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High Tech Samsung Appliances

I have been asked many times about the appliances we have in our new home here in Prince George, so since you asked for it, a long story follows...

I purchased a home for the family and was occupying it before they had even seen it, which can be fraught with peril as you would agree, however it turns out my choice was a good one and everyone settled in nicely. Then the renovations started - on day 2 of occupancy.

Because of the new layout of the kitchen we required a counter-depth fridge, and when you have a specific need like that, the manufacturers take great delight in giving it to you, financially speaking that is, with nary a kiss or a reach-around to be offered. I know as they sit in their boardrooms, deciding on what usurious pricing matrix they need to settle on when it comes to niche items driven by requirement over desire, the conversation goes like this;

Boss - "Okay, listen up. When someone needs to buy one of our counter-depth refrigerators we all know the customers situation demands it and they can't use a normal one so lets goose them hard!!!"

Everyone at the table - "Yes! Let's goose them. Make it hurt! You da man boss!!!"

Boss - "How much do we have to remove from the depth?"

Minion - "Four inches boss. Have I told you how wonderful it is working for you?"

Boss - "Four inches?"

Minion - "Yes four inches, but we could make it less. Or we could make it more. What do you think boss? Do you need a foot massage?"

Boss - "That's not much at all! Let's make it five."

Minion - "Five inches? That will reduce the capacity by a third! They may need to buy two then! Genius boss! I wish I was just like you! Really I do!"

Boss - "Hmmmm. Let's see. We reduce the capacity by a third? Sooooooo, let's double the price! What choice do they have? A Coleman cooler? A beer fridge? A block of ice and a fan?"

Minion - "Reduce by a third and double the price? You're a marketing genius boss!"

Boss - "I know, I know, I know Minion. That's why I'm sitting at the head of this table and you're on your knees under it!"

Toady - "Hey boss I think you might have another great idea like not having any of them in inventory either, like, we make them wait after they pay for it? Great idea boss!!!!

Boss - "I just keep coming up with these great ideas, it surprises me even. Let's make them wait a couple of months, they will forget the goosing we gave them and they'll be so happy when it arrives! Call the other manufacturers on the secret hotline and let them know what we're doing so they can follow suit"

Toady - "I love working for you boss! I learn so much! But should we call our competitors too?"

Boss - "Of course we should! We don't want to look like were are taking advantage of a situation all alone!  I did the same thing when I worked for The Oil Company. No one ever says a thing, they just keep buying, our competitors will thank us too!"

Boss - "Tickle them too Minion, just like yesterday!"

The purchasing decision was made in keeping with needs and desires, delivery day was scheduled but then we were told the fridge will not be available for a month or so, neither was the dishwasher, so we waited, and waited. Finally delivery day arrived and we had the new toys in our home, delivered by a very nice team thank you very much, and we then set to learning how to use them.

The washer and dryer is Wi-Fi enabled, allowing my bride to communicate with it via her iPhone over the internet. I don't know what they talk about, nor do I know what a Samsung washer and dryer surf the internet for when we aren't at home and they are left alone with router access (I have my suspicions however) but as long as they are all happy, I really shouldn't care.

The wife's desired Bosch dishwasher is really cool, with bells and whistles galore, a third rack at the top for utensils and such and it casts a countdown on the floor in front of it with a funky green light that tells those that are interested how much longer until clean glasses can be had. Novel, high-tekkie and stroke-inducingly expensive, but she's happy, and really - that's all that matters isn't it? Oh! The dishwashing performance is great too!

The niche-priced fridge works like a fridge is supposed to. It makes ice for our drinks, keeps the food from spoiling and fit into the space available like we needed it to - and looks good doing it. The washer and dryer were angered that I didn't spring for the Wi-Fi enabled version of the fridge (they sent me a tersely worded, hostile email and have taken to shrinking all my undies and eating a lot of my socks), however I was already well past a financial pain threshold and it would not allow me to spend yet more on a fridge, so the washer and dryer have to find some other fridge to play Candy Crush with.

We also bought and I installed a combo microwave/convention oven/broiler/exhaust fan to go over the stove at the behest of the saleswoman as she continued leading me around by my wallet in Future Shop's appliance section. She was not yet finished with me...

Unlike other items I have purchased in the past, when I went to install this baby I read all the instructions from Samsung, I listened to the advice from the saleswoman and I also sought advice online.  What I did finally decide was this thing needed a dedicated 20 amp service and what I had was a shared 15 amp service, so more holes, more wiring, more moving cabinetry, more swearing, more bleeding fingers and more promises to myself that, "This is the last time I am ever doing this, so help me god!" I always say this to me when I'm installing complicated things or assembling IKEA furniture....

With the help of my lovely bride the thing was installed at last and fully operational, at that point we stood side by side in front of it, staring at it, then we turned to each other and simultaneously asked each other, "What the hell do we do now? Divorce? Separate vacations? Binding arbitration?" She then suggested I am hard to live with and work along side of and she may kill me while I sleep but for now she suggested we read the instructions - nay, nay, nay! "Instructions? For a microwave? Surely you jest!!!!" I did the time honoured guy-thing and began to press buttons - a lot of buttons.

