Nuke 'Em All!!!

As background, a while back, I wrote about a Mark Bittman Minimalist (New York Times) article on how to equip your kitchen adequately for $200 (it involves restaurant supply stores, plastic handle knives, and restaurant-style pots & pans; see note below).

If you check out that blog post, he had a list of "unnecessary" items in a kitchen, and there were a few that I disagreed with, including the microwave. Microwave not necessary? Huh? As I put it:

Microwave: essential for leftovers, and I use it often for quickly cooking vegetables to incorporate into dishes (broccoli, califlower, potatoes)

Anyway, to my surprise, today's Bittman column talked about using microwaves for all sorts of cooking tasks:

FOR years, I hadn’t used my microwave for much besides reheating leftovers and softening ice cream. I make popcorn the real way, I steam my vegetables on the stovetop, and everyone knows a potato doesn’t really bake in a microwave.

But after all, the thing is sitting there, built into my wall. You have one, too, unless it broke and you haven’t replaced it (understandable but unusual). Shouldn’t you be using it for more than reheating coffee?

I thought so, and so I decided to revisit the microwave. The push came as I was hurriedly putting together appetizers for a dinner party. I’d decided to make a combination frittata and Spanish-style tortilla (impure, I know, but they’re close enough), and it occurred to me to nuke my medium-size waxy potatoes instead of parboiling them. A few minutes in the microwave, a few minutes’ resting, peeling, then quickly browning in olive oil; I went on from there.

He went on to talk about a variety of recipes that work, including preparing vegetables, some pudding-like Indian desserts, and eggplant.

I have to give a particular plug for eggplant--the problem with stir frying/sauteing eggplant is that it is pretty much an oil sponge--add more oil, soaks it up, add more oil, soaks it up. Then, all of a sudden, it cooks through, and it releases all of the excess oil. Sploosh. Ugh.

I have been experimenting with hybrid cooking methods--a quick saute to sear the outside, and then cooking the pieces through in the microwave. When assembling the stir fry at the end, return the pieces to the pan. Seems to work pretty well.

[Edit]--another microwave item--cooking oatmeal in the morning. Put 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup oatmeal, 1/2 cup water in a bowl. Nuke for 7 minutes on power level 7. Hot breakfast in the amount of time it takes to brew coffee. Also, you can use real, chewy, steel-cut oats, instead of textureless instant.

Wow... the Bittman article has 231 comments. I think lots of people wanted to share their microwave recipes.


At 12:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you still have the pdf of the original article?

At 7:20 AM, Anonymous Perlick said...

Everything at NYTimes is now free - the URL of the original article is http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/09/dining/09mini.html

At 12:42 PM, Anonymous Durok said...

Nice Alton Brown impersonation in that photo, Bats

At 12:46 PM, Blogger Bats said...

Nice Alton Brown impersonation in that photo, Bats

Heh.. yeah, that was pretty much the inspiration for the shot.


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