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Old 10-03-2009, 10:04 AM   #21
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Cooking Gadgets I use in the RV

The RV came equipped with a Dometic Convection/Microwave Oven. It is a good microwave, but the convection is so-so. The main frustration is that the heating element is only on the top, so things only get browned top-side. I've learned to play some tricks like let the pan pre-heat in the oven for baked pastries. Also, it takes 5 mins longer to preheat than the oven settings.

I have several handy small electric kitchen cooking appliances. Several of these are very low current draw which is nice. The microwave is a bit of a power hog, so when we are camping with a 30 amp connection, we have to be careful. Baking using convection also can generate a lot of heat inside the RV.

May I mention how hard it is sometimes to find small appliances? Something about the American psyche seems to require huge kitchen appliances.
  • Weber Baby Q outdoor gas grill - the essential appliance for RVing of course.
  • 3 (3 1/2?) quart Crockpot - this is great for colder weather. Draws little current. Generates little heat.
  • 2 cup rice cooker - we have the smallest we could find. It does great - little current.
  • Forman Contact Roaster Oven - this is a wonderful compact roaster oven with a fixed temp of 350 degrees. No longer available, so I hope mine lasts forever. Terrific for roasting a whole chicken. I also use it to roast a leg-of-lamb. Does a way better job of roasting than the convection oven. Draws very little current. Little heat generated as well.
  • Small toaster
  • Small coffee maker


One that I don't use that often but still carry because it does come in handy, especially in bad weather:
  • DeLonghi Panini Grill - a two-sided electric grill. Something we used incredibly often when we lived in a house. Don't use it as often in the RV because we tend to do grilling outside. But it does a better job of some things like boneless chicken breasts. Great for grilled sandwiches too if the fancy strikes.

Audrey
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Old 10-03-2009, 11:17 AM   #22
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Cooking Gadgets I use in the RV
Our choice of RV (Roadtrek 210 Versatile) requires great creativity in this area because of space and weight considerations. From the factory it had a Microwave, a 12-cup Coffee Maker, and a two-burner Propane Stove (never been used). (Oh! and a 6 CF refrigerator/freezer.) It didn't take long after we bought it to realize that Electricity is essentially free (even using the generator) while Propane is expensive and that the battery/inverter isn't viable for high (1,300+) wattage usage.

We added an Oster 6084 Toaster Oven because it is light weight and takes up very little counter space (and can be moved outside easily). Then we purchased a Precise Heat 3-1/2-Quart Surgical Stainless-Steel Oil Core Skillet. (We considered a Waring Induction Cooktop but ruled it out because of the need for pots and pans.) Since we have electrical outlets on the exterior of the RV, we don't have to fry inside. That constitutes our total "Kitchen."

BTW, the only other taking-up-space add-ons are:

Hewlett Packard D1530 printer (light as a feather and takes up surprisingly little space.)

Pelonis Disc Furnace III (at 20║ outdoor temperature the inside temperature stayed above 68║... again, no Propane use.)

and last but not least:
Dewalt D55141 Air Compressor (way too heavy, way too big... but wouldn't leave home without it.)

There is, of course, a factory installed Air Conditioner/Heat Pump that keeps us comfortable between ~40║ and >100║.

I guess I should make it clear that we are "travelers" and not "campers." Long hours in the kitchen is just not in the cards for us. (but I do like to eat well.)
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Old 10-03-2009, 01:43 PM   #23
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The RV came equipped with a Dometic Convection/Microwave Oven.
We've been looking for a convection/microwave that mounts under a cupboard (or at least over a stove) without requiring extraordinary bracing or other extra hardware. (Our old Magic Chef convection/microwave sits on a wall-mounted articulated TV stand.) One problem with the latest over-the-stove models is they're so small inside. We'll have to take a look at this one.
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Old 10-03-2009, 07:36 PM   #24
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[QUOTE=audreyh1;861310]Ron - let us know how your stuff comes out!/QUOTE]

I am out of Tahini so the Spicy Udon Noodles will have to wait until next week (or whenever I get to the store again).

However, I just couldn't wait that long to try out the Fasta Pasta. This recipe from Rasa Malaysia seemed perfect to test with. She said it was inspired by her recent trip to Hawaii so that sealed the deal.

Garlic Shrimp

Ingredients:
8 oz. medium-size shrimp (head on, shell on, slit the back of the shrimp and deveined)
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
3 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
1/8 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/8 teaspoon sugar or to taste
1/2 teaspoon Chinese rice wine
Some chopped scallions

Method:
Rinse the shrimp with cold water and pat dry with paper towels.

