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Cooking for One


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#91 Deryn

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 08:42 PM

I use my TMX Varoma a lot for steaming/one pot cooking. If I am too lazy to even bring that out, I use the microwave .. with a bowl, food covered by wet paper towel or parchment paper - so I am not sure that particular steam case would be ideal for me but this Lekue pasta cooker looks interesting - should save time and having to bring out a colander for microwaved pasta:  http://www.amazon.co...KQ23B7HG48FRFYF.



#92 huiray

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 08:47 PM

I've had this microwave steamer shown below for more than a decade, I think.  (just hauled it out from the back of a cupboard to take the pictures)  From an "Asian"/Chinese grocery store years ago.  I don't believe I've used it more than a couple times.  If I remember correctly, the stuff I "steamed" got a sort of "pellicle"/"skin" on it - seemingly from the microwaving process before (or even in spite of) the steaming process fully kicked in, even if I started off with boiling water from the kettle in the bottom of the steamer tray.  This "slightly hardened skin" never went away and was just...unpleasant. Thinking about it more I seem to recall that the bottoms of the stuff also just got soggy.  I believe I was steaming dim-sum items - siu mai and stuff - or dumplings like shui kow...and it was simply inferior to doing it properly under wet steam on the stovetop.  Maybe some kinds of stuff are nicely done with this thing (after all, one is also microwaving the stuff, not simply "steaming" it ... and the "steaming" doesn't really start until after the microwaving has gone on for a short while - 20-30 seconds, maybe?) but I just set this aside and returned to the method I describe below.

 

DSCN2893a_600.jpg

DSCN2894a_600.jpg

 

I don't have issues with steaming things - I don't even need to use the bamboo/metal steaming baskets/trays.  I use one of those enameled metal dishes I've shown in many of my posts on the lunch & dinner threads, plop whatever I am steaming into it (that includes those siu mai & shui kow; as well as any "raw" stuff like fish, shrimp - with the marinade and/or whatnot, often done right in the dish), prop the dish on top of a tuna can with both ends removed** sitting in one of my deep skillets/pans with water bubbling in it, cover it, and I get my stuff steamed.  The metal dish comes out and is also the "serving dish" itself, perhaps rested on another plate; the tuna can goes back into the drawer, the skillet/pan gets swished out under the tap, maybe with a quick rub with a soapy sponge plus rinse and...that's it.

 

** I've used this same tuna can ring for years and years.  It sits in a corner of a drawer.  :-)  :-D

 

 

Just before posting I thought about the "retriever" for those enameled metal plates I talked about above, which have a curled/tightly-scrolled rim.  This is what I use, a common implement in some Chinese kitchens.  :-)  I've had this for, I dunno, 20++ years?

 

DSCN2898a_600.jpg


Edited by huiray, 14 October 2014 - 11:48 PM.

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#93 Anna N

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Posted 15 October 2014 - 06:41 AM

Okay all ye practical, economy-minded, realistic types. You don't get it. For three weeks I am living with the understudy for queen of the gadgets on this forum (Andie is the reigning queen). I have a Thermomix, more than one microwave steamer and quite a collection of parchment products. Any of them would serve very well in place of the Lekue gadget. But that is not the point. THE POINT IS ANOTHER TOY. I make no apologies for my attitude. I would love the space and the bank account for an outdoor brick oven. It ain't never going to happen. But if I watch my pennies one of these gadgets is within reach. It may only amuse me for a week or two but that is good value for my pennies. So there. If I succeed in making one or two tasty meals for myself using it I shall be well pleased and consider that a bonus.

So I would still like to hear some more from Jaymes.

But I am not ungrateful for the suggestions from both Deryn and huiray.
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#94 Deryn

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Posted 15 October 2014 - 06:52 AM

Anna, believe me ... I 'get it', about 'gadgets' - large and small, inexpensive and otherwise. :smile:

 

My comments were selfishly about me and a new 'gadget' for me, not you! You and Jaymes got me looking at items I had not seen before - and as a result, I found one that might intrigue me. Thank you both. I do hope Jaymes will give you more details as you requested. Sorry .. wasn't trying to interfere with that.



#95 huiray

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Posted 15 October 2014 - 07:05 AM

THE POINT IS ANOTHER TOY.

