No Range? No problem.
Way long ago, a long long time ago, before hair was even invented I had a stove. That’s a range to you fancy folks.
It sat in the middle of my kitchen ready and waiting to go to work at all times. Then I renovated my kitchen.
Now I have a stove that sits in the middle of my kitchen sticking its tongue out at me. It’s not hooked up yet because of a series of disasters that involve gas, excitement and stupidity. More on that later.
So for the past several weeks I’ve had to be awfully inventive with my meals. That whole raw food craze can suck it by the way. I’ve had the help of my niece and mother who have provided me with meals and I had a slew of prepared meals in my freezer. Remember?
But I got sick of lasagna and ran out of quesadillas so I had to turn to another way to cook my meals. I turned to my fireplace.
I’ve cooked hotdogs and marshmallows on my fireplace before. Who hasn’t. I love a good fireplace hotdog. But I hadn’t cooked anything real. Nothing you could serve to pretty much anyone over the age of 12.
I knew that technically it was possible to cook real food over an open fire I just wasn’t sure how to go about it. Would the food burn, would it cook, would I set my arm hairs on fire? This was real Laura Ingalls stuff, not pretend pioneering and I wasn’t sure I could actually do it.
I had Little House doubt.
But I eventually got hungry and adventurous enough to find the cast iron and put the pan in the fire.
My first night of fireplace cooking I made Cheddar Jalapeno perogies with fried bacon and onions, accompanied by a kale salad. So how did I do it exactly? You know, because I’m fairly certain there are thousands of you out there, in need of this information relevant to the year 1840.
First off, I fried my bacon in the skillet on a bed of coals. When the bacon was done, and it came out fantastic by the way, no burning, perfectly crisp … I set it aside and added my sliced onions. The onions were cooked in the same way, thrown into the pan with the remaining bacon grease and fried until they were gooey and soft.
In the meantime I had to figure out a way to cook the perogies. There are a few hurdles to overcome when making a real meal without a stove. Pasta for instance needs to be cooked in boiling water and I don’t own an electric kettle. I overcame this particular problem by getting water as close to boiling as I could in my 16 year old microwave. The boiling point of water is 212 degrees fahrenheit. My water got to around 200 degrees after cooking on high for approximately 17 hours. Or so it seemed. 17 minutes might be more accurate but it’s kind of a blur.
As soon as the water is as close to boiling as you’re going to get it, (or you lose patience) pour it onto the perogies which you’ve set in a container that holds heat well. Put a lid on it and walk away. The perogies (or other pasta) should cook in about 15 minutes from the residual heat of the water.
When they’re cooked add them to the frying pan with your bacon and fried onions and put them in the coals of the fireplace again to crisp up the outside of them.
It all went down like this …
The great fireplace cooking experiment couldn’t have gone any better. The meal was easy and tasted great. Thanks in no small part to the really great perogies from the Costco perogie roadshow.
The night after the perogies I cooked french toast, bacon and canned peaches on the fireplace. Then it was peanut chicken satays with spring rolls and julienned carrots.
Then I made antojitos.
Then I made steak.
Then I remembered I own a barbecue.
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