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The microwave — from a Heston Blumenthal to Dan Lepard — has a place in the kitchen.


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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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Barbara Kafka's Microwave Gourmet is a great book (eG-friendly Amazon.com link) on just this topic. Full of surprises. Her microwave risotto has converted many a scoffing purist!

 

On another note, it is amazing how few of the recipes linked to in the article mention the wattage of the microwave ovens they are using. It makes a huge difference!

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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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9 hours ago, liuzhou said:

Barbara Kafka's Microwave Gourmet is a great book (eG-friendly Amazon.com link) on just this topic. Full of surprises. Her microwave risotto has converted many a scoffing purist!

 

On another note, it is amazing how few of the recipes linked to in the article mention the wattage of the microwave ovens they are using. It makes a huge difference!

The linked recipe for poached egg had me shaking my head as I couldn’t quite conceive of a sauce pan in the microwave! But I did think there were some interesting points made about the use of the microwave. 

 

Kafka’s book was amazing.  
 

I have always found the reference to wattage is less helpful than one might think. The microwave up in Manitoulin Island where I used to spend summers had a lower wattage than my own microwave and yet I was able to burn things in it very easily.  Mine claims to be 1100W and yet when I am making instant noodles  I must always add time. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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3 hours ago, Anna N said:

I have always found the reference to wattage is less helpful than one might think. The microwave up in Manitoulin Island where I used to spend summers had a lower wattage than my own microwave and yet I was able to burn things in it very easily.  Mine claims to be 1100W and yet when I am making instant noodles  I must always add time. 

 

Mine is a mere 400W, so it matters more to me, not that I use it much.

 

All Barbara Kafka's books are good.

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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i love the microwave and consider it an integral part of kitchen cookery. when people drone on and on about how terrible it is i just think about how uncreative they are. sure, it shouldn't be the only thing you use, and it's definitely been used to perpetuate culinary crimes, but it saves me a ton of time.

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58 minutes ago, jimb0 said:

i love the microwave and consider it an integral part of kitchen cookery. when people drone on and on about how terrible it is i just think about how uncreative they are. sure, it shouldn't be the only thing you use, and it's definitely been used to perpetuate culinary crimes, but it saves me a ton of time.

Absolutely. It is a tool just like any other tool. Some jobs it does really well. Some jobs should be executed using a completely different tool. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Our microwave is now 33 years old. We got it when our baby was born, thinking it might be useful in case we needed to heat up milk or whatever. Its main use has remained heating up a cup or coffee or tea or a leftover bowl of soup or beans or grits. I use it once in a great while if I need to defrost frozen spinach or melt some butter. We used to make microwave popcorn but I really couldn't stand the smell or the product, so we always do stovetop.  I find defrosting stock or sauce really annoying, so only do that in an emergency, preferring to just take stuff out of the freezer the night before. I don't believe I've ever actually "cooked" anything in it and it remains in a corner of the kitchen that's a bit dark and blends into the shelving. I'm hoping to never have to buy another. It isn't very fast, but neither am I.

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fwiw you can make microwave popcorn with just a brown bag or silicone container and some naked popcorn kernels. then dress as appropriate. we never buy the prebagged stuff.

 

modernist cakery aside, i like using it for vegetables, either as a parcook or as a replacement for anything you'd steam. broccoli comes out great and super bright green after a couple of minutes, potatoes are easily parcooked before roasting or frying, if i'm only doing one serving of bacon for myself chances are good i'll just do it in the microwave. you can make modernist cheese sauce easily and entirely with just a microwave, and if your hands are really tied, you can do macaroni in the microwave, too, then combine with the sauce for a pretty reasonable mac and cheese (which you can top with cracker crumbs you brown in melted butter in the microwave....). lots of other sauces, too. you can do a tangzhong or activate any other heat gels. i cook cabbage in the microwave, either to eat as such or to wilt the leaves for wraps.

