The Microwave!

12 Dec

What can I say about the microwave?  The Modernist Cuisine says, “The microwave oven is simultaneously one of the most used and most underappreciated tools in the home kitchen.”  I tend to agree.  I use my microwave a lot, but not really for cooking.  I mostly use it for defrosting frozen meats and reheating previously cooked food.  I’d use it as a timer too, but my microwave happens to be mute so the timer doesn’t really do much for me.  Anyway, the point is that cooking real food in a microwave is a bit of a foreign concept for me, so the fact that MC has a whole chapter devoted to it is pretty exciting.  It’ll be nice for me to think of something that takes up so much space in my kitchen as something more than a thawing machine.

Microwaves have gotten a bad reputation in many ways.  I’ve seen chefs on TV flat out refuse to even own one, but most people just think that they cook unevenly.  I completely agree with this as well.  I, for one, know for a fact that I’ve reheated food and one bite will be refrigerator cold and the next will burn my tongue.  The problem there is cooking food in open containers.  According to MC, if you cover your food, it cooks a lot more evenly.  Problem solved!

Much to my amazement, microwaves also have multiple power settings!  I was wondering what all those extra buttons were for.  All joking aside though, depending on the wattage of your microwave you can get very different results when cooking food.  That being said, it’s important to know your wattage.  I confess, I didn’t know what the wattage of my microwave was prior to exploring the topic for this week’s postings, but I found this great article on eHow that details how to find out.  Luckily for me, the wattage information for my particular microwave was right inside the door.  Now I’m wondering how I’ve missed that for all these years.  At any rate, two wattages were listed…input and output.  For those not in the know, the input wattage is how much power it takes to run the microwave.  The output wattage is how much power is actually going into your food, so this is the number that matters.

The MC recipes are all cooked in a 1,100 w microwave.  Great…now what do I do?  My microwave is only 1,000 w.  Not to worry though!  I found another great site that has a conversion chart for microwave cooking.  This chart essentially told me that I just have to multiply the cooking time for a 1,100 w microwave by 1.1 and that will give me the correct cooking time for a 1,000 w one.  If you’re blessed with a higher wattage model, you can just cook on one of those lower power settings I mentioned earlier.

So that’s about it for microwaves for now at least.  This week I’m going to be trying out Microwaved Eggplant Parmesan.  I’ve had some bad experiences in cooking eggplant in the past so I’m a little curious to see how this turns out.  I guess we’ll see.  So long for now!

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