Stovetop recipes to try (especially if your oven isn’t working)
My oven broke. Did you hear me? MY OVEN BROKE! Yes, I’m shouting and I apologize. But this is a setback of major proportions.
You see, some women run marathons. Others scrapbook, grow roses, play bocce ball, turn pottery, crochet, knit or sew their own dresses. Me? I cook. That’s what I do. I cook, I bake, I broil, I roast, I braise and occasionally I burn. I’m a mad scientist; the kitchen is my lab. I experiment with new foods, techniques, tips, trends and hacks so that I might share my culinary knowledge in writing.
But here are the sad facts: Although the stovetop is still in working condition, my beloved oven is defunct, finished, kaput, pushing up daisies, dead.
You might ask the obvious question, as my always-practical beau Ron did: Why not just call for service? Oh, but you see, my friend, it’s much more complicated than that. My stove is a standard-issue-run-of-the-mill-all-white-electric model that came with my condo. It’s not even self-cleaning, for Pete’s sake. I’d like to explore my options.
So what will it be? Stainless steel? Five-burner? Double oven? Convection? Stovetop griddle? And what about the other outdated appliances in my kitchen? Why, I’ll replace them, of course! And if I’m installing all new stainless steel appliances, shouldn’t I add granite countertops, a tumbled-marble backsplash and hardwood flooring? And if I’m doing all that — um — have I thought about how l will pay for it?
These are the questions I will ponder for at least a few weeks before I call for service on that old rattletrap standard-issue oven. But a girl can dream, can’t she?
Meanwhile, here are the recipes I created on my working stovetop. Bon appétit!
steamed mussels with white wine
serves 4 as a main course
Steamed mussels are my go-to for a special dinner while my oven awaits repair. Serve this dish with lots of freshly baked bread — I make mine in the bread machine. Seriously, who needs an oven?
5 tbsp butter
4 shallots, minced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups dry white wine
1 bay leaf
4 lb mussels, scrubbed and debearded
Minced fresh parsley, for garnish
In a Dutch oven, melt 2 tbsp of butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute.
Add the wine and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes. Increase heat to high and add mussels.
Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mussels open, about 7 to 9 minutes. Discard any that don’t open.
Transfer mussels to serving bowl. Over low heat, whisk remaining butter into broth. Pour broth over mussels. Garnish with parsley.
Match: Enjoy with a California Sauvignon Blanc.
spiralized zucchini with onions, peppers and garlic
My son bought me a spiral vegetable slicer for my birthday and it is lots of fun to use. It easily turns vegetables into slender curlicues, as thick or as thin as you like. My first venture was this dish — chili-seasoned caramelized vegetables which I wrapped in whole wheat tortillas along with lettuce, diced tomatoes and shredded cheese. You can add the seasoning of your choice (try Italian or Greek) and other vegetables such as spiral-cut carrots, sweet potato or eggplant. For the record, I sliced the onion and pepper with a knife since they aren’t particularly suited for spiral slicing.
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1 large sweet red pepper, sliced
8 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
1 tsp chipotle chili powder (or seasoning of your choice)
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 zucchini, trimmed and cut into thick spirals
In a large skillet, melt butter with olive oil. Add onion, red pepper and garlic. Cook over low heat until onion, pepper and garlic are softened and onion is golden, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding a tsp or two of water, as needed.
Add chili powder, salt, pepper and zucchini spirals and cook 10 minutes longer or until zucchini is softened, gently stirring occasionally.
Serve in tortillas or over buttered rice or orzo.
Match: Serve with Mexican beer.
steak au poivre
This is a classic dish that stars black pepper. Usually I’m not fond of a strong black pepper flavour, but in this case the results are delicious. I use tenderloin (filet mignon) steaks, but you can easily substitute your favourite steak with excellent results.
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
4 beef tenderloin steaks, each 1-inch thick
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup brandy
1/4 cup beef broth
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Press pepper onto both sides of the steaks (I use the flat side of a carving knife to pound it in.)
In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add steaks and cook until medium rare, about 6 minutes per side. Transfer steaks to serving platter.
Stir brandy and beef broth into pan drippings in skillet, scraping up the browned bits. Stir in heavy whipping cream and mustard. Bring to a boil.
Lower heat and simmer 6 minutes or until mixture is reduced to 1/2 cup. Spoon sauce over steak.
Match: This would be awesome with a Sassicaia, but if I could afford Sassicaia, I could afford a new kitchen. Open a Toscana IGT and enjoy.
orange pork with snow peas and cashews
Stir-frying is the easiest way to cook stovetop. This recipe isn’t a science — add whatever you have on hand such as chopped onion, garlic, mushrooms, broccoli florets, bamboo shoots or water chestnuts. Use unsalted peanuts or fried chow mein noodles instead of the cashews. You will need about 1 pound of pork. If the pork tenderloin is large, freeze what you don’t need for another recipe.
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup orange marmalade
2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp peanut or canola oil (or more as needed)
1 pork tenderloin, thinly sliced
2 cups fresh snow peas, trimmed
1/2 cup unsalted cashew pieces
Hot cooked jasmine rice
In a small bowl, stir together orange juice, marmalade, soy sauce, cornstarch and ginger.
Heat oil in wok or large skillet. Add pork in batches (do not crowd.) Stir-fry about 3 minutes or until juices run clear. Repeat as needed.
Return all pork to pan. Add snow peas. Cook 1 minute. Make a well in centre of wok by pushing all ingredients to the sides. Stir sauce into well.
Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Mix sauce with pork mixture. Cook 2 minutes to heat through.
Add cashew pieces. Serve over jasmine rice.
Match: Serve with Ontario Pinot Gris.
veal scallops with great caesar aioli
Whenever I find thinly sliced veal scaloppini, I usually dredge it in flour, egg and bread crumbs for schnitzel or parmesan. But occasionally the veal is sliced a little too thick for a tender outcome, so in that case, I simply sauté the veal and serve with a thick anchovy sauce that reminds me of Caesar salad dressing. Yummy.
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
4 veal scallops
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
In large skillet, melt butter with olive oil over medium heat. Add veal scallops and sauté until golden on both sides.
Add 1/4 cup water, cover skillet and simmer over low heat about 7 minutes or until veal is cooked through and tender, adding a tiny bit of water if pan is dry before veal is cooked.
Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Serve with Great Caesar Aioli.
Match: Uncork a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
great caesar aioli
For ease of preparation, I use jarred minced garlic, but you can use fresh. For the same reason, I use anchovy paste, but you can mash a couple canned anchovies to a paste instead.
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp anchovy paste
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a small bowl, mix all ingredients. If aioli is too thick, add a few teaspoons of heavy cream or milk.