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  • The Secret to Perfectly Crispy Crust: Convection Cooking for Pizza

    Freshly baked crusted pizza with perfectly melted cheese enhanced with savory toppings is a taste sensation, but it can be challenging to perfect in a home oven. The key to success in baking the perfect crust is a consistent, powerful heat source, and your convection oven may have just the tools you need. Using a pizza stone or baking steel can enhance the perfect oven environment, but success depends on choosing the right convection mode. Convection for Proofing Pizza Dough Great pizza begins with a good crust, and pizza dough is perhaps one of the easiest to prepare. Once the dough is mixed and ready for proofing, it is set aside for the first rising. The perfect environment for proofing the dough is your convection or steam oven . In the Proof mode, the convection fan circulates the ambient air in the oven, keeping the temperature consistent at 100F°. Of course, the advantage of proofing in a steam oven is the added humidity, which aids in activating the yeast. The dough does not need to be covered when proofing in your oven . Once the dough is punched down, it goes back into the oven for a second, rising, and then it is time to prepare it for baking. How to Create the Ideal Oven Environment for Baking Pizza in Convection Whether baking pizza with dough made from scratch or using a re-bought dough, planning the timing is key. Preparing and proofing homemade dough takes approximately 2 hours, and bringing a store-bought fresh dough to the baking temperature can also take 2 hours as it is kept so cold. Once the second rising is complete, the oven can be heated to bake the pizza. First, arrange the oven racks, placing one rack on the bottom rack position unless your oven user guide recommends a different rack position. Use an extension rack if your oven has one, and place a baking stone or steel on that rack. Never place the stone or steel on the oven floor; always use the oven rack. It can help remove the other oven racks for ease of handling the pizza. Some ovens feature a Pizza mode, and while that mode may be suitable for baking frozen prepared pizza, choosing a mode with more intense heat will give the best results when baking fresh pizza. The Convection Roast , Convection Bake , or Turbo mode, if your oven features one, are the best choices for baking pizza. In these modes, the direct heat from the bottom heating element will thoroughly heat the stone or steel, while the circulating heat ensures even cooking. Always choose the highest oven temperature to heat the oven for baking pizza. Gas ovens provide an ideal environment for baking pizza and loaves of bread, as the heated moving air creates a natural convection that is not as drying as an electric oven. The baking mode in a gas oven gives great results, although if your oven has a Convection option, that would be ideal for baking thicker-crust pizza. An electric oven with a concealed bake element can take approximately 20 minutes to heat up for baking the pizza, while a gas oven may come to temperature slightly faster; the hotter the oven and the baking stone or steel are, the better the result will be. The great thing about baking pizza is that each pizza cooks so quickly—in 6 - 8 minutes—that you can enjoy a delicious, freshly baked pizza customized to your liking. Then, you can bake another, maybe some bread or a rustic fruit tart, on that nicely heated stone. Remember, when it comes to cleaning your pizza stone, it should never be cleaned with water. Any baking debris can be removed with a wire grill brush. The pork shoulder roast is a versatile cut of meat that can be braised or slowly roasted. It is also delicious when filled with savory stuffing and roasted. One of the best things about roasting a stuffed pork roast in convection is that you can simultaneously cook the side dishes. Check out my next post to learn more. Larissa, Your Convection Enthusiast

  • The Importance of Planning for Successful Convection Cooking

    Convection ovens are remarkable tools that deliver improved results with oven cooking. Food is cooked with the circulating heated air rather than direct heat from the heating elements, which is more drying heat. While there are many benefits to cooking with convection, no guidelines are noted in recipes, which makes it confusing for the user.  Here at Convection Kitchen, you will find a resource in our  Plan section  to help you better understand the tools you are using to cook. It also provides guidelines to help you benefit from cooking with convection and steam ovens.  The Oven Size and Shape Will Influence the Outcome I have been teaching people how to cook with their convection ovens for over twenty years and have cooked in various ovens, both electric and gas, very large and very small. Each oven cooked differently, but by following the basic convection principles and paying attention to how each oven cooked, I achieved success cooking in each one. Nowadays, many people have two ovens of different sizes in their kitchens: a standard-sized wall oven and a smaller cavity steam or convection microwave oven. While both ovens will cook really well, the timing and mode selection will vary because of each oven's different shape, size, and cooking modes. Understanding Convection Oven Modes Recipes state an oven temperature and suggest timing; however, if your oven has a choice of cooking modes, you must consider them before you turn the oven on. Oven manufacturers provide useful information in the  User Guide ; nonetheless, you will find important information and tips in our  Plan section  to help you better understand how to choose the best oven mode for the food you are cooking. In addition, you will find useful information about the types of  pans that work best for baking and roasting , as well as suggestions about rack position. Once you have a better understanding of how your oven cooks or bakes in each mode, you will know how to benefit from the oven modes and be able to troubleshoot any cooking fails. Benefits of Convection Cooking Here are some ways you will benefit from cooking in a convection oven: Food cooked in convection has better moisture retention. Large roasts such as turkey cook much faster in convection; no turning or basting is necessary. Soaking meats in a wet brine is unnecessary as the meat will dry out less when roasted in convection. However, roasting on a rack in a shallow pan is essential for good results. Multiple racks of cookies or other baked items can be baked at one time without having to rotate or turn the pans. However, the recipe temperature should be reduced by 25 F when baking in convection. A complete meal can be cooked at once with no transfer of flavor, simplifying meal preparation. Understanding Steam Oven Cooking Steam ovens became an option for the residential kitchen over twenty years ago and have become fairly mainstream in the last ten years. There is a familiarization process when  learning to cook in a steam oven , and we understand how crucial knowledgeable guidance is. While you don't need unique recipes, it does help to think a little about the science of how the food is being cooked so you can fine-tune your results.  The ability to steam multiple foods at once instead of cooking in various saucepans is a definite advantage when cooking in the Steam mode. Foods roasted in the combination Convection Steam mode have remarkable flavor, texture, and nutrient retention. Some steam ovens feature techniques that have been used by chefs for many years, but they have become mainstream and opened up new ways of cooking familiar foods. Low-temperature cooking with a reverse sear and sous vide cooking are two techniques that have given us a greater appreciation of the benefits of cooking with lower temperatures. Convection and steam ovens were developed for professional food service to better cope with volume cooking and provide restaurants with tools to achieve reliable results. Residential versions of these ovens were developed because chefs noticed the improved results when food was cooked in them. I can honestly say understanding how to use these ovens will make you a better cook. It just takes paying attention to your appliances and doing some planning rather than blindly following a recipe. Please use Convection Kitchen's educational resources to learn how to get the best out of your convection and steam ovens. Larissa, Your Convection Enthusiast

