Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Used and Unused Objects In My Kitchen

Used for steaming veggies: my microwave and my new
glass dish -- not Pyrex! Pyrex isn't adequately heatproof.
For this month's collective blogger event  "In My Kitchen," I'm thinking about used and unused gadgets, devices, techniques, ingredients, and about the way I actually cook.

First: how to steam vegetables. I do it mainly in the microwave oven in a heatproof glass baking dish, as shown at right. Five minutes on "high" to crunchy-tender or a bit more time to a softer texture. It works for asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, and others. I know that some people like to do it this way and others don't.

Microwaving also works for lentils, but the last time I did that was a disaster because I didn't add enough water. The lentils nearly caught fire. Then the Pyrex dish exploded when I took it out. When I replaced the exploded dish, I made sure that it was not Pyrex, but another brand that still uses borosilicate, not soda lime, as the heat-proofing chemical.

So be warned! For details about exploding bakeware, check this link: "Consumer Reports Breaks A Lot Of Glass Investigating Shattering Pyrex Bakeware."

Green bean salad -- crunchy-tender beans tossed with
lemon zest and juice, chopped fresh dill, olive oil, and scallions.
Unused: my steamer insert. My metal one wore out.
I purchased this silicone one but I don't think I've used it
more than once. I just use the microwave oven.
Used occasionally: my electric steamer.
Rice and artichokes, for example, don't do well microwaved.
It's on the shelf between the food processor and the mixer.
Used: a stick blender.
Unused: old-fashioned
Another item that I now use all the time is my stick blender (left). I especially like it for making soup. After cooking them, I puree some of the vegetables, and leave others whole for a very thick result. The stick blender is also nice for blended drinks using ice, yogurt or kefir, and fruit.

I stopped using the old kind of blender ages ago. First I replaced it with a food processor, and a few years ago with the stick blender instead. In photo -- a "vintage" blender that was offered on a collectors' website. Mine, of similar vintage, was unused for so long that the mechanism froze up and I threw it away. I know some people still love them, but not me!

A bowl of my favorite cauliflower soup (from an old blog post).
Unused ingredients. The kosher salt and molasses have been on the shelf
for years. I don't know why I bought them originally. The Maggi seasoning
is supposed to be a key ingredient in a Banh Mi sandwich. I didn't find that
it added much -- it's almost pure MSG! 
I'm sure I have other unused devices and ingredients but they are buried somewhere!

In Australia, it's already February, and Bizzy Lizzy the organizer of "In My Kitchen" has already posted her master post. I'm linking to her site, and looking forward to seeing what other bloggers have in their February kitchens. Here's the link: "In My Kitchen February 2017" by BizzyLizzie.


Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things said...

Hello Mae,

That's interesting about the Pyrex and microwaving! Thank you for sharing and giving us all a peek into your kitchen. I decluttered the entire house recently and two metal steamer basket thingeys were among the things to go. My larder is the next big job to tackle. Thank you for the lovely shout out.

Liz Posmyk, Good Things

Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things said...

Thank you Mae for the peek into your kitchen. That's interesting about the Pyrex ware and microwaving. My two mesh steamer baskets were among the things to go to charity when I decluttered recently. My larder is next on the list. A lovely post and thank you for the shout out.

Liz Posmyk
Good Things

Nancy Jenkins said...

I had no idea that pyrex would explode! I don't have a microwave so luckily I don't have that problem. It's amazing what you find when you do a good clear out of the kitchen isn't it!

Sherry Mackay said...

eek! exploding Pyrex? scary stuff. i have been de-cluttering a bit too. esp. my medicine cabinet which had pills etc from years ago. out they went! I have been very brave and chucked lots of old spices and seasonings; some which had turned to a rocklike consistency. i like my vegies a wee bit crunchy but hubby likes them very soft. mine have to come out first before his. i have a regular food processor and a stick blender and a normal jug blender. I love and use them all. the stick blender is very useful for soup isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Use my metal steamer when steaming veg and not a huge fan of the microwave. Love my stick blender too and wouldn't be without one in my kitchen... so handy. Soup looks delicious. Didn't know pyres would explode... yikes :)

Liz said...

Interesting post, how scary to have exploding glass. I have a few things cluttering and taking space in my cabinets as well and should donate them to someone who will use them. I can't bear to part with a few of them, such as the Atlas pasta machine, but haven't used it in years.

Miss Food Fairy said...

Hi Mae, thanks for the heads up above the pyrex dishes in the microwave, I never knew! I just love your silicone strainer/steamer, I've been trying to find exactly that for ages & I don't know where I can get one. I like to steam my veggies on the stovetop but my metal steamer basket always gets rusty after a couple of uses. The only thing I do in the microwave is frozen peas. Good to see you for IMK, hope to see you soon x

Mae Travels said...

Further warning: if you overheat a Pyrex (non-borosilicate) dish in a conventional oven, it's also dangerously likely to explode, not just in a microwave oven.

To Miss Food Fairy: I bought my silicone steamer on amazon.com, if that's accessible to you.

Anonymous said...

I love my stick blender! I've never found use for a traditional blender; I actually won a KitchenAid blender and sold it!

Amanda said...

Wow - I had no idea that Pyrex could explode!
My microwave is currently very unused as i had to move it out of the kitchen to fit in a new double oven. I had intended to get rid of it as I only use it for steaming veg and can do that on the stove, but the howls of protest from the family have convinced me to keep it.

Beth F said...

I use Kosher salt quite often and molasses often enough. But I bake a lot of bread and crackers and pretzels.

I have a traditional blender, which is used for smoothies and floats. I'm not a fan of the stick blender for these drinks.

I would have never thought of buying a gadget devoted to steaming vegetables ... I just do them the old-fashioned way on the stovetop.

jama said...

I use glass pyrex dishes all the time to cook veggies in the microwave. I'd better be careful! I hardly use my blender anymore either, and the stick blender infrequently for soup. I use my Kosher salt when baking.

Around The Mulberry Tree said...

Thanks for the heads up about exploding cookware. The things that you don't know eh? Love my stick blender but has to be a bamboo, threw out 3 others! I love seeing the vintage equipment, gee there has been some gadgets and gizmos hasn't there. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I love my stick blender too, perfect for soups. I do still use my regular blender though too. I'm more of a roasted veggie kind of girl. I can't remember the last time I steamed. I never knew pyrex could explode!