53 items found
- Tips for Braising in Convection for Full Flavor Dishes
Braising or slow cooking is one of the most rewarding ways of cooking, not only does meat achieve a tender melt-in-your-mouth texture, the vegetables, and the aromatics used, create a delicious full-flavored sauce. The preparation is fairly easy; however, the cooking time required is generally several hours, but the key to successful braising is temperature control. Because of the long slow cooking process and the need to maintain a consistent low temperature, recipes for braising typically recommend the cooking be done in a covered oven-safe casserole, or Dutch oven. Enameled cast iron pans are ideal for braising because once heated they retain a consistent temperature and the tight-fitting lid traps steam in the pan creating the ideal environment for the cooking process. Understanding the Cooking Modes in Your Oven A Convection oven has three heating elements; one under the floor of the oven, or in an older oven an exposed heating element, a top heating element, and the Convection fan and heating element in the rear of the oven. If you select the Bake or Roast mode then the heat will be coming from the bottom and top heating elements. This means the heat is directed at the pan and if for example, you place the braising pan too close to the bottom heating element then you may risk boiling the liquid instead of gently simmering it. If the liquid boils too vigorously then the meat may become rubbery or the liquid may cook down too quickly. The heat in a gas oven and ovens with an exposed heating element is more powerful in the lower part of the oven so, choosing a higher rack position and a temperature reduction of even 5 degrees will help maintain a more consistent heat. What are the Benefits of Braising in Convection? When you choose Convection the heated air is circulated around the oven heating the pan from the edge to the center, helping to maintain a consistent even temperature throughout the cooking process. Keeping the pan evenly heated ensures even cooking results. If your oven has a Convection or True Convection mode this is an ideal choice for braising because heat is only coming from the Convection element, there is no direct heat on the pan. Otherwise, select the Convection Bake mode and place the pan on rack position 2, counting up from the bottom. Using Convection to braise less tender cuts of meat will not shorten the cooking time however you can easily cook two braises at one time on different racks at one time or add a side dish such as oven polenta or risotto for the final 45 - 50 minutes of cooking time. Additional Tips for Braising Cast iron braising pans are heavy so if your oven features extension racks then arrange the racks so you can easily place and remove the braising pan from the oven. A temperature range of 300 - 325 degrees is ideal for braising; however, there are so many variables to consider: the size of your oven; the type of pan you are cooking in so, pay attention to how your oven cooks until you get a feel for what will work best. Always have a landing space designated to place the hot pan, and always leave a hot pad or kitchen towel on the hot lid to avoid accidentally picking it up and burning yourself. When braising meats with more fat it is ideal to remove the meat from the pan once it has cooked and skim off the fat that rises to the top. If you are cooking a braise a day in advance of serving and the meat needs to be shredded or sliced, first remove the meat from the pan and let it cool. While the meat is cooling, skim the fat from the cooking liquid and discard any aromatics. Slice or shred the meat and refrigerate it in the cooking liquid. Reheat the braise gently on the cooktop or in the oven before serving. You will find a selection of delicious recipes on our website including, Braised Duck Legs, Short Ribs, Brisket, Spareribs with Plum Sauce and Braised Turkey with Butternut Squash and of course we will be adding more soon. Stay tuned for my next Blog Post that will cover the many ways to cook fish in a Convection and Steam oven. Larissa, Your Convection Enthusiast
- How to Cook Pork in Convection to Perfection
Some cuts of pork have generous amounts of fat and are extremely easy to cook, while others are extremely lean and require more careful handling. Because most recipes are written using the traditional Bake or Roast mode in an oven, it’s important to understand the benefits of using Convection for cooking the different cuts. How to Cook Pork Shoulder in Convection Pork Shoulder, also known as pork butt or pork blade roast is one of the fattier cuts of pork that can be prepared in several ways. Braising - cooked in a covered pan for a couple of hours, pork cooked this way is very versatile. The meat can be sliced and served over grains or mashed root vegetables, shredded and served in tacos, or cooked in a BBQ sauce and served as pulled pork. Even though the meat is cooked in a covered pan using Convection is still recommended because the circulating heated air will heat the pan evenly keeping the contents of the pan simmering at the perfect temperature. Slow Roasting - cooked on a rack in the Convection Roast or Convection Bake mode for 4 - 6 hours. The circulating heat prevents the meat from drying out rendering the meat very tender. Again the meat can be sliced or shredded. How to Cook Ribs in Convection or a Steam Oven Whether you are cooking back ribs or spare ribs in a Convection or Steam oven you can’t avoid the first step of slow cooking needed to tenderize the ribs. In Convection, the seasoned ribs should still be placed in a roasting pan with some water and covered tightly with a lid or foil then cooked slowly for 1 ½ - 2 hours at 300 degrees until the meat is tender. In the combination Convection Steam mode, the seasoned ribs can be placed uncovered in the oven and slowly cooked for 1 ½ - 2 hours at 280 - 300 degrees. Once the first phase of cooking is complete, the ribs can be finished with high heat in the oven or on the grill. How to Cook Pork Loin in Convection Pork loin is one of the leanest cuts of pork and may be the trickiest to cook. Traditional recipes recommend this cut be brined, a process that infuses the meat with a seasoned liquid. When roasted in the traditional Bake or Roast mode the brining liquid prevents the roast from drying out. A spice rub is a better option when roasting pork loin in Convection because the circulating Convection heat doesn’t have such a drying effect on food. When the meat has been brined it tends to retain too much moisture when cooked in Convection. The key to success is a quick sear in a pan or with high heat in the oven but keep the overall cooking temperature low at 325 degrees. Using an oven meat probe set to 140 - 145 degrees will also help from overcooking the pork. How to Cook Pork Tenderloin in Convection One