Monday, September 03, 2007

My Annual Oven Tribulations (Revisited)

Long-time readers of this blog may remember my months-long ordeal with a faulty oven and the subsequent tortures of trying to have it replaced with one that worked, all culminating in an emergency call to the local fire department. Well, nothing that dramatic has transpired since, thank goodness, but I did have a setback in my farmers' market preparations this week. Halfway through baking two more loaves of the zucchini-carrot bread, I ran out of propane for the range! And right before the long weekend, naturally! So I had to run the half-baked loaves over to the neighbor's house to use his oven (bless his heart!). After that, I baked two pans of brownies. I was going to give up on the rest of the things that I wanted to make for the market, but the city court judge in town comes by my booth every week to buy a blueberry pie for her husband and brownies for herself. And since I wasn't going to be able to do any pies this week, I figured she'd throw me in the clink if I didn't at least have the brownies for her!

But this did not solve the problem of how to make the pepper jelly that is my bestseller week in and week out at the market. And I'll be danged if I was gonna haul all the canning stuff over to the neighbor's! So I decided to try cooking the jam on the infamous hot plate that I got for nine bucks at the Wal-Mart on the last go-round with the oven. It did fine cooking the jam, but I didn't think it would support the weight of the canner once it was filled with water and the jars. So I thought I might try using the sideburner on my old BBQ grill. And guess what? It worked like a charm! It seemed to come to the boil faster, and I also didn't have to heat up the kitchen with a big bubbling cauldron. I should have thought of this long ago! And in another burst of creativity (desperation?), I used the simmering canner as a double boiler to melt the chocolate for the brownies, propping the metal bowl on top of the steaming kettle full of jars while they were being sterilized.
Am I not extremely clever and resourceful?? Tee hee. Where there's a will, the determined canner will find a way! In fact, I just made a third batch of the wonderful Annie's Salsa using the hot-plate-and-grill canning method yesterday (bringing my seasonal total to 22 pints, for those keeping count). I may never go back to using the stove, even after we get a propane fill-up! ;-)


Cyd said...

That's dumb.

JoyBugaloo said...

Maybe YOU are!!

Randi said...

What kind of oven did you buy? I'm shopping for one and I dont want to get one full of problems( no offence).

JoyBugaloo said...

Well...our old one and the first replacement were both the lowest-end, cheapo, no-name brands that I can't even recall specifically. (Can you tell that we have a very thoughtful and concerned landlord? Hmph!) By some fluke with the appliance store (because they ordered the wrong one and didn't want to send it back), we finally ended up with a Magic Chef. It doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles, but it hasn't given me any trouble in a year (knock wood). The problem last week was just that we ran out of propane--no fault of the oven itself. Good luck with your remodel! I'm very jealous! ;-)


Randi said...

Thanks, its been a long time coming. I've lived with this horrible kitchen for almost 6yrs. When I post pics( I'm waiting until its cleared out) you'll see what I mean.

We ordered our appliances today!! I can't wait to get them( Not until October, poo). We're getting the GE Profile slide-in dual fuel range. I can't wait to cook with gas again!!

kitchenmage said...

My oven died recently back - lived with a toaster oven for a month, except every once in a while when the oven would blink back on and I'd frantically bake for a few hours until it died again. I thought of you.

Unlike Randi, of whom I am now jealous (envious? which is the bad one?), I am not getting new things at the moment but got a nice deal on a used range from a friend. The oven's even calibrated!