For six months now we have gone without an oven. It was okay at first. There are plenty of things I can cook with our two gas burners. Plenty. But it was starting to wear on me something fierce. Simple things like casseroles and frozen pizza started to take on these magical, exotic properties in my mind, that they have no business having. Sure I could go buy a brand new oven, but that seemed like an unwise investment at this point in our lives. I instead decided to start browsing the "sayonara sales" online to see if I could find a used oven for an affordable price. For months I responded to every ad I saw, only to be informed that I'd just been scooped. A couple weeks ago, however, my patience paid off. A gal in the southern part of Tokyo was heading back to her home in Singapore and agreed to give me her oven/microwave/grill for FREE! My only job was to get down there and bring it back on my own. Thanks to Ryan's clever thinking, I was able to strap it down to one of his big bags that has a handle on one side and wheels on the other. It took me about three hours round trip, but I managed to wheel the thing down the big hill she lived on, onto the subway (yet another "crazy gaijin" moment) and lug it back to our neighborhood, all by myself. Success!
So for my first baking feat, I decided to start off small (literally) and simple by making some brownies in the world's tiniest baking pan. I don't know if the fork for scale really conveys how adorable this pan is. I think it is only 5" x 5" or so.
Since the only recipe I could find for simple brownies (I had cocoa powder but no semi-sweet chocolate) was for a 13"x 9" pan, I decided to halve the recipe. Partway through the proceedings, however, I realized that the recipe called for 3 eggs. I decided to change course midstream and go 2/3rds and thus threw in a quick splash/dash of everything I had already measured to that point. I'm sure you can see my folly.
Although my non-scientific approach to cooking works in many situations, baking is apparently not one of them. Between the messed up proportions and the position of the pan in the bottom of the oven (shouldn't things in a convection oven sit somewhere in the middle? I think I need to buy a rack), my brownies had a very, very gooey (ok, totally liquid) center. But then, of all the things that could go wrong with a pan of brownies, partially molten gooiness in the middle is probably the best. Ryan agreed. They were pretty awesome.