Preheating 101

Preheating 101

The kitchen range is typically known as the work horse of the kitchen. It can bake, broil, roast and toast, but do you know how to get the most out of it?

Here are some simple tips from our cooking expert Anna Carl, Senior Food Scientist at Whirlpool Corporation on the importance of preheating and how you can maximize your time while cooking:

  • Remove unnecessary racks from the cavity to speed preheating.
  • Always start your oven first, before starting your meal prep.
  • Consider using a convection cycle – ovens with convection use additional elements and fans to speed preheating and baking.

Yes you CAN cook a turkey in the microwave!

Yes you CAN cook a turkey in the microwave!

“Hey mom, how many minutes does it take to microwave a 25 pound turkey?”

The responses on social media can be funny, with reactions of shock, horror and disbelief. But even though mom typically knows best, mom may be wrong; you really can cook a turkey in a microwave!

Our microwave expert Evelyn Carpenter says it is possible but your microwave must have a convection mode.

Here are some of her tips for microwave turkey perfection:

  • Make sure your turkey will fit in the microwave cavity. Since you will be using convection, there will need to be adequate space to allow the airflow all around the turkey.
  • Prepare the turkey – defrost it first. Season – lift up the skin and rub the meat with the desired seasonings. You could inject the seasoning into the turkey breast. For a golden brown skin rub it with cooking oil.
  • You can place the turkey breast directly onto the rack with a plate underneath to catch the drippings. Or you can put the turkey into a heat and microwave safe dish and place it on the rack. Also, the turkey can be placed into a cooking bag – follow the cooking bag instructions.
  • Program the oven – the user has to enter the weight of the turkey breast. The cooking time will countdown.
    Check the temperature of the turkey after about 2/3 of the time. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the breast, near the bone.
  • Remove the turkey when the temperature is 165F. Cover with foil and let stand 10 minutes.
How to use convection cooking and make your holiday meals legendary

How to use convection cooking and make your holiday meals legendary

Your reputation as a holiday chef is on the line.

You want perfectly browned turkey, succulent ham and evenly cooked pies and side dishes. It’s the perfect time to use that convection setting on your range!

For those who aren’t familiar, a convection oven has a fan and exhaust system that a regular oven does not, helping to circulate hot air evenly throughout the oven cavity, allowing for quicker and more even cooking. Here’s when using that convection setting will really help to make your holiday meals shine.

Roasting: Foods that are roasted like meats and vegetables can benefit greatly from convection cooking. They will cook faster more evenly, and the drier environment yields crispy skin and caramelizes foods much better.

Baking: Convection heat melts fat and creates steam faster, which helps to create more lift in pie doughs and pastries such as croissants. Because it is an even heat, convection cooking also allows you to bake more than one tray of cookies at a time without the need to rotate them part way through baking.

Covered cooking: If you’re covering up a side dish with a lid or a casserole dish with foil, moisture loss is not an issue, so you might as well cook on the convection setting.

Convection Tips

  • Lower the temperature: Lower the recommended oven temperature by 25°F with convection because it heats more evenly and best of all, more quickly.
  • Check earlier and more often: Foods cooked with convection should cook faster and be ready sooner than you’re used to, so check on them periodically until you get the hang of convection cooking.
  • Make sure air can circulate: Convection cooking depends on air circulation to work properly. Use trays, roasting pans, and shallow baking pans if possible, and don’t cover the oven shelves with foil. Space foods out so there is room for air to circulate all the way around.

Preserve your herbs before winter

Preserve your herbs before winter

As summer comes to end, you can preserve the fresh herbs and vegetables from your garden so that they can be enjoyed on a cold winter days.

According to the National Gardening Association food gardens are at the highest levels in more than a decade with 35% of all households in America growing food at home or in a community garden. Now that’s a lot of basil & rosemary! Here are some great, simple ideas to keep the summer taste fresh into winter.

