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Friday, January 19, 2018

More Than You Want To Know About My New Range

I took the week between Christmas and the New Year off.  It was cold outside, may have even rained a little (or a lot), and I had time on my hands so I listed my range on Craigslist. Yes, the perfectly good range that I just cooked Christmas brunch on. Of course I did. 

It sold in a day to a nice fireman for their firehouse. 

No, I didn't have a replacement. 

I had been eyeing new ranges for a while now (maybe years?). Lately I've been reading a lot about induction cook tops and there are now a lot of ranges available that incorporate them. I know because I Googled it, a lot. 

I even started making a mental list of what I wanted in a new range (in order):

  1. I wanted an induction cook top.
  2. I wanted a white one (to match all my other appliances.)
  3. I wanted a convection oven option.
  4. I wanted it to have knobs not some overly complicating push-buttons.
  5. I wanted it to sit on legs up off the floor.
  6. I wanted it to look beefy but not industrial.

After continuing to research my new range I quickly modified my list of wants by dropping my second want:
  1. I wanted a white one.
Come to find out, almost all induction ranges come in stainless steel unless you want to spend $2000 more, then you can get a colored one. Justifying an additional $2000 for a color wasn't something I could do and besides I was now without a range and colors meant a special order.

Let's pause here to explain what is so special about induction cook tops. Unlike gas and regular electric cook tops which cook food via thermal conduction, induction cook tops cook via magnetic induction. 

Perhaps the best explanation I found for this was from this New York Times article that explained how it works this way: "an electrical current produces a magnetic field that excites iron molecules and heats the pan and its contents." 

The result is you reach zero to boiling in minutes, like one, seriously. For this to happen, you have to use cookware that's magnetic, think cast iron or stainless steel.

Induction cooking is also very efficient, only a small amount of heat is wasted by seeping into the kitchen. I've read articles that say less than 15% of the heat from induction cooking escapes to the kitchen. Compared to gas where 60% of the heat escapes into the air!

Another bonus, induction cooking gives you very precise heat control, similar to gas, and when you turn it off, it's off. 

So, that's why I wanted an induction cook top. What I didn't expect and what caused us to live two weeks without a range (and a lot of pressure cooker meals!), was the electrical end of it.

Apparently ranges (including induction ranges) come with cords sold separately. You can either get a 3-prong cord or a 4-prong cord. I had no idea since the range I just sold was about 15 years old.  3-prong plugs are the older style, which is what my old range had. This shouldn't have caused a problem because remember I just said ranges (including induction ranges) come with cords sold separately.

The problem was trying to buy an induction range from an appliance store in town that would include a 3-prong plug. They wouldn't sell me that. I assumed this was because their ranges were already wired with 4-prong plugs and they didn't employ staff to rewire the ranges. 

So, they insisted I should call an electrician to change my plug in the wall from 3-prong to 4-prong. They insisted on this so much that when I did get an electrician out and he said it was actually going to be a more involved job than just switching out the plug and would cost over $500 and I didn't need to do it anyway because my plug was code, they still wouldn't sell me the range with a 3-prong plug.

So, I went to a different store.

This store pretty much said the same thing however, they offered to deduct the cost of the electrician from the price of the stove in order to sell me the range with a 4-prong plug. OK fine, I did that.

So, to give you the Reader's Digest version of this story, I ended up with this beauty of a range; a Blomberg 30", slide in, induction range.

It was delivered last Tuesday. Not installed, though. We had to do that. Oh, and as the delivery guys were just about to leave, one of them hands us the cord! After all the hassle about the specific cord, we (Jeff) still had to wire the stove! It was not lost on us as we (Jeff) was wiring the range that we (Jeff) could have just as easily wired a 3-prong cord! whateva.

Isn't the new range beautiful!?

I'm still getting used to the induction side of it; learning how hot setting 5 is versus setting 7 and so on.

The oven oddly doesn't have an indicator to show when it's reached cooking temperature so I bought a $4 thermometer off Amazon.

Oh and I did need to replace my saucepans as they were not magnetic. So I bought this adorable enameled Cast Iron Apple Pot

So far I love my new range and am happy with the end result. Would I have changed anything in the process? Perhaps, maybe not selling my old one before I had a new one, but sometimes you've gotta live dangerously!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Fresh Fruit Sorbet

Right before Christmas this year I made an impulse purchase off Amazon and bought the Yonanas Elite Frozen Healthy Dessert Maker.  This machine takes frozen
fruit and makes soft serve sorbet!

In preparation for my new machine to arrive, I made a trip to Trader Joe's to stock up on some frozen fruit. Going to Trader Joe's right before Christmas was not the best idea I had, however I did make it home with frozen pineapple, mango, and coconut (I had no idea you could buy frozen coconut squares!)

Once my machine arrived, I was ready to try it out. For my first batch I used pineapple, coconut, bananas, and some chocolate chips. The machine worked great but I wasn't thrilled with my fruit mix so for the second batch I used just mango.

The instructions say to let the fruit thaw for 5-7 minutes before putting through the machine. With enough practice, I imagine I'll find the perfect amount of time to thaw the fruit so the sorbet is always smooth.
For now, I followed the instructions and after 6 minutes started putting my fruit in the machine and applying a little pressure.  The machine runs pretty quiet and as you can see, the sorbet was of a nice consistency.

I definitely preferred my second batch using just mangoes. I sprinkled a little shaved coconut on top and it was delicious! Best of all, it was just fruit, no added sugar or cream.

As for clean up, the machine easily breaks down into four pieces that can be rinsed off in the sink.

My only complaint is that quite a bit of the sorbet is left behind the blade. You can get it out only after you take the machine apart. This may not happen as much depending on the type of fruit you use and/or the amount of time you allow the fruit to thaw. I'll have to play around with it to be sure.

If you, like me, like kitchen appliances, be sure to check back next week as I share the MOTHER OF ALL KITCHEN APPLIANCES!