Sunday, November 30, 2008

Convection Cooking and Rampant Consumerism.

Convection Cooking. It wasn't sufficient that I have a slow-cooker, a microwave oven, a solar oven, a charcoal grill, a frydaddy, Foreman Grill, conventional stove with oven and one-burner camping-type gas thing. I didn't have a toaster, and can't use the broiler in the conventional stove because it isn't vented.


It toasts, broils, bakes, and bakes convection style.

I tried it out for the first time yesterday. My first test was using a bread recipe from Crunchy Chicken Cooks. I've been experimenting with whole wheat bread recipes for a few years now and I just can't seem to get a recipe with LIFT. This recipe was no exception.


The loaf on the left was baked in my conventional oven and the loaf on the right using the convection feature on the new toaster/broiler/oven. Adjustments to the recipe are necessary for going from conventional to convection, so I lowered the temperature to 350 and set the time for 30 minutes. Insertion of a digital thermometer indicated that the internal temperature hadn't gone over 188 degrees, so I kept it in for another 10 minutes which put the temp at 204. The internal temp on the loaf in the conventional oven was 206. Both were done, and tasty, but didn't get much over 2 inches high even. It happens every time. My dough rises to double, I separate it, it rises some more, but it never gets that oven shoot that others get. I always add gluten flour and dough enhancer, but I STILL don't get the oven bounce. Just a few more pounds of flour to use before I start milling my own, so if freshness is the problem, it'll soon be rectified. You can see how the loaf baked in the convection oven got a better color.

The toaster/broiler/convection oven came with a broiler pan and drip pan that I used to bake tilapia last night. I didn't use the broiler setting ... just the broiler pan. Also ordered a few more pans with drip racks because these things are the perfect size for the solar oven, as well. Baking meats in the solar oven required a balancing act of meat placed above the pan with hopes that it wouldn't drip grease into the oven chamber.


I convection baked last night's supper of asparagus, sweet potato casserole, and tilapia, learning that a 25 degree reduction in temperature with no reduction in time is just right for my convection oven. Didn't think to take a photo until half-way through eating it, but it was delicious.


Attempts to minimize compost scraps created have been unsuccessful. Yesterday's plate looked pretty much like most days.


It's all being tossed into


next Spring's first garden plot, and will be plowed under as soon as I find some agricultural molasses to toss all over it first. You can see some arugula that decided to grow, as well an onion, perhaps. Arugula grows really well here. Too bad Em doesn't like it.

It's the time of year when I reorganize, reline, reinventory all my cabinets. I do pretty well until I get to the data entry part. I HATE data entry. I HATE data entry.


Now that Em's off work for the winter season, he can help me poke some drainage holes in my potato apartment complex:


The lid's only on to keep rain from filling it up before we use it. I've got both russet and red potatoes working on sprouts right now. I have sweet potatoes working on roots and leaves, too, but it's a bit too cold for them this time of year.

I have more things to be delivered this week from my rampant consumerism. Most involve cooking/baking (I'll be trying my hand at homemade pizza soon), but a few things have to do with gardening, as well.


KCB said...

I'd been wondering if a countertop convection oven was worth the $. That bread looks very nice.

The potato condo looks intriguing. I tried to grow sweet potato slips a couple years ago and they just sat there doing nothing all season. May have to try again!

BTW, you can find 3-gallon jugs of livestock-grade molasses online pretty inexpensively and then dilute it with a sprayer for your garden.

No. 2 said...

I've been toying with the idea of starting a garden next year. We have the land, just not the soil, but Dad said that he would be willing to get a truckload of black dirt if I was interested. I might be hitting you up for some tips once that time comes around again.

Right now we have about 2 inches of icy snow covering everything, so it will probably be awhile. :)