of the benefits of pork tenderloin is that it cooks quickly so it’s a great protein to add to a meal when time is short. In my experience, the biggest mistake people make with this cut is to cook it too long and at too high a temperature. A spice rub is the best way to add some flavor to a pork tenderloin, then begin the cooking with a quick sear but keep the heat at medium to avoid burning the seasoning. Once you have browned the tenderloin on all sides place it in the oven in the Convection Roast or Convection Bake mode at 300 degrees and continue cooking it for 15 minutes - 20 if it is over 1lb. Be sure to let it rest before carving. The interior of the pork will be very pink when you slice it but not raw. If this pink tinge bothers you then cook the tenderloin for an additional 5 minutes. But the key is to keep the temperature at 300 degrees so it doesn’t begin to get grey around the edges and dry out. How to Cook Thick Pork Chops in Convection You will find a delicious recipe for stuffed pork chops on our website, why are they so delicious? Well, first we stuffed them with herbs and garlic mixed with some olive oil. After a careful sear over moderate heat, we added a splash of white wine to the pan and placed the pan with the chops in a 325-degree oven heated in the Convection Roast mode and cooked them for another 8 minutes. So for success when cooking the lean cuts of pork be sure to use moderate temperatures and use Convection for better heat distribution and to help retain moisture in the meat. We have some delicious pork recipes on the website including, Asian Pork Meatballs, Baked Pork Shoulder Roast, Pork Belly, Braised Spareribs, and Steamed Black Bean Pork Spareribs, I hope you will give them a try My next post will cover tips for Braising in Convection and Steam to get you ready for your cool weather cooking.
- Convection - An Easy Way to Cook Soups, Stews, and Casseroles
Keeping the home refrigerator and freezer stocked with delicious healthy meals is just like running a restaurant, you always have to be planning ahead. Yes, you can purchase packaged items that are easy to heat. However, with a bit of planning, and an understanding of how your Convection and a Steam oven can help you, it's amazing how easy preparing a variety of foods at one time can be. Remember, one of the best features of your Convection ovens is the ability to easily cook different foods evenly on multiple racks at one time. So say for example you wanted to roast some butternut squash for soup and also roast some vegetables to add to a casserole then both can be cooked at the same time. While the vegetables are roasting you can focus on preparing the other elements of each dish. What is the Benefit of Roasting Vegetables for Soups? There are several benefits to roasting vegetables for soup. One is better flavor the other is the ease of cooking especially when large quantities of vegetables are required. Typically we begin making a soup by sautéing some onion or leeks, then adding the seasoning and sauteing the vegetables, adding the stock, and letting everything simmer for 30 - 40 minutes. This can be challenging when the recipe calls for a large amount of vegetables unless you have a very large saucepan. Spreading the vegetables onto a rimmed baking sheet and roasting them is much easier. When vegetables are roasted in Convection they have better flavor and texture so when they are added to the soup base and combined with the stock and seasoning the result will be a more flavorful soup. Also, there is the choreography of cooking to take into account. While the vegetables are roasting you can be prepping the vegetables for the soup base (onions, celery, garlic, etc.) and get that started, then all you will have to do is add the roasted vegetables and finish the soup as directed in the recipe. Not only is it easier to prepare one soup this way you can also roast vegetables for another soup at the same time or maybe roast some vegetables for a casserole. Check out these Convection soup recipes for inspiration. Roasted Mushroom Soup, Roasted Cauliflower Soup, Roasted Butternut Squash Soup How Does Convection Make Preparing Casseroles Easier? Casseroles, the ultimate comfort food are certainly delicious, but they generally require a fair bit of work to prepare. Let's look at some ways using Convection can make the prep easier. Casseroles that include layers of zucchini and eggplant are much easier to prepare when those vegetables are first roasted in the oven. Tomatoes can also be slow roasted to add a greater depth of flavor to a casserole and peppers, corn kernels and mushrooms can all be roasted or quickly broiled for an added punch of flavor for a casserole. Chicken or turkey pieces can be roasted and then shredded and added to a casserole, fish, shellfish and meatballs can all be baked in the oven to add to a casserole. Don’t forget the Steam oven, which is great for steaming potatoes or other root vegetables to create a mashed topping for a casserole and this recipe for Fish Pie will show you just how much easier the prep can be when using your Steam oven. Stews and Braises Stews and braises are another version of comfort food that take some time to prepare which means that advance planning is crucial. No point deciding at 5pm that you want braised short ribs for dinner unless you like to eat at 8pm. Braises and stews often share many common ingredients, the building blocks of flavor. Onion, carrots, celery, leeks and garlic. So if you are prepping these ingredients for one braise or stew then ask yourself, can I prepare another braise or stew at the same time. Convection won’t help the meat used in most braises cook faster because the tougher cuts of beef, pork and lamb used for braising and stews require long slow cooking to soften the meat. However stews made with chicken or turkey will cook in 45 - 50 minutes, The benefit of cooking stews and braises in Convection is the fact that you can have multiple pans in the oven at one time and they will be heated evenly by the circulating Convection heat. Another benefit is that side dishes such as polenta or risotto can be cooked in a covered casserole in the oven during the last 45 minutes of the cooking time. So it might be a longer cooking Convection meal but remember cooking multiple dishes in the oven at one time makes your work in the kitchen easier. Also, remember that most ovens nowadays are self-cleaning while a cooktop still requires manual cleaning. Best of all soups, braises and stews all freeze well, so the extra effort that goes into creating these fabulous meals meals you can more easily keep your freezer stocked with foods created to your taste. Stay tuned for my next post, “How to Cook Pork in Convection” ….. There are so many options. Larissa, your Convection Enthusiast
- Practical Cooking for Kids and Adults