  • Tips to Prepare a Sirloin Roast for Tender Flavorful Results

    A flavorful sirloin roast is the perfect cut of beef for roast beef sandwiches with mounds of thinly sliced medium rare beef, a beef salad with crisp greens, ripe tomatoes or beets and blue cheese, or a sumptuous roast beef dinner. It seems that not every butcher or market carries the same cuts of beef, so if you are unable to find a top sirloin roast, other options that work well include an eye of round roast or a sirloin tip roast. These are all flavorful, lean cuts of beef that share one thing in common: cooking them at a low temperature yields the best results. Season The Meat a Few Hours In Advance Is Another Important Tip There are numerous dry rub choices available these days, which makes it easy to season a roast with the flavors you prefer. Rubbing a dry rub into the meat a few hours up to a day in advance will definitely add to the flavor of the meat, but go carefully when adding salt, as some rubs are high in added salt. Because this roast cooks at a low temperature, I like to use a combination of fresh herbs, minced garlic, and olive oil. Since there is no high-heat cooking phase, the herb crust doesn’t burn, and the flavors just dissolve into the meat. The olive oil adds another dimension of flavor and a little good fat. Why Convection is Best for a Juicy Evenly Cooked Beef Roast To help retain the natural juices in meat, it’s important to cook the roast on a rack in a shallow pan. Placing the meat on a rack prevents the pan's heat from leeching moisture from the meat and allows the heated Convection air to circulate evenly around the oven, cooking the meat from the edge to the center. This roast can be cooked in either the Convection Roast or Convection Bake mode. The important thing is to use a low temperature of 325°. You can even drop to 300° if you have plenty of time. Before you heat the oven, arrange the racks so you can place the pan with the beef roast in the center of the oven. The next thing to consider is timing. If your oven is equipped with a meat probe, using the probe will give you the best results. Remember to insert the probe at an angle and be sure the tip is in the meat, not touching the pan. If your oven has a little metal cap over the probe receptacle, just push that aside with the blunt side of a knife to insert the sensor. Be sure to cover your hand to avoid contacting the hot oven wall. When you close the oven door, you can program it to your preferred internal temperature target. In order for the probe to activate, you may have to touch the probe symbol again or touch start to activate the probe, so be sure to take a quick look at the User Guide to confirm how your oven works. My 3-lb, room-temperature roast took 60 minutes to cook through. If your oven doesn’t have a probe, I recommend testing the internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer after the roast has been in the oven for approximately 50 minutes. That way, you will have a good sense of the progress. Remember, when you choose the target internal temperature, the internal temperature will continue to rise as the beef rests. The circulating heat of Convection will do an amazing job cooking the beef roast; however, some important steps for success are in your hands. Remember to bring the roast to room temperature before cooking and allow for 15 - 20 minutes of resting time before carving. Will There be Pan Juices? Cooking your beef roast, as outlined above, will definitely yield some pan juices. If you would like to increase the pan juices, add ½ - 1 cup of beef stock to the base of the pan. When the beef comes out of the oven and is resting, pour off the juices and skim off the fat. The pan juices can be used to make gravy or to serve with hot roast beef sandwiches. This sirloin roast is so easy and delicious, and the thought of the wonderful sandwiches and salads we enjoyed makes my mouth water. Another mouthwatering, crowd-pleasing meal is Fried Chicken, so be sure to check out my next post, in which I will explain how to achieve fabulous results with Oven Baked Fried Chicken. Larissa, Your Convection Enthusiast

  • How to Cook Fish in Convection

    A great feature of Convection and Steam ovens is the option to cook foods using a variety of different cooking modes. Since most of us eat the same foods on a regular basis being able to vary the preparation is definitely one way to keep our taste buds from becoming jaded. When a client who has a Convection and a Steam oven asks me, “how do I cook fish in my oven?” there is no easy answer because there are so many options. Which are the Best Convection Modes to Cook Fish? Convection has a less drying effect on food, so foods cooked in Convection have more moisture retention and there is no transfer of flavor when cooking a variety of foods in Convection. The modes most suited to cooking fish in a Convection oven are: Convection Roast or Convection Bake 350 - 375 °F (180 - 190 C) These modes are ideal when cooking the meatier fish or portions cut from the thickest part of the fish. For an easy complete meal, vegetables can be roasted at the same time and the fish added to the oven for the final 10 minutes of cooking. Convection Broil 425 - 475 °F (220 - 250 C) Broiling is ideal for quickly cooking thinner fish fillets for fish tacos or for broiling fish and shellfish to serve with pasta or rice dishes. Quick cooking vegetables such as asparagus, sliced peppers, onions, and mushrooms can be broiled at the same time. Low-Temperature Cooking 160 -200 °F (70 - 93 C) There is no mode for Low-Temperature cooking in a Convection oven but you can set the oven in the Convection or Convection Bake Mode with a temperature range of 160 - 200°F (70 - 93 C). First sear the fish to get a nice crust on one side, carefully flip the fish and place the pan in the oven to finish the cooking. This technique ensures a lot of flavor from the searing as well as a fabulous consistency from the slow finish in the oven. Thicker meatier cuts of fish are best when using this technique. Which Modes are Best to Cook Fish in my Steam Oven? A Steam oven offers even more modes for cooking fish and shellfish and there are added benefits of cooking with steam. Steam inhibits the cellular breakdown of food, so the flavor, texture, and nutrient value of foods cooked in steam are enhanced. Steam Mode 180 - 212 °F (350 - 100 C) This mode can be used for steaming or poaching fish. The fish is placed in a solid pan with the desired aromatics and approximately ½ cup of water and maybe a splash of wine. Timing will depend on the weight of the fish, a whole fish can take up to 20 minutes while fillets may only take approximately 12 minutes. This mode can also be used to steam shell-on shrimp or lobster tails, and to steam mussels and clams. Combination Convection Steam Mode 350 - 375 °F (180 - 190 C) This mode can be used for baking or roasting thicker meatier cuts of fish. Low-Temperature Mode 160 - 200 °F (71 - 93 C) This mode can be used as described above to finish the cooking of fish that has been seared on one side. Convection Broil with Humidity (Not Available in all Ovens) 425 - 450 °F (218 - 232 C) Broiling with Convection and added humidity is a tool streamlined to preserve the flavor and moisture in fish and shellfish while under the powerful direct heat of the broiler. Sous Vide Mode 125 - 200 °F (52 - 93 C) We have successfully used the sous vide mode to cook octopus, shellfish, and fish. The long slow cooking time is of course a factor but the results are worth the effort. So you can see there are many options and we have a selection of delicious fish and seafood recipes on the website to guide you to success in cooking fish and shellfish in your Convection and Steam ovens. In addition to recipes for baking, roasting, steaming, low-temperature cooking, sous vide, and broiling fish and shellfish, we also have recipes for creating wonderful meals. Learn how preparing dishes such as Paella, Fish Pie, Italian Seafood Salad, Grilled Shrimp Jambalaya, Cioppino, and Seafood Pasta are made easier using Convection and Steam. Stay tuned for my next Blog Post, Easy Convection Recipes to feed a crowd. Larissa, Your Convection Enthusiast

