Saturday, November 20, 2010

RIP, our beloved Electric Range

Rest in peace, our beloved Electric Range. Last night I did it in, I used up the last of our ranges life…I was making the final batch of tomatillo salsa from the end of the garden veggies to go along with butternut squash and black bean enchiladas. The stove top was down to just the two little burners. 10 years of canning tomatoes, making beer, and cooking huge pots of soups and sauces for the freezer had take their toll on the cheap rental house quality range our house came with.

Our whole kitchen is in need of a re-do…we have vowed to not put any money into fixing it up until we are ready to do a serious remodel; convert to natural gas, and bump the wall of the kitchen and dining area out to make room for larger countertops and cupboards, and a more formal dining area. But now, the range has given out, I may need to spend some money so we can cook our families Thanksgiving dinner (only 5 days away!).

The light in the oven still works…last night I dreamed about putting in a higher wattage bulb and finding an Easy-Bake oven recipe for turkey, but then I woke up. For the past several months I’ve kept my eyes open when driving around for a free sign on a range along the street, all I’ve seen are washers and dryers. Today I’ll need to start a serious search. I called the rebuilding center, they don’t have any in stock; I’m searching Craig’s List, and will scout out used appliance shops…my budget is $50, I don’t care about looks, I’ll welcome any working range into my kitchen, avocado green, harvest gold, even pink is fine with me!

I had to “bake” the enchiladas in the microwave; after resetting the circuit breaker twice all that would work was the light in the oven. But they still were pretty good, and the Tomatillo Salsa turned out great, done just before the range shut off for good. Tomatillos were the hit of this year dismal growing season. I made 3 or 4 big batches of salsa all tucked away in the freezer. Here is a rough recipe, adjust the ingredients to suit your taste:

Tomatillo Salsa
(makes about 10 cups)

2 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 gallon Tomatillos, husked, washed, cut in half
3 dried Chile Pasilla-Ancho pods*
3 or 4 roasted Jalapeno or Serrano peppers** (optional)
2 teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 bunch fresh Cilantro, big stems removed

Toast the chile pods in a large pot, for a minute or two until softened, de-seed and de-stem the chiles and set aside.

Sauté onions and garlic in the vegetable oil in the large pot until they begin to brown.
Add tomatillos, chiles, salt, and roasted peppers to the pot. Cook over medium heat until the tomatillos are soft and juicy, about 25 minutes.

Puree the salsa with the cilantro in small batches in a blender. Return to pot and check seasoning. Add more salt if needed. The salsa should be tart, if it is too tart, add a teaspoon or two of brown sugar.

Cool and store in the fridge for short term use; freezes well. This is a nice sauce for veggie enchiladas, grilled chicken, and a good dip for corn chips.

*Chile Pasilla-Ancho pods are in the Hispanic foods section of big grocery stores.
*Roasted Jalapeno or Serrano peppers: I often roast extra peppers when we have the charcoal grill fired up, and freeze them for use later.

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