Monday, May 17, 2010

A slice of humble pie!!

As most of you know by now, I am ovenless and only slightly bitter about it! I have been eager to experiment with different cooking methods in order to produce some of the foods that are difficult to obtain here. Some of the recipes are just plain daunting and so I have put a few to the side for when I have helping hands. But... I was not about to give up on hope that homemade bread could be in our weekly menu. Yeaterday I read several articles and recipes on steamed bread. This is a technique used for hundreds of years to create bread while lacking an oven. Traditionally you place a hearty bread dough in a tin can with a sealed lid, then submerge the tin can in water 2/3 up the outside edge of the can. This water would be in a large pot with crumbled tin foil on the bottom to keep the bread from burning on the bottom. Then you stick a lid on the pot and barely simmer the water for about two hours to produce a loaf of heavy/dense bread. It was usually made of rye, barley and such and served with beans on the open range! I however, do not have access to "fancy" flour nor do I have a huge tin can. What I really wanted were fluffy sweet dinner rolls. That is what I longed to make along side a big old pot of chicken noodles! Well, I have yet to make the noodles, but the bread that I conjured up turned out to be a success! Taylor and I enjoyed fresh steamed bread last night with our homemade chicken strips and homefries. We slathered on real butter, which we bought for the first time since living here, and let them melt in our mouths as we delighted in the wonders of the steaming tray! Ahhhhh.

This morning we finished off the rolls by toasting them and, yet again, soaking them in real butter. They were so good... I was completely impressed with my accomplishment in the kitchen that I decided to venture into cookies today. With very limited baking supplies, I settled upon simple sugar cookies. I whipped up the batter in no time and set it in the freezer to firm up. My first attempt to "bake" them would be with the steamer. I was almost too hesitant to venture down that road though in concerns for the dough. I feared the dough would ooze through the small holes in the steaming tray before being able to firm up a bit. Well, upon the trial of the first cookie... my fears were realized. The dough began to goop up and ooze down before turning into the steamy spongy cookie I had hoped for. Oh well... I tried. On to the next method. I had seen several articles for skillet cookies... Of course all of them were more substantial doughs, but I was determined. So I grabbed the steamer lid and put a few balls of cookie dough in the pan atop the barely lit burner and topped it with the lid. I waited... and peeked.. and waited and peeked. A few minutes later I grew anxious for my buttery goodness of a cookie and grabbed the spatula. I removed the cookies to a cool plate and lifted and edge. RATS! Burnt. Oh well... I tried. So now my only resource left was the microwave. I am not a big fan of this contraption... I typically use it for popcorn and warming Corin's milk... other than that I use it as storage space by placing other objects atop the thing. But... I had recently created a pretty tasty chocolate cake in the nuker... so I thought I would give my cookies a chance too. It worked... the cookies baked and in only 1 minute... But... they were not like the cookies I had envisioned as I mixed the batter and ate a glob of the raw dough. They were thin and kind of flaky... sort of chewy. Just okay. Okay is not what I wanted. So.... back to the chopping block. I think a heartier dough would work in the pan or the microwave, but until next paycheck... the buttery flakes will have to do. :/ Guess I needed humilty after the high from the rolls.
For the successfully delicious dinner rolls... check out ovenlesschef, my new food blog! :)

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