Convection and Steam ovens are great tools for preparing simple family meals, especially if you are catering to a variety of food preferences from different family members. The key is being able to cook on multiple racks at one time with no transfer of flavor. So if you are cooking chicken and vegetables for the children but you prefer to have fish, the fish can be added into the oven towards the end of the cooking and everything will be ready to serve at the same time. How to Prepare Two Similar Meals at the Same Time Here are some examples of how you can prepare similar meals at the same time to appeal to different tastes. Dinner for the Kids - Baked Chicken with Steamed Rice and Vegetables Dinner for the Adults - Baked Spice Rubbed Chicken with Risotto and Roasted Vegetables A simple meal of chicken and rice with some steamed vegetables may be appealing to children, but a flavorful version more suited to the adult palate can easily be cooked at the same time. Chicken pieces baked in Convection are very juicy, they can be seasoned according to taste, and baked in the Convection oven for approximately 30 minutes. While the chicken is baking, rice for the children and risotto for the adults can be steamed in the Steam oven. Vegetables can be roasted for the adults along with the chicken while vegetables for the children can be added to the Steam oven. Yes, it takes a little planning but placing food in an oven is easier than cooking in multiple pots on the cooktop. Here are some more examples of using both ovens to prepare similar meals. Dinner for the Kids - Italian Meatloaf, Steamed Potatoes (for mashed potatoes), and Steamed Vegetables Dinner for the Adults - Italian Meatloaf, Oven Polenta, and Roasted Vegetables. Dinner for the Kids - Oven Baked Salmon, Steamed Ravioli, and Vegetables. Dinner for the Adults - Oven Baked Salmon, Roasted Vegetables, and Steamed Quinoa. Getting a Head Start on Your Next Meal! Another way to make good use of your appliances is if you can do some simple prep for another meal while tonight’s dinner is cooking in the oven. Then when you sit down to eat the meal you prepped can go into the oven to cook. You can make a same version of the braise for the kids and add a bit of alcohol and spice to the adult version and both pans can cook in the oven at the same time. Braises need approximately 2 hours to cook and the food should be cooled before being placed into the refrigerator. To speed up the cooling process remove the braise from the cooking pan and spread it into an oblong oven-safe casserole with a lid. All you will have to do is reheat the braise and steam some vegetables to complete the meal. Warming casseroles are a little labor-intensive to prepare but they also make a great meal. Again while adults may prefer more interesting flavors kids are often happy with just Mac N Cheese. If you cook enough pasta for two casseroles and make enough cheese sauce for two then you can customize the adult version with some steamed vegetables, some sauteed mushrooms, and bacon or some spicy sausage. Can I Cook a Dessert at the Same Time? I find it’s very easy to add in a simple dessert when baking a Convection meal. Brownies, fruit crisps, or cobblers are easy to put together and can be baked alongside meats and vegetables. Some desserts such as bread pudding and rice pudding need to cook at a lower temperature and are best cooked in the combination Convection Steam mode in the Steam oven. Planning is Everything During the many years I was teaching people how to get the best from their new appliances, I heard the same comment at each class, “Larissa you make everything look so easy.” I would explain it was easy because I had done all the prep and set up the day before, so yes then it was easy for me to orchestrate cooking 3 oven meals plus cook on a gas and induction cooktop while teaching the class. Planning is key and when you understand the capabilities of your appliances. You too will find it easier to orchestrate the preparation of multiple meals, just plan to make those appliances work for you. Stay tuned for my next post, Convection Oven Soups, Casseroles, and Stews. In the meantime please visit the Convection Recipe section of my website and check out the selection of Convection Meals for some inspiration so you can begin planning your meals to meet a variety of tastes. Larissa, Your Convection and Steam Oven Enthusiast
- Steam Ovens, The Best Sous Chef in the Kitchen
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
- How to Cook a Complete Meal in Convection
When I joined the appliance industry in 1999 and learned about the benefits of Convection cooking I had a few lightbulb moments. The first was realizing that a roast turkey was fantastic when roasted to 165 degrees, but more about that closer to Thanksgiving. The second was, if a complete meal could be cooked on multiple racks at one time in the oven, then obviously we had an amazing tool for preparing quick healthy meals that would free us from cooking on the cooktop. I had baked in Convection ovens in a professional kitchen but had not had the opportunity to work with Convection at home. However, I had enough experience in catering and teaching cooking to know that understanding how to use Convection could transform cooking for many people. How does Convection Make Cooking an Entire Meal Easier The key benefits of Convection cooking are: The ability to cook on multiple racks at one time with no transfer of flavor. Not having to change the placement of pans or turn the pans during cooking. Foods cooked in Convection have better moisture retention, therefore better flavor and texture so overall cooking results are improved. So if you can cook food on multiple racks at one time with no transfer of flavor, then you can easily cook an entire meal in the oven at one time. Best of all placing the food in the oven liberates you from standing at the cooktop, just set the timer and let the oven do it’s magic. What Types of Oven Meals are Best Cooked in Convection Family meals can be challenging, parents may prefer a more sophisticated meal while children usually prefer something simple. Some family members may not eat meat or may prefer fish, all these variables can make meal preparation challenging. In Convection food can be seasoned to appeal to different tastes but still cooked at the same time with no transference of flavors. This means that you can bake brownies for the kids and cook a savory casserole for the whole family without having to worry about mixing up flavors. How using Convection makes meal preparation easier. Almost any type of vegetable can be roasted in Convection. Whole chicken, chicken pieces, turkey pieces, pork tenderloin, pork loin, beef filet, tri-tip, meatloaf, fresh sausages, and fish can all be cooked together with vegetables and casseroles. Fish can be added in to the oven during the final 10 - 12 minutes of cooking. Rice