Question Casseroles

For most of my adult life, I have cooked food only on the top of the stove because the ovens of those old stoves never worked. No homemade cookies for us, but otherwise we ate quite well. My daughter called me the range-rider.

Now I cook on a state-of-the-art stove that has not one oven but two. However, I rarely use either of them because I’d rather save the energy.

When I do fire one up, I take full advantage of the occasion and bake as many different things I can fit in there. For instance, I never bake less than six potatoes at a time. Leftover baked potatoes are easily heated up in the microwave or fried with onions and garlic.

Braising is Better!

Actually, I’m more likely to braise potatoes. Try this: toss chopped pieces of three good-sized potatoes (about a square inch or so) into a cast-iron pot on medium-high heat with a tablespoon or two of high-quality oil. Get them good and hot while you stir and salt them. Meanwhile, a couple ounces of water are coming to a boil on another burner. Pour the boiling water into the cast-iron pot, slam the lid down and reduce the heat to low. Cook about ten minutes. These potatoes taste as good as baked potatoes if you do it right (a little practice might be necessary) and much better than boiled potatoes. They also use a fraction of the energy.

dutch oven

When you’re braising other vegetables, follow the same procedure except you use a tiny amount of water, so it’s not necessary to boil it. And you reduce cooking time, of course. A heavy cast-iron pot (also known as a Dutch oven) is totally necessary. A great tool to have in your kitchen.




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