My microwave broke last winter and I havenít had the motivation to fix it, or more appropriately replace it. This is largely because I have very little use for my microwave, other than facilitating some of my more lazy urges. I would reheat coffee, soup, and sometimes thaw out something I had forgotten to unpack from the freezer earlier in the day. All said and done, I think I am just fine without a microwave, and cannot be tempted back to radiating my food to optimum doneness.
But I just stumbled upon a recent hacker-like post about peeling garlic with the aid of the microwave. Sure, some of us have become quite adept at peeling garlic with our fingers or using the blunt side of a chefís knife to crack the outer layer, but, depending on the type of garlic, this is easier said than done. The trick is simple: Just place a garlic bulb in the microwave for 20 seconds and upon retrieval it is as easy to peel as a banana. While those 20 seconds donít actually cook the garlic (some say it lessens the punch of the flavor, but the jury is out) they effectively release some of the bulbs moisture and make the paper-like outer husk a bit more amenable.
A few other microwave tricks that are worth sharing:
If your brown sugar has become one solidified mass, you can microwave the package for about 20 seconds (although I would recommend putting the brown sugar in a glass bowl, rather than microwave a plastic bag) and the sugar will soften. Donít let it go too long over 20 seconds or else the sugar will liquefy
This technique is effectively super-pasteurizing your milk (not something I enjoy, but to each his/her own). If you want to extend the fridge life of your milk you can microwave your milk (before the expiration date) in the carton or a microwave safe container on high until (with the aid of a kitchen thermometer) the milk reaches somewhere between 160 and 175 degrees F. This gives you about another week of use, but donít let the milk boil, or else the flavor becomes greatly compromised.
Do you have stupid, or smart, microwave tricks you would like to share? Is the microwave your best friend or an enabler for your utter laziness?