Monday, April 20, 2009

The Heat is On

It's just past April's mid-point, and here we are, well into the nineties, Fahrenheit speaking.
Starving reader, you already know I'm one of those obsessive compulsive cooks. But when the heat is on, I wilt.

Which is why I greedily adopted Barbara Kafka's recipes. She was an very early proponent of the microwave oven as doing something much more than reheating your stale coffee, or zapping corn kernels into explosive states. She urges us to nuke fish, risotto, and vegetables, most of the time to terrific results.

Want steamed broccoli without bringing you and your home to the boiling point?

Rinse your broccoli, and slice it into your preferred tasty portions. (I do prefer peeling the stalks, try it some time). Arrange in a glass pie plate, or similarly microwave proof container. Add salt, if you like. Cover with plastic wrap and zap for five minutes. If it seems too green or still too woody, zap for additional minutes until you're satisfied. Add a pat of butter, a squeeze of lemon. Or, for a change of pace, drizzle with sesame oil and decorate with sesame seeds and sea salt.

Salmon microwaves beautifully. Marinate your fish in your preferred mixture. I stole my marinade from my dear friend, and like to steep the fish for at least an hour. She uses liberal amounts of olive oil, orange juice, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and a fistful of minced parsley. Now, you can marinate your fish and grill it and everyone is happy. But say your grill is out of gas, or it's too darn hot to stand near the cussed grill, or the oventop skillet. It's time for the microwave.

Place fish and marinade in pyrex dish. Cover with plastic wrap. My microwave cooks awfully high--so for a pound of fish I press five minutes at 70 percent power. Test, of course, at the thickest part to see if it's cooked to your satisfaction. I like it still a bit rare in the center.

And for carbs? Bring out your rice cooker, and stay cool.


  1. Personally, 2day I would have shown this photo on ice.

  2. The America's Test Kitchen cookbook suggest microwaving potatoes first, then finishing in the oven. They come out great, and in less time.

    Still, in this weather, I think I'll opt for Potato Popsicles.

  3. Fish in the microwave. It's going to take me a while to wrap my head around that. On a health note. I thought we weren't supposed to put plastic wrap in the microwave. Thoughts?

  4. CP: If I were clever enough, I would have!
    P: As long as they're fudgsicle flavored
    M: Hmmm, I don't fret about that much since there's a one hundred per cent chance of death in our life time; on the other hand, parchment paper would be a fine substitute. Try it, you'll like it!

  5. I think the "America's" TK got the microwave 1st, oven 2nd idea from me. I've been up 2 that old trick since last century.