Tuesday, May 16, 2006

A New Toaster Oven and Another Fish Recipe

I love my new toaster oven! I have gone through two Black & Deckers and a Hamilton Beach Toaststation. The problems? The Black & Deckers didn’t toast as well as I wanted them to, though they served me well as ovens. The Toaststation was an interesting concept--toaster slots in the top, swing-open oven door in front, but not only was it way too small for my purposes, it didn’t broil. Plus, after a couple of months, the knob for the toaster slots quit working. I decided it was time to do some research and get a decent toaster oven.

Here were my requirements:

1. Since it gets pretty warm here in the summer, even at 6,000 feet, we don’t want to heat up the kitchen and house with the regular oven. So my new toaster oven needed to be a) large enough to cook main dishes and side dishes, but it needed to b) maintain correct cooking temperature.

2. It needed to make more than two slices of toast at once. Four would be optimal.

3. It needed to broil.

4. I wanted the convection feature, which is pretty standard on newer toaster ovens, since there are a lot of things I cook, like roasted vegetables, which do well in a convection oven.

I spent several hours over two evenings doing extensive research on three different websites. I started with Cooks Illustrated, but found that they only reviewed toasters. I then went to Consumer Reports and found the best guidance for what to look for. From there, I visited epinions.com, and eventually ended up on amazon.com. It was on amazon that I was able to read dozens and dozens of reviews of all kinds of brands and models, and made lists of “yes,” “okay,” and “no”.

My next stop online was ebay, to see if any of the “yes” models were listed. Some were, but I really didn’t want to do any bidding or even waiting for a “buy it now.” I knew I was going to Costco on Monday, so I figured I’d see what Costco had.

Costco had two models of toaster ovens, both of which were on my “yes” list. The first one, a Cuisinart, cost $99. The other one, the Oster, had virtually identical features, and the reviews on amazon were full of praise. And it cost only $49! Needless to say, that’s the one I bought. Here’s the link on amazon: Oster 6297 6-slice Convection Toaster Oven . I used it for the first time tonight to make the roasted potatoes and green beans that we had with our fish. I used the convection feature, set the temperature at 425˚, and it cooked them perfectly.

As I’ve said before, I’ve tried to eat more fish. When my friend Claudia and I go to lunch, she always eats fish. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen her eat anything else. Last week we had lunch at a great restaurant in Redlands called Joe Greensleeves. I was trying to make up my mind between the blue cheese burger or the salad with gorgonzola and pear wine dressing, when the waitress changed my mind by describing the specials. She described a halibut fillet in lemon caper butter sauce, and Claudia and I both decided to give it a try. Wow! It was fabulous. Tonight I decided to try to replicate it at home, and I think I succeeded. Of course, I used mahi mahi instead of halibut, since that’s what I’ve been buying at Costco, and you could use almost any white saltwater fish. It was really tasty, and is now another way for us to enjoy fish.

Mahi Mahi with Lemon Caper Sauce

2 T butter
2 mahi mahi fillets
1 T capers
2 T half & half or cream
1 t lemon zest
2 t lemon juice

Melt butter in a medium skillet. Sauté fish until golden on each side and it flakes easily with a fork. Remove from pan and place on serving plates. Add capers, cream, lemon zest, and lemon juice to remaining butter in pan. Stir; ladle over fish. Serves 2.


Sara said...

I had 2 awful toaster ovens in a row, so I went without for a couple of years. My husband just bought me one and I love it! It's huge and does everything I want it to. It's nice to have as our weather has really heated up the past week, and since we get sun in our kitchen and living room all afternoon and evening it's nice not to have to turn on the oven.

Cyndi said...

Sara, what kind did you get? See the great-looking roasted potatoes in the picture? I lOVE mine!

Ruth Daniels said...

The potatoes do look great. Good purchase choice.

I have a Delonghi but it's not convection and I must say I do a lot of grilling even in the winter so my toaster oven mainly gets used for toast.

Cat said...

i just wonder what is the difference between a toaster and a toaster oven? That fish looks quite yummy :)