Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Mike loves banana bread and I had ripe bananas, so I asked him if he would like me to bake some banana bread, the issue being whether or not to turn on the oven. Our oven really puts out the heat – so cozy in the fall but not on a hot summer day. He said I should suit myself, but I knew that if the house got hot, we’d have no respite from the afternoon heat.

That’s when I thought of “Aunt” Chris at the Last Resort who recently replaced her microwave (here). Back in the day – about 1980 – Chris and I attended microwave cooking classes at the old Deranleau’s store (“Nobody beats a Jim Deranleau deal”) to learn to use our new microwave ovens. I experimented with microwave baking – many of us did in that era. But, as our instructor explained, microwaving is the same as boiling, so it’s great for cooking your vegetables, re-warming your casserole or hot drink, or melting chocolate and marshmallows (candy-making), but maybe not so good for baked goods. I lost interest.

But, on that hot day, it suddenly clicked that I could “bake” banana bread in the microwave.

Now, back in the day, I had two good microwave cookbooks, but I think I parted with them when we left the big house. I had to part with something, you know, and occasionally, with tear-filled eyes, I disposed of things I hadn’t used in years, and the microwave cookbooks, pans and utensils fell into that category. (“Throw it away today, need it tomorrow,” my mother would say.)

But of course, nothing is ever really lost these days – well, hardly anything – and when I googled “microwave banana bread,” a good recipe came right up. Since I no longer have the microwave Bundt pan, I simply used a two-quart round casserole.

It turned out great – delicious in fact – and was thoroughly done at eight minutes on high power – except for a thin gooey spot right in the middle of the bottom. (Fortunately, I know a guy who likes goo.) But – now I see why a Bundt pan is recommended.

A few days later I tried fudgy microwave brownies. Delicious! And I’m thinking I should try more microwave recipes during the hot summer months.

P.S. I disposed of a set of Nordic Ware microwave pans, and apparently Nordic Ware no longer offers the Bundt pan. However, I do have a set of silicone cookware, and I see that it’s safe to use silicone in the microwave. I’ll give that a try. KW


Hallie said...

Nellie says, "Time for a walk, Human."

About cooking and heating the house: We are almost ready to pull the trigger on a rice cooker. A friend strongly recommends it for its perfect rice and says that it enables her to throw quick dinners together during the week and to take lunch the next day. We've struggled with dinners due to our preoccupation with other projects, so I think it will pay for itself quickly AND it's been hot in Seattle and that will keep us from turning on the oven (we'll steam or saute our veggies).

Kathy said...

I bought a rice cooker last winter. Aunt Joanne recommended it and Mary Jane also has one. I cook a wild rice blend in it and haven't quite mastered that, but at least it doesn't scorch it.

I bought the smaller one which is totally adequate for my needs. Mary Jane has a big one and says she wishes she had the smaller one. They aren't expensive. The question for me was whether or not I had a place for it -- and I found one.

Can you cook meals -- steam veggies -- in a rice cooker?

Chris said...

I have a friend who raves about her rice cooker but I don't have one. A place for one is a big consideration and when I think of it, we don't have rice that often although I hear they're great for cooking oatmeal! I haven't made my coffee cake yet, but I did make a blueberry teacake last week in the regular oven that was very good!