Thursday, November 13, 2008

Galley Madness

I would like to meet the guy who designed the kitchen in my otherwise wonderful house. It had to be a man, because a women would know better. I imagine him sitting there thinking, "okay I got bedrooms bathrooms, living what am I forgetting"? When he realizes the kitchen is missing he just pencils in a skinny slip at the back and... nothing more.

When the time came for some home improvements, my husband and I attacked the kitchen first. Our budget allowed for a cosmetic make over and nothing else, blowing out a wall to gain more space was not an option. Our solution for the tiny space? Stream line, modernize, and eliminate anything we could live without, like a second child. We removed cabinets, a section of counter and the pantry, creating a 9'x4' galley kitchen with the maximum capacity of one.

The updated kitchen is nice, a big improvement, but trying to cook in it is never easy. The fridge opens into the doorway thus blocking the entrance and exit, the same goes for the dishwasher. The micro got kicked into an area intended for dining which we gave up to gain storage for pots and pans. Still, many of my appliances are stored in the garage.

Really my biggest beef is with the stove/oven combo by Thermador. I wince every time I think about trying to cook anything on or in it because it hates me. A lighter is necessary to ignite the burners but only three, the fourth will never ignite no matter how much I curse at it. The lighter is child proof so my twelve year old son has to operate it or more curses. The oven refuses to kick on unless a burner is on first and when and if it does, it whirs, sputters, whoops and thumps. Did I tell you they have the nerve to call it"Professional"?

All of this whining about my kitchen only came up because a week ago I decided to bake a cake. Not just any cake, but my brother's favorite and my best catering seller, surprisingly named, "Chocolate Madness". The recipe is an old Hersey's Chocolate original, and is so easy to make unless you are working in a galley kitchen with an oven that hates you. After mixing the batter it dawns on me, I got rid of my baking pans when I closed my business, and had to bake in a spring form wrapped in foil. I can go on, but you get the idea.

I head off to my brothers, chocolate surprise and family in tow. We are celebrating three August birthday's, belated over a month. On arrival, my gleeful niece, Lily, proudly presents her cake, a professional Oreo creation she is ecstatic about. I laugh about my little amateur looking one and I sheepishly place it next to Lily's.

Cake time comes and Lily excitedly insists at running her cake out to the patio for the mandatory "Happy Birthday" jingle. Go ahead, try telling a ten year old to "be careful,"to "slow down", you know whats going to happen, it's" sit com" predictable. The cake, of course, flies gracefully out of her out stretched hands onto the waiting white carpet.

As luck would have it, we had another cake! The kitchen and the oven may conspire against me,
but the Chocolate Madness with"Happy Birthday" scrawled on it (and the carpet spotter )saved the day!

1 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup vegetable oil
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
2 each egg
1 cup milk
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 times makes 8" cake
3 times makes 14" cake.
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

3 ½ cups confectioner's sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup cream
¾ cup unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Sift together sugar and cocoa placed in a mixing bowl with paddle attachment . Mix in butter and vanilla.
Heat cream add and mix until smooth.

1.5 times makes 8" cake

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