Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Microwaves


M. Lucia
 Share

Recommended Posts

I resisted them for years. No new-fangled stuff for me, thank you!!

But I did give in and I use it constantly ---- for all the things mentioned above. What originally hooked me was not having that sticky oatmeal pot to clean. Then came the crispy bacon. Then the baked potato trick. When time is short when baking a meatloaf, for example, I will start it in the MW and finish it in the pre-heated oven.

I like the microwave as I make it work for me -- without actual cooking something.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

While I've never owned a microwave, I have had access to roommate's contraptions. My last roommate used it to cook vitrually everything (if you can consider warming canned meals cooking), but I only used it for thawing stock and making popcorn.

Now, I'm living by myself, and don't miss the thing at all. Frankly, I'm deeply suspicious of the things and am a little bit scared of them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I soften or melt butter, boil water, occasionally defrost meat, and heat leftovers (except for pizza, which I reheat in my toaster oven). I can't imagine not having one, the time it saves just melting butter or boiling water is worth the cost!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Use it all the time: melting butter, steaming vegetables (have a microwave steamer), reheating leftovers, starting potatoes (that get finished in the oven for a crispy skin), heating small amounts of liquid for a recipe.

I don't use it for popcorn (prefer the stove) or bacon (the oven) or quesadillas (cast iron skillet).

I'm surprised no one mentioned the classic use of the microwave: Peeps research! :raz:

"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I also use it daily, but not for cooking things. I find it a very useful tool for the following:

Heating milk in my little pitcher for my morning tea (means I don't have to clean milk scum out of a little pan every morning)

Defrosting things - an amazing thing I only recently discovered, although, you have to watch it carefully so it doesn't become pre-cooking things :wink:

Melting butter or chocolate; softening butter that's too hard, but again, see above about defrosting.

Reheating leftovers - I can't imagine the day after Thanksgiving without it. We used to have to put everything in pie plates/tin foil and into the overn, then have lots of stuff to wash. I also think the microwave is the only way to reheat mashed potatoes with any semblance of their original flavor.

I also pre-cook baked potatoes and then finish them in the convection oven (rubbed with olive oil or butter and kosher salt). I used to hate nuked potatoes until I tried this method. Now I can't tell the difference from fully baked ones.

Reheating the tea/coffee in my cup that's sat too long because I got distracted.

Heating up liquids such as stocks and milk that I'm using in recipies such as gravies, rice or sauces.

Heating up heating pads for pulled muscles

Heating up the cat's canned food - (finicky thing :rolleyes: )

For some reason, the only vegetable I use it for (other than potatoes) is beets, when I need them quickly--otherwise I roast them.

There's probably other things I use it for, but I can't think of them now. It would be a big adjustment to not have one.

Jan

Jan

Seattle, WA

"But there's tacos, Randy. You know how I feel about tacos. It's the only food shaped like a smile....A beef smile."

--Earl (Jason Lee), from "My Name is Earl", Episode: South of the Border Part Uno, Season 2

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Marshmallow rice krispie treats.......plastic bowl , melt TBL butter swirl it in the bowl then add marshmallows watch them rise !!!! when risen and soft add rice krispies none of it will stick if you swirled well :biggrin:

and....ya dont use a whole stick of butter

heating up canned corn....local farmer said to cook his corn in there too and uuuummm defrosting and starting potatoes for the grill and re heating the veggies grilled the day before a holiday

dont need to soften butter i just leave it out

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

My Webpage

garden state motorcyle association

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My dad has one - we don't - he uses it to reheat coffee & to reheat soup. Otherwise, he insists it's the only way he could get an effective fan/light over the top of the stove.

I too prefer the convection/toaster oven - best way on earth, IMO, to do baked eggs!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can make a quick loaf of bread in about an hour. The microwave is essential for this:

Add hot water to the dry ingredients (including yeast) in the food processor. Mix for one minute until the dough forms a ball.

Proof the dough in the microwave by using the No. 1, or No. 2 setting for one minute. It will be thoroughly warm, and kick-started.

Keep repeating this every 10 minutes until the dough is ready for shaping and put in a ceramic or glass bread pan, and continue to let it rise. It will be ready for baking in a half hour. The microwave is integral to keeping it growing.