After a few weeks we had mastered its use and it is a marvel to have in the kitchen. If it would clean up after itself I would really be in love, however it stops short of that, but in the cooking department it is a wall oven for use on smaller roasts and chickens - bakes and broils things pretty well, performs like a microwave should and as a vent hood it has such good sucking action it could be working at the Mustang Ranch - but I digress.

Then there is the stove. Oh yes, the stove.

I left a wonderful gas stove behind when we moved, a dual fuel thing of beauty to be specific. Previous to the gas stove we had a number of coil top electric stoves and lastly a Kenmore Elite ceramic top halogen piece of crap.

The Kenmore in and of itself wasn't a piece of crap (their service was), it is just the ceramic top never fit with my style of cooking - messy and high heat. I fought that stove for years before finally going with gas and it was good riddance to it when I did, Susan bid it a fond farewell also since cleaning that damn ceramic top was a royal pain in the ass for all concerned.

Like most of the other high techie thingies I bought that day the stove is a Samsung - a Samsung Induction Range, model NE599N1PBSR to be exact. It has an induction cooktop with a dual section convection oven beneath it.

The oven works well and it has a slide out tray that converts the oven to the dual compartment workhorse giving me 2 active ovens to work with that can be set to different temperatures and when the tray is removed it is one very large oven that works well. The qualitative measure was making Yorkshire puddings and fine cakes along with a spatchcocked turkey, it excelled at all of them with a few idiosyncrasies to learn to deal with.

The convection oven baking is not as even as my last oven was with some hot spots to learn to deal with, but I have learned how to deal with them and it works okay now that I am educated to those shortcomings.  Using the Duo Oven has taken some getting used to however and the learning curve has entailed what types of food to bake or roast in either of the compartments simultaneously and that took some time to learn, but I have it figured out for the most part, or at least as much as I need to know to get the results I am after.

It is the cooktop that has me flummoxed from time to time and while some of the flummoxing is part of the learning curve, some of it is with the design of the cooktop. It is induction cooking - cooking with magnetic energy. Now that's high tech!  For more on induction cooking go to the Wikipedia site via this link Wikipedia Induction Cooking Information 

I won't try to deceive you by claiming to know how it works (I am not a bullshitter as I know you would agree) but it does work. I have had a few issues with it but from what I can find out about it on the internet the issues I have with it are common to the model and as such I have simply learned to work with them, I don't like it, but I will try to ignore them, if that is at all possible.

On a couple of occasions when the stove and oven(s) were going full force the whole unit went tilt on me - hobs and ovens.  There I was with a dozen or two people waiting on dinner and my range decided to go on vacation. Error messages and my yelling, "Get back to work you assholes!!!" did not hasten their return to their former hot selves. I was less than thrilled.

Once they all cooled off a bit they went back to work,  allowing me to finish the meal to everyone's satisfaction, I was perturbed and a little tipsy on red wine, however dinner was a success none the less - but I was full of self doubt, "Was it the wine or the stove?"  Then during another large-meal preparation event it went tilt again, and with no wine in me it had to be the stove I was convinced.

I did some research and found out that the error message I witness when it goes to sleep while in full-on cooking mode is caused by over heating. Imagine! A stove that goes to sleep when it gets hot! Now that's an option that not all stoves have! So I had to learn a workaround and after some sipping of red wine I came upon a plan that I put to the test at Christmas dinner and with some strategic planning of what items go into the belly of the beast and at what time and temperature, I was able to serve two dozen people dinner without having it go tilt on me again.

Turns out there are fans beneath each hob (burner) and if put to the test and with a raging oven beneath them the fans can't cool the hobs sufficiently and at that point they all go nite-nite. Now that's a bitch!  After 6 or 7 minutes the display clears off all by itself and I was able to reset oven temperatures and burner levels, but I was nervous none the less.

It looks like Samsung is almost there, but not quite at the finish line; a little more engineering is in order before they can claim to have the perfect range, they are close, but not close enough for my liking, especially with what it cost to purchase. The kind of crews that associates with the likes of me are not be be teased with an "almost cooked" dinner. Nope. They could resort to violence directed at the cook or worse, like order in pizza and force me to pay! Horrors!!!

If the oven is going and only 3 of the 4 hobs are in use it will not go tilt, it just cuts back on the power and the previously boiling pots slow to a hot soak at which time I have to turn the hobs off then back on to get things cooking once again.  Then from time to time the hobs refuse my maneuver and stay at the hot soak, then something comes over them and they return to the desired setting and work like they were never absent. Go figure.

When I purchased the stove I was told the pots and pans required to work on such a space age appliance have to have be made with ferrous metal (have iron content) such that a magnet would stick to them and having purchased a dreamy set of Paderno Fusion Five pots and pans I had assumed that they were just the ticket. Assume - ha!!! Wrong there shit-for-brains! Paderno Fusion Five cookware has a high nickle content making them great, high quality, long lasting pots to use, but a magnet will not stick to them and in turn, they would not cook my porridge, fry my bacon, pull my pudding or burn water on my new stove. Off to Costco...