pilaf, risotto, and polenta can all be baked in a covered pan alongside other foods. Simple desserts such as fruit crisps and cobblers can be baked alongside other foods. Tips for Success Cooking a Complete Meal in Convection The most important aspect of this style of cooking is planning. Here are some things to take into account when planning a Convection meal. Most meats benefit from resting before being sliced so always factor in the resting and carving or slicing time to the cooking time. Time the cooking of the vegetables so they will be done when the meat is ready to be served. Cut the vegetables into uniform pieces and when roasting a variety of vegetables plan the cooking time for each one. For example potatoes may take 30 minutes to cook but Brussels sprouts only 15 minutes, so cook the potatoes for 10 - 15 minutes then fold in the Brussels sprouts. Pay attention to the rack positions. When using the Convection Bake or Convection Roast modes heat will be coming from the bottom and top heating elements while the fan will be circulating the heated air around the oven. As a rule of thumb cooking meats in the upper portion of the oven with vegetables and casseroles below will give the best results. Once the meat is removed casserole dishes can be moved higher in the oven for crisping and browning. How to Determine the Temperature for Cooking a Convection Meal An important thing to remember about cooking in Convection is that the heated air circulates around the oven cooking the food from the edge to the center. If the oven temperature is too high for the entire cooking process then foods may be overcooked on the edges and not quite cooked through. Here are some guidelines. Get to know your oven. A large capacity 36” range oven may require higher temperatures for cooking multiple dishes at one time. While smaller 24” and 27” ovens may do better with more moderate heat. Heat is best used in two stages. High temperatures are great for searing, ensuring caramelization and flavor but moderate to low temperatures are best for even cooking results. Many recipes suggest high cooking temperatures, don’t be afraid to adjust the temperature as needed for success when cooking in your oven. All ovens are different. You will find some meals plans for cooking a complete meal in Convection in the Convection Recipe section of the website that will help guide you through the process of planning and cooking a Convection meal. I hope that understanding this aspect of Convection cooking will make it easier for you to prepare easy delicious meals. Stay tuned for my next post, Steam Ovens, the Best Sous Chef in the Kitchen to learn how to maximize using this amazing appliance. Larissa, your Convection enthusiast.
- Using Convection to Simplify Food Preparation
So often I read recipes that sound wonderful but are incredibly labor-intensive, so I always ask myself how can I use my Convection oven to streamline the cooking process. After all maybe when the recipe was written Convection ovens were not available, or the recipe writer only wrote the recipe for the thermal bake mode. Let’s look at a couple of recipes that illustrate how Convection can simplify food preparation so I can get you into my way of thinking. Turkey Lasagna with Zucchini Noodles Lasagna has the perfect combination of flavors, texture, a great sauce, and cheese! The recipe can be varied to taste but because there are several components to the recipe it does require some preparation. I know there are no-cook lasagna noodles available but using zucchini for the noodles eliminates the carbohydrates from the recipe, adds some nutrient value, and the slices can all be pre-cooked at one time using Convection. Because both ground turkey and zucchini are fairly bland I like to add pesto to this lasagna for added flavor. A good way to approach this recipe would be as follows: Begin by preparing the sauce which will need to simmer for at least 40 minutes. Next preheat the oven and slice the zucchini, this will take approximately 10 minutes. You will need at least 3 rimmed baking pans unless you have a large oven that can accommodate ¾ sheet pans. By choosing Convection Bake or Convection Roast you can bake all 3 trays of zucchini at one time without having to turn them or change the rack positions. Bake the zucchini in Convection which will take about 30 - 35 minutes. While the zucchini is cooking assemble the cheeses and pesto so you will be ready to assemble the lasagna. Once the zucchini is cooked and cool enough to handle now you can assemble the lasagna but, you will still have another 30 minutes or so to wait until the lasagna has heated through. So, not that much effort for a really delicious meal. Baked Eggplant Parmesan Casserole This is another wonderful baked casserole that can seem daunting when reading the recipe especially if the recipe says to fry all those eggplant slices. That’s a lot of oil and a lot of frying. A good way to approach this recipe is as follows: Slice the eggplant, salt the slices, and set them aside on a rimmed baking sheet for an hour or so. Now is a good time to make the sauce and to get the cheese organized then set up the dredging station for the eggplant. Once the eggplant has been rinsed and patted dry, heat the oven and dredge the eggplant as directed in the recipe, first in flour, then egg, then finally in breadcrumbs. Again you will need 2 - 3 rimmed baking sheets to bake the eggplant slices, but they can all be baked at one time using Convection or Convection Bake. No frying is necessary. Once the eggplant slices are baked and cooled then it’s time to assemble the delicious casserole and back into the oven it goes. Remember another nice aspect of cooking in Convection is that you can cook multiple foods at one time. So for example you can also bake a meatloaf or some chicken, roast some vegetables or fish, or bake a simple dessert such as a fruit cobbler while you have a casserole in the oven. That’s the beauty of convection cooking, all you have to do is the planning, shopping, and prep! Stay tuned for my next post all about cooking complete meals in Convection. In the meantime, visit the Convection Recipe page for more recipes that will help you get the most out of cooking with your Convection oven. Recipes are organized in categories and provide detailed instructions for success when cooking in Convection. Larissa, Your Convection Enthusiast
- Canning and Preserving in the Steam Oven