 

OK OK... :-)  Yes, yes I "got it".  :-D


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#96 Anna N

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Posted 15 October 2014 - 08:45 AM

Anna, believe me ... I 'get it', about 'gadgets' - large and small, inexpensive and otherwise. :smile:
 
My comments were selfishly about me and a new 'gadget' for me, not you! You and Jaymes got me looking at items I had not seen before - and as a result, I found one that might intrigue me. Thank you both. I do hope Jaymes will give you more details as you requested. Sorry .. wasn't trying to interfere with that.

Anna, believe me ... I 'get it', about 'gadgets' - large and small, inexpensive and otherwise. :smile:
 
My comments were selfishly about me and a new 'gadget' for me, not you! You and Jaymes got me looking at items I had not seen before - and as a result, I found one that might intrigue me. Thank you both. I do hope Jaymes will give you more details as you requested. Sorry .. wasn't trying to interfere with that.

Absolutely no apology needed. I come here to have fun and I too followed the link to the pasta maker and added it to my wish list!
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#97 Anna N

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Posted 15 October 2014 - 08:46 AM

OK OK... :-)  Yes, yes I "got it".  :-D


I just knew you would. But I would give up many of my toys for an opportunity to eat your lunches.
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#98 huiray

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Posted 15 October 2014 - 10:59 AM

Anna_N,  let's do lunch some day. :-)  Thanks.   (Who knows when that may be, though)



#99 Anna N

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Posted 15 October 2014 - 11:57 AM

Anna_N,  let's do lunch some day. :-)  Thanks.   (Who knows when that may be, though)


That would be something. But you would have to do the cooking and I would like it to be one of your amazing noodle bowls with vegetables so green I feel healthy just looking at the photographs! But back to the topic. Still hoping Jaymes will pop back in and share some more details of the meals that she has cooked in this gadget.
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#100 Jaymes

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Posted 15 October 2014 - 12:44 PM

That would be something. But you would have to do the cooking and I would like it to be one of your amazing noodle bowls with vegetables so green I feel healthy just looking at the photographs! But back to the topic. Still hoping Jaymes will pop back in and share some more details of the meals that she has cooked in this gadget.

 

Wasn't procrastinating - just now got time.

 

Let me start with a quick bit about motivation. I know how to steam stuff other ways. I lived in Hong Kong in the late 60's, early 70's.  Had several bamboo steamers and used them frequently.  Got my first microwave in 1973 - an Amana Radar Range. Steamed lots of stuff in that. Have always had at least one of those collapsible metal steamers. Used them all the time. 

 

Who knows what compels somebody to cook or not cook.  I can only tell you that, after many many decades of cooking for a large family, and doing way more than my share of competitive entertaining, I've kind of had it.  I do still cook quite a bit - nanny for my daughter and her husband and their four children and, often, make them dinner before going home.  I could stay and eat with them, or drag home a bit of what I've cooked, but I just don't want to.

 

I want to go home to my little bachelorette condo at the "Active Seniors Resort Retirement Complex" and eat a simple meal and call it a day.

 

So, I'm not saying that my Lekue silicone steamer is any more wonderful than any other sort of steamer but I will say that it works splendidly for me.  It's just so easy.  Put in this and that, close the flaps, into the microwave, zap for about 2-4 minutes, let it and me rest a few minutes more, open, eat, into dishwasher, done.  It's so easy and so compelling, for whatever reason, that I look forward to using it.  It's not a chore.  And the friend that first introduced these steamers to me said she feels the same way.  She's a recent widow and had basically stopped cooking entirely, just eating cereal at night, or picking up the occasional takeout.

 

If you google "lekue recipes," you'll pull up a great many suggestions, but my favorite use is for fish fillets.  I buy bags of individually-frozen cod, halibut, flounder, filets.  Yesterday, I was in my local supermarket, and noticed they had just gotten in some fresh wild-caught salmon, so I bought a small steak, dusted it with lemon pepper. Into the steamer went some olive oil and a splash of wine. Then the salmon steak.  Then some sliced yellow squash.  Closed it up - into the microwave for two minutes, and it turned into a wonderful dinner.  That's pretty typical, but sometimes I add a twig of rosemary, or some capers, or lemon slices, or garlic, onions, etc., whatever.  I do the same thing with portabella mushrooms, or zucchini for a vegetarian dinner. Chicken breasts get some Italian seasoning, sliced tomatoes.  Steam 2 minutes. Open, add mozzarella cheese, seal back up, wait. 