The loaf is quick, and good, though not as good as a traditional day long loaf.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok, I just don't understand the reheating argument.

Presumably, you made the item in a pot or pan. You store the food item in the pot/pan you made it in. You pop that item back into the oven/stove to reheat. No extra pans.

If I wanted to do it in the microwave, I might have to put it in another dish= more dirty dishes. If I am going to microwave it in the dish I am serving it in, then I have the same amount of used dishes.

And it tastes so much better to do it the old way! Really!

Do people think veggies done in the microwave taste the same as those steamed over a pot of water?

As a vegetable lover, I find the traditional method makes the flavors so much clearer.

So I guess I am on a crusade to minimize microwave usage.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You store the food item in the pot/pan you made it in.

There's where we differ - I don't store food in the pot or pan I made it in for various reasons, the two big ones being no room in the fridge for large pots, and I often need that pot or pan for the next night's dinner, by which time the leftovers are generally not consumed. I store leftovers in an assortment of Rubbermaid and other plastic containers, especially if they're going to be frozen (since my pots and pans don't have airtight lids).

I put the microwave's usefulness on about the same level as my food processor: I don't NEED it, I can cook many wonderful things without it, but some things it just makes a whole lot easier :smile: .

Marcia.

Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

eGullet foodblog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

M. Lucia -

For reheating things, it is much easier to do it in single serve increments in a microwave than in the original container. If I cook a big pot of something I will eat some of it for dinner that night, then have most of the pot left for future dinners/lunches/breakfasts the rest of the week, with a microwave it is only a matter of scooping out what I want, sticking it in a bowl, and heating it. For most things, reheating in the microwave doesn't effect the taste at all. Any soup, stew, casserole, or other dish where the flavors have already mingled works very well, not difference in taste vs. reheating on the stove or in the oven. Obviously for things that could easily change texture in the microwave, like big chunks of meat or leftover pizza, the oven or a skillet is the way to go.

As for the steaming argument - I've never noticed a difference between microwaved steamed and traditionally steamed vegetables, but then again, steaming is by far my least favorite way to prepare anything, as it seems to be the least flavorful overall.

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a large microwave oven, a small microwave oven and a combination convection/microwave oven and I use all of them all the time.

All of the things mentioned above and them some.

such as - -

I make preserves in the microwave - documented in photos last summer when I was up to my hips in apricots.

then there is;

making infused syrups with spices, herbs, etc.

making the syrup for pickles

heating milk and cream as you are sure it won't scorch this way.

reducing liquids of all kinds.

I would never be without one again.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

bechamel sauce works wonderfully in the nuker.

I love my corn on the cob roasted and charred on the BQ but if that's not possible I pop 2 or 3 ears on a large dinner plate, add 2-3 tbsp of water cover in cling film and nuke for about 4 minutes. Really delicious corn- no huge boiling pots of water to accomodate the ears and in the summer if you don't have AC it is a godsend!

Life! what's life!? Just natures way of keeping meat fresh - Dr. who

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My 18 year old microwave died early last year (they just don't make things to last anymore, do they?) and I have not replaced it. About once every two or three months I consider it because there are a few advantages as others have noted, but I really haven't missed it much.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't own one but our house came with one. The one thing it is great for is defrosting the stock cubes I keep in the freezer -- great for a last minute pan sauce. I don't use stock often enough to keep it in the fridge.

Also good for reheating soup. I don't keep stuff in pots, cause I need my pots.

Oh, to avoid microwave smell I only use heat-proof glass or stoneware, never plastic. That helps a lot.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How do you reduce liquids?

I am wary of heating liquids in the microwave because I think it can be dangerous.

I use a Pyrex container that is much larger than the volume of liquid (usually the 2 quart size but occasionally use a 6 quart "Visions" Dutch oven) - I set the power level to 40% and depending on the amount of liquid set the time from 5 to 15 minutes as a general rule.

I don't open the door or move the container for several minutes after the cycle ends, in fact, I generally just leave it alone while I am doing other things.

I check it and if it needs more reduction I set it again at the lower power, etc. Sometimes it takes several cycles to get the liquid where I want it. However this way I don't have to hang over the stove.

