Saturday, April 11, 2015

Cooking in Impfondo 5

Bread cooking on the charcoal burner
"Cooking in Impfondo" is a series with recipes and cooking tips for our town.  It will give you a picture of a little slice of our life here, and who knows, maybe a few ideas! 

Recently, Dr. Laura reminded us that we don’t have to have an oven to bake.  Here is what she had to say:

If you have a roasting pan with lid and two kerosene cookers, you can "bake" with it! It's great when gas is low or out, or you just want brownies and don't want to heat the natural-gas-oven-that-wastes-propane-gas (like the one in my house)...
Place the roasting pan on lit cookers. Place four tomato paste cans in bottom of roaster, then place pan of item to be baked on cans. Cover with lid. Bake as directed. You can alter the height of the flame (if possible) to change the temperature of the roasting pan. I used my oven thermometer to determine the temperature inside and thus estimate baking time. 
Happy baking! 

My cooks have started making bread and banana bread in a similar manner using the charcoal burner outside.  They place it in a big pan, and have heat underneath and on top with charcoal.

When there is no gas for your oven, or you don’t want to turn the oven on, you can still make lots of things including treats.
Bread made using
the charcoal burner
Bread from the same batch as above:
This bread was fried in oil on the kerosene burner.

3 Tbsp oil
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
1 3-quart covered saucepan
2 Tbsp or more (to taste) of butter
Salt to taste
Heat the oil in a 3-quart saucepan on medium high heat.   Put 3 or 4 popcorn kernels into the oil and cover the pan.  When the kernels pop, add the rest of the 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels in an even layer. Cover, remove from heat and count 30 seconds. (Count out loud it's fun to do with kids.) This method first heats the oil to the right temperature, then waiting 30 seconds brings all of the other kernels to a near-popping temperature so that when they are put back on the heat, they all pop at about the same time.

Return the pan to the heat. The popcorn should begin popping soon, and all at once. Once the popping starts in earnest, gently shake the pan by moving it back and forth over the burner. Try to keep the lid slightly ajar to let the steam from the popcorn release (the popcorn will be drier and crisper). Once the popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove the pan from the heat, remove the lid, and dump the popcorn immediately into a wide bowl.

With this technique, nearly all of the kernels pop and nothing burns.
If you are adding butter, you can easily melt it by placing the butter in the now empty, but hot pan.
Salt to taste.

Yield: Makes 2 quarts

Kettle Corn
8 cups popcorn, popped
2 Tablespoons oil
2 Tablespoons water
2/3 cup sugar
Place water, oil, and sugar in a saucepan.  Cook until sugar is well dissolved.  Pour over popcorn, and toss to coat.

Caleb making no bake cookies on the kerosene burner.
No Bake Cookies
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter (or Evita)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup milk
2 Tablespoons peanut butter
3 cups oatmeal
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup nuts

Mix first 4 ingredients in saucepan.  Boil, reduce to med heat, cook 3-4 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Drop on wax paper.  Store in refrigerator.

Tip #5 for Cooking in Impfondo:
Think outside the box (or oven.)  Just because you don’t have an oven, your options don’t have to be limited.  You can come up with ways to create the same heat as an oven or find plenty of options that can be made on a burner.  

You might choose to have fry bread instead of baked, make some tortillas, or skip the bread and serve taco toppings or usual sandwich toppings on rice or salad.

I like to save No Bake Cookies for the times when we are out of gas for our stove.  Instead of feeling disappointed and deprived when we can no longer bake, we have something different to enjoy.

Feel free to share your ideas for “thinking outside the box” while cooking.  :)

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