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Camping, Princess Style


Marlene
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It's going to be sunny today, mostly, but the past few days have been generally cloudy and overcast. I haven't minded, especially in light of the weather (read: rain and more rain) to our west and east. The clouds have made for spectacular sunrises and sunsets.

 

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We've been having visitors not far from our campsite. We haven't seen the burros / donkeys themselves, but their tracks are all over.

 

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Behold one of my impulse purchases in the days leading up to the holidays!

 

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At the time I thought we might be having company for Christmas and/or New Year's. Of course, we already had the ham we'd brought from home...but how could I pass up this deal?

 

The "deal" has been occupying space in our freezer and driving my darling crazy. "When are we going to cook this?" and "Can I slather it with barbecue sauce like regular ribs?" have been the main questions. Or, sometimes, he wondered whether he could coat it with his go-to pork breading.

 

My answer has been a steadfast "no". I'm not going to slather this with barbecue sauce or pork breading.

 

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At last, I'd have a chance to try doing a crown rib roast. I've dreamt of crown rib roasts ever since I had a crown lamb rib roast for an anniversary dinner at an excellent restaurant outside Chicago. (I know, pork isn't lamb, but in my darling's opinion that's a Good Thing.) To my surprise the crown pork roast didn't turn up in any of my cookbooks. I turned to the New York Times and Sam Sifton's take on it: https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1015807-crown-roast-of-pork?smid=url-share (I hope you can see the recipe. I tried to share it). This image is the cover photo from the NYTimes' Crown Roast of Pork recipe page.

 

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Well. The first adventure was trying to tie half a rib rack into a crown like that. Turns out the "crown" requires both sets of ribs! (Go ahead -- laugh!) The muck you see on the outside is the paste I made, loosely based on what they used in the recipe, from garlic, rosemary salt, white pepper, paprika, mustard and olive oil.

 

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The interior of this "crown" was completely filled with meat, and I doubted it would produce the desired effect. Commenters on the NYT recipe had noted that it's better to leave the stuffing out of the crown's interior and cook it separately, so the meat would brown properly.  I abandoned the crown idea, flattened the rack back out, and pasted it liberally with the rest of that rub. That all went into a roasting pan lined with chopped potatoes, a few ribs of celery, and a touch of water to get the cooking started. Into the oven it went: 450F, keeping an eye on the meat's internal temperature.

 

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At around 140F on the thickest part I started getting nervous and checking other internal temperatures; this meat looked pretty lean. I turned the oven temperature down to 350. By the time the coolest part of the roast was up to 135 or 140, other parts were hitting 155F. I turned off the heat and let it all rest until we were ready to eat. 

 

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Dinner. He'd eaten cole slaw earlier and didn't want vegetables; I had a cauliflower / broccoli combination. 

 

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The potatoes were the real star of the show, but the meat was pretty good. I hadn't overcooked it, but I'd forgotten about building any other sort of "dressing" or a sauce, except what was in the pan. This would definitely have benefited from a sauce. We have a lot of it with which to experiment! He already wants to use barbecue sauce on his. Of course.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
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32 minutes ago, Smithy said:

At last, I'd have a chance to try doing a crown rib roast. I've

Ha ha. For many years, I, too, dreamed of doing a crown roast of pork. I saw a photograph of one sometime in the 1960s I think. It was dressed properly with little ankle socks, as I thought of them (paper, frills). It never happened. Seems to have largely fallen out of favour. Glad you were able to adapt. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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Today's dinner was an easy one, with little effort: some of last night's pork roast, as we wished to eat it. This is a study in contrasts. 😉

 

For him: store-deli baked beans, augmented by some of my precious home-cooked beans, and with chunks of last night's pork tossed in. Alll heated in the microwave.

 

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For me: chunks of the pork, heated in the microwave, then tossed onto a bed a lettuce and spinach, and mixed with a vinaigrette.

 

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We were both quite happy with our choices, and neither was tempted to steal from the other's dish. Of such freedom is a good marriage made.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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1 hour ago, Smithy said:

Today's dinner was an easy one, with little effort: some of last night's pork roast, as we wished to eat it. This is a study in contrasts. 😉

 

For him: store-deli baked beans, augmented by some of my precious home-cooked beans, and with chunks of last night's pork tossed in. Alll heated in the microwave.

