How to Cook Faster, Tastier Homemade Meals
Can today's technology make for better home cooking?
For many people, life these days is really busy. And though we set the bar high in both our work and personal lives, we still need to carve out time to enjoy the beautiful things in life. Whether it's the bustling day-to-day of having a family or ambitious sporting goals, like training for a half marathon, enjoying good food shouldn't be pushed to the margins.
To make meal prep as efficient as it can be, kitchen appliance manufacturers are developing clever and innovative technologies to save on time. For example, combination appliances such as the Siemens oven with varioSpeed, an oven with integrated microwave function, allow you to make your favorite meals in a fraction of the usual time, making planning and prep more efficient.
Flexibility is also key. What to do if your family wants a hearty potato gratin, but you'd prefer a lower-calorie dinner, like chicken breast and salad? Since devices with varioSpeed combine oven and microwave functions, it's possible to make both dishes in a short amount of time. Just imagine: While you are preparing the ingredients for the potato gratin, your chicken is already sizzling in the oven. Then the gratin goes into the oven and you can use the waiting time to prepare your salad.
We were curious whether the time saving appliance delivered in taste as well. So we put it to the test: Can it deliver a perfectly cooked lamb saddle? Will chicken legs crisp up in only half the usual cooking time? We tried 7 recipes with varioSpeed to test how the oven-microwave combination shapes up.
For a quick weeknight dinner: Crispy chicken
Chicken is a weeknight dinner hero. Though it doesn't require any tedious preparation in general, depending on the cooking mehtod, timing can vary. In many recipes, the chicken pieces are first pan-fried on a high heat on all sides and then cooked in the oven to finish.
In this case, the combination oven with microwave function can be a time-saving alternative. By simultaneously cooking the chicken from inside and out, the chicken becomes crisp and cooked through in only half of the usual preparation time.
As delicious as eating out in a restaurant: Classic Japanese tuna tataki
Fast doesn't mean low-quality. You can also cook restaurant-style dishes in the oven with varioSpeed, like Japanese tuna tataki. Timing is key with this dish, and the oven functions help you achieve the perfect balance of a light sear on the outside buttery-soft raw tuna inside. Served with a homemade tataki sauce and a cucumber wakame salad, this dish is guaranteed to become an impressive homemade favorite.
Dessert with wow-factor: Baked apples with almond-ginger cream
Having a few quick dessert recipes in your repertoire means you'll never be caught off guard when rustling up a last-minute dinner—and these baked apples take only 10 minutes. It's entirely up to you whether you choose the classic marzipan-nut filling or a more unusual variant, like in this recipe. Filled with a mixture of toasted nuts and dried apricots, these aromatic baked apples are served with an almond and ginger cream. The combination of easy prep and wow-factor means that this recipe can serve as a quick weeknight treat or fit comfortably on your next dinner party menu.
For a colorful variety on your plate: Quick three-potato gratin
Though potato gratin is age-old classic, it's not exactly suitable for the impatient eaters among us with up to an hour's cooking time in the oven. By comparison, our version with varioSpeed goes from oven to plate in 25 minutes and updates the time-tested recipe by using colorful potatoes. Click here for the recipe:
The weekend-worthy highlight: Herb-crusted saddle of lamb
Whatever your weekend plans, you deserve at least one stand-out home-cooked meal. What if your favorite weekend recipes could come together in just 20 minutes? For this recipe, we chose a good piece of lamb saddle that could be cooked perfectly in only 8 minutes by making use of the additional microwave function.
Excuse-proof breakfast for busy mornings: Porridge with berry compote
To make the porridge, fine rolled oats, some milk, and a pinch of salt are mixed and heated using the microwave function. A mixture of frozen berries forms the basis for the fruity compote, which is ready and on your breakfast table in just 10 minutes, just like the porridge. Both components can be cooked at the same time in two separate bowls and then used directly as serving bowls. No unnecessary washing up needed!
Ready in under 30 minutes: Salmon from the oven with braised vegetables
If you're a fan of salmon, you're probably familiar with the white protein deposits that can leak out when the salmon hits a hot pan. This is due to excessively hot temperatures, which cause the muscle fibers to contract and squeeze out the protein. Here, the automatic programs in the combination oven offer a real advantage over conventional kitchen appliances, as the temperature is regulated in such a way that the cellular structure of the fish is spared and it can be cooked evenly.
So, what's the verdict on today's latest oven technology? For us, taste is always most important—and the oven with varioSpeed definitely delivered on that count. What's more is that we were able to prepare the type of seriously impressive dishes that we usually reserve for company in the time it normally takes to cook an average weeknight dinner. With this rare combination of speed and quality, you can consider us convinced by the future of the home oven.
What do you think of combo devices like the oven with varioSpeed? Do you have any other tips and ideas on how to cook quickly and efficiently? Let us know in the comments!
Published on October 13, 2018