Musings about cooking

 

Using a pressure cooker in a microwave

I started giving some consideration to life on board while cruising, and cooking came to mind. Magic Moments is equipped with a single butane burner – but it's difficult to find fuel, it has no gimbals, and there's no way to hold onto a pan when the boat pitches and rolls. The bottom line is that I need something different to heat food. What to do?

It would be great to avoid the need to have liquid or gas fuels in the cabin, but the only other option is to cook with electricity – and electric power may not be readily available while afloat. I plan to have two sizable solar panels as my bimini though, about 240 watts each, and use them to charge some relatively inexpensive lithium batteries (LiFePO4 batteries). A microwave is probably the most energy efficient use of electricity to cook, but trying to install a microwave in a tiny galley and powering it from batteries is a fools errand. Still… I've been called worse.

OK, if I steal some of the space allotted to the starboard v-berth, shift the location of the new composting head… maybe. Time to break out the crayons and do a little more accurate planning.

Nordic Ware Tender CookerInterior - pressure cookerWhile reading about cooking on board, I ran across several cruisers extolling the virtues of pressure cookers to speed up meal preparations and even bake bread while on board. Hmm… using a pressure cooker – inside a microwave?? Yes! There are several available – but further hunting online shows most designs are fairly cheesy. I found that Nordic Ware makes the Tender Cooker, a 2.5 quart non-metallic pressure cooker that fits in many small microwaves. Not only would I be able to capitalize on the microwave's efficiency, I could compound its efficiency by cooking in the little pressure cooker inside the microwave.

My next consideration was to address the occasional desire for browning or searing meat in a microwave. It turns out that there's a pan for that too! Corning Ware makes a browning dish that has a special tin oxide coating on it, designed especially for the task.

Microwave browning dishThat's enough for today's post. Time to search for a good deal on the two pieces of cookware – I may as well purchase them and use the winter months to see how well they stack up for cooking. I can even use a kill-o-watt meter to see how much power the microwave will use for meal preparation.

I'll be back in a future post to let you know how they work out. Meanwhile, pick out one of your own dreams and chase it!

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