Spice Things Up With Convection Cooking
Finally, your kitchen is done. The mess has been cleaned, tarps removed and last bits of touch-up completed. Your cabinets are beautiful, the counter tops gleam and your appliances are top of the line. Now it’s time to throw that party you’ve been holding off on.
But too often remodeled kitchens are just seen as an improvement of space and never reach their full potential. Most remodels include a vast improvement in appliances, especially the oven. With an upgrade in cooking appliances (and everything else in your kitchen), why not upgrade your cooking? One simple way to do this is with convection cooking. It’s simpler than it sounds. Here’s all you need to know to get started:
What is convection cooking?
Convection cooking is when an oven uses three heating elements – usually one on the top, one on bottom, and one in the rear – and a fan to distribute heat evenly. Unlike conventional cooking where the heat comes from only one part of the oven, convection cooking allows food to brown, caramelize and cook more evenly in less time.
Does my oven have a convection setting?
The short answer is probably. The vast majority of new ovens have a convection setting and all of the higher-end brands such as Bosch, Maytag, GE, Electrolux and LG (along with many others) sell ovens with the convection setting. Put simply, if it doesn’t have a convection setting, it’s probably not worth buying.
What’s the advantage of convection cooking?
Quicker. Uses less energy. Keeps meats and poultry moister and baked goods flakier. Enough said.
Of course, convection isn’t always the way to go, but when it comes to baking and cooking meats and vegetables it is far superior to conventional cooking.
Ready to get started?
Now that you’re chomping at the bit and ready to put that shiny new oven to work, here are a couple simple, utterly delicious recipes to get you started. They come from Sari Forde and (trust me on this) they are tried and true and sure to impress.
- 2 leeks, white part only, cut into ½ inch slices
- 1 lb. turnips, peeled, cut into ½ inch cubes
- 1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into ½ inch cubes
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 head garlic, ½ inch trimmed off top
- Preheat oven to 450 (use convection roast setting)
- Combine leeks, turnips and sweet potatoes in a large roasting pan
- Top vegetables with bay leaves and drizzle with olive oil
- Sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper and toss to coat
- Place garlic, cut side facing up into a piece of foil and drizzle with olive oil
- Wrap garlic with foil and place in oven
- Place pan next to garlic in oven
- Roast until vegetables are just tender and slightly browned (about 35 minutes)
- Unwrap the garlic and squeeze the cloves onto the vegetables
- Serve and enjoy
Garlic Roasted Chicken
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 4 skin-on, boneless chicken breasts
- 2 heads of garlic
- 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
- Preheat oven to 425 (use convection roast setting)
- Season chicken with liberal amounts of salt and pepper
- Separate heads of garlic into cloves, but don’t peel
- In large oven-proof skillet place garlic and rosemary under chicken breasts
- Roast chicken until cooked through (about 20-25 minutes)
- Let chicken rest on plate before serving
So remember: If you want perfection, use convection. Bon appétit!
Note: Maurice Forde is President of Forde Windows & Remodeling, a leading kitchen contractor in Chicago. To see a portfolio of the company’s kitchen projects, click here. http://www.fordewindowsandremodeling.com/kitchen-remodeling-gallery/