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From Bay Area to Barcelona

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A new oven [ Monday, 22 Sep 08 | 19:50 ]
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[My Location |El Masnou (Barcelona) España]
[My Mood |ecstaticecstatic]

New oven with brownies baking

After more than three years I finally replaced my oven with one that works. I bought an AEG electric oven that is made in Germany. The oven has the following functions:

  • Convection cooking
  • Pizza setting
  • Conventional cooking
  • Rotitherm for large pieces of meat
  • Grill (upper)
  • Dual grill (upper and lower)
  • Bottom heat
  • Defrost setting
  • Speedcook (quick preheating)
  • Pyrolytic cleaning

Ovens in Europe are standardized and mine is 60 cm by 60 cm. There are also 90 cm ovens, but they aren’t as common. The oven is smaller than what is used in the US. My last oven was “over-sized” and I might have use the extra capacity twice a year. So it makes more ecological sense to use a smaller oven. I can still cook on three levels so I will seldom have a capacity problem. Besides, I also have a microwave with a grill.

I had gas ovens the last two times in the US and was happy to get an electric one this time. I have a gas range top. And I had been hankering for a convection oven and now I’ve got one.

A curious thing is that the oven came with only one rack, two baking trays, and one deep roasting pan. Typical in the US is 4 or 5 racks and one roaster.

The first thing I made was brownies. I bought a package mix since I am not sure what product to buy for “cooking chocolate”. Interesting that the mix only contained flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and leavening. I am used to seeing a lot more ingredients with chemical names. You add eggs, water and butter/margarine. I also added some California grown English walnuts that I had bought at Costco earlier this year. The brownies turned out well. I think this is the first time that Ruben had eaten brownies with walnuts.

I also tried popovers, but they weren’t so successful. They came out “heavy” and didn’t rise as much as they should have. I may have overfilled the dishes. Also, they were very difficult to remove from the dish, even though I had greased them with Crisco. In the US I normally use spray lecithin (Pam), but that’s not available here. So if any of you have suggestions, I would be glad to try them.

The stack:


[User Picture]From: stoicbear
Tuesday, 23 Sep 08 | 01:57 (UTC)
Europeans are much more realistic than most North Americans. Besides "us gay guys", who cooks in NA?

OK, maybe I should say "who needs a huge oven to heat up TV dinners?" ;o)
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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Tuesday, 23 Sep 08 | 04:18 (UTC)

Who cooks in NA?

I would imagine that more in the US are cooking now due to the economy.

I used to be suckered into the mentality of personally needing something that would work 99% of the time (or more): big ovens, big SUVs, big homes, you name it. Now I look for 95%, which translates to smaller ovens, public transit, a small home. That extra 4-5% can mean a lot of consumption of energy most of the time even when you don't need it.

Chuck, now a little greener
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[User Picture]From: stoicbear
Tuesday, 23 Sep 08 | 04:21 (UTC)

Re: Who cooks in NA?

I/we do the same thing. If a smaller/cheaper/more efficient "thing" serves us well most of the time, we "make do" and/or figure something out for the few times we may need a "bigger thing". It does save a ton of money, energy, etc. :-)
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[User Picture]From: gorkabear
Tuesday, 23 Sep 08 | 06:42 (UTC)

Re: Who cooks in NA?

An electric oven is not ecologic at all!
Gas ovens are far more efficient :)

Nevertheless, it's a great unit. My friend David has the same but in Electrolux fashion (they're brands of the same manufacturer).

BTW, did you bring the muffin mix from the US? I have to pass you my grandma's "madalenas" recipe - although they might be too oily (but that's the funny part, the olive oil).

And yes, we don't have Crisco (unless in sex shops and for other uses) nor Pam - I use simple margarine and my fingers to grease molds and such - but they're never perfect. I'm going to buy myself sylicon molds. I'll keep you updated!

Edited at 2008-09-23 06:42 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Tuesday, 23 Sep 08 | 06:57 (UTC)

An electric oven is not ecologic at all!

At least it is rated "A", so it could be worse. Electric ovens are preferred by some over gas. This one is very well insulated which helps with the energy consumption.

I know that AEG is owned by Electrolux, but AEG seems more available here than the parent brand. I have had good luck with their dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer.

Popovers are not really muffins, and I made them from scratch (flour, milk, eggs, salt.) They are mostly air, think cream puffs, but less sweet and less fat.

I have seen the silicone molds and also varying opinions on them. I prefer to use the Pyrex "custard cups", but they are hard to find here.

Crisco has many uses. Its initial purpose was to create a cheaper substance to make candles! As a household utility product it has many alternative uses, including:

  • Removal of tar and lipstick from clothing.

  • Removal of ink, grease and dirt from surfaces and hands.

  • Revitalizing the surfaces of wooden utensils such as bowls and cutting boards.

  • Shedding water and snow from weather gear such as galoshes and snow shovels.

  • Preventing diaper rash.

  • As a makeup base.

  • As a hair grease.

  • Seasoning Cast iron cookware.

  • Lubricating agent for musket balls, to retard the effects of black powder residue.


Edited at 2008-09-23 07:04 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: gorkabear
Tuesday, 23 Sep 08 | 13:11 (UTC)

Re: An electric oven is not ecologic at all!

I had to search for a popover recipe... OMG I have to try them :)

Crisco was also used for fist-fucking, I think - but what I never knew is how to translate "elbow grease", not that I'm into fisting stuff, but you know, you get more information than you really need :)
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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Tuesday, 23 Sep 08 | 13:22 (UTC)

I had to search for a popover recipe

Once I figure out how to do them correctly here, I'll invite you over. I have some ideas for experimenting.

Elbow grease is an old term for working hard at manual labour or trades, as in "put some elbow grease into that". Of course it's also a brand name for a line of "personal lubricants".

A can of Crisco in a sex shop in Barcelona is about ten times more expensive than at a grocery store in California.

Chuck, I haven't tried "butter flavor" Crisco sticks yet
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[User Picture]From: gorkabear
Tuesday, 23 Sep 08 | 13:46 (UTC)

Re: I had to search for a popover recipe

Hehe, they can't be like "I can't believe it's not butter"
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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Tuesday, 23 Sep 08 | 13:54 (UTC)

I can't believe it's not butter

I Can't Believe It's Not Butter is a brand of margarine produced by Unilever and sold in the US. Think Flora and Ligeresa brands here.

Crisco was originated by P&G, but now owned by The J. M. Smucker Company. It's interesting how they keep the same logo when ownership and sometimes ingredients change. Such is marketing!


Edited at 2008-09-23 01:58 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: gorkabear
Tuesday, 23 Sep 08 | 14:17 (UTC)

Re: I can't believe it's not butter

Yes... I guess that now it's more "artificial" than before :) Not that it was a natural thing :)
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From: (Anonymous)
Wednesday, 08 Oct 08 | 20:47 (UTC)

Hello.. Let's get acquainted...

My name is Jessika!
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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Wednesday, 08 Oct 08 | 21:00 (UTC)

Re: Hello.. Let's get acquainted...

And who might you be?
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[User Picture]From: cuboz
Wednesday, 22 Oct 08 | 09:00 (UTC)
Oh yes!

I think the combination of an electric oven and a gas cook top is the best - the best way to control the heat levels of both those environments... :-)
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