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Microwave Gourmet by Barbara Kafka

Microwave GourmetTiming is everything…in more ways than one in relationship to my review of Microwave Gourmet by Barbara Kafka. Marooned in my cabin (literally miles from anywhere, forget running to the local deli) without a kitchen for this past week I’ve had no choice but to tackle my nemesis:-namely, cooking with a microwave. In thirty years of ownership of said appliance I can honestly say that until this past week I have never used one for anything but heating, defrosting, melting. I don’t think I’m unique in overlooking the amazing capabilities of this under used kitchen assistant.

This book is invaluable on many levels; for me, the most practical aspects of the book are the sections that deal with techniques. Following Ms. Kafka’s precise instructions I was able to make polenta, risotto, a warm salad of red, yellow and green peppers and a peach crisp. I also experimented following her techniques with cooking chicken breast, salmon and making a crème brulee. Everything was right on the mark and my menu greatly expanded. I’d expected a week of reheated soups and salads given that my kitchen is in the tear out stage readying for a remodel.

From toasting nuts to baking garlic, directions are precise, easy to follow and pretty much fool proof. I plan on getting another copy; one for the cabin and one for my Tucson kitchen. And my children might as well know that they'll each have a copy under the tree this Christmas! The time-saving is one significant benefit but also the summer-time benefit in Tucson of not heating up an oven and slaving over the proverbial hot stove is not to be taken lightly.

If asked to state one reason for having this book I’d say for the number of recipes that are for one person. To me cooking is a social event and when on my own, I tend to get lazy and not want to put the effort into a meal just for me. The recipes in this book for one person have inspired me to cook for myself more often. I keep a well-stocked pantry and freezer at the cabin and always bring up with me a variety of seasonal fruit and vegetables. There were easily 50 recipes in the book for which I had all the ingredients on hand. I'm having risotto with radicchio and red vermouth for dinner tonight and I'll throw a couple of specialty sausages on the BBQ.

Microwave Gourmet by Barbara Kafka.

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