You can’t make that in the microwave… oh yes you can. [UPDATED]Published 12:44pm Thursday, February 7, 2013 Updated 12:44pm Thursday, February 7, 2013
“Nuke it!” “Zap it!” “Pop it in the micro!” These are common terms describing food preparation in our microwave ovens – all indicating speed or power as the main function. But there’s another side to this wonderful invention . . . elegance, subtlety – like English muffin bread, hollandaise sauce, and hot fudge sauce. Get ready to reinvent your microwave usage and turn the page to a new chapter in your kitchen.
A friend recently asked me what the next Something Special article would feature. When I told her microwave recipes, in all seriousness, she quizzically asked, “You mean there’s another use for the microwave besides heating water for tea?”
Although the first microwave oven was invented in 1947, the countertop microwave oven for home use wasn’t introduced until 20 years later. It was the “Radarange” by Amana. So although the technology has been around for a long time, most people have under-used this great kitchen tool. Re-imagine the microwave as a tool that not only makes cooking quicker and easier but also more interesting.
Bread, in a microwave??? Won’t that kill the yeast? Dry it out? The answer is no! Those nooks and crannies that cradle the butter on an English muffin are present in this bread as well. Be warned, this loaf appears pale and wan, but it is a toasting bread and in that role, it shines!
Microwave English Muffin Bread
1 T. yellow cornmeal 1/4 cup warm water
2 tsp. yeast 1 cup lukewarm milk
2 tsp. white sugar 1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. baking soda 1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 – 2 cups all-purpose white flour
Lightly coat a microwave-safe 9 X 5 loaf pan with non-stick spray; sprinkle pan with cornmeal. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. To the yeast mixture, add milk, sugar, salt, soda and whole wheat flour; beat well. Beat in all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until a soft dough is formed. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface, and knead about 5 minutes, until smooth. Form into a loaf shape, and place into the prepared pan. Microwave, uncovered, at 50 percent power, for one minute. Let rest for 10 minutes. Repeat this sequence two times until loaf has doubled in size. Next, microwave on high for 4-6 minutes, until top is no longer moist. Remove from oven and let stand for five minutes in pan. Remove from pan and cool on a rack.
Classic hollandaise sauce preparation is often portrayed as “difficult, quirky, and not for the average cook,” but this recipe will change all that thinking! Classic eggs benedict (toasted English muffin, ham slice, fried egg, hollandaise) can be on your breakfast menu any day of the week using the English Muffin bread and this classic sauce. Also, try this sauce on vegetables, especially asparagus and broccoli.
Microwave Hollandaise Sauce
Combine in a 2 cup measure:
1/2 cup butter 1 T. fresh lemon juice 1/8 tsp. salt Dash of cayenne pepper Dash of ground white pepper
Microwave, uncovered, on high for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes until butter is melted, stir.
In a 1-quart microwave-safe bowl, beat:
3 egg yolks
Gradually add melted butter mixture to egg yolks while beating constantly with a wire whisk. Beat until smooth. Cook, uncovered, on high for 30-45 SECONDS (or until thickened) whisking every 10 seconds. Whisk until cooled a bit. If too thick, whisk in a little hot water until sauce is desired consistency.
Looking for a decadent topping for your ice cream or a wonderful gift from your kitchen? This hot fudge sauce is the answer. Its uses are endless, and sometimes it’s just good to eat a spoonful right out of the jar!
Microwave Hot Fudge Sauce
In a 1-quart microwave-safe bowl or a 4 cup glass measuring cup, combine:
1/2 cup sugar 3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips 1/4 cup butter
1 (5 oz) can evaporated milk (2/3 cup)
Microwave, uncovered, on high for 2-3 minutes until bubbly, stirring after each minute. Cook on high 3 more minutes until mixture is thickened, stirring once. Stir in 1 tsp. vanilla. Continue to stir with a whisk until cooled, it will thicken more as it cools. To reheat, microwave on medium in glass measure. This will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks. This sauce can be flavored in many ways: some of our favorites are 1 T. of either Kahlua, Chambord (black raspberry liqueur), or Grand Marnier, or try 1/4 tsp. chipotle pepper!!
Your microwave isn’t just for reheating coffee anymore, but rather a cool tool that can add interest to your menus and “zap” some adventure into your cooking.