||06-13-2010 11:27 PM
Gadget and gizmo fan here. I have been using an “as seen on TV” cooking gadget and it has become an invaluable part of my meal preparation routine.
Our little power catamaran has a tiny galley. No oven, two-burner propane stove, smallest microwave around. The microwave isn’t used for much, it’s too power-hungry and doesn’t prepare many foods very well. I really don’t like buying things I see on TV, but this little gadget intrigued me, and I bought it at first to use in our summer house. It turns out to be remarkably useful and energy-efficient, so I brought it to the boat.
It is called the GT Xpress, pictures below. It’s 120V, 60Hz, 750W. The 750W is deceptive, though, because it isn’t on very long.
I sat with a timer the first time I used it because I resent power-hungry appliances. It takes about 3 minutes to warm up, one puts the food into it, and it cycles on/off at a ratio of 1 minute on to 3 or four minutes off. Cooking with it for 20 minutes, it’s only drawing current for perhaps 5 or 6 minutes., or perhaps 6 Amp hours at 12V. We don’t have the battery capacity to run it off our inverter, but we have to run our generator every day that we’re on the hook, so its power draw is insignificant for us. Both the top and bottom get hot, so food is cooked very quickly.
What does it do? It bakes brownies, small cakes, frozen pastries in 8 to 20 minutes. Baked stuffed pork chops, 15 minutes, done (and because of the way it seals stuff in, these are the first baked stuffed pork chops I’ve made in decades that weren’t dust-dry). Because the cooking compartments are quite small boneless meat is the most efficient use of the space, which further shortens the cooking time.
My first try with chicken was chicken thighs. They were good, but leaving the skin on resulted in too much fat in the little compartments. Next try will be skinless, I think.
I’d love to have an oven, but on this boat that isn’t going to happen, and with each meal I realize that clean up is so easy with this little gadget compared to oven pans that I don’t miss the oven so much anymore.
It comes with a recipe book, but most of the recipes call for packaged mixes, which I don’t ever use, so I’m modifying my favorite foods for this. I haven’t come close to exploring all it can do. I will keep experimenting and let you know how I’m doing.
I always hesitate to recommend things like this, but this gadget is small, less than 10” diameter, and easy to clean and store. I notice that Google is advertising this little gadget's successor, the Xpress To Go, which is probably even better, but I can't find out its size and I like this one's small size. So, until the Xpress To Go can be found in Target Stores, I'll stick with the one I have.