A Little Microwave Magic

image via Cargo Collective

image via Cargo Collective


The microwave oven is entirely redundant.
It does nothing more than duplicate cooking processes, and it almost never performs them as well as other appliances.
It’s known as a coffee warmer, a butter melter, a popcorn popper, and a leftover heater-upper. Yet 95% of us have one.
Because when it comes to convenience, it’s tough to top the microwave oven.

The following shortcuts play to the oven’s strengths. They’re are all about convenience. There’s nothing here that can’t be done elsewhere in the kitchen. But all of them rely on the microwave oven for ease, speed, and minimal cleanup afterward.

Make skinny potato chips: Lay thin potato slices in a single layer on a plate. Season (salt, pepper, vinegar- whatever you like). Microwave for about 5 minutes until they reach the desired point of brown and crispy done-ness. You can also revive soggy chips with a few second blast on a paper towel.

Dry fresh herbs or grated citrus peels: Spread herbs or peels on a paper towel. Microwave for 1-2 minutes or until dried, stirring every 30 seconds. Cook another 1-2 minutes for thicker peels and herbs.

Make scratch chocolate pudding: Mix 1/3 c. cornstarch, 1/4 c. cocoa powder, 1/2 c. sugar, pinch of salt, and 2 1/4 c. milk. Cook for 2 minutes and stir. 2 more minutes and stir. 2 more minutes and stir in 1 t. vanilla and 2 T. butter. Let stand for about 5 minutes until it’s pudding-thick.

Get twice as much juice from a lemon: Give it 30 seconds in the microwave and then roll it around a few times on the counter. Double juice.

Roast a whole head of garlic: Put a whole, unpeeled bulb of garlic on a paper towel. Microwave on high for 1 minute, turn it upside down and give it another minutes. The soft, roasted cloves will squeeze right out.

Need some melted chocolate for a recipe? Snip the corner off of a bag of chips. Microwave for 20 seconds and knead the bag to mix. Keep repeating in 20 second increments (you’ll need a potholder as it heats up) until fully melted. Squeeze the chocolate out of the cut corner for a completely bowl-less, spoon-less experience.

Peel tomatoes for sauce: 30 seconds of cooking plus a two minute rest and the skins slip right off.

Cook corn on the cob right in its husk: Put unshucked ears of corn on damp paper towel. You can microwave 4 or so at a time, adding a little under 2 minutes cooking time for each ear. Let the corn stand for 5 minutes before serving. The husks and silk will slip off easily.

Make a little cake in a mug: Coat the mug with nonstick spray. Add to the mug 4 T.  flour, 9 T. hot chocolate mix, and a pinch of salt. Give a stir and add an egg, 3 T. water, and 3 T. oil.  Mix it up well and microwave for 3 minutes. It will rise to alarming heights and then settle back into the mug. It’s not the best chocolate cake you ever tasted, but not-the-best is better than no chocolate cake.

Steam an artichoke: Place a rinsed and trimmed artichoke in a dish deep enough to hold it, cover it with a damp paper towel and top with a sheet of waxed paper. Cook on high for 7 minutes.

Clean-Microwave-Wall-Sign-SE-1723_buUse the microwave to clean your microwave: Boil a bowl of water with a few added splashes of vinegar for five minutes, then wipe. The acidic steam removes odors and loosens any stuck-on bits.


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