  • How to Roast Chicken in Convection to Perfection

    Just think about roast chicken; it is enough to make your mouth water. It’s such an easy, delicious meal to prepare, and like so many other foods, roasting a chicken in Convection makes it even more delicious. Why is Convection Better for Roasting When using the Bake or Roast mode in an electric oven, you use Radiant or Thermal heat. This type of heat is drying in nature, which works well for baking; however, who wants to eat dried-out meat or poultry? Before ovens had a Convection mode brining meats was considered the best option for preserving moisture during roasting. Brining infuses flavor and moisture into the meat, helping keep it moist when it's cooked in radiant heat. When you use Convection Bake or Convection Roast in an electric oven, the oven still uses the Top and Bottom heating elements, but because the fan circulates the heat evenly around the food, the natural moisture in the food is preserved. When you roast a chicken in Convection, you will see moisture bubbling away under the skin. The chicken is self-basting itself as it cooks. Another advantage is, of course, that when you roast in a Convection mode, you can also cook several other dishes at one time. Gas ovens, with their heated moving air, have a natural Convection, but many do feature a Convection mode that should be used if you are planning to cook side dishes along with the chicken. What Type of Pan is Best for Roasting a Chicken? The best way to roast a chicken in Convection is to roast it on a rack in a shallow pan. Since shallow-sided roasting pans with a rack are hard to find, the best solution is to use a rimmed baking sheet with a rack. There are several reasons why the rack is so essential. Using a rack allows the chicken to sit proudly so the heated air can easily circulate around it, cooking it evenly from the edge to the center. Elevating the chicken from the pan stops the hot pan from leeching moisture out of the chicken. This way, the moisture stays in the chicken instead of splattering it around the oven. Fat will be rendered into the pan, but it will not fill the pan with juice from the chicken, so using a shallow pan is perfectly safe. Because the standard size of ovens is so much larger nowadays, large-rimmed baking pans, known as ¾ sheet pans, are a good option for roasting. The chicken can be roasted on a rack (available from a cookware store) in one of these pans, and there is plenty of room to add vegetables to the pan as well. Alternatively, you can use a shallow roasting pan with a rack and roast the vegetables in a separate pan. Cooking on multiple racks is one of the best features of Convection because you can time the cooking to have the meat come out first and rest before carving and time the vegetables to be ready when the meat is ready to serve. What is the Best Temperature for Roasting a Chicken? Starting the cooking at a high temperature of 425 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes gets the chicken off to a good start, but remember, Convection cooks food from the edge to the core, so if you keep the temperature too high, you risk overcooking the edges and the center may not be cooked through. So a combination of high heat for a short period of time and moderate heat, 350 degrees for the remainder of the cooking will yield the best results. Most chickens available for roasting nowadays are between 4 - 5lbs and cook in one hour. Root vegetables generally take 40 minutes to cook, while less dense vegetables will cook in 20 - 25 minutes. Ideally, you want the chicken to come out of the oven and rest for at least 10 minutes before you carve it, which may take another 8 - 10 minutes. So, plan to add the vegetables to the oven to be ready to serve once the chicken has been carved. Why Does My Chicken Have Red-Bone? Don't be alarmed if you notice some redness around the chicken bones as you are carving the bird. This is a characteristic of cooking with more moisture. Have a close look at the meat, and as long as it is cooked through, you are fine. However, if the meat is still fleshy-looking, cover it and put it back in the oven. I no longer bother to truss my chicken for roasting; I thread a skewer between the legs to balance the chicken, and it cooks evenly this way. If you tie the thighs tightly to the body, the heat may not penetrate that area during cooking time, causing uneven cooking of the red bone. Have a Rimmed Cutting Board Handy As soon as you carve the chicken, the preserved juices will begin to flow. If you don’t have a rimmed cutting board, try carving it on a board and placing it in a rimmed baking sheet to capture the juice. Even though this post explains everything, roasting a chicken in Convection is easy; it just takes a little planning. Remember, a recipe will give you a flavor profile for your chicken, but if you follow the steps outlined and roast your chicken in Convection, I promise to yield the most succulent roast chicken you have ever cooked. Stay tuned for my next post outlining how to cook an easy Convection meal featuring Italian Meatloaf, with Roasted Vegetables and a Blueberry Peach Cobbler. In the meantime, visit my Convection Recipe page for my Roast Chicken recipe and other recipe ideas for your next meal. The recipes are in categories and provide detailed instructions for success when cooking in Convection. Larissa, Your Convection Enthusiast

