I Can Still Cook! Yay!!

Published Categorised as Personal
A wedge of soufflé omelette with golden Parmesan cheese crust slightly overlapping a small heap of basmati rice on a cream-coloured plate with flowers.
https://twitter.com/shireenj/status/1560680342838812673?s=21&t=LiTaSOaaQvAFAFmwNYqqzQ

My CO2 monitor several months ago told me why my oven was making me a little woozy. The temperature control and ability to heat up had been dying for years, and several years ago, a repairman had said I’d have to replace it soon.

But when bad drivers injure your brain, throwing you into poverty, you can’t afford to replace big ticket items.

Then my stove became cantankerous, and I’d begun switching to Clean Tech under the city’s pilot program. I had to say bye to my Magic Chef gas range that had served me so well for 31 years. (I’ll write about my Clean Tech transition later.)

Before my brain injury, it had seen big dinner parties, our annual Halloween feast, intimate multi-course dinners, ice cream parties, baking, and more baking. Cookies, cakes, meringues, rolls, loafs, puff pastry cases, croissants, pies, and tarts.

After my brain injury, it must’ve felt neglected. I haven’t baked in almost a decade. And I’ve barely cooked for years. Frozen pizzas and grilled cheese. Basic cheese omelettes.

Soufflé omelette à la 3-star Michelin in cast iron pan over paper towel, induction hob set to 3.

I lost my homecare help for preparing vegetables. Cooking and baking take energy. Without help, it became just too tiring. But what I’d never considered is that the appliance itself consumes your energy, too! Until today.

After the edges pull away, weight lift it into the oven for 5 minutes convection bake at 325F.

My Clean Tech contractor said he couldn’t cap off my gas until I replaced my stove. When I’d looked at prices a few months ago, I almost fainted. So this month, I talked with my mother, who found a way to fund a new induction range for me. Yay to mothers everywhere who support their adult kids with brain injury!!

Ramryge angels at Gloucester Cathedral, England

Brain injury grief is

extraordinary grief

research proves

needs healing.

Grate a lot of Parmesan on top…taking lots of breaks. It’s supposed to be turned out onto a baking sheet then covered in cheese. But who can do that with cast iron‽!

I enrolled in Harbord Village bulk buy program, chose the range that would fit in my space, which happily also has all the nifty features I desire.

https://twitter.com/shireenj/status/1560681018662785026?s=21&t=Q65U9NLUqvaozjfalnZ5mg

Brain injury means having to read and reread and watch videos and research how-tos, then stare at the new thing. Safety instructions putting the fear of god into thinking-devoid people don’t help one to get going and use the new thing!

My subconscious finally kicked me into gear with a dream of making French fries on the Air Fry tray. No potatoes, but I have basmati rice. I’d watched a how-to video on how to cook rice on an induction stovetop yesterday. I tried it today. Uh, well…I had tried boiling water earlier this week and was amazed at how in seconds bubbles appeared. But this guy’s technique didn’t work. So I adjusted the lid, used a higher heat, set the timer for 5 minutes, and I had perfect basmati rice. I mean, even better and easier than the microwave!!

I’d long ago abandoned cooking rice on my gas stove. Burnt and mushy.

https://twitter.com/shireenj/status/1560695477724651521?s=21&t=Q65U9NLUqvaozjfalnZ5mg

Emboldened by my success, I followed very carefully and methodically a recipe for a soufflé omelette with a grilled Parmesan crust. I kept the manual open. Referred to cooktop, convection bake, and broiler instructions several times in between watching each step in the video. Cooking rice is one thing. But learning a new range, a new kind of cooking with induction and convection, is a whole different beast.

I ensured the cast iron fry pan was ready and on the correct hob. (Only 2 of my pans work on induction, a small pot and my cast iron that’s been in storage for, uh, almost 2 decades as soooo heavy! I must’ve checked a dozen times to ensure OK to put paper towel under the cast iron to prevent it scratching the cooktop. Another learning curve. It worked!

Finished three star Michelin soufflé omelette with golden Parmesan cheese crust. A wedge cut, ready to serve.

My range has an auto feature to enter standard baking temps and it’ll convert it to convection bake temps. Took me a few tries to get it right. The broiler almost flew me into panic mode. My gas broiler took minutes to grill cheese. This one took 30 seconds! Ack!!

The best part of making this soufflé omelette is finding out I can still whip egg whites to soft peaks, judge when an egg yolk and flour mixture is the right consistency, fold whites in without beating out lift, and cooking it to perfection. Well, maybe a tad dry. But I blame that on learning how to use new technologies!

I’m exhausted, aching, in pain, but amazed at how new technology makes cooking easier and quicker. I don’t know how often I’ll cook like this once the new toy excitement wears off. But I know this appliance makes it far more doable and possible to cook and bake again.

Start at 7:08 for soufflé omelette recipe.
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