Book Review and Giveaway! Microwave Gourmet by Barbara Kafka


What you see here is an amazing cookbook. It might be a little worn around the edges — that’s because we use it! A few years ago, we heard about this book on The Splendid Table radio show. Since my husband was headed to Colorado to live in a hotel for three weeks of training; we decided purchasing this book would be a good thing. He was able to cook meals in his hotel room and save a lot of money. What we were not expecting was to walk away with many “keeper” recipes which we have sinced worked into our dining routine! A few of the dishes from this book which we now routinely cook in the microwave include a delicious carrot soup, potato-leek soup (which is the most often requested soup in our home), red cabbage risotto (it turns out bright purple and yummy!), creamy garlic sauce, and homemade plum jelly! But by far the most requested, most popular, most delicious dish we make from this book is Saffron Risotto — and that is the dish I will illustrate for you.

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You begin by cooking the garlic and onions in butter and oil. Almost every recipe includes built in scales for a larger number of servings. We make the largest variation included in the book as a side dish for our family of eight, and serve it with peas and grilled chicken. If we want Saffron Risotto as our main dish — and we often do — I make the largest recipe twice. So, in this case I have four tablespoons of butter, four teaspoons of olive oil, 6 tablespoons of minced onion, and four cloves of crushed garlic in my bowl. I cook that for four minutes, and then add 1 cup of risotto and cook it four more minutes.

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Next, I add four cups of chicken broth and 1 cup of water (instead of white wine). If you do not want to use white wine or water, you could also use five cups of chicken broth, but a box is four cups and I didn’t want to open a second box for one more cup. I also add 16 strings of saffron at this time. This mixture cooks for nine minutes. Then it is stirred, and cooked for another nine minutes. After this, you must play it by ear depending on the power of your microwave. I cooked mine about six minutes more in sets of two minutes until most of the liquid was absorbed and it looked like this:

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Beautiful, creamy deliciousness! Add coarse Kosher salt and ground black pepper right before you serve this dish hot. As you can see, my children gobbled it up so fast I didn’t get a focused picture.

My Bottom Line: This cookbook has been a wonderful addition to my kitchen. It is so nice to be able to pop a side dish in the microwave instead of crowding everything onto my little stovetop. The plum jelly alone is worth the cost of the book. Yummmm! Just thinking about it makes my mouth water. I wish that plums were in season right now! Each of my children will leave home with a copy of this book in their possession. It is perfect for the traveler, the college student, and the busy mom.

The Giveaway! My favorite giveaways are the ones I sponsor myself because I pick products I really, really love – the A list. This is just such a book and giveaway. I wish I could give you all a copy :). I hope you will enter! Enter to win a brand new copy…

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Amy Blevins
Amy lives with her husband and six beautiful children in Southern California. Besides blogging, Amy enjoys homeschooling, hiking, reading, singing, teaching, and serving Jesus above all. Welcome.
Amy Blevins


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  1. Julie says

    This looks like a really awesome book. I think I remember you telling me about using the microwave before!


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