  • Convection Cooking: The Secret to Juicy and Tender Stuffed Pork Shoulder

    There are many different ways to cook a pork shoulder roast; they all take time, but the results are worth the effort. Pork shoulder can be braised in liquid and shredded for pulled pork or for enchiladas, or it can be slowly roasted and cut into melt-in-your-mouth slices that can be enjoyed as a meal or in a sandwich. When cut into blade steaks, pork shoulder is delicious when broiled in the oven or cooked on the grill. Stuffing a pork shoulder and slowly roasting it until fork tender is another excellent option and is ideal when you are looking for a more elegant presentation. The Easy Steps to Prepare a Stuffed Pork Shoulder Roast Pork shoulder roasts come in varying sizes; a 4 lbs. roast will serve 8 people, and a 5 - 6 lbs. roast will efficiently serve 10 people. The shoulder cut is ideal for stuffing as it holds well when sliced. Because the meat has already been de-boned, it may be rolled and tied to hold it together; with a small roast, you may have to cut it so that it opens like a book. When you open up the roast, one side will be meatier than the other; pounding the meatier side to even it out makes it easier to roll the roast and tie it together. Once the pork has been prepared and seasoned, it can be spread with the stuffing, rolled, and cooked or refrigerated overnight. If storing the prepared roast overnight, be sure the stuffing has totally cooled before rolling it. Before rolling the roast, cut several lengths of butcher twine long enough to encircle it so you have them handy for tying it. Insert a few metal skewers into the meat to keep the roast stable while tying it. Convection Mode and Temperature for Roasting a Stuffed Pork Shoulder Roast When roasting large tender cuts of meat in convection, the circulating heated air can significantly reduce the cooking time. However, tougher cuts of meat, such as pork shoulder, still need to be cooked for longer periods of time at a moderate temperature to tenderize the meat. Cooking the roast in a convection mode is still a good choice because the circulating heat helps preserve moisture and cooks the food more evenly. An additional bonus is that you can bake a casserole simultaneously. For best results, either the Convection Roast or Convection Bake mode can be used, and be sure to place the roast on a rack in a shallow pan to help keep the meat nice and juicy. Onions and a coarsely chopped carrot can be added to the pan to create a flavorful pan sauce from the rendered drippings. A short burst of high heat, 350°F for 30 minutes, then a lower oven temperature of 325°F for another hour and a half is ideal for a smaller roast, whereas a larger roast may need 2 and a half to 3 hours. Always factor in 15 minutes of resting time before slicing the meat. Can I Use the Oven Meat Probe When Roasting Pork Shoulder? An oven meat probe that you can program to the exact internal temperature you want a cut of meat to reach is ideal for many roasts. However, it is really important that the probe is inserted into the meat in order to register the temperature. This can be very tricky with a stuffed roast because if the tip of the probe is in the stuffing, it will not register the correct internal temperature. The desired result with a stuffed pork shoulder roast is tenderness, which can only be achieved with long, slow cooking. If you want to determine if the meat has reached a specific temperature, you can check it with an instant-read thermometer when you remove it from the oven. Remember that the internal temperature of meat will continue to rise when it rests outside the oven. If the meat is tender after two to three hours of cooking, it’s safe to say it has been safely cooked through. Fall is a great time for baking pies, so if you love baking pies, check out my next post to understand how Convection can help you achieve great results. Larissa, Your Convection Enthusiast

  • Achieving Perfect Apple Pie using Convection-Bake Mode in Your Oven

    Baking an apple pie from scratch takes some time and effort, but the result is so rewarding that the effort is worthwhile. Warm apple pie fresh from the oven and served with vanilla ice cream is a simple but memorable treat, and with all the fresh apples available now, it’s the ideal time to perfect your pie-baking skills. Pie recipes have often been handed down from one generation to the next and the recipe hasn't changed much over the years, but the ovens we bake our pies in have changed a great deal. After you have read through the following tips for success, don't be afraid to tweak the baking instructions and take advantage of the improved technology in your oven. Adapting Traditional Recipes for Baking with Modern Oven Technology I often marvel at how Convection ovens have improved our cooking options, and I am in awe of the women and men who literally had to slave over their stoves to produce great meals, bread, fantastic, and desserts in times gone by. Although ovens began to improve in the 1950s, it took until the late 1990s for them to really transform into tools that produced more reliable results. The first improvement was the addition of the convection fan with a heating element around the fan that could circulate heated air around the oven, cooking the food evenly. The second transformation was the repositioning of the bottom heating element. For many years, the bottom heating element in an electric oven was exposed, which caused many problems when baking pies. The direct heat from the exposed element often caused the pie filling to bubble up over the crust onto the oven floor, making an awful mess and staining the crust. To counteract this effect, many pie recipes instructed adding foil around the edge of the pie to prevent the crust from burning and baking the pie on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any drips. Now that the oven design has changed and ovens generally heat more evenly, baking a pie is much easier. Tips for Baking Pies in Convection for Great Results Both gas and electric convection ovens offer a Bake mode and a Convection Bake mode and either is a good choice when baking pies. I prefer the Convection-Bake mode because the circulating heat cooks the crust evenly and often in less time. In addition to ideally cooking the crust through perfectly I like the way fruit cooks in convection as opposed to the more drying heat of the regular Bake mode. First arrange the oven racks before heating your oven. The User Guide for your oven will recommend the ideal rack position, but generally with pies rack position one counting up from the bottom works well. In some gas ovens I have baked in, rack position 2 provided better results so this is definitely a case of knowing your oven. Remember even if you can’t find the oven User Guide, it will most likely be available online and most manufacturers have YouTube videos as well. When pies are baked in the traditional Bake mode, the recipe temperature will be in the 375-400F range. However, when baking in convection, it is advisable to reduce the recipe temperature by 25 degrees to avoid overcooking the edge of the pastry. If the edge of the pie begins to get very dark, that indicates that the heat is too high. So keep in mind pie recipes have been around for ages and the basic pie dough and filling recipe is probably perfect. However, adapting to the cooking to benefit from the features of your modern convection oven will provide the best results. It is mid-October, and the stores are already laden with baking and cooking supplies for our big November holiday, Thanksgiving. Convection ovens are excellent tools that can simplify the preparation of an enormous feast, so if you would like to learn how to take the stress out of your holiday cooking, I would encourage you to review our popular series of turkey videos: How to Roast a Turkey in Convection, How to Roast a Spatchock Turkey in Convection, How to Roast A Heritage Turkey in Convection and How to Slow Roast Turkey Pieces in Convection. Larissa, Your Convection Enthusiast

