Monday, November 01, 2004

Trusty toasters

I thought about titling this post, 'The Unexpected Benefits of Using Toaster Ovens: Why This Surprisingly Dynamic Appliance Will Change Your Approach to Cooking,' because I found, to my surprise, at least one person who hadn't thought about all the creative ways this handy-dandy little tool can assist in the kitchen. However. Just in case you have one and haven't thoroughly exploited all its many uses, this post is for you.

We have a small oven-style toaster that I keep on the counter at all times because I'm always using it. There are two settings: Toast, and Bake, which comes with oven temperatures, all the way up to Broil. It's a real oven, all right.

* It toasts, obviously. Also it's good for re-heating stuff - especially one serving at a time - that needs to be crisped up: I pop the bowl in the microwave to get it heated through, and then put it in the toaster to crisp it up (recently for this purpose: crumble topping on leftover peach cobbler; crunchy onion topping on green bean casserole).

* It bakes. I can fit (just barely) a standard bread pan in my toaster oven, so I can use it for banana bread when I don't want to turn on the whole oven for 55 minutes. It also comes with a tray that can double as a very small cookie sheet, for small batches of cookies or, I suppose, biscuits.

* It cooks. Especially now when there are only two of us, I can easily fit a casserole into a bread pan. I've made spaghetti pies, chicken pot pies, breaded chicken dishes, and meatloaf in the toaster oven. This is wonderful for me because if I turn the whole oven on, I usually have to make something else to put in or else I feel wasteful.

It's a convenient and practical shortcut when I'm in a hurry and don't want to turn on the whole oven. Highly recommended!

1 comment:

Queen of Carrots said...

I used to try to use the toaster oven at the office instead of the microwave, but somehow I never got the hang of it. I always wound up eating half-cooked potatoes or something like that. Now I don't have either, so I grit my teeth and turn on the whole stove. If you do have the whole stove on and feel obliged to throw something else in, baked potatoes are always very easy and handy to have around. Keep them a little underdone and they will reheat well to dump your leftovers on, or slice them up and fry them for breakfast with bacon or poached eggs.