Cooking without a Kitchen

We are quickly working our way through week four of this kitchen remodel.  There are times when I feel quite zen about the whole thing and other times when I am completely convinced that it is absolutely never, ever going to be finished (insert very dramatic music here)!!  Sometimes, I feel both things in the same day.  The last couple of weeks it feels like such a monumental task to do the slightest thing that involved cooking.  We currently have most of the kitchen kind of set up in Walter’s bedroom (his bed is currently at the end of ours because he refuses to sleep by himself, but that is another post…) along with a coleman stove on the patio next to my grill.  As I type this, it sounds not that bad, I have some basics, so it seems I SHOULD (oh the “shoulds”) be able to whip something up.  The problem comes when I attempt to find anything.  The kitchen is in Walter’s room, but most of the time I have only a vague idea of which box it might be in.

Last weekend I was feeling particularly down about the whole thing.  Cooking has become a huge part of my self-identity and to suddenly have that gone is a bit hard on me.  Then to top it off, I have an entire kitchen worth of fancy appliances sitting in the garage in boxes waiting for their new cabinet homes.  I couldn’t see them, I couldn’t use them and it was enough to drive me slightly crazy.  Of course, it took Alex to figure all this out (he claims to have no emotions, but can be surprisingly perceptive at times!).  So Alex suggested a trip to the garage and some unboxing so that I could touch and see my new things with the hope that it might make me feel better.  As we started going through the boxes, we arrived upon the microwave and Alex realized that it was the one appliance that didn’t NEED to be built into cabinets to use it, it could also be a stand alone.  So he pulled it out and we started to read the manual to it.  Not only is it a microwave, but it is also a small convection oven, which means I COULD BAKE SOMETHING!!!  I am a tester for America’s Test Kitchen and I had a recipe that I had been given right before the kitchen got torn down for Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins.  The printed recipe had been sitting on my desk mocking me ever since.  Not only could I bake these in the microwave/oven, but it had a specific setting that was supposed to use a sensor to figure exactly when they were done.  So Alex went out to three different grocery stores to find some weird thing that I needed for the gluten free part and I set out to mix us up some muffins.  It did take forever to locate my supplies, but it felt fantastic to just DO something in the “kitchen.”  The new microwave cooked them quite well and presto we had warm blueberry muffins to enjoy.  It felt great to feed my family tasty, mostly nutritious food.  I can’t give you the recipe because I am not allowed to, but I can share a photo of the tastiness!


So this week I went through the microwave’s list of pre-set listings for what it can actually cook and I am making dinner accordingly.  Last night I did hamburgers on the grill and sweet potato fries on the “french fries” setting.  The fries turned out quite well considering the limitation that they were frozen and there wasn’t any actual frying involved!  I intend to make tri tip steak and chocolate chip cookies in my new “oven” as part of my menu this week so I will report back and see how it goes.

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