I was so excited and curious when I recently heard of a book called, "Microwave Cooking for One." Interestingly, the book was published in the '80s. I love microwaves. Even though I have a full kitchen in my apartment, I usually just heat up microwavable meals that I find in the frozen section of the grocery store.
There's something about microwaves that I find comforting, and they usually are quicker than other methods. I was eager to buy this book and test out some of these recipes to see how well they really worked. It almost sounded too good to be true. For this experiment, I made breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and a drink.
For breakfast, I cooked biscuits. The book has a recipe for both homemade biscuits and pre-packaged ones. I went with the pre-packaged ones since it would be easier. Unfortunately, I was off to a rough start. The book's instructions insisted on using specific things to cook with. This recipe called for a browning skillet, and I used the closest thing to one that I could find, which I thought had been iron but there's a chance it was metal. PSA: be careful of what you put in the microwave.
I was supposed to heat that up by itself before beginning. A weird smell came from the microwave and I was freaked out and concerned, so I decided to use a plate to spare the cookware. I hoped this would not severely impact the recipe as the book suggested. When I cooked the biscuits for the amount of time I was supposed to, they didn't seem to be cooked all the way. I felt disappointed and worried about the rest of the meals. Up next was grilled cheese. That had to be safe right?
For a lunch option I made a grilled cheese sandwich. The bread has to be put in the toaster first, which makes sense considering I initially assumed putting bread in the microwave as is would make it too soft. While this involved something in addition to a microwave, toasters are just as simple to use so I didn't think it was a big deal. I used cheddar cheese on the sandwich, and it came out delicious. This was a nice relief after what happened with the bicuits.
For dinner I cooked a steak. When I saw this recipe I was baffled. How is it possible to cook steak in the microwave? I was so skeptical but so curious that I had to try it. I was worried about this because I was going to be using a plate, even though the book instructed to use a browning skillet. I didn't want to take any risks again and put something in the microwave that should not be in the microwave, but I also assumed the plate would not do it's job with the steak, especially since the biscuits didn't work.
I cut a small piece, buttered it, and put in the microwave for 1 minute and 45 seconds. There's no way that would cook the steak, I thought. When I took it out it smelled great, and honestly, it looked pretty cooked. At this point, I had to season it and flip it for another 15 seconds in the microwave. After the steak was done it looked fully cooked.
I shit you not, this steak actually cooked in the microwave. This was the biggest surprise to me. I added some garlic powder for fun because I love garlic, and it tasted pretty darn good. I learned a valuable lesson from this, that, yes, it is totally possible to cook a steak in the microwave. I've never been more shocked.
A fancy wine would be nice and classy for a steak dinner, so I made a hot spiced wine. I was a little sad because this required me to buy dry red wine when I usually drink sweet wine. The ingredients I added, however, sweeten it up. It calls for sugar, water, cloves, cinnamon, an orange, and lemon juice. This wine was so freakin' good. It was warming and sweet and it felt very seasonal, even though it's currently 70 degrees in Tallahassee.
For dessert I made peanut butter pie. Just like I started this experiment, I ended it with some difficulty. I was supposed to make a pie crust, but I bought one to make things easier. I bought chocolate because chocolate and peanut butter are obviously the best combo. I wasn't thinking however, because these recipes were small portions meant for one person.
I ended up trying to double the recipe and at a certain point I was just guessing and hoping it turned out okay. I took pieces from the pie crust and crumbled them up and put them in the bottom of mugs. I honestly did not know what I was doing and the "pie" looked really weird. There wasn't even peanut butter in the main filling, but rather in this weird powdered sugar concoction that went under the egg-y filling and on top of it. It also seemed to require a lot of work and a lot of different dishes, which took the simplicity out of everything.
I chilled my mug pies in the fridge for a bit, and tasted one a few hours later. I was surprised that it didn't taste bad, and I was able to taste the peanut butter, however I could only eat a few spoonfuls before I was tired of it.
This book may or may not be life changing. I had such a fun time cooking with it and I look forward to cooking more meals in the microwave in the future. While some of these recipes didn't work out quite so well for me, some turned out great. The grilled cheese was perfect, the steak was surprisingly good and cooked (I'll never get over this), and the wine was so warm and cozy. Even though I had some issues, cooking often requires trial and error anyway and I would recommend this book to anyone with a microwave.