A Steam oven uses a combination of heat and humidity to cook foods but the levels of heat and humidity are tailored to specific preparations. That is why there are different modes to choose from, for steaming, roasting, baking, braising, low-temperature cooking, sous vide, dough proofing, and defrosting. That is why a steam oven is an incredible tool for fine cooking. When the steam mode is selected, the default temperature is 212 degrees, basically water's boiling point and this creates a high level of humidity or steam in the oven. So if a recipe calls to steam an item, you can steam it over boiling water on the cooktop or you can steam it in the Steam oven with the same result. So let’s look at how canning and preserving work in a Steam oven. What is the Benefit of Canning in the Steam Oven? The benefit is that you will use the large perforated pan to hold the jars, seals, and lids in the oven instead of using a rack placed in a large pan of boiling water on the cooktop for sterilizing and processing. Personally, I find the Steam oven method easier than the cooktop method. Placing the jars in the perforated pan makes it easier to handle the jars instead of using the forceps to place and remove them in a large pan with boiling water. I also like being able to set the timer so that the oven will turn off when the sterilizing and processing are complete. Just one more wonderful way the oven can work for me. Is the Cooktop Method the Same when Canning in the Steam Oven? When canning in a Steam oven the method is the same as when canning on the cooktop. First, the jars, rings, and seals are sterilized. Then the prepared vegetables for canning or the prepared preserves or chutney are added to the jar and loosely sealed and processed. Finally, the rings are tightened when the jars have cooled. Is the Timing Different when Canning in the Steam Oven The timing will be the same as if you were doing everything on the cooktop. Allow 30 minutes to sterilize the jars, rings, and seals in the Steam mode. But, it is important to turn the oven off and to leave the jars in the oven to cool down for at least another 20 - 30 minutes. For the processing follow the timing in the recipe but generally allow 40 - 50 minutes. Again turn the oven off and leave the jars in the oven to cool down for at least 20 - 30 minutes before removing. Finally, tighten the rings, and you are done. Stay tuned for my next post which delves into How to Cook a Complete Meal in Convection. Cooking an entire meal in one go can really simplify your cooking. I am sorry I don’t any recipes for preserving or canning, but I do have a wide selection of recipes in the Convection Steam Recipe section of my website that I hope will inspire you to get the most out of your Steam oven.
- How to Cook Tri -Tip at a Low Temperature in Convection
Does Tri-Tip Have to be Grilled? Popular methods for cooking a tri-tip roast include usually recommend grilling or broiling as the best method of cooking. While these methods do add a lot of flavor to the meat, I find roasting tri-tip at a low temperature and finishing the cooking with high heat actually gives the best result. What are the Benefits of Roasting Tri-Tip at a Low Temperature I began roasting tri-tip at a low temperature when I was actively teaching clients how to use their appliances because I could demonstrate how one of the benefits of Convection was the ability to cook a complete meal at one time. I was never pleased with the results of roasting tri-tip at high temperatures. The meat seemed too dry and not that flavorful, so I felt the reverse sear method would work better for several reasons. Lean tender cuts of meat have better flavor and texture when roasted at a low temperature while a short high heat finish adds flavor without drying out the meat. After roasting it’s advisable for meats to rest prior to carving; thus, in terms of cooking a complete meal at one time in Convection, I found the method and timing ideal for roasting vegetables at the same time. Not only was everything perfectly cooked but everything was ready to serve at one time. What is the Timing for Cooking Tri-Tip at a Low Temperature? Cooking Time at 300 Degrees: The time to cook a 2 ½ - 3lb tri-tip in this method is approximately 40 minutes. I cook the tri-tip in the Convection Roast or Convection Bake mode at 300 degrees for 25 minutes. Cooking Time at 375 Degrees: Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees for the final 15 minutes of cooking. At that time the internal temperature of the roast will be 130 - 135 degrees. If you prefer the meat more well-done then cook it for another 5 - 8 minutes. Resting and Slicing: Take the roast of the hot pan so it doesn’t continue cooking and set it aside to rest for 10 minutes before slicing it. The tri-tip should first be sliced in half so you have one long piece and one triangular piece. Then slice each section against the grain into thin slices. When do I Add the Vegetables? The cooking time for the vegetables will of course depend on the type of vegetables you are roasting as well as how you cut them. If you add up the high-heat roasting time + the time the meat is resting and being sliced that will account for approximately 30 minutes. However, if you are roasting vegetables that need closer to 40 minutes of cooking time then add them to the oven at least 10 minutes prior to increasing the oven temperature. They will still cook perfectly. Which Rack Positions do I Use? For best results, plan to cook the meat on the middle rack position or the one just above. That way it will get a nice sear from the top heating element when you increase the oven temperature. The vegetables are best roasted on rack position 1 or 2 (counting up from the bottom) so they will benefit from the direct heat of the bottom heating element for better caramelization. What Type of Pan Should I Use? Trip-tip can be roasted on a rimmed baking sheet. Generally, we advise roasting meat on a rack in a shallow pan so that the Convection heat can circulate evenly around the food. Because the first longer phase of cooking is at a low temperature, the pan will not draw as much moisture out of the meat as when a higher temperature is used. So if you don’t have a rack just place the meat directly on the pan. Determining the Internal Temperature of the Meat If your oven is equipped with a meat probe, you can program the probe to the desired internal temperature. Otherwise, you can follow the timing I have laid out and check the degree of doneness with an instant-read thermometer. Remember, when using the oven meat probe, the oven will typically turn off once the desired internal temperature of the meat has been reached. I have also noticed in some ovens that once the door is opened to add food, the probe has to be re-programmed so keep this in mind when using the oven meat probe. Stay tuned for my next post for Canning and Preserving in the Steam Oven. When you can at home, you control the ingredients you use which very beneficiary to your health. Canned products you buy at grocery market often contain high level of sugar. When you do at home, it will contain none. Unless you are looking for particular flavor. In the meantime, I hope you will try this recipe: How To Roast Trip at a Low Temperature and enjoy your tri-tip meal.
