A Kitchen Disaster

The sad thing is that Greg cleaned the microwave before  taking the photo

The sad thing is that Greg cleaned the microwave before taking the photo

By Katherine

After consulting with two repairmen, I realized I didn’t break the oven, I saved our lives. Greg may not agree, but he’s not a professional handyman, nor is this his post.

More on the oven later…

We learned some valuable lessons the week our oven was out. For starters, a crock pot isn’t for us. We borrowed one from a generous coworker, but couldn’t quite get the hang of it. Yes, we consulted recipes and talked to my parents.

The black beans we slow cooked made the house smell wonderful, but they weren’t as flavorful as the ones we make on the stove despite a huge ham bone. And the beef stew a few nights later? Mushy potatoes and thin broth. All vegetables are not created equal and shouldn’t be thrown in the pot at the same time.

Our grill and blender came to the rescue a few times. Hamburger meat thawed in a jiff that first night and some leftover grilled pineapple we used in a salsa for the burgers made for a great marinade for chicken we grilled a few nights later. We blended the fruit with about a half cup of cilantro and a jalapeno, plus a little salt, pepper and olive oil. We hardly ever have croutons when we need them, but had tossed some stale bread cubes in a sorghum vinaigrette a few days earlier.

Not too shabby, hey?

Grilled chicken vegetables and make any salad a meal

Grilled chicken and vegetables and make any salad a meal

And we even used the nuker to make rice for those subpar beans. (They actually got better after a night in the refrigerator.)

Not as fluffy as on the stove top but still edible

Not as fluffy as on the stove top but still edible

Emergency White Rice

  • 1 1/2 cups white long-grain rice
  • 3 cups water or broth
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated Romano

Combine all ingredients in a microwave safe casserole dish. Cover. Microwave on high for nine minutes. Stir and fluff. If not done, microwave in 30 second increments on high until it is. (Not all microwaves are created equal.) Cover until ready to serve. Adjust seasoning as needed.

So what exactly happened to our oven? First, I ran the clean cycle. Then I lifted the heating element, once it had cooled, to sweep out the ash. Something shorted out, pretty loudly, and our oven wouldn’t come to heat. The oven repairman blamed the cleaning cycle, which he said ovens really aren’t designed to handle, and said “This isn’t your fault.” I made him repeat that to Greg on the phone. But since the proper amount of voltage was coming through and the breaker seemed weak, he referred us to an electrician. The electrician explained that the wires under the stove hadn’t been grounded properly and could have proved hazardous. He replaced some plastic caps, charged us $45 and was on his way. We’d only paid the oven repairman about $60 for his service call and didn’t need to replace a $400 part. So for about $100, I became a hero. And if Greg doesn’t start seeing it this way, he’s getting a crock pot for Christmas.

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About Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

This blog attempts to collect some of the things I try to create with food and booze. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. My hope is to entertain and maybe help people think a little harder about what they decide to eat and drink.
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14 Responses to A Kitchen Disaster

  1. Cecile says:

    All I can say is WOW – sometimes things that seem “bad” at the time, turn out to have be “lucky” in hind sight! Glad that everything’s OK – and that both you & Greg are going to be safe!!

  2. sallybr says:

    Greg is a very clever man, and I am confident that he will see reality exactly as it is: you are a life saver, a hero,a Superwoman of endless power! And a great writer too. There! ;-)

  3. Kristy says:

    You totally saved the day Katherine!

  4. Eva Taylor says:

    Well, I’m glad no one was hurt in the process. We’ve had to replace the burner in the oven but that was years ago when you could just get the part from the hardware store. I’m not fond of the cleaning cycle in the oven, I only use it for about 45 minutes with all the windows open.
    The crock pot is great for soups, I make them all the time, but I’m usually after mushy vegetables to purée anyway!

  5. I’ve always been suspicious of the “self cleaning” idea. There seem to be quite a lot of people on the subway who believe that they have a similar system installed in them:)

    • Debra Hale-Shelton says:

      I had been thinking about buying a crock pot, so it’s good to hear the negative side beforehand.

  6. ooo…glad you are okay. Who knows what’s behind our walls. Cheers to the electricians and repairmen who know what they’re doing and make us safe.

  7. Glad to hear everything turned out okay! Also good to know I’m not the only person that’s not a fan of the crock pot. I bought one when our kitchen was being remodeled and we were without a stove – it now lives in a closet.

  8. So glad that your oven is back in order and that you didn’t catch on fire in the process! I have to say I’m not a fan of crock pots, even for soup. They impart some flavor that reminds me of a can, and they seem to leach out the “clean” flavors I get in a traditional stove top or oven preparation.

  9. Ginger says:

    They sell a hot pink hello kitty crock pot at Target. I think he’d love it! :)

  10. ChgoJohn says:

    I’m afraid of the self-cleaning cycle, to be honest, and won’t leave the house or go to bed while it runs — which is very infrequently. Glad that all turned out so well.

  11. Kath the Cook says:

    Ovens and stoves can be scary things – once had an alarming welding-like arcing thing with my Mom’s old stove and a top burner. Luckily no one harmed and everyone kept their hair. Crock pots – OK sometimes.

    Who’s ready for turkey?

  12. Karen says:

    I think Greg will realize he is fortunate to have such a good wife…if not bring up the crockpot again. :)

  13. It is quite amazing what you did with no oven/stove officially, although I do think there are some folks who consider a microwave and crockpot their ovens and stoves! This all looks yummy and kudos to your engenuity! Now about the oven…..

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