m

manderv's Profile

Title Last Reply

Freezing a cornbread-topped pot pie?

I tried to ask this yesterday but I don't think it worked. Apologies if I inadvertently post this twice.

Anyway I want to make cornbread-topped pot pies with the rest of the Thanksgiving leftovers and put them in the freezer for later. What would be the best way to do this? Bake the whole thing as normal and freeze when it is cooled, or with either unbaked or partly baked cornbread? I'm concerned that the bread part will be horrible and soggy when the pie is reheated.

Dec 01, 2010
manderv in Home Cooking

2010 Thanksgiving Wins and Losses

Did you pre-bake your crust? This year was the first time that I really followed the crust instructions properly, and the recipe I used said to chill the crust in the pan before pre-baking in order to keep it from slipping. So I wrapped mine up in a plastic bag and set it out in the snow for half an hour, and it seemed to work pretty well.

Dec 01, 2010
manderv in Home Cooking

Ordinary brick in the oven for even heat?

Wow, thanks for all the replies!

Friend of Bill, I'm sorry for the dirty oven comment--I meant for it to be a bit teasing! ;)

Anyway, with respect to the oven temp: yes, it is colder on the bottom. If I put the thermometer on the top or middle shelves it reads much warmer than the bottom shelf. The difference varies according to which gas mark it is on. I haven't systematically tested it yet, although that might be a fine project for the current frigid weather we are having. In any case it does not seem to get as hot as it is supposed to. The other day I experimentally turned it all the way up (gas mark 9, which is supposed to be 240 C or 475 F) and the temperature in the middle barely got up to 450 F after an hour, while the bottom rack was 400 F. So the calibration is obviously not right, but it did not come with any instructions for adjusting it.

As far as I can tell all the seals are fine, no burners are clogged, etc. Before I started the Thanksgiving baking bonanza I thoroughly cleaned the whole thing.

I tried the dish full of water on the oven floor trick again, since I didn't want to go out in the blizzard to look for firebricks and was leery of the garden bricks. It seemed to help a little bit. The pies and crust were all fine, although the turkey was a little under-done on the bottom. That was probably due to it being a little too large. I have to be careful about the size of cookware, etc. that I buy because standard sizes are usually too big.

Just for reference, the inside of the oven is 17.5 " front to back, 15.5" side to side, and 13" top to bottom. The way the oven is designed there is a burner on the bottom rear in the middle, and all the racks have a "stop" on the back that prevents the dishes from going back too far. This leaves a gap of about 5 inches between the back wall of the oven and the racks. I generally only cook one thing at a time unless there are multiple small dishes (like two miniature quiches or something like that).

I appreciate all the help in getting to the bottom of this problem and working around it! I've never had a gas oven before, but we were forced by circumstances to buy the smallest gas oven available when we bought this house. I wouldn't say that I am an especially accomplished cook but I've never had any particular problems turning out decent baked goods until I encountered this oven.

Nov 30, 2010
manderv in Home Cooking

2010 Thanksgiving Wins and Losses

Most of the dinner was a win! This is the first year that I have tried to roast an actual turkey. Since I moved from the US to the UK, and have been limited to a very small oven, I've generally been cooking chickens. I figured that as the only American at dinner, I'd be the only one to know that it was a bit wrong. But this year I had another expat over so I had to do it right! So:

Wins:
The top half of the turkey (it was so beautiful I took photos!)
Pumpkin pie & almond crust (last-minute substitutions made it really good)
Apple-raisin stuffing

Losses:
The bottom half of the turkey (not fully cooked, I had to carve it up and cook in a covered dish a while longer before dinner)
The edges of the pie crust (I forgot to put foil on it so it was a little toasted)
The broccoli mash thing I invented so that my husband could have green vegetables was a bit bland

Nov 30, 2010
manderv in Home Cooking

What would you like to learn to make from scratch but are intimidated by the thought of trying?

Would baking them in ramekins spoil the effect for you? I did that with the excess pumpkin pie filling the other day. They looked pretty cute, IMHO. ;)

Nov 30, 2010
manderv in Home Cooking

Ordinary brick in the oven for even heat?

Thanks for the ideas. My user name doesn't have anything to do with RVs, though, unfortunately! It's just an old nickname plus my initial. More like ManderV. :)

At any rate the oven in question is an ordinary UK gas oven, albeit on the small side, and only 2 years old so it's not especially dirty or nasty. The bricks I'm thinking of, well, who knows what wildlife has done what on them but I'd clean them first of course. No gas grill, either, although I suppose I could try charcoal.

For whatever reason the usual DIY stores here in the UK seem to be short on saltillo or similar tiles, which is what I've seen mentioned in a few threads here and there (including Chowhound, for instance http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/299097).

Nov 26, 2010
manderv in Home Cooking

Ordinary brick in the oven for even heat?

My oven is always much colder at the bottom than the top, and I've had issues cooking pretty much everything because of it. According to the gas guy there is nothing wrong with it, so I'm just trying to find ways to work around it.

So far I've tried putting a stoneware baking dish full of water on the bottom of the oven, and a big cast iron griddle. Neither have seemed to help much. I know there has been a lot of discussion about using unglazed tiles or a pizza stone in a gas oven to help keep the heat even. I have been unable to find the right tiles or a pizza stone that is small enough to fit in my tiny oven at a price that I can afford. So I am wondering about possible alternatives. Namely, ordinary house bricks, which I happen to have a stack of in the garden. I'm not interested in baking anything directly on them.

Would normal bricks contain harmful junk that would off-gas in an oven? Would wrapping them in foil mitigate this enough to make them safe? Would this idea even work at all?

Nov 26, 2010
manderv in Home Cooking