- What are the Benefits of Cooking Salmon at a Low Temperature?
Cooking meaty fish at very low temperatures ensures the fish has better flavor and nutrient retention, and much less moisture loss. Cooking food with the right amount of high heat brings out the flavor in food, but heat can also rob food of moisture. What’s the solution? Well, a quick sear in a little butter and olive oil to create a flavorful crust; then finishing the cooking using a low oven temperature is the best way to achieve the perfect balance of great flavor and moisture retention. Is Low Temperature Cooking the Same as Sous-Vide Cooking? Low-temperature and sous-vide cooking are similar in that both methods use gentle low temperatures to cook food. Foods cooked in the sous-vide method must be vacuum sealed and the cooking temperatures are much lower, making for a lengthier cooking time. In both cases, the food is seared either prior to the low-temperature cooking or after. Both methods achieve exceptional results. What are the Steps for Cooking Salmon at a Low Temperature The salmon will be prepared in two steps. First, the salmon will be seared on one side to develop a nice crust. This step adds a lot of flavor to the fish. Then the fish is carefully turned and the pan is placed in the oven set to Convection at 200 degrees to finish cooking the salmon. What is the Timing for Cooking a Salmon Filet Depending on the thickness of the fish the searing step will take approximately 4 minutes, and the cooking time in the oven will be between 12 - 15 minutes. You can test for doneness by touching the fish; if it feels firm to the touch it’s done, if it’s still a bit flabby, leave it in for a few minutes longer. Which is the Best Cut of Salmon for Low-Temperature Cooking? For best results, choose a meaty portion that is fairly even in thickness. Thicker cuts of fish work better for the high heat sear and gentle finish, if the fish is too thin it will almost be cooked through during the searing step. Stay tuned for my next post on How to Roast Tri-Tip at Low Temperatures. In the post, I will explain the steps for cooking a tender and flavorful Tri-Tip and roasting vegetables at the same time. After all, if the oven is on we might as well give it another job! In the meantime, I hope you will try this recipe, Low Temperature Roast Salmon and also browse the selection of recipes for Low-Temperature Cooking under Convection Recipes and Steam Recipes so you understand how remarkable this method of cooking is.
- Flavorful Italian Meatloaf, a Classic Convection Meal
There is so much creativity in the food world these days, but classic dishes such as meatloaf are still extremely popular. In this post, I will outline how to prepare meatloaf in Convection together with a side of roasted vegetables and a summer fruit cobbler. Meatloaf is an ingenious recipe developed long ago to use up scraps of less tender cuts of meat. When mixed together with some sausage meat or ground pork for a little fat and flavor and bound together with egg and breadcrumbs the mixture created a delicious meatloaf. Slices of the loaf could be enjoyed for dinner or added to sandwiches, remember in those days fast food wasn’t an option and working men relied on their wives to provide a nourishing midday meal. Every household was pretty much run as a restaurant so women had to be very creative. Benefits of Cooking Meatloaf in Convection Traditionally the loaf was baked in buttered wax paper or a loaf pan and the cooking time was at least 1 ½ hours. Nowadays, most recipes use lean tender cuts of ground beef or turkey and instruct to simply shape the mixture into a large sausage and bake it directly on a rimmed baking sheet; the cooking time is only approximately 30 minutes. Preparing a meatloaf is a simple procedure, basically, you can have it mixed and ready to bake in the time it takes to heat the oven. Or, you can buy premixed meatloaf at the butchers. Allow at least 30 minutes for the cooking time and 10 minutes to rest the meatloaf before slicing. Of course, since the oven is already on, it makes perfect sense to also roast a medley of vegetables to serve with the meatloaf. Depending on the type of vegetables you are roasting the cooking time will be 30 - 40 minutes. For best results use a moderate oven temperature of 350 degrees and either the Convection Bake or Convection Roast Mode. I cook the meatloaf in the middle of the oven and the vegetables on a lower rack. Positioned this way the meatloaf benefits from gentle browning from the Top heating element and the vegetables get nicely caramelized from the stronger heat from the Bottom heating element. Be sure to plan the timing so the vegetables come out of the oven once the meatloaf has rested and been sliced. Why Cook Dessert at the Same Time? One of the benefits of Convection is the ability to cook multiple foods at one time with no transfer of flavor, so why not cook a simple dessert at the same time? Really, all you have to think about is staging and timing. Plan where to place the casserole dish, it can be baked next to the meatloaf or on a separate rack between the meatloaf and vegetables. Fruit cobblers or crisps are easy to put together and are delicious warm with ice cream, or even for breakfast with some yogurt. Assembling the cobbler is a great job to assign to a younger family member interested in cooking or anyone who wants to hang out and talk to you while you are preparing the meal. Can I Vary the Ingredients in the Meatloaf Recipe Traditional recipes for meatloaf included hard-boiled eggs, ham, or salami as well as grated cheese. Basically, you can vary the recipe to your preferred taste. Meatloaf can be made with a base of finely chopped lightly sauteed vegetables for added flavor; or you can fold in some pesto; or use your favorite BBQ sauce or even some chilies and a little salsa. Just don’t let the mixture become too wet. Stay tuned for my next post, all about slow roasting salmon and other meaty fish in Convection. In the meantime, visit my Convection Recipe page for more recipes with detailed cooking plans for Convection Meals. Recipes are organized in categories and provide detailed instructions for success when cooking in Convection. Larissa, Your Convection Enthusiast
- How to Roast Chicken in Convection to Perfection