Heat up a wok with olive oil or butter. Lightly saute the chopped garlic until aromatic. Add shrimp into the wok and stir well with the garlic and add rice wine. Cover the wok with its lid and cook for about 1 minute. Add chopped scallions, and salt and sugar to taste.

Dish out and serve garlic shrimp immediately.

I made the following adjustments:

I, of course, used Butter.

I have no idea what a "medium-sized" shrimp is. I had a choice in the pantry of 16-20 or 26-30. I chose the 16-20. She says:

Quote:
Most people in the United States prefer shelled shrimp, but for garlic shrimp, I strongly suggest you to cook the shrimp head-on and with the shell intact. The shrimp head and the shell “soak up” the fragrance and nuance imbued by the chopped garlic and butter used in this garlic shrimp recipe. The natural sweetness of the shrimp heads and shell also add depth to this dish
I hate using my fingers at the table so I shelled them but left the tails on because of the size.

Three gloves of garlic seemed awfully puny for something called "garlic" shrimp so I grabbed a big handfull -- maybe four times a much.

For some reason (DW's lunch, I suspect), we were out of Scallions so I went to the garden and came back with a hefty handful of chives.

I decided that Egg Noodles would be my choice of pasta. At this point, I became leery of the Fasta Pasta which called for a 9-10 minute cooking time while the package said 6 minutes (al dentÚ).

As a side, I put a can of asparagus in a small pie pan, dotted it with a 1/2 stick of butter and a couple tablespoons of parmesan cheese. Put it under a broiler for five minutes.

When the pasta was done, I drained it and threw it in with the shrimp and stirred things up.

Once plated, it looked a little skimpy so I added a couple tablespoons of Cottage Cheese to balance things out. (This turned out to be genious.)

Delicious!!

Of course, it could have been the short glass of Plum Wine during prep/cooking or the full glass of Cabernet Sauvignon during the meal... nah.

Now the important stuff: I fell in love with the Fasta Pasta. It was so nice to put it in the microwave and forget about it. No watching the pot waiting for the water to boil, no waiting for the boil to return to start timing, no panic draining so it didn't overcook.

A couple words about this particular microwave. We bought it in the 70's (the owner's manual has a 1972 copyright date) and I have been told that it doesn't have the power of more modern ones. (I don't believe that, however.) In any event, the pasta was perfect.
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Old 10-03-2009, 07:50 PM   #25
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We've been looking for a convection/microwave that mounts under a cupboard (or at least over a stove) without requiring extraordinary bracing or other extra hardware. (Our old Magic Chef convection/microwave sits on a wall-mounted articulated TV stand.) One problem with the latest over-the-stove models is they're so small inside. We'll have to take a look at this one.
No - don't get that Dometic model! The most popular convection microwave for RVs seem to be the Sharp Carousel models. I've heard/read several people that love them.

Some RVs come equipped with the GE Advantium ovens - considered the higher end microwave/convection. I've heard mixed comments and complaints about expensive replacement halogen bulbs. Who knows?

But I still don't know what the convection/microwave ovens do about the top-only heating element. I suppose the fans are supposed to make that a non-issue, but it certainly doesn't work well enough in ours!

Audrey
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Old 10-03-2009, 08:06 PM   #26
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No - don't get that Dometic model! The most popular convection microwave for RVs seem to be the Sharp Carousel models. I've heard/read several people that love them.

---

But I still don't know what the convection/microwave ovens do about the top-only heating element. I suppose the fans are supposed to make that a non-issue, but it certainly doesn't work well enough in ours!
We have the Sharp Carousel model in our motor home. From your description of the performance of your Dometic, it appears the Sharp does a little better at heating the lower area of the oven - but it certainly isn't as good as a conventional oven from our experience. It definitely takes some experimentation and practice to get satisfactory results.
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Old 10-03-2009, 10:40 PM   #27
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Audrey, how do get Amazon to deliver whatever you ordered to your RV? Aren't you moving all the time?

Just wonder how people that keep on trucking received their stuff? Mail can be easily forwarded but big parcels?

mP
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Old 10-03-2009, 10:48 PM   #28
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Audrey, how do get Amazon to deliver whatever you ordered to your RV? Aren't you moving all the time?

Just wonder how people that keep on trucking received their stuff? Mail can be easily forwarded but big parcels?

mP
Well, I do have to stay in one place for at least 2 days to receive anything!

Or, if I know where I am be by the delivery date - that works too.

I just give Amazon the address of the campground.

BTW - we have the "Amazon Prime" membership that gives us free 2 day delivery (usually UPS). You better believe we use it!