 

20230106_202741.jpg

 

For me: chunks of the pork, heated in the microwave, then tossed onto a bed a lettuce and spinach, and mixed with a vinaigrette.

 

20230106_202559.jpg

 

We were both quite happy with our choices, and neither was tempted to steal from the other's dish. Of such freedom is a good marriage made.

 

Wine helps.

 

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Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

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Mechanical issues struck again, this time more or less of our own making. "Why is the pump rattling like we're low on water?" I asked, "the gauge still says 2 lights." The tank isn't supposed to be empty until the gauge has been on 1 light for some gallons. We couldn't figure it out, but went to get water and pumped it into the Princessmobile's tank. That was the problem: the gauge wasn't reading properly. So for a day the poor pump was sucking air (and some water) and for 2 days after we refilled the tank the faucets spit on us every time we turned one on. Most annoying! But now I know to trust my ears more than the gauge.

 

We had a bit of a kerfuffle today over the refrigerator. "There's nothing to eat in here!" he groused. "There's plenty in there!" I retorted: "enchiladas, leftover ham, leftover pork, beans, plenty of salad stuff!" "Yes, but I can't find anything!" he complained. He pulled everything out while I was working on something else, and demanded that I come look at it all. Grr. We consolidated, and I threw away the remaining unused tortillas and some old grapes, and allowed him to put my pinto beans into his wretched sweet deli beans. Here is the result:

 

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There's empty space on the shelves! I admit it's easier to find things now. We'll try to keep the refrigerator this sparely stocked for a while. We're shoveling sand against the tide, so to speak, but maybe we can change our ways.

 

Dinner tonight was also spare: some of the pork roast from the Crown Rib experiment, warmed and cut and thrown into dishes of our choice again. I cooked asparagus in a butter/mustard/lemon sauce, and added my pork chunks to that. He put his pork chunks into his beans and kept his asparagus separate. It made for an easy cleanup. That pork roast is a gift that keeps on giving: like ham, it seems to be taking an eternity to use it up!

 

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While the country to our east and west is inundated, we've had barely a drop of rain. I think the plants would appreciate some rain, but they're starting to flower anyway.

 

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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5 hours ago, Smithy said:

"There's nothing to eat in here!" he groused. "There's plenty in there!" I retorted

 

This brings to mind my brother's comment upon looking into my liquor cabinet, stuffed with all manner of unusual cocktail ingredients. "You've got all these bottles and there's nothing to drink!"  By which he meant, "Where's the vodka?"

 

Congrats on the fridge space.  I need to attempt a clean-out myself. Came upon 2 open jars of capers this afternoon while looking for the back-up jar of kimchi, which I did not find, necessitating an extra trip to the store. Two stores, actually, as Aldi was out 🙃

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38 minutes ago, ElsieD said:

@SmithyButter/mustard/lemon sauce sounds good.  Can you give us the particulars?

 

It was a by-guess-and-by-golly approach, but roughly speaking here's what I did:

 

I started the asparagus, about a pint's worth of chunks, in a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Once they were warming, I added about 4 Tbsp butter, in chunks, to melt around the asparagus. Once that was melted and the asparagus was close to being cooked I stirred in about 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard and kept stirring to get it to emulsify (more or less) around the asparagus. The finish was half of a large lemon's worth of juice, also stirred in. The result was a fairly thick coating on barely-cooked asparagus, with a bit of sauce left to pour over them. 

 

It was easy, and we both liked it. I'll do it again. I may try it on green beans next.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I'll have to try this when the asparagus arrives.  As I was reading your initial post I thought 'this sounds like it would be great with green beans'. :)

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One thing I need to deal with before it goes off in the refrigerator is a passel of jalapenos. What happened was that I bought some -- beautiful, large jalapenos suitable for stuffing -- and then forgot I had them and bought more. There are at least a dozen. We have no party plans, and that would be a LOT of jalapeno poppers / atomic buffalo turds / whatever for us to be eating. I think I've seen casseroles along the same lines, but can't find those recipes. I've found a few good-looking pickling recipes, like this one from Fifi, God rest her soul, and this one from @FauxPas (God keep her with us!). I'm sure I've also seen things from @Shelby but haven't figured out where.

 

I'm going to town today and have put pickling spices and salt on the shopping list, but there's still probably some sort of good main dish to make with some of these beauties. What would you do? 

