Green Stocking Stuffer: Microwave Gourmet

Green Stocking Stuffer: Microwave Gourmet

Jonathan B.
Dec 20, 2007

Unlike the stove or oven, 100% of the energy that goes into the microwave goes into cooking your food. But did you know you can use the microwave to caramelize onions and cook perfectly done fish? Trust us. Having once shunned the microwave, we've learned to embrace it again.

We've covered Treehugger's post on the nitty gritty details before, but we thought a few notes on technique might be helpful, and for that, we reveal the source of our own revelation: Barbara Kafka's book Microwave Gourmet. Used correctly, the microwave can make delicious food, including perfectly crisp steamed vegetables. We even made macaroni and cheese from scratch with the microwave.

It was delicious...

In plain English, Kafka explains how the microwave cooks: why it turns some meats rubbery, for example. Armed with this knowledge, she explains how to arrange food so it cooks evenly. For example, vegetables steam best if they are arranged in a single layer at the bottom of wide, flat dish, with the largest, densest parts toward the middle.

The one problem with the book is that it was written in 1988, long before plastic wrap was conceived of as hazardous, and plastic wrap has a starring role in many of the recipes. To get around this, we've made an investment in tightly sealing glass containers and have had fine results.

Need a gift book that will make your favorite foodie think again about the microwave? Microwave Gourmet costs about $15 new at Amazon. For a greener option, pick up a used copy there or at a local bookstore.

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