered in cranberries, celery, goat cheese and pecans? Why yes, I do believe all that can fit in a toaster oven and yes, I do believe that will sit quite well in my belly.

After a bit of creative stacking in our tiny new toaster oven, swapping pans from rack to rack, as well as a bit of patience, we pulled the taste of Thanksgiving out of an appliance largely created to enjoy some frozen pizza (or at least that’s what I used to imagine a toaster oven’s primary use to be).

Celery, Dijon mustard and red wine vinegar were the only ingredients we lacked, but we had plenty of dried cranberries, shallots, parsley, goat cheese and pecans to make the topping perfect.

Sitting down tonight with a glass of wine and our dinner — tiny in size and giant in taste — I began to wonder how long we might be able to go without getting our oven fixed. Luckily Regan had already taken charge of getting that repair set and so after tomorrow morning we’ll have a functioning oven again or, if we’re lucky, a brand new one.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 25, 2011 9:49 pm

    What would you do without Regs? What would we all do without him?

    Glad the oven is working again!

    • Claire permalink
      January 26, 2011 6:20 pm

      I really have no idea what I’d do without that guy. Probably wouldn’t eat… 🙂

  2. maryannk permalink
    January 27, 2011 7:13 pm

    Sigh. I love your posts. They just make me happy and I wish I was drinking wine and eating brownies with you. Oh, and that other good healthy stuff too. 🙂

    We’re on our second stove here – when I moved, we just had Frank’s Nan’s old stove which had only two working rings and was otherwise dubious. We got a new, relatively cheap one that is OK but still quirky – some rings don’t get as hot as others, the oven is way off (though I am not sure if it’s too hot or too cold?) and whenever I try to do a slow-roasted whatever, the whole thing tends to short out after hour 2. Not to mention the whole thing is super small, as most things are here, so I’ve never been able to use the large pizza pan someone American gave us for our wedding. In fact, I don’t know anyone in town who has a large enough oven for a large-sized pizza pan. But we make do, right? Sometimes I long for the days when a wood stove or a dutch oven were enough. Or a fondue pot. Or a toaster oven.

    Enjoy. 🙂

    • Claire permalink
      February 1, 2011 12:57 pm

      I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to pour a glass of wine for you and have a chat. Curse that Atlantic Ocean in between us!

      Love hearing tales of the differences between your new life in Ireland and what you used to know living here.

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