The key word that was missing was oven. This year, I was planning on living in Seattle with my husband for the months of April and June, and the Residence Inn we would be staying at sounded perfect: it was clean and comfortable, was in a great location and we'd have a nice room with a kitchen (full refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave and a 2-burner cooktop). Bueller? Bueller? No one said anything about an oven. As an enthusiastic home baker, a kitchen without an oven was something I had a hard time imagining.
It was around the planning stages for this trip that a friend got married and I was looking at her registry online. Hmmm...she wanted a toaster oven. Would a toaster oven do me any good in Seattle? I knew it was used for more than toast, but I wasn't sure for what.
I'd never had even the most basic toaster oven, so when I began researching them online I was surprised to see the features that were possible and the praise they could inspire. Convection cooking? Meat Probes? When I saw that this Hamilton Beach "Set and Forget" Toaster Oven with Convection Cooking was $99 and would ship free with Amazon Prime, I couldn't resist. I looked up the address for the hotel and had it sent there, along with a set of toaster oven-size pans. Ha!
No oven my foot.
And I love it! I call it my Easy Bake Oven in jest, but it works like a dream. In honor of being in the Pacific Northwest, the first thing I cooked in it was:
Broiled Salmon with Apricot Mustard Glaze
Place salmon skin side down on cookie sheet. Broil under high heat until fish is partially cooked, then spoon a apricot mustard sauce (1/3 dijon mustard to 2/3 apricot preserves) over the fish and return to broiler. Sauce with warm and bubble, browning slightly. Remove from heat when salmon is cooked to your preference. Serve with boiled new potatoes or sticky rice.