Derek Johnson Muses

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Tag Archives: Stovetop

Coffee (without a maker), Cookies (barely), and Omelets

Makeshift filter

Makeshift filter

During the time that I was snowed in, I faced the dilemma of how to make coffee without my coffee maker. I racked my brain and remembered how certain coffee shops like Blue Bottle in San Francisco and Intelligentsia in Chicago would brew a single cup by drip. So I found a video on YouTube and figured it out. I had to get an ordinary funnel and filter and set them over a cup. I wet the filter with 400 ml of water first, then discarded that water. Then I put the beans in the filter, heat the water in the microwave. I had to pour the water slowly, but it worked as well as I could have hoped for.


Sloppy gingersnap dough

I also made some gingersnaps while I was snowed in, but somehow they turned out sloppy. I wasn’t able to roll the balls in sugar and had to drizzle the sugar on instead. They eat just as well.


Cutting the slog

If there is one habit of cooking that I love, it’s making a lot of one thing and eating for several meals. Thursday, I cooked a third of a pound of pork sausage (for those of you who live in Seward, Pac-N-Save makes great pork sausage). One of my meals with the sausage was a pasta dish, the other two were egg dishes, one of which included relish cooked right into the omelet. And this is how I get through my snowed in time, by taking care of myself with wooden cooking spoons.


Putting together lunch

A Little Cornstarch…Goes a Long Way

Making gravy is a struggle for me. I can never get the corn starch to to completely dissolve in the juice, so I spend eight minutes standing over the stove stewing over the little clumps that remain in the first serving. But somehow, the lumps resolve themselves when I put the leftover gravy in the fridge, and aren’t there when I eat the rest of it. There must be some little thing that I’m doing wrong.

But recently, I had some leftover pot roast, and I decided to take a new approach to making gravy. First, I mixed the bouillon with water and got it boiling.

The Boiling Sauce Pan

Then I tried something new: mixing up the cornstarch with the spices, namely oregano, garlic powder,  and thyme leaves, with seasoned salt. Probably an odd pallet, but it gives a plethora of sensation with balance.

The Bowl

Then I mix it together with a fork to break up the clumps, then I drizzle some of the juice in an attempt to mix a small amount of juice with it to wet all of the corn starch. But the juice on the stove is boiling away, so I add in the cornstarch mix, little by little, whipping it around and attacking the clumps with my wire whisk. I still get lumps in the finished product.

Sigh. I know that there must a better way. Perhaps if I turned the temperature down on the stove a little more toward the end, it would just naturally thicken. Or I’m just resigned to years corn starch lumps in my gravy. Maybe I could get used to the taste of corn starch.


"The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore." Psalm 121:8

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