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the joy of having to bake

i accidentally posted this to the LA boards, apologies for the double.

i'm house-sitting for the next few weeks at a place where the gas stove doesn't work, but the oven does. so no frying, sauteing, boiling. (i do have an electric teakettle so i can still bring water to boil.) i am stumped. i discovered today that you can 'bake' eggs in the shell, but other than that all i can think of for warm food are variations on bread, baked potatoes and roasted vegetables. could i make hot cereal for example? how would you cook things like beans, rice, pasta, soup, from start to finish using only the oven? any other great meals you can think of?

or should i just look at this as an opportunity to live on cake for a while?

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  1. I vote for your last sentence. That really seems to be the only sane thing to do! lol :)

    Kidding aside, would you have access to a microwave to help you out? Or maybe bring a small one with you? This could help with a few things like hot cereal, rice, etc. I'm sure the seasoned CHers out there will have many good answers for you soon.

    I still vote for cake though!

    1. Make Quiche. If you need blanched veggies for them your electric teakettle can be of use. It's good for breakfast, lunch & Dinner (just not all in the same day) depending on what you put in it. You can't cook bacon, but there's pre-cooked bacon in the supermarket.
      Obviously, you can't sauté onions and such, so that's out of the recipe, as are any watery veggies you won't be able to sweat before adding, unless you want to try roasted veggies in the quiche (not necessarily a bad idea, actually.)

      Yes, you can bake oatmeal: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/640769
      Also, there's Indian Pudding (made with cornmeal).
      And you Can bake rice: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/al...

      You didn't mention meats, but aside from the biggies like roasts, you can also bake meatballs and/or sausages.

      Chow just posted this soup made entirely in the oven: http://www.chow.com/assets/2010/02/ba...

      2 Replies
      1. re: mcsheridan

        I just saw where you corrected yourself about the baking of the bacon (doesn't that have a nice ring to it?). So I'm editing my reply where I attempted to correct you.

        1. re: JerryMe

          Everything connected with bacon has a nice ring to it. :)

      2. You could buy an electric frying pan pretty cheaply and it would expand your abilities. Or buy a 1 burner hotplate.

        I've seen a bunch of recipes for baked rice dishes.

        I've made lasagna with no-cook noodles, so that's one way to do pasta, and I bet if you played around with noodles and water in the oven you'd be able to figure something out for pasta in general. You just need to get it above boiling point, right?

        You can make steel cut oats in a crockpot so I'm sure you could do the same in the oven, cooking overnight for hot cereal in the morning.

        1. I'm sure you can do lots of stuff in the oven (I had to cook out of a toaster oven and a hot pot for a year once) you just have to get creative. Quesadillas, casseroles, baked proteins and pastas etc. Just out of curiosity though, have you tried lighting the burners? It may just be that the gas is coming out you just need to light it. Good Luck :-)

          3 Replies
          1. re: Sproutling

            oh sproutling, if you could see the big sad pile of burnt matches on my counter...

            thanks for the ideas though guys! it's a fun challenge. quiche is on the menu for sure. but i had never thought of baking rice, and it looks great! and i haven't ever actually baked meatballs so that sounds good.

            i'm going to file the baked oatmeal under "cake". :)

            my plan for the pasta is to pour boiling water over it and let it set for a bit then bake. sigh. no fancy bechamel though.

            i have cooked oats/wheat in a crockpot overnight before, but i haven't decided what temperature it would need to be at in the oven. and from the looks of the alton brown rice recipe the ratio of grain to water might need to be tweaked.

            1. re: hereticfig

              And lest we forget, nature's most perfect food: Pizza!

              PS: I must have been half-awake when I posted before; Of Course You can Bake Bacon. :D

              1. re: hereticfig

                You can cut the sugar and butter in baked oatmeal quite a bit and still get a decent tasting product. I added a bunch of peel-on, chopped apple, dried fruit and nuts too. A nice breakfast, but not quite dessert :)
                Frittata of course is baked in the oven, also not sure how you baked eggs in the shell? Intriguing! But they can also be baked, unbeaten, in ramekins with cheese, veggies, even over a round of bread.

            2. I've cooked rice, soups, beans, oatmeal, bacon, sausage, assorted veggies including those that are frozen and in a can in the oven. I've also cooked pasta like penne and lasagna noodles in the oven; with this you have to wait until the water is steaming before adding the pasta, then stir it occasionally.

              When I worked at my last restaurant job, we did our daily rice dish in the oven as well as the breakfast sausage & bacon...and oven french toast.

              1. What equipment do you have?

                With a dutch oven and some cast iron cookware, you can make just about anything in the oven.

                5 Replies
                1. re: ipsedixit

                  baked french toast?! where have i been?

                  re: baked eggs: i searched "boil eggs in the oven" and ended up here: http://discovermagazine.com/2006/feb/..., which says the new perfect egg is obtained by baking for an hour at 150 degrees. i tried it, put 6 eggs all alone in the oven. it felt a little sacrilegious. i may have had the oven too hot, because the white was nice but the yolk was long gone to egg dust. seems promising though.

                  the only cast iron here is 1 small le creuset sans lid. lots of stainless steel pots that could go in the oven. about 12 big and very sharp knives. a good blender. and a waffle maker!

