Saturday, August 30, 2008

My New Convecton and Microwave Ovens

I haven't talked about my new ovens, which have made me very happy. I cook dinner every day, after all. So being pleased with kitchen appliances is a nice lift while being frustrated with them can be a drag. I got my new ovens back in June so I have had time to really work with them and I'm still pleased as punch.

Left: Old Ovens Right: New Ovens
Click image for larger view

The Old Ovens - cons
I never liked my old range/oven. It had the broiler in a drawer down on the bottom and I was so sick of having get down on my knees and put my ear on the floor to see if my food was browning. I also had run across a lot of recipes that assumed my broiler was in the top of my regular oven. You've seen these recipes, they call for you to bake something for awhile, then broil it at the very end to get the top brown. For me this involved switching to that hated bottom drawer thing. And then most recipes that call for a broiler tell you to put food on a rack positioned "x inches from the heating element" that wasn't really practical in the drawer broiler, either. I never could tell how many inches up inside the drawer that element was. The old oven didn't have a self-cleaning cycle and wasn't programmable. The range top was hard to clean, I had to clean the white part - then I had to lift up the whole thing (like the hood of a car) and clean underneath it. The turntable no longer rotated on the old microwave, but other than that it was still working fine.

The New Ovens - Pros
The new range top is easy to clean, no underneath drippy area to have to clean. It has a nifty center burner and the continuous grate makes the range-top level all the way across, now when I am baking, I can set hot casserole dishes on there instead of dragging out a cooling rack and taking up counter space. I have more area to move pots off a burner in order to use the burner for something else. There are also nifty smart settings like Power Boil (boil large pot of water faster) and Precise Simmer (supposed to simmer without danger of boil over.) Our favorite feature was that center burner. The grates come off and can be replaced with a nifty griddle. Hubby loves to make pancakes and eggs and he says the lower temp of the middle burner is perfect for use with the griddle.

The main thing I love about the new microwave is that it's also a convection oven and it has TWO racks so I could get two casserole dishes in there (can you say Thanksgiving?) I find myself using this top convection oven ALL the time because it doesn't heat up the house like my lower oven does. I'll mix up a batch of cookie dough and keep it in the fridge all week. After dinner I'll scoop out and bake 2 cookies for each of us for dessert and we get to have fresh-baked cookies all week long. (My Dad got a built-in double oven with the top a Convection Microwave and it didn't do so well with the cookies, it only had one rack and an element in the top - the cookies were too close to the element and got hard and dried out before they were cooked - so if you're looking at one of these, pay attention to the rack positions. Dad's was made by KitchenAid.) I baked a chicken in here, once, and it came out really well, but roasting chickens splatter a lot -and since the microwave is not self-cleaning... I decided to roast chickens only in my large oven from now on. The new microwave was delivered first and I was so pleased with the convection feature that we went back to the store and changed our range/oven (which was on order) to the model with the convection oven.

The new oven is a convection oven and has the broiler in the top of the main oven. The bottom drawer is a warming oven which I haven't used. I'll probably store my cast iron down there... perhaps I will use it to keep the mashed potatoes warm at Thanksgiving. The new oven has a self-cleaning cycle, is programmable, and has a built-in probe thermometer. I just plug the probe into the outlet inside the oven and program the target temperature. When the food reaches target temperature, temperature it beeps and the oven turns off.
Both new ovens display the oven temperature during preheating and beep to alert me when the oven is up to temp. I am SO pleased with my new ovens (can you tell? LOL!) They are both GE Profile.


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