fredreload

microwave food, perfect cooking and downside

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It can change the texture of some foods, which is disappointing. I use mine to warm things, but I don't like cooking with it. Most recipes I use have some element of browning about them, or another visual cue that lets me know the food is getting hot enough that microwaves don't give. They use less energy unless you have a natural gas stove. 

I love my microwave, but not for cooking. It reheats my coffee to prime drinking temp after I put the milk in, it brings an already prepared plate of food back up to temperature, and it's great for quick baked potatoes. Often with cooking, however, time is part of the ingredients. Saving time sometimes isn't the point when you're cooking something tasty.

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31 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

It can change the texture of some foods, which is disappointing. I use mine to warm things, but I don't like cooking with it. Most recipes I use have some element of browning about them, or another visual cue that lets me know the food is getting hot enough that microwaves don't give. They use less energy unless you have a natural gas stove. 

I love my microwave, but not for cooking. It reheats my coffee to prime drinking temp after I put the milk in, it brings an already prepared plate of food back up to temperature, and it's great for quick baked potatoes. Often with cooking, however, time is part of the ingredients. Saving time sometimes isn't the point when you're cooking something tasty.

I agree with you. But what I have in mind is that the microwave supposedly heat the food by water molecules. If I have to cook a turkey and I have to choose between roasting it in an oven or heating every single water molecule to an even temperature(probably an expensive microwave), the later one sounds like a good choice as well. As for browning. I might get one of this :D

 

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32 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

Most recipes I use have some element of browning about them, or another visual cue that lets me know the food is getting hot enough that microwaves don't give. 

...

Often with cooking, however, time is part of the ingredients. Saving time sometimes isn't the point when you're cooking something tasty.

Part of that is probably related to losing moisture, and some chemistry that happens, which is mitigated when you microwave. You mention browning, which is a surface effect that you don't get with a microwave. It's more than just getting things to a certain temperature. Sometimes you want the surface to be hotter than the bulk material.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_browning#Non-enzymatic_browning

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Ya well, my mistake, you need a heating element in the microwave. This one demonstrates it. Apparently a material capable of absorbing microwave to create a browning effect.

 

P.S. I dunno why it's upside down, but this goes for a pretty good auto cook machine

It's sort of an idea on how to cook the perfect steak. You put it in an oven for a few hours, than you brown the outside.

Edited by fredreload

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22 minutes ago, fredreload said:

Ya well, my mistake, you need a heating element in the microwave. This one demonstrates it. Apparently a material capable of absorbing microwave to create a browning effect.

Bread is one of the foods that change texture in the microwave. If I microwave bread to the temperature my toaster makes it, the bread will be chewy and tough.

24 minutes ago, fredreload said:

It's sort of an idea on how to cook the perfect steak. You put it in an oven for a few hours, than you brown the outside.

It's a bad idea. A good steak should be seared (not browned) on the outside, to seal in the juices and keep it tender. Steak cooked for a few hours is going to be uniformly overdone. If you're going to use this technique, sear first on high heat, then cook regularly on a lower temp. Steak should never be on the grill longer than about 10 minutes total, unless you like your coal well-done.

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16 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

good steak should be seared (not browned) on the outside, to seal in the juices and keep it tender.

Actually no, searing does nothing to keep the liquids inside (it is a rather common misconception, even shared among chefs). Searing first or last generally works equally well. However,  cooking a steak in the oven at low temp is difficult as it tends to dry out the meat. An alternative is to use an uniform water bath (sous vide) to get the desired effect. 

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I've found steaming via a wet paper towel on the bread or leftovers works pretty well to keep things soft. Think I recall seeing microwavable pots made for steaming too.

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The idea is that, microwave is supposed to work like a oven. That you can use electromagnetic radiation to slowly heat up a big chunk of meat. If defrosting the meat is an option then we know that the microwave frequency can be changed to do this. The result is just how well this microwave(x-ray?) should be designed so that it does not just heat up one side of the food and has a shorter or longer wavelength. The nutrition of the food does not get lost, from what I've read microwaving is supposed to be even more nutritious being that the flavor is not lost. It's just that we use it to cook left over food all the time and the tomatoe turns out kind of soggy :D. That is to say if I can throw in some raw chicken and get BBQ wings in the microwave after a few hours, I might still order it from Dominoes

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An issue with microwave ovens is they have haven't been around very long. Most other forms of cooking have had hundreds or thousands of years to get it right. Only a few specialised types of cooking are better in a microwave so far e.g. I remember seeing a recipe for frozen florida which required microwave cooking.

