First, I made this beautiful salad, and that’s what I really wanted to tell you about, except I broke my oven right after that.
Womp-waa. Sad trombone my friends. Luckily, my oven/stove is the cheap piece of junk that came with the house. It’s a Hotpoint brand. Never heard of it?? Really? Yeah me either.
We had purchased a beautiful bison roast at the farmer’s market from local purveyor, Gunpowder Bison, and I was saving it for Sunday supper, a new tradition we wanted to instill in our weekly schedule. I carefully let the meat rest on the counter for a few hours to gain room temperature and gave it a light bath in olive oil, fresh garlic, salt and pepper. Bison has a really low fat content so I thought it would need the extra oil to keep moist.
Anyhow, I was busy. I was cutting up things for this beautiful cauliflower salad, that is kosher, vegan, gluten-free, seasonal and local. If you are into that sort of thing, excepting the kalamata olives aren’t local of course. The recipe calls for roast red peppers, which I don’t keep on hand so I used red pepper flakes and it calls for shallots which I have used in this recipe before but substituted red onion this time, and I added fresh minced parsley ~ 1/2 cup, because it came in my CSA box this week.
I have read numerous recipes for the perfect roast beef or bison, that states “Roast meat at (specified high temperature 480 in this instance) 10 minutes for each pound of meat and then turn off the oven completely and keep the door closed for 45 minutes to 1 hour.” Couldn’t be simpler! A few of the comments in the recipe posts said that older ovens with crappy insulation may not work for this recipe. My oven is an off-brand cheap model so I assumed it’s insulation and heat retention would be sub-par.
While pre-heating the oven for the specified time (20 minutes) I used this heat opportunity to cure my new(old) Griswold cast-iron skillet. Griswold’s are apparently THE holy grail when it comes to cast iron skillets. I asked M for a skillet for my birthday, and boy did he deliver! He went above and beyond and bought me a piece of history.
Apparently, cast iron skillet culture is a bit of a cult, but I didn’t know that. Leave it to my fact finding partner to plumb the depths of cast-irony. He bid and won for me a #10 Griswold cast iron skillet on Ebay. Griswold was a company that provided cast-iron items to Manifest Destiny settlers up until the 1940’s when it went bust. So that means my cute little skillet is at least 70 years old. Whoa! So I was a bit intimidated on how to proceed with curing it.
I read up (a lot !) on how to cure this baby and many sources said to put it in a high temp oven for long period of time and then to scour off the flaky bits and any visible rust with steel wool, then treat with lard, Crisco (gross!) or cooking oil. I’ve waited to do this for some time but this seemed like the perfect opportunity. I don’t normally keep lard, I am against Crisco, and all I had on hand with a high smoking point was canola oil.
But, I’m getting ahead of myself.
So while I was pre-heating the oven for the bison roast, I popped my (dry) Griswold in there and let it heat up. I was thinking of work tomorrow, my workout that I was going to do at home in the time that the meat would rest in the ambient temps of the oven and all sorts of ephemera. After 45 minutes, I switched out the cast iron and put in the seasoned roast in an open enamel pan. Then I had the bright idea to use the (NEVER BEFORE USED) oven lock. I thought hey? this might keep the seal on the oven door better than regular, and would wash away any doubts about my sub-par oven. Just an innocent little metal handle that slightly protruded from the oven door. I thought it was similar to a dishwasher lock. Maybe it was put there for inquisitive toddlers, right?
It locked the oven completely and nothing I could do would unlock it, roasting merrily away at a blistering 480 degrees F. I had seconds long nightmares of my entire house going up in-flames after a charcoal briquette of a bison roast flew out my front window, skidding into the street and evoking riots of my justified row-home neighbors, as all our homes crumbled to the ground. I was, to put it succinctly, freaking out. I quickly called M to triage the oven, he could not force the little metal bar to open. We frantically raced to our computers to Google how to unlock a (shit) Hotpoint oven. All results said, Wait until the cleaning cycle is over and the temperature has cooled, approximately 2-3 hours.
!!! I didn’t even set it to clean, and in 2 hours the measly bison roast would be aflame and filling our entire house with noxious smoke or worse, alighting the entire oven on fire.
So, like any sane man, my M, used his manly wiles removed the oven from it’s electronic wall socket, which thankfully turned off the oven but we found it wouldn’t open. So he forced the lock, breaking it and then pried the oven open with a screw driver. I got the barely cooked roast out, amid domestic chattering and all was returned to normal and safe. The evil oven was thwarted of it’s flesh prize, but alas the door doesn’t work anymore.
I cooked slices of roast in a hot skillet, and served it with sauteed kale and the above Sukkot cauliflower salad.
It was a good dinner, but the chore and cost of finding a new oven now weigh heavily on my shoulders.
There goes the mid-week (save your life) recipes of meatloaf and roast chicken I had planned on, and I start school full tilt this week.
It’s going to be a doozy.
Any advice about new gas ranges/ovens in the lower price range would be appreciated. We weren’t prepared for this financial setback but knew that eventually we would upgrade, so we are just going to roll with it.
Also, just to let you know, my Griswold came out of this unharmed and is now soaking up ounces of canola oil, and I got in my workout anyway.