Friday, February 10, 2012
Loaf Roast and Lemon Cake
Yeah, I know. 65 years old and still playing with my food...
Despite a very busy day yesterday trying, I had yet to test my stove top oven to failure. It cooked perfectly everything I threw at it. O, it hiccuped a bit on the toast, but what oven wouldn't? Ovens aren't designed for toast, unless you are one of those characters who likes to burn their fingers for sport, in which case go right ahead.
And the croissants? Well, they're my cross to bear.
But I was inclined to test the load this thing would carry. Call it perverse. Call it a challenge. As luck would have it, I had half a roast in the freezer, so I set it out last night to thaw, and this morning I tossed it in a bread pan with some carrots, onion, and a large potato all cut up. This is precisely the sort of thing I used an oven for back in the day, when I was gallivanting in my 5th wheel - preparing something hearty in quantities large enough that I could cook one morning and eat for three days. I even cooked while driving, arriving to find the smell of garlic, beef gravy, and roast potatoes about knocked me off the steps when I opened the door.
I wish I could claim credit for that bit of originality. But I learned it at the virtual feet of the Master - Reg "Fireball" Hunnicutt, he of legend. A rare hero for these troubled times. If you want to learn more, look him up: http://reghunnicutt.com/rv/ . Try to be appropriately reverent.
Inspired once more, I plotted this morning to show this stovetop wonder its comeuppance. "So, Hot Shot," sez I. "You think you're an Oven. We'll see."
Okay. The comeuppance was mine. The roast did just fine.
When I checked after an hour and a half, it was a bit dry, so I added a can of consomme and put it back in. After another hour I dined like a king. The meat was falling apart, melded with the broth. Perhaps a little salty. If I wasn't such a cheap bastard, I might have bought a fatter cut, and avoided having to add soup in the middle of the ceremony. Alas, like Popeye, I am what I am.
And all's well that ends well. I'll get two big meals out of this, and a number of sandwiches.
A glass of wine and a short nap later, I was feeling expansive. Went down to the store and picked up a box of Duncan Hines lemon cake and some dark chocolate frosting. I'm really not a cake eater, but all this success called for something special. Who am I to turn down advice from Marie Antoinette?
I was surprised to find the mix called for two 9 inch loaf pans, but with a little squeezing I got both of them in there and left to roam the Internet. Half an hour later I returned, brimming with confidence.
Hmmm. What's that smell? Is something burning?
It was the cake, of course. Or the bottom part of it, anyhow. Turns out you can't crowd things like that, or heat won't circulate. It builds up at the bottom, and matters get pretty crusty darn quick. It was finished cooking though, and I managed to disinter most of it. With careful trimming and a little creative frosting, it almost looked respectable. Showing the usual uncanny timing, a friend of mine turned up soon after, wolfed down a piece, and pronounced it fittin'. So the damage was superficial. When I dug it from the pan, it looked deader than hell. But, like most of us, it just needed a good home.
Well, that's it, f-f-folks. I'm packing this miracle away in the box it came in. Next time I get it out will probably be on the road somewhere. There's no longer much point in testing it out in my driveway.
I recommend this thing to anyone who hasn't got anything better. Certainly it opens up possibilities to vary the usual stovetop fare. With a bit of care it will feed you as well as your favorite greasy spoon cafe.
If anyone takes a notion to try it out, I also recommend you get a couple of small pans of a size that will encourage proper function. You can't put a 12 inch pizza in there whole unless you want to burn it. But at the very least, if you carry fixings and a spot of starter, you'll always be able to have biscuits of a morning. Unless the pigs get 'em first.
Here's URLs for the stuff:
As for that last piece of cake, I'm taking it over to my brother. It won't kill him. I'm beginning to think nothing will.
Posted by Bob Giddings at 10:47 PM