You can see photos of apricot jam processed in the microwave on

this thread.

Post # 22 is the one.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My microwave is built in over the cooktop so it does triple duty, exhaust fan, light and microwave. It's great for par-cooking vegetables in a microwave steamer dish. I go through a lot of coffee and a nuked cup is a lot better than one that has been kept on a warmer. Also, some of the other things mentioned.

Jim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

the microwave cooks bacon like a champ, and you eliminate a lot of excess grease in the process.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but this is just WRONG!

Oh, I am glad someone else had the courage to say it.

My reaction was the same to the bechamel idea.

And I am holding out on the vegetables in microwave, though some have more respect for vegetables than others.

Ok, so microwaves are good for defrosting (meat, stock). And occaisonally reheating, though not necessary.

I see how you did the reducing andie. I suppose I would just rather do it on the stove top, it would take about the same amount of time and I feel more comfortable being able to regulate the temperature of the flame on the stove. Personal preference.

Perhaps part of the reason I don't like microwaves is lack of control, I just don't trust them. Especially with the fact that liquid heated never boils, there is just something wrong with that. I know there is rhetoric floating around about microwave radiation being dangerous and about things loosing nutrients in the microwave, but I don't know if there's any truth to that.

I think a lot of people use the microwave because they are used to it. As many have noted, if you were suddenly microwaveless you might be surprised at how easily you could get along without it.

Does anyone have any bad microwave stories?

Or do you know more about the technological basics (here is a bit of info) and why it makes things taste funny?

Do you have anything really unusual you use the microwave for?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

the microwave cooks bacon like a champ, and you eliminate a lot of excess grease in the process.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but this is just WRONG!

Oh, I am glad someone else had the courage to say it.

My reaction was the same to the bechamel idea.

I wouldn't cook sauces in a microwave, but it is acceptable for bacon in my book. Bacon cooked in the microwave doesn't have as much flavor as pan-fried or oven-baked bacon, but it tastes okay. As for the excess grease part, that's not so much a function of the cooking method as it is of the placement of the bacon. In a microwave, bacon is either cooked on special pans with ridged surfaces that allow grease to drain away, or on paper towels, or both. The towels especially leave the bacon less greasy. But you can get bacon that's just as crisp and almost as grease-free by cooking it on a rack in a conventional oven.

Perhaps part of the reason I don't like microwaves is lack of control, I just don't trust them. Especially with the fact that liquid heated never boils, there is just something wrong with that.

I've watched water boil in a microwave, and I've seen plenty of other liquids bubble. The difference is that the moment you stop pumping the liquid with microwave energy, the boiling and bubbling stop. Or perhaps your microwave is a lower-wattage model (power makes a difference in how fast and thoroughly microwave ovens heat foods)?

I think a lot of people use the microwave because they are used to it. As many have noted, if you were suddenly microwaveless you might be surprised at how easily you could get along without it.

I certainly don't cook as many things in the microwave as I once did. I still use it for the things it does well, or well enough.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is quite easy to boil water in a microwave. A mug of water will begin boiling in about two minutes in mine, and continue to do so for several seconds after being pulled out if I let it go a bit longer.

I admit I have used the microwave for bacon when I was in a rush, but I don't like how evenly it cooks it, too evenly that is. I prefer my bacon with some crispy fried bits and with some of the fat still stringy and barely cooked, so you get that chewy texture too, I haven't been able to manage that with the microwave.

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From the eGullet archives.....

There's a mention, I think, of this in the most recent microwave thread, but here's my recipe (adapted from Kafka's book, which is a great resource).

Microwave Risotto

This isn’t really much faster than stovetop cooking, but it requires a loss less stirring. It is important to stir well between cooking sessions to release the starchy coating from the rice grains. I’ve included my own labor-saving microwave convention of always using a single numeral for cooking times (66, 99, 2:22, etc).