One day there may be restaurants advertising their food is cooked in a traditional microwave oven, but I doubt I'll be alive to see that.

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15 hours ago, fredreload said:

If defrosting the meat is an option then we know that the microwave frequency can be changed to do this.

not the microwave frequency, the on-off timer.

 

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35 minutes ago, Carrock said:

An issue with microwave ovens is they have haven't been around very long. Most other forms of cooking have had hundreds or thousands of years to get it right. Only a few specialised types of cooking are better in a microwave so far e.g. I remember seeing a recipe for frozen florida which required microwave cooking.

One day there may be restaurants advertising their food is cooked in a traditional microwave oven, but I doubt I'll be alive to see that.

I use one (combi) all the time and it's just practice and familiarity to get stuff how you want it. The thing is to treat it like a microwave and not a conventional cooker; it's a different technique. It's a 'Luddite' problem with those that have issues. :) The things to know is that it penetrates about an inch when cooking and may need to sit a couple of minutes to allow the temperature to even out in the food. 

Edited by StringJunky

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13 minutes ago, StringJunky said:

I use one (combi) all the time and it's just practice and familiarity to get stuff how you want it. The thing is to treat it like a microwave and not a conventional cooker; it's a different technique. It's a 'Luddite' problem with those that have issues. :)

I actually did in effect say 'it's just practice and familiarity to get stuff how you want it.'

We just disagree on whether it takes a few decades or a few centuries to perfect the skills.:)

Perhaps I should get a combi oven and never use the microwave part...

 

Correction to my previous post...

"One day there may be restaurants advertising their food is cooked in a traditional microwave oven rather than a fancy modern combi, but I doubt I'll be alive to see that."

 

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2 minutes ago, Carrock said:

We just disagree on whether it takes a few decades or a few centuries to perfect the skills

Can we?

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1 minute ago, dimreepr said:

Can we?

I agree about this

35 minutes ago, StringJunky said:

....The thing is to treat it like a microwave and not a conventional cooker; it's a different technique ...

I basically don't think their are yet many recipes for cooking in a microwave which are as good as, let alone better than older types of cooking.

This should change, especially when most people have been used to microwave cooking from childhood.

BTW, I'm not aware of many cooks smashing microwaves because it's putting them out of a job ; I don't regard reluctance to learn a new skillset when cooking in an oven is still perfectly viable as Luddism.

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2 minutes ago, Carrock said:

I basically don't think their are yet many recipes for cooking in a microwave which are as good as, let alone better than older types of cooking.

2

scrambled eggs.

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3 hours ago, dimreepr said:

scrambled eggs.

3 hours ago, StringJunky said:

Peerless.

Let's hear some recipes for microwave scrambled eggs. I'll perform an experiment tonight on some captive test subjects and report my results. 

 

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5 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

Let's hear some recipes for microwave scrambled eggs. I'll perform an experiment tonight on some captive test subjects and report my results. 

 

Quote
Quote

2    EGGS
2    Tbsp. milk
Salt and pepper

BEAT eggs, milk, salt and pepper in microwave-safe bowl or 12-oz. coffee mug until blended.

MICROWAVE on HIGH 45 seconds: STIR. MICROWAVE until eggs are almost set, 30 to 45 seconds longer. SERVE immediately.

https://www.incredibleegg.org/cooking-school/egg-cookery/microwave-scramble-eggs/

 

 

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32 minutes ago, mathematic said:

Microwave breaded food turn it into a rock, unless the setting is very low.

Yeah, bread is tricky. It wants partially covering in a box, then when it's done, leaving for a couple minutes to let the outside evaporate some moisture, otherwise it feels soggy.

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On 12/6/2018 at 1:04 PM, Phi for All said:
On 12/6/2018 at 12:35 PM, fredreload said:

Ya well, my mistake, you need a heating element in the microwave. This one demonstrates it. Apparently a material capable of absorbing microwave to create a browning effect.

Bread is one of the foods that change texture in the microwave. If I microwave bread to the temperature my toaster makes it, the bread will be chewy and tough.

