Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

As you can see, last week I had the privilege of using a real, full size oven (brought here by a missionary). However, this is not usually the case. We have no oven at home, and in fact, the only oven that one normally sees here resembles a toaster oven (but fits under the stovetop). Yet, this does not stop me!

A weakness of ours is brownies. When there is a difficult decision to make, a long talk to be had... brownies are called for. In our last home, this was no problem - throw them in the oven. Here, that's not an option. But we can't do without brownies. I have found that cooking a very thin layer in our trusty cast iron pan, with a lid we picked up out of the treasure, ah, trash pile, is quite effective. They do have to be quite thin or they become dry on the bottom before the top is cooked, but still, the result bears closer resemblance to a pan of brownies than a large chocolate crepe!

Recently, I wanted to make sticky buns. I made a batch at a friend's house just before we came here, and they were so delicious the memory is still vivid three months later! The minister and his wife have a toaster oven (here referred to as a "fish oven" because that's the only thing a Korean would put in it), and as we were having dinner with them, I thought I could put some sticky buns in the oven when we arrived and have a fresh, hot dessert to share. But.... remember, Koreans don't bake anything. Thus, there are no baking pans. I briefly considered trying to make a pan out of tin foil, experimenting while I made the sauce. Then, as I watched the water, sugar and spices boil on the stove next to the rising balls of dough, I had a moment of inspiration! Hmm.... balls of dough.... look an awful lot like dumplings.... How do you cook dumplings? In boiling liquid, of course... On a whim, I tossed a ball into the pot. Quickly it expanded, coming to float the surface. I scooped it out and cut it open. Cooked all the way through. And delicious! So, into the pot the dough went, and we left for dinner with fresh sticky buns in our hands! They were a hit!

What else can you bake without an oven? Well, that got me thinking. Something I've always wanted to try making is doughnuts. I know, I know... unhealthy as it gets! But sometimes, you just don't care. So one night I took all the oil we had in the house and dumped it in the pot, googled "doughnut recipe" and off we went! Hot doughnuts... mmmm..... that first night, we dipped them in rice syrup. As they came out of the oil one by one, we looked at each other in awe. Gordon spoke first: "My mother never, ever, ever deep fried." "Mine either (giggle)." So good were they, we made more the next night. With half whole wheat flour, it can't be that bad, right? This time we rolled them in cinnamon sugar. Mmmm. We bought half a gallon of oil and swore that when it was gone, that would be the end of our deep-frying days......

1 comment:

Gord said...

And then we made some more the very next night!!!