Thank goodness for the modern conveniences of this century. If you lived in medieval times, your oven would consist of a fire with a masonry structure over top and your brew would be hung over a heavy metal cauldron, smoking hot and just plain smoking. Never mind having fears of burning dinner—worry about taking the whole house down with you instead.
Calendars changed and thankfully, so did the oven. Then in 1826, in came James Sharp, a British inventor who pioneered the gas oven industry and changed the kitchen cooking experience forever. Electric ovens made an appearance in the 1890s and the rest, as they say, is culinary history. Today, modern chefs are smitten with their aesthetically-pleasing and ultra-functioning ovens, mechanical wonders with burners on top, temperature gauges and even broilers.
So grab a glass of wine, toast Mr. Sharp and start up your modern-day ovens. We’ve got some cooking to do today.
Another phenomenon of modern-day America, everyone is running around busy. There is simply not enough time to finish everything in a day. If your stomach is beckoning while your watch is hollering, take sixteen minutes to make our 16 Minute Tortilla Pizza, a delicious and easy recipe utilizing common ingredients such as tomatoes, tortillas and grated cheese.
Chicken is also a dinner time staple, and we recommend several oven-cooked recipes for your family. Try our Lemon Oregano Chicken , Mushroom Stuffed Chicken or our Baked Chicken Noodle Casserole. Despite each one’s initial foundation of chicken, all recipes offer uniquely diverse tastes and experiences.
If something outside-of-the-box is what you’re craving, go to our Apple and Sausage Roast Goose or our Bacon-Wrapped Scallops recipes for two oven-baking innovations that will please your mouth. Another seafood delight is our Grouper with Potato Corolla in a Crystallized Tomato Sauce with Herbs.
Vegetarian or not, maybe today you’re looking for something a bit less animalistic. You’ll be pleased to know we offer a recipe for Baked Tomatoes with Mushrooms and Basil. Top this dish off with our Almond Galette with Red Fruits dessert for a great end to dinner.
Now, if only we could invent a machine for clearing away the dishes, cleaning up the kitchen and giving away massages to the hard-working cook in the house. Oh yes, there is a solution for this problem. We call it a ‘spouse’. He or she might need a little training in order to function properly. Sorry, no recipes for that.
An oven is one of the most important tools in the kitchen. With it, every type of food can be prepared. And while it’s possible to imitate oven cooking with toaster ovens and microwaves, neither is as versatile - nor does quite the same job - as a standard oven.
Oven Cooking Basics
Preheating is the vital first step. If neglected, cooks risk undercooked food. To preheat an oven, turn the oven temperature control knob to the temperature listed on the recipe.
Most ovens have an indicator light showing that the oven is preheating. Once the oven reaches the correct temperature, this indicator light shuts off. When working with an oven without a preheating indicator light, or to test that an oven is regulating temperature correctly, a separate oven thermometer is necessary. The best type of thermometer is the kind that sits on the counter or stovetop and has a cord with a probe on the end that can sit in the oven while the oven door is closed.
Remember that every time you open the oven door, the temperature inside the oven drops – do don’t open the oven frequently.
Cooking in an Oven
Once the oven reaches full temperature, the prepared food is placed in a pan, oven proof dish, or on a baking sheet and is placed in the oven.
As soon as the food is in the oven, begin timing the cooking. If the recipe offers a range for the cooking time (for example: “Bake 10 to 20 minutes.”), set the timer for the lower number.
Once the timer goes off, check the doneness of the food. Often recipes indicate the best way to do this for the particular food you’re cooking, but in general:
If the food isn’t thoroughly cooked, return it to the oven and set the timer for a short amount of time. Experience helps here. For example, if cookies are slightly golden, but aren’t quite done, you’ll only want to return them to the oven for another minute or two before checking them again. On the other hand, a roast that’s 10 degrees under temperature should be left kept in the oven for another 10 to 20 minutes.
Want to see a different cooking technique, or recipes for a specific diet choice? See all the gourmet recipes and recipe videos at GourmetRecipe.com.