 

And yes, I admit this makes my darling's point about Too Much Stuff in the refrigerator. 🙃

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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I’ve made @Shelby’S Cowboy Candy which is very good and goes well with a lot of things.  If I recall correctly the recipe would take care of quite a few jalapeños.  We also love stuffing them….freeze a few to be finished off in the air fryer or CsO.

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3 minutes ago, Okanagancook said:

I’ve made @Shelby’S Cowboy Candy which is very good and goes well with a lot of things.  If I recall correctly the recipe would take care of quite a few jalapeños.  We also love stuffing them….freeze a few to be finished off in the air fryer or CsO.

 

What do you like to stuff them with, that freezes well?

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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55 minutes ago, Smithy said:

I'm going to town today and have put pickling spices and salt on the shopping list, but there's still probably some sort of good main dish to make with some of these beauties. What would you do? 

 

 

Maybe a tamale pie? To me, that means something along the lines of beans, tomato and mixed peppers covered with a cornbread topping and baked. I like to add quite a bit of chopped jalapenos. Ground beef can also be added. 

 

Edited to add:  I don't know that a recipe is needed for a dish like this, but here's Kenji's version: 

https://www.seriouseats.com/american-tamale-pie-quick-and-easy-food-lab-recipe

 

Edited by FauxPas (log)
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I made this jalapeño mustard a few years back--it's really good and you could make a smaller batch and just keep it in the fridge.  I cut way back on the amount of sugar in the recipe and kept the jalapeño seeds in.    Link to where I posted about it in the preserving thread.

 

I find us using pickled jalapeños in quite a few things so a jar of those might be handy.  Again, you don't have to can them, just keep in that nice empty fridge of yours 😬

 

 

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2 hours ago, Smithy said:

 

What do you like to stuff them with, that freezes well?

I don’t have a recipe but have used cream cheese as the main binder.  I use various ingredients such as fried Mexican chorizo or Italian sausage, smoked swordfish if you can find it, bacon, Tasso ham, etc.  This website has some nice spicing and they have a unique way of slicing them and the use of crushed bbq chips and cheddar cheese on top sounds nice.  I used to make dozens when I had my garden and never had an issue with the cream cheese freezing.https://cookieandkate.com/baked-jalapeno-poppers-recipe/

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23 hours ago, Smithy said:

What would you do? 

 

I think I'd do a relish, instead of pickling.   You could then use it as a condiment on hot dogs, in dips, or casseroles?

There's lots of relish recipes via Google.   Maybe you could get it a more compact item by chopping it fine.

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I certainly have a lot of good ideas for what to do with those jalapenos! Thanks, folks. I should be able to get to them today or tomorrow, and I'll be able to do more than one thing. I have a glass quart jar that once held pickles, and now only has the brine. I think I'll use the container and at least some of the pickling brine for one treatment. The relish idea is appealing, too, for its compactness. Heaven forbid that I should put too many containers into the refrigerator. :rolleyes:

 

Woe is me, I ate the very last Harry & David pear for breakfast this morning. They don't last forever, even refrigerated, but it was a sad Last Taste. 

 

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It's going to be cool today, with an overcast sky and possibly a bit of rain today or tomorrow. We won't see much of the sun today, but the pre-dawn sky was fabulous.

 

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
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We've had a few grey days, and this morning the wind is plenty noisy. The ground is damp from overnight sprinkles, but there hasn't been enough rain to make puddles. 

 

I didn't get around yesterday to doing anything with the jalapenos, but I did get the green beans trimmed, and had a chance to try the butter/mustard/lemon treatment on green beans. It was pretty good. I think I put in too much mustard, though; the sauce was slightly bitter. Maybe more lemon would have helped. Or maybe I should have stopped at that first dollop of Dijon. 😁

 

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Mac 'n' cheese 'n' ham was the main course.

 

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Whenever I have a big hit from a guess-and-by-golly dish, then I have to make multiple attempts to recreate it. Sometimes I finally manage to get it the same way again, and then write down what I (think I) did. Eventually I get it into a "recipe" that works for us, but it takes a fair amount of record-keeping. The mac 'n' cheese 'n' ham is a case in point. The mustard sauce may become another. In the meantime, he's still flailing away (again) to get exactly the right quantities of potatoes and oil for the pan we have with us in order to get his beloved hash right. We forgot to pack The Good Hash Pan this year, and he's been trying to adapt to the smaller pan here in the Princessmobile. Will he keep records? Noooo. Will he let me keep records? Noooo. So we had mush a couple of nights ago....