Audrey
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Old 10-03-2009, 10:52 PM   #29
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Audrey, how do get Amazon to deliver whatever you ordered to your RV? Aren't you moving all the time?
Audrey, I was sure you were going to say you usually pull up next to the UPS truck, synchronize your speed and get them to toss it over to you!
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Old 10-03-2009, 11:59 PM   #30
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No - don't get that Dometic model! The most popular convection microwave for RVs seem to be the Sharp Carousel models. I've heard/read several people that love them.
Some RVs come equipped with the GE Advantium ovens - considered the higher end microwave/convection. I've heard mixed comments and complaints about expensive replacement halogen bulbs. Who knows?
But I still don't know what the convection/microwave ovens do about the top-only heating element. I suppose the fans are supposed to make that a non-issue, but it certainly doesn't work well enough in ours!
Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
We have the Sharp Carousel model in our motor home. From your description of the performance of your Dometic, it appears the Sharp does a little better at heating the lower area of the oven - but it certainly isn't as good as a conventional oven from our experience. It definitely takes some experimentation and practice to get satisfactory results.
Our Magic Chef only has one heating "plate" on the side, and it depends on the fan to blow the heat around. I don't think browning is ever intended to happen in a convection/microwave, but it'd be a nice feature.

Well, thanks for saving us the time on Dometic research. Back to the Advantiums & Sharps. I'll have to see if they have under-cabinet or wall-mount kits yet. Or else we'll have to take a few inches off the bottom of the cabinet over the stove...
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Old 10-04-2009, 09:44 AM   #31
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Our Magic Chef only has one heating "plate" on the side, and it depends on the fan to blow the heat around. I don't think browning is ever intended to happen in a convection/microwave, but it'd be a nice feature.

Well, thanks for saving us the time on Dometic research. Back to the Advantiums & Sharps. I'll have to see if they have under-cabinet or wall-mount kits yet. Or else we'll have to take a few inches off the bottom of the cabinet over the stove...
Well, we do get browning on top! The top heat element acts like a real one. For example, when we bake a frozen pizza we get a nice browning on top, but the underneath crust stays white, even though it is done. Sometimes I am tempted to throw it on the grill to get the bottom browned!

Or maybe "browning" is setting on your oven - I'm not sure.

Dometic is an RV brand mainly known for fridges. Who knows why our RV manufacturer decided to use their microwave/convection oven - I could only guess because they would negotiate more of an RV warranty? Hard to say. But it is better to go with a company that really excels in the appliance rather than doing an "RV version".

BTW - I've never been brave enough to try the "combination cooking" feature of our oven. This uses a combination of microwave and convection heat to more quickly roast something, I think. It makes sense. But almost no recipes came with the book, and I guess I'm expecting my first attempts to be a disaster and I'm not quite willing to sacrifice the food to learn how to get it right.

Audrey
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Old 10-04-2009, 09:51 AM   #32
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Audrey, I was sure you were going to say you usually pull up next to the UPS truck, synchronize your speed and get them to toss it over to you!
Well! That would be nice!

In our old neighborhood, we became pretty good friends with our UPS guy. Eventually he actually gave us his cellphone so that we could chase him down if we missed a delivery!

Audrey
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Old 10-04-2009, 10:04 AM   #33
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Dometic is an RV brand mainly known for fridges. Who knows why our RV manufacturer decided to use their microwave/convection oven - I could only guess because they would negotiate more of an RV warranty? Hard to say. But it is better to go with a company that really excels in the appliance rather than doing an "RV version".
My guess (and it is only that) is that the "RV" version is somehow made more resistent to vibration, sudden changes of direction (wash-boardy country roads come to mind), and other such banging about than those for stick homes. Therefore, it is theoretically possible for the two types to be dissimilar but, I suspect, not in a way that the user would know about.
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Old 10-04-2009, 11:53 AM   #34
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BTW - I've never been brave enough to try the "combination cooking" feature of our oven. This uses a combination of microwave and convection heat to more quickly roast something, I think. It makes sense. But almost no recipes came with the book, and I guess I'm expecting my first attempts to be a disaster and I'm not quite willing to sacrifice the food to learn how to get it right.
No fear-- it's easier than it looks. Combi doesn't use that much more power than regular convection cooking.

Set combi, use the same temperature as you would for convection-only cooking, and knock five minutes off of every 30 minutes of convection time. It'll either "smell done" or you'll cut into the finished result and decide to give it another 1-2 minutes. Keep notes and build your own cookbook.