  • Roasting Vegetables in Convection Ovens: Elevating Your Soup Game

    Convection and Steam ovens are remarkable tools because they offer many options that simplify meal preparation. All it takes to benefit from those tools is some planning. One of the more remarkable aspects of convection is the ability to cook multiple foods at once with no transfer of flavor. That means that any time your oven is on unless you are cooking a specialty item that requires precise temperatures, you should be able to cook several different foods simultaneously. Since it’s the season for warming winter soups, let's look at how using your Convection or Steam oven can simplify the process and help you create flavorful soups. Roasting Vegetables in Convection the Key to Delicious Soup There are several reasons why roasting vegetables for soup makes sense. When vegetables are roasted, their natural sugars caramelize to develop better flavor. Vegetables roasted in Convection retain more moisture, which translates to better flavor. Most of us don’t have a large soup pot to accommodate a large quantity of vegetables, so roasting vegetables for soup makes more sense. Best of all, it’s easy to roast a tray of vegetables for soup while cooking other foods. Making the soup base on the cooktop is relatively easy. Slowly cook the foundation ingredients, such as onions, leeks, garlic, carrots, and celery. Add the stock and simmer for approximately 20 minutes before adding the roasted vegetables. Soups containing pumpkin, butternut squash, cauliflower, mushrooms, tomatoes, broccoli, corn, and zucchini can be pureed. Still, various roasted cubed vegetables can be added to broth soups or soups featuring beans or lentils. Best Convection Oven Mode for Crisp Roasted Vegetables The Convection Roast or Convection Bake mode will work for oven-roasting vegetables. If you roast the vegetables on rack position 1 or 2, counting up from the bottom of the oven, they will be close to the bottom heating element and should caramelize well. If you need more crisping, move the tray closer to the top heating element for the final 10 minutes of cooking. The ideal cooking temperature and timing will, of course, depend on your oven. For example, 375F in my 24” oven is very powerful, but larger 30” ovens may provide better results at 400F. I also notice that a high temperature can cause burning on the edges when I roast vegetables in my gas oven. Understanding the rack position and temperature that will work best in your oven is critical to successful cooking. Don’t follow a recipe blindly; observe how your oven cooks to achieve the best results. Some vegetables such as fresh corn, peppers or tomatoes, add a lot of flavor to soup if they are cooked in the Convection Broil mode to gain a nice char. Coarsely chopped and added into the soup these vegetables will add wonderful bursts of flavor. Another vital aspect of roasting vegetables is using the right amount of oil. If the vegetables are tossed in too much oil they become limp, not enough and they will be dry. Start with a light coating of oil and adjust as needed. Steaming Vegetables for Soup Roasted vegetables give soup a lot of flavor, but certain soups are delicious made with steamed vegetables. When you are in the mood for a soup with fresh, bright flavors, steamed peas, broccoli, asparagus, spinach, and potatoes are a good choice for a lighter soup. While roasting or steaming vegetables can enhance soup, the key to good soup is. Yes, it takes planning, but it is easy and good stock. Roasting bones for stock or simmering a chicken carcass are easy to do, yes it takes planning, but it is easy and your soup will be so much more delicious made with homemade stock. So next time you bake a casserole, bake some potatoes or roast a chicken, consider starting a soup base on the cooktop and roasting some vegetables for another easy, delicious convection meal. Thanksgiving is such an important feast, but it can cause tremendous stress when orchestrating the cooking of so much food. In my next post, I will address the best type of pan to roast your turkey or turkey breast this Thanksgiving and remind you of the many helpful videos and recipes I have created to help you understand how Convection can ease the stress of cooking. Larissa, Your Convection Enthusiast

  • Low-Temperature Cooking in Convection and Convection Steam

    When I began cooking with the Steam oven 22 years ago, I was intrigued by the Low-Temperature Cooking mode that was a feature in the Gaggenau steam oven. I was unfamiliar with the term and the method of cooking, which was apparently widely used in fine-dining restaurants. The User Guide's lack of in-depth information led me to a few mishaps, but every time I made a mistake, I searched for answers to understand what had happened. That’s how I began to learn all about Low-Temperature cooking. How is Low-Temperature Cooking Different from Braising? Well, this was my first mistake. This mode is not designed for braising. Braising is a method of slowly cooking tougher cuts of meat in liquid with aromatics in a covered casserole. A tightly fitting lid on the pan creates steam that helps tenderize the meat during the long, slow cooking process. The major difference is the cooking temperature. The temperature for braising is 300 - 325 degrees. On the other hand, low-temperature cooking is for lean, tender cuts of meat, poultry, and fish, and the temperature range for cooking is 140 - 200 degrees. As with sous vide cooking, the process involves very low temperatures and more extended periods of time, however, no bag is needed with this method. The searing can be done at the end of the cooking or before. How to Determine the Timing for Low-Temperature Cooking My first success cooking with this method was with a 15-lb boneless standing rib roast. It took 5 hours to reach an internal temperature of 125 degrees. At that point, I removed it from the Steam oven and let it rest for about 20 minutes. It looked awful—just a big grey blob, and I was definitely concerned. However, I heated the Convection oven in the Convection Roast mode at 425 degrees and finished the cooking there for approximately 15 minutes. In that time, the fat rendered and the outside browned beautifully. When I sliced the roast, it was perfectly pink all the way through and amazingly tender. I now understand the benefits of low-temperature cooking. At least now, I had a time frame to work with, but I also had ovens with accurate meat probes, which proved the best timing method. We soon learned it was best to cook the meat below the target serving temperature because it would continue cooking during the high heat searing phase. Which is the Best Oven for Low-Temperature Cooking? I first learned about this cooking method while learning to use the Convection Steam oven, but when I found myself in situations where there was no Steam oven, I used the same technique in Convection with excellent results. For best results, use the Convection or Convection Bake mode. In these modes, the low temperatures are circulated around the oven by the fan, evenly cooking the meat. The powerful heat in the Convection Roast mode is ideal for a high-heat finish. My favorite method of finishing the cooking is on the outdoor grill. The meat is pretty much cooked and only needs a quick sear for a flavorful finish. What are the best foods to cook using this method? I have successfully cooked beef tenderloin, beef rib roasts, tri-tip, fresh sausages, chicken pieces, turkey pieces, pork chops, pork tenderloin, leg of lamb, and fish fillets (find these recipes at Convection Recipes or Steam Recipes page). With fish fillets, I like to sear the fish on one side in a pan to form a crust, then carefully turn the fish and place the pan in a 200-degree oven to finish. Cooking fish this way yields exceptional results. How Does Convection Benefit this Method of Cooking? Keep in mind that we need heat to cook food, but heat can also destroy food. When using the circulating heat of Convection, food will retain more moisture, achieving the perfect balance of flavor and great texture with minimal moisture loss. During this long and slow cooking in Convection, heat gently penetrates into the meat, cooking it evenly from the edge to the center. Preventing moisture loss leads to great results; however, meats cooked in this mode tend to be very pink even when the target internal temperature has been reached. A few minutes in the steam oven set to the reheating mode removes any pink tinge to appease any concerned parties. Stay tuned for my next post, How to Roast a Chicken in Convection. Anyone can roast a chicken, right? Convection does it best, so please stop by to learn more. In the meantime, I hope you will browse the selection of recipes for Low-Temperature Cooking under Convection Recipes and Steam Recipes so you can experience how remarkable this cooking method is.