 

good for crisping chicken skin, or doing a quick "fried" herb. sometimes i do scrambled eggs; they come out a little firm but definitely not rubbery. so versatile.

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22 minutes ago, jimb0 said:

fwiw you can make microwave popcorn with just a brown bag or silicone container and some naked popcorn kernels. then dress as appropriate. we never buy the prebagged stuff.

modernist cakery aside, i like using it for vegetables, either as a parcook or as a replacement for anything you'd steam. broccoli comes out great and super bright green after a couple of minutes, potatoes are easily parcooked before roasting or frying, if i'm only doing one serving of bacon for myself chances are good i'll just do it in the microwave. 

 

Heating up formula was #1. Popcorn - I do the bowl w/ lid - kinda magic. Did have one of these till dropped it on the stone floor. https://www.worldmarket.com/category/kitchen/cooking/cookware.do? The vegetable precook I much prefer to blanch or steam. Leftovers if they d not need a re-crisp in any way. i heat my non fancy tea bag water  the cup.  have a kettle but the MW warms the cup itself - not fond of tepid tea. 

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1 hour ago, Kim Shook said:

I do find, though, that I use it much less often now that I have a CSO.  

For the most part reheating food is better done in the CSO than in the microwave!  If I was forced to choose between one or the other I think the CSO would win in the end. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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54 minutes ago, jimb0 said:

sometimes i do scrambled eggs; they come out a little firm but definitely not rubbery. so versatile.

Have you tried poached eggs? In the microwave I mean of course. 

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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7 minutes ago, robirdstx said:

That recipe does not contain instructions for making a poached egg in the microwave, but rather for the stove top.

Yes I do know that and I commented upon it. I found the comments very confusing something got really badly mixed up!  But there are other recipes around for poaching eggs in the microwave. I will probably have to try it myself. 

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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13 minutes ago, Anna N said:

Yes I do know that and I commented upon it. I found the comments very confusing something got really badly mixed up!  But there are other recipes around for poaching eggs in the microwave. I will probably have to try it myself. 


Sorry, did not see your comment. Might have to play with that myself, it has been awhile.

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26 minutes ago, robirdstx said:

That recipe does not contain instructions for making a poached egg in the microwave, but rather for the stove top.

I thought that at first as well but it does basically show the recipe if you click through the images.

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5 minutes ago, robirdstx said:


Sorry, did not see your comment. Might have to play with that myself, it has been awhile.

No worries. I found it quite disappointing when I checked it out and realized that it had nothing to do with microwaving poached eggs!!

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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3 minutes ago, rob1234 said:

 

I thought that at first as well but it does basically show the recipe if you click through the images.

I will check that out. Thank you. 

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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3 minutes ago, Anna N said:

I will check that out. Thank you. 

I am still not seeing what you are seeing but I followed Faith Durand on microwaving eggs and found this .

 

 

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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26 minutes ago, Anna N said:

I am still not seeing what you are seeing but I followed Faith Durand on microwaving eggs and found this .

 

 

 

I need to try this.  I love poached eggs and I hope this method will produce non-snotty whites.

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1 hour ago, Anna N said:

Have you tried poached eggs? In the microwave I mean of course. 

 

no ma'am. but i'm curious, now.

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1 hour ago, Anna N said:

I am still not seeing what you are seeing but I followed Faith Durand on microwaving eggs and found this .

 

 

The middle image should have a 1/7 in the bottom left and left/right arrow buttons in the bottom right. You can click through the 7 images to see the recipe.

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2 minutes ago, rob1234 said:

The middle image should have a 1/7 in the bottom left and left/right arrow buttons in the bottom right. You can click through the 7 images to see the recipe.

Ah yes!  Now I do see it. Thank you. 

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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  • 2 weeks later...

Tried poaching an egg in the microwave just now.  60 seconds @ 80% power.  Good news and bad news.  The bad news is the yolk was firm (and exploded).  The good news is the white was not slimey.

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