Last week, I looked in the cupboard and realized how many microwave cooking gadgets I use. I found: a rice cooker, a pasta maker, two vegetable steamers, and three bacon/sausage/pancake racks. And they all work.
They go into the dishwasher, with a few exceptions, on either the top or bottom rack. Along with my vintage Corningware, they make cooking and clean up easy and fast. (My Corningware wasn’t vintage when I bought it…we’ve aged into vintage-hood together.)
It’s been nearly 40 years since we bought our first microwave. And for most of that time, we used it to defrost tv dinners and boil water.
Then I realized I could steam vegetables in a Corningware casserole dish… asparagus never tasted better. We’ve added eggs, bacon and lately a whole slew of things microwavable. Not everything turned out to be something we loved…microwave muffin pans definitely didn’t make the cut. Nor did the microwave egg poacher or the folding omelet pan.
All of the cookers were inexpensive, mostly under $20.00 in price and available over the years from stores like Walmart or the Corningware Outlet. Today, your best bet is to shop online. A quick visit to Target, Walmart and Kohls revealed little on their shelves, despite microwave items listed on their websites. (Check Amazon as well.) My rice cooker was found at a local Daiso store.
I’m still learning. I discovered how to use a pyrex measuring cup to reduce balsamic vinegar to a glaze and next I am experimenting with a microwave browning pan.
Want to learn how to use these gadgets? I hope you like to mess around in the kitchen!
Recipes all have to be adapted for each individual microwave oven because they come in a range of power settings from 600 watts to more than 1200 watts. Boiling water could take a minute (for a cup of water) or two, depending on your oven. And with food as delicate as asparagus, a minute might be perfect, two minutes could produce a limp soggy mess.
A final caveat (or promise): if your microwave comes with an “inverter,” you will have the ability to actually cook. My microwave(1250 watts) has an inverter with 10 power settings. To make a balsamic glaze, I started at 30 seconds on the highest setting, 10. Then to get the balsamic vinegar to reduce, I hit it at level 4 for a minute and a half between stirrings. Easy, peasy.
My final ambition? To make an old fashioned gravy, starting with a roux in my pyrex measuring cup.