 

 

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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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On 1/16/2023 at 10:42 AM, Dave the Cook said:

Here's my take on green beans with mustard/lemon/butter: recipe.

 

Maybe it will help you with proportions.

 

Thanks for that link. I followed it through to your blog, and thoroughly enjoyed revisiting it. I'll try those proportions next time.

 

Question: why Creole mustard? And what sets Creole mustard apart from other mustard?

 

I've been on a curious search since reading that post, strolling through grocery stores that I visit, both in Yuma and in San Diego. So far, no Creole mustard...and no Durkee's sauce. Go figure!

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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20230123_065524.jpg

 

The sun has cleared the highest peak on its way back north. The days are getting longer at both ends, and we expect (hope) to be enjoying campfire cooking again. Someday.

 

I drove to San Diego last week to visit my best friend. She's a creative cook who takes great pride in inexpensive meals that use up little dribs and drabs of stuff in the (sparsely populated) refrigerator. Here's an example: a soup she made using chicken stock, stray bits of chopped onion, red pepper, carrot, broccoli, red cabbage, bedraggled spinach I'd brought from the Princessmobile, and some Costco meatballs. Very, very little food goes to waste at her place, and it's always delicious.

 

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The trick for making that soup -- I write this as much for my own sake as for yours -- is to lump the ingredients together by cooking time. The carrots, peppers, and broccoli all went into the 3-minutes-to-done stage; the spinach was thrown in at the last minute.

 

We had tortellinis in soup one day also. I haven't had tortellinis in years, because my efforts at using them had seemed no more satisfying than using unstuffed pasta. I decided to try again, and on my first or second night back home made a quite satisfying pasta from porcini mushroom tortellinis picked up at World Market in the San Diego area.

 

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I made a point of visiting Trader Joe's and World Market while I was over there. I do love those stores! 

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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This should give some of you a laugh.

 

Our kitchen faucet is like many faucets these days: with the press of a button it switches from spray to stream, or back again. Unlike many faucets it stays in the selected mode rather than springing back to a default position, and I like that feature. However, I have trouble remembering sometimes which button is for "spray" and which for "stream". That is not consistent among faucets, and in fact I think our faucet at home has the opposite arrangement.

 

Just today...after years of living in this trailer for months on end...I noticed the "decorations" on the faucet and realized what they are for.

 

20230124_100258.jpg

 

:blush:

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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7 hours ago, Smithy said:

Question: why Creole mustard? And what sets Creole mustard apart from other mustard?

 

As far as I know, there's no hard-and-fast recipe for Creole mustard. However, it's usually made from brown mustard seeds (like Dijon-style mustard) steeped in vinegar (not like Dijon-style mustard, which famously uses wine). It usually includes a little horseradish, and often includes other things, such as sugar and spices. It's almost always mixed with coarsely ground brown mustard seeds.

 

It's a little sharper in flavor than Grey Poupon or Maille, but not as sinus-clearing as some German or Asian mustards. It's easily found in the southern US (especially the southeast, if one includes Louisiana). In this recipe, I think I used it because that was what was available, and it worked, so that's what I wrote down.

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Dave Scantland
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Eat more chicken skin.

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4 hours ago, Smithy said:

This should give some of you a laugh.

 

Our kitchen faucet is like many faucets these days: with the press of a button it switches from spray to stream, or back again. Unlike many faucets it stays in the selected mode rather than springing back to a default position, and I like that feature. However, I have trouble remembering sometimes which button is for "spray" and which for "stream". That is not consistent among faucets, and in fact I think our faucet at home has the opposite arrangement.

 

Just today...after years of living in this trailer for months on end...I noticed the "decorations" on the faucet and realized what they are for.

 

20230124_100258.jpg

 

:blush:

Not unlike my most recent discovery. The hood over our range/oven has four lights, which I need lately as my sight in dark corners isn't what it used to be. After several compromised years of wishing the lights were brighter I finally asked my husband if the bulbs could be changed to provide more wattage. He informed me that the hood has three stops for the lights and I was only pushing the button for the the lowest one. We've had this range and hood for over thirty five years. Who knew? Clearly my husband doesn't need more light. 

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