This serves 4 as a side dish

2 T olive oil, butter, or combination

1 T chopped garlic, shallot, or onion (can be increased for onion)

1 cup of risotto rice (superfino Arborio, Carnaroli, Vialone nano, or other short-grained Italian-style rice)

1 c white wine (something you’d drink, reasonably dry)

3 cups hot water or stock, plus more as needed

salt

Parmigiano Reggianno cheese, freshly grated

combine fat and garlic (or shallot or onion) in microwave bowl. Cook on high 99 seconds

add rice, cook another 99 seconds

add some salt and the wine, stir for 30 seconds, cook for 2 minutes, 22 seconds, stir for 30 seconds

add 1 c water (or stock), cook 3 minutes, 33 seconds, stir for 30 seconds

continue to add liquid, cook, and stir until rice reaches desirable al dente state (typically about 15-20 minutes total of cooking, sometimes more).

add one last quarter cup or so of liquid and stir. jiggle the bowl. you want to see what the Italians call all’onda, the wave. the finished risotto should not be too runny or too stiff, but exhibit some movement when the bowl is jiggled.

stir in cheese. adjust salt. eat immediately

I have this on my site, but it needs updating to reflect this more evolved method. I do have recipes for risotto with leeks and favas and arugula and favas, with beets and arugula (hey, I have a lot of arugula in the garden and have to use it up), with greens (like arugula), and with butternut squash.

Jim

There are some links in the original post that didn't copy over. I also make polenta regularly (like last night) in the microwave.

You may commence with the culinary ass-whipping now....

Jim

ps.....I'm going to start reducing stuff, too..thanks andiesenji

olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From the eGullet archives.....
There's a mention, I think, of this in the most recent microwave thread, but here's my recipe (adapted from Kafka's book, which is a great resource).

Microwave Risotto

This isn’t really much faster than stovetop cooking, but it requires a loss less stirring. It is important to stir well between cooking sessions to release the starchy coating from the rice grains. I’ve included my own labor-saving microwave convention of always using a single numeral for cooking times (66, 99, 2:22, etc).

This serves 4 as a side dish

2 T olive oil, butter, or combination

1 T chopped garlic, shallot, or onion (can be increased for onion)

1 cup of risotto rice (superfino Arborio, Carnaroli, Vialone nano, or other short-grained Italian-style rice)

1 c white wine (something you’d drink, reasonably dry)

3 cups hot water or stock, plus more as needed

salt

Parmigiano Reggianno cheese, freshly grated

combine fat and garlic (or shallot or onion) in microwave bowl. Cook on high 99 seconds

add rice, cook another 99 seconds

add some salt and the wine, stir for 30 seconds, cook for 2 minutes, 22 seconds, stir for 30 seconds

add 1 c water (or stock), cook 3 minutes, 33 seconds, stir for 30 seconds

continue to add liquid, cook, and stir until rice reaches desirable al dente state (typically about 15-20 minutes total of cooking, sometimes more).

add one last quarter cup or so of liquid and stir. jiggle the bowl. you want to see what the Italians call all’onda, the wave. the finished risotto should not be too runny or too stiff, but exhibit some movement when the bowl is jiggled.

stir in cheese. adjust salt. eat immediately

I have this on my site, but it needs updating to reflect this more evolved method. I do have recipes for risotto with leeks and favas and arugula and favas, with beets and arugula (hey, I have a lot of arugula in the garden and have to use it up), with greens (like arugula), and with butternut squash.

Jim

There are some links in the original post that didn't copy over. I also make polenta regularly (like last night) in the microwave.

You may commence with the culinary ass-whipping now....

Jim

ps.....I'm going to start reducing stuff, too..thanks andiesenji

I do polenta and risotto in the microwave also - also the "instant" couscous when I don't have all the time needed for steaming it.

Try this. Cut an apple into bite-size pieces, put it in a pyrex bowl, sprinkle with a little sugar(I use splenda) and cinnamon and a pat of butter. cover loosley with a saucer or ?? and cook for 3-4 minutes at full power.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love the microwave - how shall I count the ways? Like computers, which are often used merely as glorified word processors, I think that microwaves are under-used.

I soften butter and melt chocolate.

I do the par-cooked potato thing, finishing them in a convection oven.

I make gorgeous lemon curd.

And wonderful polka-dot chocolate pudding.

Hollandaise which never splits and holds perfectly.

I use the stay-warm feature for gravy.

Defrosting lots of things.

Compotes.

Really good risotto - hard to believe, but true.

Cooking bacon.

I love the way it does squash.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...