So You Want To Be A Waiter

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Kitchen tool of the day – tabletop convection over/toaster

Convection oven

This is my exact model of convection oven/toaster. There are larger capacity “ovens” but I’ve got a pretty small kitchen, so I wanted a pretty small footprint. Also, I got a refurbished model from Amazon for around $30.

These things are very handy. I still use a toaster for most of my bread slice toasting needs, but I use this for roasting quail, dehydrating peppers, cooking small pork tenderloins, roasting chicken parts and small chickens 3 lbs or less, and my most common use, toasting rolls that I’ve frozen, mostly brought home from the restaurant on Sunday night that are left over from the weekend and about to be tossed.

I’ve got a foolproof way to do this. I pop a frozen roll or two into the microwave for 30 seconds. This warms them up from the middle. Then I set the oven on “toast”, which I have preset for “middle dark” and I throw them in. If the oven hasn’t been on at all, the time is preset for 4min 30sec. I usually move the rolls around a little to keep them from burning on the top and as soon as they’re brown (usually around 3 and a half minutes), I pull them out.They come out just about perfectly toasted and hot and tender in the middle. I do this for frozen bread slices as well.

I like the convection feature for cooking things like chicken breasts and thighs. Quail is a little trickier because it stands so tall in the compartment and you have to be careful that you don’t burn the top part of the bird. It’s perfect for baking just a few cookies or reheating  pizza slices. It looks small, but is surprisingly cavernous for its size. It has a wide variety of controls, including a dehydrating function that works well. You can buy a special dehydrating tray but I find that I haven’t really needed it. I’ve only dehydrated fresh chile peppers with it though.

It’s a very handy device. It sits on top of my microwave, so it actually doesn’t take up any countertop space.

There are many good brands and a variety of sizes. You should get the largest size that your counter-top will accommodate, because some of them are large enough to roast a whole chicken larger than 3 lbs or bake a small pizza. The DeLonghi that I have has worked perfectly for over a year, and, even though it was refurbished, came packaged as looking brand new. I don’t think Amazon has them at the moment, but it’s worth being on the lookout of them being run as a special. Most decent brand new tabletop convection ovens run between $75 – $250, but even if you have to buy a new one, they are worth their weight in gold. They’re much more efficient than using your regular stove oven for many tasks.

delonghi

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