Just thinking about a roast chicken 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 you use the Bake or Roast mode in an electric oven, you are using Radiant or Thermal heat. This type of heat is drying in nature which works well for baking; however, who wants to eat meat or poultry that has dried out? 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. In fact, when you roast a chicken in Convection you will see moisture bubbling away under the skin. Basically, 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 important. Using a rack allows the chicken to sit proud 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 being splattered all around the oven. Fat will render into the pan but it will not fill 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. or 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 of the 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 and that may take another 8 - 10 minutes. So plan to add the vegetables to the oven so they will be ready to serve once the chicken has been carved. Why Does My Chicken Have Red Bone? If you notice some redness around the chicken bones as you are carving the bird, don’t be alarmed. 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 then 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 find it cooks evenly this way. If you tie the thighs tightly to the body the heat may not penetrate into that area during the cooking time which will cause uneven cooking. Have a Rimmed Cutting Board Handy As soon as you begin to carve the chicken, the preserved juices will begin to flow. If you don’t have a rimmed cutting board then try carving on a board placed in a rimmed baking sheet to capture the juice. Even though this post does a lot of explaining, 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 roast your chicken in Convection, following these steps as outlined will I promise yield the most succulent roast chicken you have ever cooked. Stay tuned for my next post which will outline 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 recipe for Roast Chicken and other recipe ideas for your next meal. Recipes are organized in categories and provide detailed instructions for success when cooking in Convection. 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 mode for Low-Temperature Cooking that was a feature in the Gaggenau steam oven. I was unfamiliar with the term and the method of cooking which apparently was widely used in fine dining restaurants. The lack of in-depth information in the User Guide led me to a few mishaps, but every time I made a mistake it sent me on the search for answers to understand what had happened. And 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 in the pan 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. Low-temperature cooking on the other hand 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 longer 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 15lb boneless standing rib roast. It took 5 hours to come to an internal temperature of 125 degrees. At that point, I took it out of 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 up 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 up beautifully. When I sliced the roast, it was perfectly pink all the way through and was amazingly tender. I now understood 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 to be the best method for determining the timing. We soon learned that it was best to cook the meat to a temperature 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 method of cooking 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 method in Convection with very good results. For best results use the Convection or the 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 the high heat finish. My favorite method of finishing the cooking is actually on the outdoor grill, I like that the meat is pretty much cooked and only needs a quick sear for a flavorful finish. What are the Best Foods to Cook in 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 destroy food. When using the circulating heat of Convection, food will retain more moisture achieving that perfect balance of flavor and great texture with minimal moisture loss. During this long 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. I find a few minutes in the Steam oven set to the Reheating mode does the trick to remove 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, well I believe 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 method of cooking is.
- Defrosting and Reheating in the Steam Oven
When considering appliances for a new kitchen many people choose a Steam oven because it allows them to eliminate the need for a microwave oven. After all, a Steam oven can perform many of the same functions as a microwave but doesn’t pose any of the health concerns associated with microwaves. The difference is of course speed. The appeal of a microwave is the ability to heat, cook and defrost foods within minutes. The same functions in a Steam oven will of course take much longer but there are greater benefits when performing these functions in a Steam oven. What are the Benefits of Defrosting in a Steam Oven When foods are defrosted in a Steam oven, the Convection fan circulates the ambient air around the oven dissolving the ice crystals in the food but without cooking the food. The Defrost mode in a Steam oven will have a preset temperature and if the lighting in the oven is halogen, the lights will go out to prevent heat build-up from the lights. How to Defrost in a Steam Oven Always remove food from any plastic wrapping. Place the frozen food in the perforated pan and slide the solid pan underneath it to catch the drippings. Allow at least 15 - 20 minutes for defrosting. Blot the food dry with a paper towel before adding seasoning and oil to meat, fish, or poultry prior to cooking. Can I Defrost a Turkey in the Steam Oven? The Steam oven is designed to defrost small amounts of food prior to cooking. Large items such as a whole frozen chicken or turkey should first be defrosted in the refrigerator overnight. Once removed from any plastic wrapping the bird can be defrosted in the Steam oven to dissolve any ice crystals and bring the meat to a better cooking temperature. Since turkeys are held at a very cold temperature, a few minutes in the Defrost mode also makes it much easier to remove the giblets and neck from the cavity. Reheating Food in a Steam Oven When cooked foods are refrigerated the oils in the food solidify, so the challenge is to bring the food back to life while heating it evenly all the way through. A combination of steam and a moderate temperature is ideal for re-heating food because the steam gently penetrates into the food literally regenerating it. How to Reheat Food in a Steam Oven Most steam ovens have a default Reheating mode that is set to a low temperature with moderate steam. Food can be reheated in an oven-safe container or even on a dinner plate. Depending on the density of the food you should allow at least 10 minutes for thorough heating. If you are re-heating a meal that includes a casserole and meat you may want to begin by heating the casserole and adding the meat towards the end since the casserole will benefit from a longer reheat time. How to Reheat Baked Items in the Steam Oven When reheating baked items in a Steam oven, the best results will be achieved by choosing the combination Convection Steam mode with a higher oven temperature of 350 degrees. In just a couple of minutes, your re-heated pizza or pastry will be heated to perfection. Can Meat be Reheated in a Steam Oven? Meat can be reheated successfully in a Steam oven; however, the appearance may change a little. Meat tends to get a little grey-looking when exposed to humidity, but once you cut into the meat if it was cooked medium rare, it will still be perfectly pink and taste delicious. Stay tuned for my next post which explains yet another amazing way to use your Steam oven for sterilizing and canning. In the meantime check out the Convection Steam recipes on my website for inspiration on getting the most out of your Steam oven.
