Tips for using your steamer

steamed vegetables 

If you have a bamboo or other steamer lurking in the back of your kitchen cabinets, you may want to pull it out and give it a good cleaning. That's because Heidi Swanson, of indexed blog 101 Cookbooks, is going to give you new ideas for using your underutilized steamer.

 

Swanson is a big fan of steam cooking, for a number of reasons. She explains that steam cooking is "deceptively fast. It maintains much of the vibrancy and vitally of ingredients. It's one of the most healthful ways to cook, and (as you'll see) it's surprisingly adaptable." The unique ceramic steamer pictured on her blog is available at her quitokeeto website (beware of sticker shock), along with several recipe ideas and inspiration.

You don't need an expensive steamer; many models are available for around $20 USD that will fit over an existing saucepan. Many foods lend themselves to being steamed, including dumplings, tamales, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower and other vegetables. The basic procedure is dead simple: fill the base vessel with a modest amount of water or other liquid, bring the liquid to a simmer, and place ingredients in the steaming baskets, stacking up to three baskets. Cover the top basket and steam until your food is appropriately cooked. Lining the baskets with cabbage or lettuce leaves makes for easy cleanup. 

Photo of Steaming vegetables from indexed blog 101 Cookbooks by Heidi Swanson

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