                  1. re: hereticfig

                    You can cetainly bake eggs in the oven out of the shell; look up shirred eggs. In addition to quiche and lasagne with no-boil noodles, a strata can do you for any meal - it's a baked egg and bread casserole with whatever meats and veggies you like.

                    1. re: hereticfig

                      even better... Creme Brulee French Toast!

                      Creme' Brulee' French Toast

                      1 stick unsalted butter
                      1 cup packed brown sugar
                      2 Tbls. LIGHT corn syrup
                      5 large eggs
                      1 1/2 cups half and half
                      1 tsp. vanilla
                      1 tsp. Grand Marnier
                      1/4 tsp. salt
                      1 loaf Challah or any round bread

                      Melt butter, corn syrup and brown sugar on top of stove stirring until
                      smooth. Pour into 13x9x2 baking dish and coat bottom.
                      cut bread into one inch slices and place on top of sugar mixture in baking
                      Mix eggs,1/2 and 1/2 vanilla, Grand Marnier, and salt together and pour over
                      bread. Cover and refrigerate for AT LEAST 8 hours Pre-heat oven to 350
                      degrees, remove from refrigerator and bring to room temperature. Bake for
                      30-40 minutes.

                      1. re: Chris VR

                        I use pure maple syrup in place of the corn syrup in this recipe, a definite improvement. I have also laid some very thinly sliced apples on top of the syrup in the pan before putting the bread in, which worked out pretty well - sort of a tart tatin effect.

                      2. re: hereticfig

                        A waffle maker makes a good panini press, and I did experiment with it as a quasi Foreman grill. The zuccini planks and butterflied, marinated chicken breast were good, the bacon (don't ask) was a freaking mess and fire waiting to happen. If its a waffle maker that has the reversable plates then you can open it up and griddle all kinds of things, even stir fry.

                    2. Go beyond baked rice and explore variations on Jambalaya.

                      1. What about cooking "en papillote"? Recipes abound... but here are a few ideas: http://www.epicurious.com/tools/searc...

                        1. wow, what a dliema. But if you can find that the home owner has any small baking dishes like the kind that would hold a brulee, you can make really good baked eggs.
                          I drop an egg into a butter ramekin, then a slice of fresh tomato, salt and pepper, and top with bread crumbs. I love this dish. You, don't have to use tomato, use ham or bacon or whatever. Add some cheese and fresh chives, yum.

                          Also, make a baked omlet. Scramble bake, then fold it over the cheese or mushrooms or whatever filling. Just pam or butter the dish. Use 4 eggs, or it will be too thin.

                          You can make hot cereal in your tea pot, just bring to a boil, then add your grain stir til cooked. I like cream of wheat, actually it takes all of about 2 minuets to make not using a microwave. I add dried cranberries or dried cherries, and I cook them too so they soften up. I've made rice. 2-1 ratio use a chicken broth, add onions, peppers, or again whatever. Add some nice fresh shimp at the last few minutes for a seafood pilaf.
                          You can make instant mashed potatoes, using the pot again, bring the water and milk to a boil, make your potatoes add the hot liquid, add butter salt and pepper. I'd pass on the gravy, unless you have a saute pan that you put a nice steak into the oven broil it first, then roast it last. Remove, add wine to the pan and peppercorns, butter. A jar of that better than beef boullion is handy. add a little (it goes a long way) and then cream. Some fresh herbs to finish. You could make lasagne with no bake boil pasta. Use a jarred marinara that you doctor up. I'm sure you know the rest. As far as a meat, perhaps pass and just use fresh mushrooms, onions, and fresh spinach. But you could roast ground beef and sausage in a dish if you wanted to. For this if they have a dutch oven make that your main cooking vessle, less mess since its deeper. As someone mentioned you can make meatballs, use those in layers for your lasagne.
                          You can make oven fried chicken, fish, pork. Make your on breading or use a package.

                          Good luck!

                          ps. if you get really desperate, buy a little electric burner, you can get them at Walgreens or most anywhere for less than $20. Sometimes they're handy when you travel and want to make your own meals.

                          1 Reply
                          1. You can do baked beans and gratins of all sorts. And braise--to sweat aromatics and heat fats you may need to remove a pre-heated pot from the oven and keep it on the stove for as long as it retains heat, but it seems pretty workable to me. Something like braised cabbage, perhaps?

                            Biryanis would work as well. You soak the rice in advance and then bake it with all your vegetables. And you can pour boiling water over cous cous, cover it tightly, and wait five minutes till it's steamed.

                            1. You can also make a big batches of carmelized onionsroasted peppers and roasted garlic to flavor casseroles, etc. Just keep in the fridge or freezer to use as needed.

                              1. This is a fantastic baked pasta recipe--no boiling required! I love it and highly recommend it.