The home cook can choose from a variety of ranges.
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Innovations that go beyond the standard gas and electric options include:
Combination ovens: Combination microwave-convection ovens combine the speed of microwaving with the even cooking of convection baking.
Convection oven: A fan circulates hot air through this gas or electric oven, enabling food to cook faster and more evenly. Such even browning means superior results, especially when baking. Also, because the air circulates, more of the oven space can be used.
Halogen/microwave combination oven: These combine light waves with microwaves to cook food four times faster than a conventional oven would -- with the same oven-quality browning and crisping.
Microwave oven: These appliances use electromagnetic waves to cook and warm food in much less time than conventional ovens and stove tops -- a great convenience for time-pressed cooks.
- Our microwave timings are usually designed for a microwave with a cooking power of 850 to 1,000 watts. If you own a lower- or higher-wattage oven, adjust cooking times.
- Use only microwave-safe utensils, materials, and containers in a microwave oven. Look for the words "microwave-safe" on product labels. Never use metal utensils or dishes or those that contain metal (such as dishes or plates with gold or silver trim) in the microwave.
- Use the lid of the microwave-safe container or plastic wrap to cover containers when cooking foods such as casseroles, fish, poultry, and meat. Covering the food helps retain steam, prevent drying, and cook the food faster. Use waxed paper as a cover when heating foods that might spatter.
- When using plastic wrap to cover, vent it by turning back one corner to allow steam to escape.
- Microwave energy tends to penetrate the edges of food first, so stir food often. This way, the hotter portion on the outside will be mixed into the cooler center. If the food cannot be stirred (such as chicken pieces or fish fillets), rearrange it to ensure even cooking. Move the less-cooked food from the center to the edges of the baking dish. For foods in individual dishes, rearrange the dishes from the center of the oven to the edges. Some microwaves have a turntable to help food cook more evenly.
- If the food can't be stirred or rearranged, and your microwave doesn't have a turntable, turn the dish or the food. When a recipe says to turn a food, rotate the dish halfway, unless it specifies otherwise. Turn over large pieces of food, checking for even cooking.
- Always test food after the minimum cooking time in a recipe, using the doneness test given. Some microwaved foods may look as if they need more cooking, when they actually are done.