  • "How to Create a Flavorful Roast Chicken Panzanella Salad with Lemongrass and Turmeric"

    Roast chicken panzanella salad is an Italian classic that combines warm roast chicken with croutons and a crisp salad. The combination of these ingredients and the texture of the croutons permeated with the warm chicken juices is irresistible. This recipe from my colleague Paul Tang uses the traditional method to prepare the dish but with a burst of Asian flavors. The chicken is seasoned with a marinade made with lemongrass and turmeric, and the salad is tossed with a dressing made from chili sauce and lime juice, while the salad features a flavorful combination of fresh basil, mint and cilantro. Steps to Creating a Perfect Roast Chicken Panzanella Salad There are quite a few steps to preparing this recipe and quite a few ingredients, so before you begin it’s a good idea to assemble all the ingredients. The first step is to make the marinade which only takes a few minutes, then the chicken is coated in the marinade and set aside for a few hours or overnight. In this recipe we spatchcock the chicken, cutting out the backbone and flattening out the chicken. The benefit of flattening the chicken is for more even cooking as well as faster cooking time. Of course you can skip this step, or you could roast some bone-in chicken pieces. Cooking the chicken on the bone ensures you will have plenty of delicious pan juices to add to the salad. The dressing and salad ingredients can also be prepared in advance for easy assembly; the carrots can also be prepared in advance, and the bread can be cubed ready to be tossed with the melted butter and cooked together with the chicken. Convection is Key for Succulent Roast Chicken Either the Convection Roast or Convection Bake mode will work well for cooking this meal because the heating elements of the oven cycle with enough intensity to achieve the desired results. However, convection roast heating cycles are stronger than convection bake. When you use Convection the carrots and croutons can be added to the oven while the chicken is roasting leaving your hands free to assemble the salad and dressing. Remember, foods cooked in Convection have better flavor and texture and because the heated air is circulated around the oven you can cook several dishes at one time and everything will cook evenly. The oven will be set at 375 degrees which will work well for all the items. The chicken will need to cook for at least 45 minutes while the carrots and croutons only need about 20 minutes. As we know all ovens are different and if you have a large capacity range oven you might want to increase the oven temperature by 25 degrees for the final 10 minutes of cooking the chicken to ensure it gets nice and crisp. Of course the chicken will need to rest for a few minutes once it comes out of the oven so allow at least 15 minutes for resting before carving the chicken. The important thing to think about when cooking multiple foods at time is the rack positions. If you are cooking on three racks then plan to place the chicken on the top rack, and add the carrots to the lower rack and the croutons to the middle rack. Placing the chicken on the top rack will ensure it gets nice and crispy from the direct heat of the top heating element while the fan will circulate the heat to ensure even cooking. Chicken Panzanella is a simple recipe, but with all these ingredients and different preparation and cooking steps planning is key. Once you are organized and have the chicken, carrots and croutons in the oven the salad can be prepared and before you know it the meal will come together effortlessly. If you don’t need all the chicken for this salad then be sure to set some aside to enjoy for another meal. Zucchini are in abundance during the summer and a good way to use them up is to bake a Zucchini Lasagna in Convection. Check out my next post to see how Convection can make the preparation easier. Larissa, Your Convection Enthusiast

  • "Exploring the Health Benefits of Zucchini Noodles in Lasagna with Turkey, Ricotta, and Pesto"

    Zucchini are a versatile mild flavored vegetable that pair well with a variety of foods and there are many ingenious ways of using them. In this recipe long slices of zucchini are substituted for lasagna noodles and baked in Convection to create a flavor packed lasagna. The baked zucchini slices are then layered with a meat sauce made with ground turkey a combination of cheeses including ricotta and a layer of basil pesto. Preparing the individual components for a lasagna then assembling them does take some time, but I have never heard anyone say they didn’t enjoy eating a lasagna so the effort is definitely worth the time. The great thing about lasagna is that you can easily portion it into several smaller containers for freezing or make one large container. There are several benefits to substituting zucchini for lasagna noodles. For some people, being able to enjoy a lasagna without the added starch is an important consideration. Another reason is to maximize the nutritional benefit of a dish by including an abundance of vegetables. Another important reason is to expand your repertoire of frequently cooked recipes. Once you have mastered making a traditional lasagna, adding some variations will add interest to your family menus and keep your taste buds interested. And of course it’s just one more way that you can make good use of your Convection oven to simplify the preparation of a lasagna Orchestrating the Preparation of a Zucchini Lasagna When preparing a recipe such as lasagna with several components that need to be prepared separately, it’s important to have a cooking plan before you begin. Having a plan makes it easier to orchestrate the cooking and helps keep the kitchen organized; in the long run the more organized you are the less stressful cooking feels. Since the meat sauce takes approximately 40 minutes to cook, it’s a good idea to begin with making the sauce. Very little prep is required; first the meat is browned then set aside then the vegetables for the sauce are cooked, and the tomatoes and meat are added back to the pan and cooked at a gentle simmer. Once the sauce is simmering you can turn your attention to preparing and baking the zucchini. Using Convection to bake the zucchini slices allows you to cook two or three trays of zucchini in the oven at one time, and there will be no boiling water to deal with or having to separate the noodles once they have cooked. Once the zucchini are in the oven your hands are free to assemble the cheeses and other ingredients required for the final assembly of the lasagna. Best Convection Mode for Baking the Zucchini Noodles and Lasagna Either the Convection Bake or Convection Roast mode can be used to bake several racks of the sliced zucchini. Be sure to arrange the oven racks before heating the oven and follow the manufacturer's recommendations for best rack positions. Typically placing one rack in the lower third of the oven and one in the upper third is the best placement. In the Convection Bake and Convection Roast modes the top and bottom heating elements are engaged and the Convection fan circulates the heated air around the oven. Not only will all the zucchini cook through evenly they will brown well without drying out. Once the lasagna is assembled and ready for baking it should be covered, unless you are baking it in a Steam oven in which case covering it is not necessary. Convection Bake is the ideal mode for baking the lasagna and the best rack placement is in the middle of the oven. Once the lasagna has cooked for approximately 30 minutes remove the foil for the final 10 minutes of cooking time so that the top heating elements can add a touch of gentle browning while melting the cheese. Remember once the delicious lasagna comes out of the oven you will need to let it rest for 10 - 15 minutes before enjoying it but it’s well worth the wait. If you are interested in in savory pizza style pancake that uses no flour then check out my next post for Soca (baked chickpea pancake) with greens, for another easy delicious Convection recipe. Larissa, Your Convection Enthusiast