It's particularly effective for frozen foods with a high water content, since the microwaves heat up the water molecules most efficiently throughout the food mass. If you fill the oven (a large pan of frozenlasagna) then the microwaves may not propagate all the way to the center before being attenuated by the rest of the mass.

In our oven a thawed one-inch hand-sized filet of ahi would take about 18-20 minutes on convection. With combi (at the same convection temperature) it takes 14-15 minutes and it's more evenly cooked on the inside. It's also more moist because it hasn't been spending extra time evaporating its water content under convection heat.

You'd probably see the same effect with steak or other slabs of beef (I don't eat them often enough to use the convection/microwave). However using combi on chicken legs (bone inside) only saves about five minutes out of a 45-minute cooking time. Better yet, a turkey roast (those three-pound mashups of turkey meat wrapped in string nets) only takes 65 minutes instead of 90-120. We figured that one out by smell.

I haven't tried it on an 8-10 pound whole turkey yet, but I'll have my chance soon.

Our Magic Chef is 1.0 cu ft with a 1000W microwave generator and a 1450W convection system. The manual says that combi only uses a total of 1500W so the extra microwave energy isn't using much more power-- just more efficiently.

It turns out that the oven also has an 850W grilling coil set in the ceiling. Never used it, but I guess that would take care of the browning. I don't think it can be turned on with combi.

The whole thing weighs 45 pounds, which is probably why I'm having so much trouble finding an under-cabinet or wall-mounted version...
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Old 10-09-2009, 09:34 PM   #35
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Does it cook rice as well?
Nope. But it does a really good job cooking pasta. This little gadget is really one of the best microwave add-ons I've ever used as long as you strictly follow the instructions.
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Old 10-09-2009, 11:04 PM   #36
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Does it cook rice as well?
Apparently, you don't need any special equipment to cook rice in a microwave. On the back of a package of "Golden Star Jasmine Rice" is these instructions:

IN THE MICROWAVE
Combine one cup of rice and two cups water in microwavable bowl. Microwave uncovered 15-20 minutes on high power. (For more than one cup of rice, cook 20 min.) Fluff with fork and serve.

Tried it out... worked perfectly.
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Old 10-10-2009, 09:34 AM   #37
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Wow, a lot of great stuff here that is going to come in handy!!

Speaking of the convection microwave, does anyone have any thoughts on whether you still need or want a gas oven in the RV. I have no experience with a convection microwave, so I'm leery of having it as my only oven. Most RVs don't include the traditional oven anymore. And while the extra kitchen cabinets are attractive, cooking everything in a microwave doesn't sound good to me.
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Old 10-10-2009, 08:21 PM   #38
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Wow, a lot of great stuff here that is going to come in handy!!

Speaking of the convection microwave, does anyone have any thoughts on whether you still need or want a gas oven in the RV. I have no experience with a convection microwave, so I'm leery of having it as my only oven. Most RVs don't include the traditional oven anymore. And while the extra kitchen cabinets are attractive, cooking everything in a microwave doesn't sound good to me.
We didn't get the gas oven mainly because of the space it would take - several drawers in the kitchen. Other drawbacks - it is smaller than a home gas oven, so you need smaller pans, and you have to mess with the pilot light (I don't remember the details, but it seemed like it might be a pain).

But the convection oven is so-so - good enough, but just barely. Baking is OK, but not great and I sometimes have to pull a few tricks to get things to turn out right.

I started grilling a lot more as part of the RV "cooking" - and that's the way it should be!

Audrey
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Old 10-10-2009, 08:30 PM   #39
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I started grilling a lot more as part of the RV "cooking" - and that's the way it should be!
Yep, same with us - a lot more grilling. We find a bakery if we get a hankerin' for ladyfingers or creme puffs...
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Old 10-10-2009, 08:47 PM   #40
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Yep, same with us - a lot more grilling. We find a bakery if we get a hankerin' for ladyfingers or creme puffs...
And I used to be an artisan bread baker!......

But that went out the window when we moved into an RV.

I do some stuff with puff pastry - especially a mean apple strudel. I've learned to preheat the baking pan/sheet in the oven to help get the underside of those pastries nicely cooked.

And my biscotti recipe still works well - especially since I learned that I can freeze the dough and only bake a half batch at a time.

You learn all sorts of tricks!

But, it we find a decent bakery we are happy! But these are actually few and far between. Of the rural areas/smaller cities we usually visit, only 1 in 10 at most has a decent bakery.

It's tough even finding decent bread!

Blue Ridge GA. We found a German bakery. It was really a top-notch European bakery - OMG!!! We were in heaven for a couple of weeks.

Audrey
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