- Introduction to Convection Steam Cooking
Twenty-two years ago when I joined the appliance industry one of the first appliances I was trained on was a brand new oven from Gaggenau, the combination Convection-Steam Oven. While the versatility of the oven functions made sense to me, I have to admit that I had to go through a learning curve to understand how to adapt my cooking to use the oven on a daily basis. I learned a great deal just by cooking in the oven, and I learned even more from the clients I worked with who came to me with their questions, success stories, and of course failures, something we all experienced. So we all tried different things and learned together. What is the Origin of a Steam Oven Convection Steam ovens originated in professional kitchens where the versatility of the various functions made them invaluable for producing precise results. It wasn’t long before clients of fine dining restaurants began to understand that the superb texture and flavor of the foods they were enjoying were a result of being cooked in this remarkable combination of Convection and Steam and, of course, they needed one for their own homes. Gaggenau, a manufacturer of luxury appliances based on professional cooking principles, created the first Combination Convection Steam oven for the residential market in 1999 and that began the love affair. Ten years later by the mid-2000s most premium appliance manufacturers featured a Steam oven in their line. Why is Steam Cooking Better Steam inhibits the cellular breakdown of foods, so foods cooked in steam have better flavor, texture, and nutrient retention. Foods cooked in Convection also have better moisture retention so when the two are combined the results are outstanding. Another benefit of cooking with steam and convection is that there is no transfer of flavor, so multiple foods can be cooked at one time. Why Does the Steam Oven Have so Many Cooking Options The array of cooking options in a Steam oven is truly remarkable. There are multiple cooking options because the temperature and steam can be combined in different ratios tailored to different types of cooking. Steaming for example uses a low temperature of 212 degrees plus full steam. Roasting and baking require less steam and use a higher temperature. Specialty functions such as low-temperature cooking, sous vide, dough proofing, and defrosting use higher levels of steam but a very low temperature, each mode is tailored to a specific type of cooking. This is what is so brilliant about the Steam oven, the chefs and engineers who designed the oven understood the different levels of heat and steam needed for different cooking applications, after all, transforming uncooked food into cooked food is a science. Many Steam ovens also feature a broiling function for browning and crisping but one of the most popular functions in a Steam oven is the re-heating function. This function offers a healthier alternative than the microwave for reheating and has no drying effect on the food. The gentle steam literally brings the food back to life! What is the Best Way to Use a Steam Oven Here are a few ways I like to use my Steam Oven. Steaming - grains, oatmeal, hard boil eggs, poached eggs, shellfish, vegetables cooking custards without a water bath, poaching fish, steaming bone-in chicken, and canning. Braising - baby back ribs, short ribs, pot roast, lamb shanks. Roasting - chicken, fish, turkey, and vegetables, and cooking multiple dishes at one time. Baking - puff pastry, frittatas, cakes, bread, pastries, muffins, and bread pudding. Low- Temperature Cooking - for the slow cooking of tender cuts of meat such as beef filet, prime rib, fish, pork tenderloin, turkey, and chicken. The finishing is done at high heat on the grill, cooktop, or oven. Dough Proofing - the best way to proof yeast pastry Defrosting - ice crystals in the food dissolve but the food is not cooked. Re-heating - with this option every meal tastes freshly cooked. In the early days of working with the Steam oven clients always asked, if there was a cookbook to guide them in using the oven. While it’s always nice to learn what other people are doing you don’t really need special recipes for cooking in the Steam oven. You can still cook the same foods you have always cooked but just in a different manner. I love the Steam function for being able to steam multiple foods at one time, rather than monitor multiple pans on the cooktop. I just have to set the Timer to keep track of the cooking time but I never have to worry about a pan boiling over and, the cooking containers go straight in the dishwasher for easy clean-up. Since the oven uses water it is important to keep it dry between uses, especially if you go away for a few weeks at a time. If your oven has a tank to hold the water, it’s best emptied after each use. Descaling to avoid limescale build-up is also very important and since not all ovens feature a self-cleaning function some elbow grease may be required. Be sure to read the oven User Guide for the manufacturer's recommendations for cleaning and descaling. I always advise clients who are new to Steam oven cooking to keep a notebook and make notes about what they cooked so they can fine-tune their cooking and eventually cooking in the Steam oven will become second nature. Stay tuned for my next post which covers Re-heating and Defrosting in the Steam Oven in more detail. In the meantime visit the Steam Recipes section on my website for inspiration on cooking a variety of foods using the different modes in your Convection Steam oven.