  • Maximizing Your Steam Oven: Tips for Crafting Delicious Vegetable Salads

    Steam ovens were originally designed to facilitate the production of large quantities of food in commercial settings so that foods could be cooked with precise results and less guesswork. Fine dining chefs also embraced steam ovens for the same reason, but also because the oven functions made many of the tasks associated with the preparation of food easier. While steam ovens are wonderful for cooking specific types of food, the steam function can be used in the same way it is used in a professional kitchen to make the preparation of food easier. Vegetable salads, for example, can make a great meal or side dish and because you can cook multiple foods at one time they are easy to prepare in a steam oven What Type of Pan is Suitable for Steaming My Vegetables? The Steam Mode in a steam oven has a default temperature setting of 212°F, the temperature at which water boils. For most foods, leaving the temperature at this setting will give the best results; however, the temperature can be lowered slightly when steaming more delicate foods. But equally important is the pan you use to steam your vegetables. Steam ovens have a solid oven pan and a perforated pan for steaming and general cooking. Most vegetables including asparagus, snap peas, broccoli, green beans, carrots, corn on the cob and cubed potatoes are best cooked in the perforated pan. Leafy greens such as Bok choy, cabbage, kale and spinach can be cooked in the solid pan with a little added water or in the perforated pan. The timing will be approximately the same as when steaming the vegetables over boiling water. The Benefits of Steaming Vegetables in a Steam Oven One of the many benefits of cooking in a steam oven is that there is no transfer of flavor of foods cooked in steam. Rather than juggle multiple pans on the cooktop you can steam grains such as rice or quinoa and steam vegetables at the same time or even fish or shellfish to create a vegetable, seafood grain bowl. The other benefit is that you don’t have to worry about pots boiling over, and you can set the oven timer to alert you when the cooking time has elapsed; however, you do have to think through the timing. For example the cooking time for quinoa, orzo pasta or cubed potatoes is between 15 - 25 minutes. If you were adding some green vegetables that only require 6 minutes cooking time they should be added towards the end of the cooking time. Another benefit is that you can easily steam foods that you plan to use for another meal at the same time. For example I like to steam some bone-in chicken thighs for salads and sandwiches and also because I can capture 1 - 2 cups of chicken stock. I hope this simple salad recipe with steamed asparagus and snap peas will inspire you to begin taking advantage of using your steam oven as your sous chef to cook multiple dishes at one time. Simple fresh vegetable salads pair well with many meals including Convection Broiled Salmon; check out my next post to learn more about this easy convection recipe. Larissa, Your Convection Enthusiast

  • - "How Can Steam Ovens Enhance Your Culinary Skills and Simplify Meal Prep?"

    When I began cooking with the Gaggenau Steam oven back in 1999, it was clear that the oven had been thoughtfully designed based on professional cooking principles. While the concept of Steaming food was easy to grasp, less obvious was the benefit of the different levels of heat and humidity for specific types of cooking. It was clear from studying the product guide and learning about the different cooking capabilities that the chefs and engineers who developed the technology did so based on the science of cooking. Now all we had to do was understand how using heat and humidity in different combinations aided in achieving spectacular results. Adapting Professional Tools for Home Use While I may have been in awe of the oven's features, like most people my home cooking is for the most part pretty straightforward, simple healthy meals with plenty of vegetables. The many clients I worked with made it clear while they were excited about the concept of the oven they also needed fairly simple directions to get started cooking with the oven. The first recipes we received for the steam oven came from classically trained chefs and were of restaurant quality, very impressive, but we needed a simpler approach to get started. With frequent use, it didn’t take long for us to realize how the cooking of many different foods could be adapted to being cooked in the Steam oven, no special recipes needed, and it quickly became our go-to oven. How Does the Steam Oven Make Food Preparation Easier? Once the steam oven is set in the Steam mode, then you can add pans with different foods and they can all cook simultaneously. All you have to do is monitor the timing, and there will be no transfer of flavor between the foods. If the components of your meal include some type of grain, vegetables, fish or shellfish, hard-boiled eggs, or bone-in chicken, all those items can be steamed at the same time. So instead of monitoring 3 or 4 pans on the cooktop, just put the pans in the Steam oven and set the timer. There will be no messy cooktop to clean from boil-overs and, the pans can go in the dishwasher. Best of all while the food is cooking in the Steam oven, you can focus on preparing other elements of the meal; and I promise you will find this is a much less stressful way to cook. So, whenever a recipe mentions, boiling, blanching, poaching, or steaming, all those functions can be performed in the Steam mode in the Steam oven and often with better results. What Other Ways can the Steam Oven Make Cooking Easier? Once you grasp the concept of the Steam oven as a sous-chef you will quickly come to rely on your sous-chef to perform a variety of functions. Defrosting without cooking the food: defrosting is one of the best features of the oven, only the ice crystals will dissolve leaving the food fresh looking and ready to cook. Containers of frozen homemade stock or soup can be placed in the oven to soften slightly before being transferred to a saucepan for heating. Proofing yeast dough: the Steam oven provides the perfect environment for proofing and there is no need to cover the bowl. Gentle cooking without the need for a water bath: now there is absolutely no reason for you not to make crème caramel, savory custard, or cheesecake. When you have the time and a vacuum sealing machine, you can prepare exceptional meals using the sous vide function. I find that cooking lean tender cuts of meat in the Low-Temperature cooking mode, is a great way to cook meats when entertaining. The oven meat probe can be programmed to monitor the internal temperature of the meat and all it will need is a high-heat sear prior to serving. There is no transfer of flavor when cooking in Steam or Convection so complete meals can be cooked or reheated at one time. Remember you are the conductor, so plan the jobs you want the oven to perform and it won’t disappoint. Technology and the Steam Oven Many Steam ovens feature a library of automatic programs that can help users unfamiliar with the appliance get started with their cooking. In order for the sensors to be able to cook the food accurately you may be asked to enter the weight, so keep a scale handy. My Steam oven features an option for me to record recipes while cooking and then save the cooking steps. This is especially useful for dishes you cook frequently, all you have to do is call up the recipe and you will not have to change any temperatures and humidity levels during the cooking. If the manufacturer of your appliances has a Smart app you may find there are many resources available to you by pairing your appliance and using the app to monitor the cooking. You may also be able to make changes to the cooking program by giving a command to your Virtual Assistant. Stay tuned for my next post Cooking for Kids and Adults. Convection and Steam ovens are great tools for those of you who are juggling having to accommodate different food tastes at the dinner table. In the meantime please visit the Convection Steam Recipe section on my website for inspiration on cooking a variety of foods using the different modes in your Convection Steam oven or check out the Start Your Convection Steam Playlist on my YouTube channel Larissa, Your Convection and Steam Oven Enthusiast

