Thursday, September 06, 2007

Simply Cooking with Glad!

I enviously read my fellow bloggers who are sent cookbooks by famous chefs, gourmet cookware, knives, or gadgets and equipment to review for their blogs. Being a new blog, I don't get such requests very often, so when I do, I like to take them seriously. One such request came about a month ago from Maureen Rootz from a company representing Glad SimplyCooking Microwave Steaming Bags who sent me these new microwave cooking bags that Glad was getting ready to launch. Now, I generally use my microwave for defrosting, reheating leftovers, melting chocolate and butter, and microwave popcorn, but I was intrigued by having a quick way to steam fresh veggies, especially given my husband's need to eat healthier and so I replied that I would give them a try.

Tonight, I finally got myself together. I first checked out the new website that features these new cooking bags to see how they should best be used, and to get some inspiration. I was amazed at the variety of dishes that can be made in these bags! There were fish recipes, shrimp, corn puddings , veggies and even omelets. Glad is even running a "Steamiest Chef" contest affiliated with this new product where voters who vote for the steamiest chef can win a dinner with the winner (and charities designated by each steamy contestant win, no matter who is chosen!). I have to admit that my research was derailed as I had to check out the contestants (who include Dave Lieberman and Sam of Top Chef fame!)and their recipes, but eventually I found a recipe for asparagus that sounded delicious and I thought would be a great way to test out these bags.

Asparagus is not the easiest vegetable to cook since you must cook the stems enough to be tender without turning the tips to mush, a formidable challenge for cooking in the microwave.


I mixed up the sauce ingredients per the recipe I printed out from the Glad website, cut the tough bottoms from my asparagus, sealed the bag and popped it in the microwave. In 5 minutes, I had a pound of asparagus with a lemon-butter dijon sauce!

Though I approached this product with some skepticism, I have to admit, I was really impressed. The bags have simple cooking guidelines printed on the outside and are structured with a flat bottom so they are easy to load with whatever ingredients you decide to cook. The bags maintained their structure during cooking (not getting soft or having melted spots). The finished veggies were easy to pour right out of the bag and onto a serving dish. But of course, the proof is in the tasting, and...the asparagus was perfectly cooked, with spears that were tender and tips that still held together. A success!! I have actually headed back to the website to try out some of the other recipes featured by their steamy chefs (honestly, the hot chefs had nothing to do with it!) , using the other sample bags they sent me.

For me this is yet another way to play with (healthy) food! I can see this product being particularly helpful for people who are cooking just for one, or for parents who want "fast food" for their kids where they control the ingredients, or even for something healthy to brown bag at work. They are especially helpful in encouraging people to steam their own fresh veggies, who otherwise might not take the time or trouble, and the SimplyCooking bags offer the novice a quick and foolproof way to cook fresh vegetables, fish and lean meat.

But don't take my word, head to the store and try the SimplyCooking bags for yourself. They can be a great new addition to you kitchen equipment!
Asparagus with Lemon-Butter Dijon Sauce (from Glad SimplyCooking Website (their pictures are a lot better!))

3 tbsp butter melted (I used Smart Balance instead, and it worked fine)
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp coarse Dijon-style mustard
1/2 tsp low sodium soy sauce
1/4 tsp minced garlic (I forgot this, but the recipe was fine without it)
3/4 lb asparagus, tough, wood stalks removed (mine were the thickness of a pencil)
2 tbsp minced white onion
1 tbsp minced red pepper

Whisk together first five ingredients. Place asparagus spears in cooking bag, pour sauce over top and top with onion and pepper. Seal bag and cook on high in your microwave for 4-5 minutes. Let stand for about 1 minute before opening bag (carefully), and serve.


Note: No fee was paid for this review. I was provided with the samples to try with only the understanding that I provide an honest review for my readers.

7 comments:

Ronnie said...

Kind of a neat idea. Great for dieters as well. Your post made me feel a bit guilty as I was sent my first product the other day in hopes that I would review it on the blog. Packaged chinese food that upon sampling was quite good. I better go write...

Passionate Eater said...

I think that is a fantastic idea. My beau taught me how to steam fish and artichokes in the microwave using ziploc bags, and my friends use plastic bags to make "boiled" omelettes. I love ways to make my life easier!

JANET said...

I like fresh asparagus but have never been able to cook it well and usually threw it out! This looks like an easy possibility. Thanks!
Thanks also for visiting my blog and giving me the catfish with grits idea!

s'kat said...

I must admit to a certain skepticism upon reading this, but that may be my inner food snob poking her head out.

(back in, dammit, in!)

Perfectly cooked asparagus would be quite a draw 'round this house.

Deborah Dowd said...

Ronnie- Anything that makes it easier to make fresh food fast is great by me!

Passionate Eater- With all the talk about the risks of using lighter weight plastic for microwaving food, I have not used ziploc bags this way, but these SimplyCooking bags are food safe.

Janet- I swear it is easy- I have done fresh broccoli and cauliflower as well, and it turns out great! Loved your blog and I'll be back.

Shelley- I felt exactly the same way, but they really do work-and easy enough for my husband (cooking reperatoire: hot dogs and grilled foods)to do!

sher said...

Hey, thanks for that post. I've wondered how that product works! I'm going to get them!

Deborah Dowd said...

Sher- They are actually fun to experiment with!