 

My Lekue steamer came with a recipe book, which did offer some great ideas but, basically, anybody that has done any cooking whatsoever, can figure out what to put into their steamer.  Here's a typical recipe:

 

http://www.lekueusa....cipe-rid24.html

 

I don't have any of the other Lekue cooking vessels.  Just haven't felt the need.


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#101 Anna N

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Posted 16 October 2014 - 04:39 AM

Jaymes,

Thank you. I am often in the same position of just wanting a meal with little effort and even less clean up so I understand your motivation. I have added the steam case to my wish list.
Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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#102 huiray

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Posted 16 October 2014 - 07:41 AM

Good to read in more detail about your reasons for liking the Lekue microwave steamer, Jaymes.  Thanks for the background info too.  I can imagine your grandkids tire you out somewhat but I'm sure you get much pleasure from being with them.  As for those fish fillets you commonly cook in that steamer, do you do it with or without that little tray?  If not, then would it be more of a poaching than a steaming?

 

BTW, Anna N, I wasn't really replying to you when I posted about my own experiences upthread.  It was a response to Jaymes' urging of *anyone* who cooks for one to try it in her initial post.  So, I took the bait and related my experience with a microwave steamer not dissimilar in nature, why I put it aside and what I did instead and what I used.  So, in effect, I wasn't too sure I'd try this Lekue product - but nevertheless mentioned that the one I used might work with other things - and by extension the Lekue product too.

 

In that sense also I wasn't dissing you, Jaymes.  I merely responded to your urging and don't believe I said anything about what you yourself should or should not do or suggesting that you did not steam things in other ways.  Peace.



#103 Jaymes

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Posted 16 October 2014 - 08:09 AM

BTW, Anna N, I wasn't really replying to you when I posted about my own experiences upthread. It was a response to Jaymes' urging of *anyone* who cooks for one to try it in her initial post. So, I took the bait and related my experience with a microwave steamer not dissimilar in nature, why I put it aside and what I did instead and what I used. So, in effect, I wasn't too sure I'd try this Lekue product - but nevertheless mentioned that the one I used might work with other things - and by extension the Lekue product too.

In that sense also I wasn't dissing you, Jaymes. I merely responded to your urging and don't believe I said anything about what you yourself should or should not do or suggesting that you did not steam things in other ways. Peace.

Nor did I take it that way.

In fact, I even had to go back and reread your other post to find out what you're talking about in this one. And as to my thinking that "everyone" (or whatever) should try this silicone steamer (or something similar), it was mainly a figure of speech; however it sounds as though you already have.

Regarding the tray, most often I do use it, but sometimes not. Depends upon what I'm going for.

Edited by Jaymes, 16 October 2014 - 09:05 AM.


#104 Anna N

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Posted 16 October 2014 - 10:03 AM

Good to read in more detail about your reasons for liking the Lekue microwave steamer, Jaymes.  Thanks for the background info too.  I can imagine your grandkids tire you out somewhat but I'm sure you get much pleasure from being with them.  As for those fish fillets you commonly cook in that steamer, do you do it with or without that little tray?  If not, then would it be more of a poaching than a steaming?
 
BTW, Anna N, I wasn't really replying to you when I posted about my own experiences upthread.  It was a response to Jaymes' urging of *anyone* who cooks for one to try it in her initial post.  So, I took the bait and related my experience with a microwave steamer not dissimilar in nature, why I put it aside and what I did instead and what I used.  So, in effect, I wasn't too sure I'd try this Lekue product - but nevertheless mentioned that the one I used might work with other things - and by extension the Lekue product too.
 
In that sense also I wasn't dissing you, Jaymes.  I merely responded to your urging and don't believe I said anything about what you yourself should or should not do or suggesting that you did not steam things in other ways.  Peace.


Well huiray that just proves my ego is too big! But I am in agreement with both of you. There is much to be said for using what you have on hand and there is something to be said for trying a new way. Any way that food can be quickly prepared and clean up minimized gets my vote on those days when even Louis singing "What a Wonderful World" is less than convincing. Other times I feel happy that I can make a much more complex meal and still deal with the cleanup. Peace of course.
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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

"It either works fine or not, but what the heck. This is bread, not birth control." Susan of Wild Yeast blog
Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog
My 2004 eG Blog