  • The Secret to Perfectly Succulent Chicken Wings: Slow Roasting Method

    When steam ovens first came to market over 20 years ago it was a learning curve to learn how to cook in one. When I taught steam oven classes in those early days people would always ask, is there a cookbook? Of course I understood people needed guidance, but I encouraged everyone to be adventurous and try everything, after all people had been cooking with steam for centuries. The Gaggenau steam oven I was working with featured modes for steaming, baking and roasting but also introduced us to techniques that were being used in professional kitchens including Low Temperature Cooking and Sous Vide. Despite some early blunders, Low Temperature Cooking has become one of my favorite cooking methods for cooking lean tender cuts of meat, and that’s the method I like to use for preparing chicken wings. Slow Roasting for Succulent Chicken Wings Chicken wings can be baked at a moderate or a high temperature with good results but cooking them at a low temperature and finishing the cooking with high heat is the best way to keep the meat succulent. One of the reasons chicken wings have so much flavor and remain succulent is because they are cooked on the bone and meats cooked on the bone cook more evenly and retain more moisture. High heat is crucial to crisp the skin but too much high heat can also dry out the meat, so a combination of low and high heat gives a good balance. Even though I usually prepare chicken wings in my steam oven, they can also be prepared in a convection oven using the same technique with comparable results. When wings are prepared this way in a steam oven the pan will collect some cooking juices. These flavorful juices should be poured off before the high heat cooking phase but don’t discard them, they are wonderful to add to your cooking. Creating a Crisp Crust for Slow Roasted Chicken Wings The slow roasting process basically cooks the wings so the final step is to cook them at high heat to crisp the skin. I like to complete the cooking in the convection oven, so I can use the steam oven to steam some vegetables for salads to accompany the wings. For this final stage of cooking, arrange the oven racks so one rack is in the upper third of the oven near the broil element. Change the oven mode to Convection Roast 450 degrees and when the oven comes to temperature, toss the wings with some melted butter and vegetable oil, slide the tray into the oven and set the timer for 15 minutes. If additional crisping is desired change the oven mode to Broil Hi or 500 degrees and broil for 5 minutes. Of course the wings will taste delicious on their own but for added flavor a sauce can be added to the sizzling wings when they come out of the oven. It’s best to wait until the wings have finished cooking to add the sauce to avoid the sauce burning during the final high heat cooking. Steam ovens are amazing tools that can truly simplify cooking so if you are looking for more ideas for easy delicious steam oven meals check back to learn how to prepare Lion's Head Meatballs. Larissa, Your Convection Enthusiast

  • Healthy Twist on Classic Comfort Food: Cauliflower Mac and Cheese Recipe

    Mac and cheese on its own is a favorite with adults and children alike, especially when made with a combination of delicious cheeses. Even though the original is good as is, this is also a casserole that can be combined with other foods to create a memorable meal. When you are in the mood for something truly decadent, adding lobster to mac and cheese is a good option but when you are in the mood to keep it simple and nourishing, adding in some vegetables is equally delicious. Vegetables such as cauliflower and broccoli are also delicious when baked in a cheese sauce and are perfect to bump up the flavor and nutrient value of mac and cheese. Even though mac n cheese is a simple dish the preparation does involve several steps and saucepans which can be off putting. In this post I will give you some tips for simplifying the preparation as well as tips for baking the casserole in Convection. Mac and Cheese Preparation Made Easy Preparing Mac and Cheese involves several steps, cooking the pasta in boiling water, preparing the bechamel sauce and if you are adding in another ingredient, cooking that ingredient as well. Since this means several saucepans or oven trays, it’s always a good idea to know the options that will work best for your time frame and minimize the amount of clean up. There is no escaping cooking the pasta in boiling water, macaroni cooks quickly and achieves the perfect texture when cooked in rapidly boiling salted water, so that part is easy. When adding vegetables such as broccoli or cauliflower there are several options for cooking them. The florets can be steamed in a steam oven or in a steamer basket over boiling water. They can also be roasted at high heat (375 - 400°F) in the oven. Cauliflower is especially delicious when slightly caramelized around the edges so broiling the cauliflower in the oven is another option. Then of course there is the microwave option. Vegetables steam very quickly in the microwave or if you have a Speed oven you could roast or broil the vegetables with some added microwave power to speed up the process. So lot’s of options, to simplify getting those vegetables ready. The bechamel sauce is traditionally made on the cooktop by slowly cooking the butter and flour together then adding the milk and heating gently until thickened. A simpler option is to make the bechamel sauce in the microwave; however, you will need a microwave safe measuring cup or bowl with at least a 4-cup capacity. A large container is necessary so that you can stir the cheese in once the sauce has thickened. To prepare the sauce in the microwave, combine the butter and flour in the container and cook on hi for approximately 1 minute. Add the milk, whisk the ingredients to combine, cover the container and cook for approx 2 minutes until the mixture has thickened. If you were to use the microwave to prepare the vegetables and the bechamel sauce you could conceivably prepare all the components to assemble a cauliflower mac n cheese in approximately 10 minutes. Then of course the casserole needs to go into the oven to bake through. In addition to speeding up the preparation, microwave bowls are all dishwasher safe for easy clean up so using the microwave for some of the prep is definitely worth considering. The Best Oven Mode for Baking Mac n Cheese Once your Mac and Cheese casserole is assembled then it needs to go into the oven to heat through and develop a slightly browned crust. The Convection Bake mode is ideal for baking casseroles because in this mode heat is directed from the bottom and top heating elements and the convection fan circulates the heated air around the baking dish ensuring even heating. Placing the casserole in the middle of the oven will give the best results for even heating. If the casserole is being baked directly after it has been prepared it will only need to be in the oven for approximately 25 minutes and will not need to be covered. However, if you are baking the casserole cold from the refrigerator, allow approximately 45 minutes and keep the casserole covered for the first 20 minutes; then remove the foil for the remainder of the baking time. The many ways in which a Mac and Cheese casserole can be enhanced is a good example of how a traditional recipe has evolved to reflect current food trends. So when it comes to preparing your Mac and Cheese, make sure you also take good advantage of your modern appliances to simplify the preparation of this simple, delicious culinary standard. Simple foods have great appeal and our convection ovens are great tools for achieving great texture and flavor when preparing many popular foods. If you want to learn how to prepare a sirloin strip steak in convection with tender juicy results then please check back for my next post Larissa, Your Convection Enthusiast

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