Looking at labels we found a set of Kirkland brand cookware that promised us it would work on induction stoves and they do, admirably so and they were a bargain at that. There is a good selection of different sized pots to use but on this stove there is only one hob that can heat a small pot, the rest of the hobs require a sizable pot to get them turned on (yup, fat bottomed pots could also be a Queen song). A small bottom is not suitable on or for a big hob ---- Hmmmm, that statement could be a line from a porn movie...

The cooktop does not like to deep fry, I guess it has a built in commitment to health and the design lets you get the pot and oil all ready and ALMOST up to temperature, then leaves you wanting, like a rub and tug from a one armed masseuse. I think it is because of the amount of heat that is developed when heating a large amount of oil to 375F and the hob gets heat stroke and says goodnight and hot soaking potatoes in warm oil does not deliver desired edible results. "No deep frying for you!"

Unfortunately for me I had a number of aluminum pans and large stock pots that would not work with the new stove either (they would never get along without a counselor) so off to the garage they went, but then to my horror I figured out my Starfrit crepe pan wouldn't work either and that was upsetting for everyone in the house, eliciting comments from the boarders ranging from annoyance to outright hostility when told no more homemade crepes - I barely escaped the kitchen with my life!

A search of the internet and an exchange of an usuriously large amount of money now has me waiting for a new induction friendly crepe pan via Bed Bath and Beyond's web store to be delivered to our humble abode, from there onto the induction stove it goes to satiate the ravaging hordes incessant demand for crepes and the sooner the better as I can't hold them off much longer with crème brûlée alone. Someone call 911 please!!!!

As I was learning how to use the induction hobs I stumbled on to something that keeps the cooktop humming; I simply aligned the handles on the pots to point to the magnetic north pole and once all of them are thus aligned the stove performs flawlessly, well I also need to stand on one leg with my tongue pointing to the left as I hum In a Gadda Da Vida, but one does what one needs to do to get ones desired results, doesn't one?

Okay maybe the cooktop doesn't require the handles to be aligned north to get it to work reliably, but it looks nice when they are and it's quite a conversation starter. Oh my! My OCD therapy seems to have failed me now that I think about it.

Frying things is a breeze with the stove. When frying splattery stuff I place a tea towel over the pan or a paper towel between the pan and the hob to catch the greasy splatter - now that's cool!  Clean up is a breeze since nothing burns to the cooktop and for some reason scorched pots from my inattentiveness borne by wine doesn't weld the burnt material to the bottom of the pot like I faced cooking with a gas stove. All huge pluses...

We purchased Samsung for the quality we perceived them to have and for the most part we have not been greatly disappointed, but they are still infants really, so time will tell if that reluctant supportive declaration remains accurate, however the stove is still a concern.

For now, I will ensure I have my camp stove on the back deck to assist with large meal preparation in the likely event my cooktop tells me to "go away little man!" If and when I get hobbed past my own boiling point I will take the stove out from the house and place it on a field. From there I will borrow a large bulldozer and place it also on the same field.  I will then sell tickets via the internet whereby the winner gets a 5 minute instruction on said bulldozer's operation and then the winner will be set loose to walk over the defiant stove until it is no more than a shiny, crumpled mass of metal and broken glass. With the money earned from the ticket sales hopefully I will be able to afford a new stove and perhaps a bottle of Apothic Red or two.

Tasty Japanese Beef Curry - The easy/peasey version

Japanese Beef Curry

Follow directions on the box and you will be fine, or use mine below.

I use stewing beef or chuck when making this so it needs to cook for a couple of hours to tenderize, but the resulting flavour it is worth the wait.  I have also substituted chicken for the beef occasionally and it was fantastic as well, just don't cook it to death.

Normally I substitute Campbell's No Sodium Added Beef Broth in place of the water the instructions call for. It adds a depth to the flavour and no additional salt. The roux is salty enough.

1 lb stewing beef or chuck cut into 2" cubes
1/2 package Japanese curry roux (Kokumaro is a common one and available in varying degrees of heat - we like the hot one)

One of the brands available in the supermarkets

When removed from box there are 2 trays and they are sealed like this

Cover removed from tray

Block of curry roux

Block of curry roux broken into pieces
4 cups water or no salt beef broth

4 cups vegetables of your choice (carrots, peas and celery are what we like to use)


Brown beef in a large heavy pot over high heat.

Once beef has browned add water or beef stock and bring to a boil.  Once at boiling turn down heat to simmer and cook for 1 hour or until beef starts to get tender.
Once beef begins to get tender add the curry roux to the simmering stock and stir well until the roux is melted into the stock and it begins to thicken up. Stir to prevent sticking. Add as much roux as you need to get the consistency to the thickness you prefer.

Add the vegetables to the thickened gravy and cook until done, stirring occasionally. Note that I cook the carrots and celery before adding the peas.

Once the carrots are cooked add the peas just before serving. No one likes wimpy peas.

Place over steamed rice and serve hot. Enjoy!

Snowy Palms Resort