Canadians freakin’ love cooking with the oven. Its frequency of use as a kitchen appliance ranks second probably only to the freezer. Although I grew up in Canada, ours has always been a Chinese kitchen, in which stovetop reigned supreme. The oven was (and still is) an appliance mainly used for baking sweet things. Once in a while there was a lasagna or roast pork loin, but these were special occasions. That might explain why I’m still a little wet behind the ears when it comes to making meals in an oven. The advantage of minimal oil is easily balanced by the disadvantages of cooking time and electricity usage, so it’s never even a first choice of cooking method.
Lindenbazar is a mid-sized Turkish supermarket near my old student dorm. It’s well-stocked, with fresh produce, a butcher’s, a cheese/olives/baklava deli, a bread corner, as well as the usual packaged foodstuffs. The staff, while not especially friendly, are amiable in their own way. I do tend to imagine a kind of immigrant/visible minority solidarity; I also tend, ceteris paribus, to prefer supporting immigrant-run businesses. Anyway, Lindenbazar is cheaper than most other supermarkets and I got a whole host of groceries today for € 15. Woohoo!
The question upon arriving home was: what to make with all this awesome stuff? For whatever reason I went with a casseroley thing of potatoes, spinach, onions, red pepper and cheese. The concept seemed okay in my head, but when the result went in my mouth it was a bit disappointing. It was just…lacking. The individual ingredients were good, but their combination was on the bland and boring side. Even a bit dry. Oh well, at least it was healthful. And pretty.
I’ve had many good meal experiences with the oven, but since it doesn’t come that instinctively to me, I may have to find inspiration, if not instructions, from recipes.