Freeze & Preserve in Olive Oil

According to The Kitchn preserving in oil can help cut down the chances of browning and freezer burn. Add oil and herbs into an ice cube tray and you’ll have a delicious and convenient way to add flavor to your meals. While this method works well with harder herbs like rosemary, sage, thyme and oregano soft herbs like mint and dill are better preserved in other ways.For more tips on the best way to preserve in oil, check out our friends at thekitchn.com

Basil & Pesto Cubes

Similar to freezing herbs in oil, the basil cube can take a surplus of basil and allow it to last much longer. Simply hand chop or use a food processor to finely cut the basil leaves. Add enough oil to make a thick paste. You can add garlic and pine nuts for pesto or simply spoon the basil and oil mixture into ice cube trays to freeze. Once frozen you can transfer to a sealed freezer bag. According to The Kitchn you’ll want to use the cubes towards the end of the cooking process to finish the dish.

When you are ready to enjoy your hard work, the Food Network has some delicious recipes that incorporate basil and pesto: 50 Things to Make with Pesto.

Drying

There are many methods to drying herbs, using a rack or hanging the herbs are the most common. Both methods will leave you with delicious herbs but the flavor will be slightly less aromatic than fresh or frozen herbs. Rinse and dry herbs before starting. Both methods require a well ventilated, dry area with little to no direct sunlight. The drying process should be complete in about a week or so depending on the amount of humidity. Drying your herbs will concentrate the flavor so you don’t need to use as much during the cooking process.

Herb Butter

Simple, and simply delicious. Adding herbs to softened butter will add flavor to any dish throughout the winter. Simply whip one part herb to two parts softened butter, roll into a log, cover and freeze. The frozen butter is easily cut into slices and goes perfectly over vegetables and pasta. You can freeze garlic and parsley with butter and spread onto french bread for delicious and quick garlic bread.

For other great ideas and recipes for herb butter check out Southern Living, they have some unique combinations that will add flavor and impress your dinner guests: 6 Fancy Flavored Butter Recipes

Tips from Expert: Chef Ann Nolan.

  • Keep long stemmed herbs like parsley, cilantro, & basil fresh by trimming the bottom of the stems and placing them in water. Make sure to change the water daily.
  • Bushy herbs like thyme, oregano, tarragon, sage and rosemary are best stored between two damp pieces of food-safe paper towel and stored in an air tight plastic bag.
  • Before chopping herbs, make sure to remove all the stems. Stems can later be used together as a bouquet to add flavor to sauces, stocks and soups.
  • Before freezing, wash herbs and allow them to dry completely before starting the freezing process. This will help keep softer herbs from browning or freezer burn.
  • When using dry herbs in place of fresh remember the ratio 3:1 or three times more fresh than dried.
  • Even while following proper care, herbs can wilt quickly. Expect a shelf life of three weeks when stored at 32°F and two weeks when stored at 41°F.
How to avoid ‘trapped turkey syndrome’

How to avoid ‘trapped turkey syndrome’

A trapped turkey is a thing!

Setting the temperature higher than 500 degrees can engage your oven’s locking mechanism

It’s a nightmarish situation. Your family and friends are all gathered at your home for Thanksgiving or Christmas—and they’re all hungry. The turkey is taking longer than anticipated, so you boost the temperature as high as it will go. That’s when it happens. Your turkey is trapped. The door to the oven locks because it switches into the self-cleaning mode. Now, what do you do?

HOW TO FREE YOUR TURKEY

  • Turn off the oven to allow the internal temperature to cool. In most cases, once the oven temperature falls to a safe level, the door will unlock and the turkey can be taken out.
  • If all else fails, switch the circuit breaker off that controls power to the oven. That will turn the oven off and allow it to cool down. The cool-down might take up to 30 minutes. Once you switch the breaker back on, hit the cancel key on the oven and you should be able to resume cooking.
  • Most chefs will recommend that you roast a turkey at 325° or 350° (depending on size of your bird). Fore best results, follow the directions included in the wrapper, or from your favorite cookbook. If you are using a food thermometer, leave the turkey in the oven until the thermometer registers 160°.

For help with a trapped turkey, Whirlpool, Amana, Maytag, and KitchenAid brand consumers can call Whirlpool Corporation Customer Care at 1-866-698-2538.