Right.  I like to warm up hotdog/hamburger buns in the microwave, but anything past 10-15 seconds seems to ruin them. The guy in the video had the Grilled cheese in the browning microwave for 10 minutes, so I'm guessing the "combi" method uses extremely low power in this instance.

It seems to me that it would still be easier to just throw the sandwich on pan and be done with it.  I've even made grilled cheese sandwiches in the toaster that took less than 10 minutes. . .

 

On 12/6/2018 at 1:04 PM, Phi for All said:

Steak should never be on the grill longer than about 10 minutes total,

I prefer quick searing as well.   Sometimes I like to broil it under a chimney starter using lump charcoal.  90 seconds on each side and then on top of the chimney starter for about 1 min.  Apparently it's the closest we can get steakhouse quality without buying a $10k commercial broiler.  I'll do a 3-day dry aged if I can bring myself to wait that long.   Instruction below, if interested:

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/dry-aged-chimney-porterhouse-recipe-2014714

 

On 12/6/2018 at 1:24 PM, CharonY said:

An alternative is to use an uniform water bath (sous vide) to get the desired effect.

That seems pretty interesting.  I'd like to try that sometime.  Obviously you'd have to sear afterwords for a nice crust.

I've found a pretty informative website linked below.  Apparently you can also make a DIY water bath as well.

An Interesting thing I found on that site is that the amount of juice loss depended on the desired temperature of the steak rather than the length of time it was cooked.

A well done steak at 160 degrees lost about 10x the amount of juice than a rare/medium steak at 120-140 degrees.

https://www.seriouseats.com/2015/06/food-lab-complete-guide-to-sous-vide-steak.html

 

5 hours ago, Carrock said:

Perhaps I should get a combi oven and never use the microwave part...

Wouldn't that just be like an inferior toaster oven without a heating element on the bottom?

Another option is an air fryer.  I have one and love it.  I was very surprised with the quality.   I still have jet to cook a steak in it, but sausage, pizza, stuffed peppers and fries/chips come out very good.  Good browning and crispiness when you need it.

 

1 hour ago, Phi for All said:

Let's hear some recipes for microwave scrambled eggs.

The only time I have microwaved eggs is for an Eggo sandwich.  1-2 eggs, a splash of milk/cream, and pinch of salt/pepper.  Place the scrambled egg in a bowl with approximately the same diameter as the Eggo.  Microwave for about  :45 -1:30 depending.

Scoop the egg out and place on a toasted Eggo with prosciutto or thinly sliced ham and lettuce/tomato to balance out the saltiness of the ham.

Cutting the sandwich  in half for some reason makes it taste better.

 

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A few drops of water on the plate seem to go a very long way toward making microwaved foods better, especially with bread

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6 hours ago, iNow said:

A few drops of water on the plate seem to go a very long way toward making microwaved foods better, especially with bread

No no, you don't add water with bread, it just makes it soggy. What you need is a heating element, refers to the browning video up top, and of course you put it on very low setting maybe higher than defrost. One that potentially allows you to bake bread in the microwave

13 hours ago, StringJunky said:

I use one (combi) all the time and it's just practice and familiarity to get stuff how you want it. The thing is to treat it like a microwave and not a conventional cooker; it's a different technique. It's a 'Luddite' problem with those that have issues. :) The things to know is that it penetrates about an inch when cooking and may need to sit a couple of minutes to allow the temperature to even out in the food. 

Right, I want to add that the idea is not on speed, for steak and larger chunk of meat it needs to be in low setting for at least 10min or longer. If it takes 3 hours in a heating oven, than it could take just as long in a microwave. The trick is not on speed, but on how well done this steak could get. And I found a funny April Fool video on steam microwaving. Just for amusement. Thing is this could be doable in the future, but even at defrost setting the meat might still get overcooked. One inch depends on the wavelength of a microwave right :huh:, beats me lol. I think You need to set it at lower setting and for longer to allow the heat to transfer for larger chunk of meat.

 

Edited by fredreload

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12 hours ago, StringJunky said:

2    EGGS
2    Tbsp. milk
Salt and pepper

*

BEAT eggs, milk, salt and pepper in microwave-safe bowl or 12-oz. coffee mug until blended.

MICROWAVE on HIGH 45 seconds: STIR. MICROWAVE until eggs are almost set, 30 to 45 seconds longer. SERVE immediately.

 

*I always add a knob of butter.

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