Why You Should Be Cooking With A Convection Countertop Oven

If you love to eat and really like to spend as little time in the kitchen as possible, then getting an oven with a convection cooking feature is probably the best way to go. Now instead of replacing your full sized range with an oven with this cook setting, you can just get a toaster oven with convection capabilities. Not only will this save you money, but toaster ovens have their own advantages as well. Being easy to use, simple to clean, convenient, and using less energy are just some of the benefits that having a countertop oven can give you.

What Is Convection?

Before we get to the the best toaster ovens with this feature, it is important to understand what it is and the advantages that it offers. Convection ovens have a fan inside of them that circulates the hot air and cooks food evenly and at faster speeds. This alone is worth the money, but there are some other pleasant benefits and some tips that you can use to reap the full rewards of this technology.

Top 3 Convection Ovens

We have some experience with one of the ovens on our list, and of course we have that rated on top. But we also consulted with some of the expert sites that do toaster oven ratings. We found the GourmetWorrier best toaster oven list and parsed through the different convection ovens that owners rank the highest. Here is what we found:

Breville Smart Oven BOV800XL

Breville makes a great line of toaster ovens, but not all of them make use of the convection cooking technology. The BOV800XL is the perfect size to cook whole chickens and larger family meals. We have used this oven in our own kitchen and have cooked up some of the best tasting dishes over the years. A lot of our friends are often surprised that their meal was prepared in a toaster oven since they often get a bad wrap. But that is based on old technology, and in fact, today’s countertop ovens are more than capable of making some mouth watering recipes that used to be reserved for our full sized oven. Now we store our pots and pans in there and just use our Breville for everything.

The BOV800XL has a slick looking digital display that looks like something the Jetson’s would use. It has automatic temperature adjustment which saves on a lot of the guesswork. Its heating elements are made of quartz which drastically reduces the amount of time needed to preheat the oven. We also love the design of this toaster oven as it fits in nicely with the rest of our stainless steel kitchen appliances. The only thing missing from this machine is a light on the inside. We love it and we are sure you will too.

Kitchenaid KCO273SS

This is a very non-descript model number for what appears to be a very robust and versatile toaster oven. It brags very fast start times and it brings the temperature up quickly. It also has 9 presets for just about every type of dish you intend to cook. It can roast, broil, bake, and toast with the best of them. Its convection cooking capability also gets high praise from owners. From the pictures, it is also another modern toaster oven that would look fantastic in any kitchen. It is a little less expensive than the Breville and can go for between $200 and $240. After reading up on this particular oven, if we did not already own the BOV800XL, this is one we would definitely be considering.

Cuisinart TOB-195

We have a couple of Cuisinart appliances in our kitchen (food processor and bread machine) and have found that they make some really dependable machines. We have no hesitation about recommending a Cuisinart toaster oven for this reason. The TOB-195 is also a convection countertop oven that has gotten some very nice customer reviews. What we like about this unit as well is where the controls are placed. They are up front and we can see how this would help save some space in the design of the oven. While it is not as futuristic in its styling as the other two ovens above, the stainless steel is a nice look.

Convection Advantages

Faster cooking times, energy savings, and more evenly cooked food is what cooking with convection can offer you in the kitchen. The downside to this is that now many of the recipes that you currently use may need to have their times adjusted. Going through this learning curve, however, is fully worth it as you will end up spending less time in the kitchen preparing your food and more time with the family enjoying it. Hopefully some of you will find our list helpful and pick yourself up one these ovens for your own home. It really has changed the way that our family spends time in the kitchen….for the better.

Why Does Chopping Onions Make You Cry?

Dicing onions

Onions are a great addition to any recipe since they add to the taste and give wonderful texture. But anyone who has ever worked with onions can attest to what a painful experience it can be. When you are tasked with chopping or dicing them, it is a race against the clock. If you rush it, you might end up cutting yourself and if you go too slow, the inevitable tears start to stream down your face. If you ever wondered why onions have this effect on people, then you are not alone.

Onions, together with many other plants such as garlic that belong to Allium species, absorb sulfur from the soil as they grow. When you cut the juicy edible part of the onions known as scales, you end up breaking cells within it, releasing certain enzymes. Consequently, the released enzymes react with the absorbed sulfur to create amino acid sulfoxides. These, in turn, create a substance known as syn-propanethial-S-oxide that is highly unstable. When this substance, in a gaseous state, gets in contact the moisture present in your eyes, it causes a burning sensation.

Tears in your eyes are normally controlled by lachrymal glands that are positioned just above your eyelids. Once your brain gets a message that there is such an irritant in your eyes, which is causing a burning sensation, it signals the lachrymal glands to secrete tears in order to flush the irritant out of your eyes. However, cooked onions do not produce such an effect since the process of cooking them inactivates the enzymes responsible for making the syn-propanethial-S-oxide. Therefore, you can comfortably chew cooked onions without getting teary-eyed.

Tips To Avoid The Tears

Fortunately, there are several proven ways that will stop onions from watering your eyes as you chop them.

Refrigerate onions for at least 10 to 15 minutes prior to cutting them

By chilling or cooling the onions, the sulfoxides/enzyme reaction rate is slowed down. This, in turn, minimizes production of the syn-propanethial-S-oxide. This process will have zero effect on taste. Alternatively, you can just run water over the onions as you chop them.

Use a super-sharp knife when chopping the onions

The enzymes are usually released when the cells within the onion are crushed or broken. A very sharp knife will slice through the onion instead of crushing and therefore, fewer enzymes are released. In fact, it is recommendable to use a very sharp knife every time you cut onions regardless of the different tactic you want to apply.

Use a food processor

If you buy this appliance for just one cooking task, then cutting onions would be the main benefit. Not only can you avoid knife mishaps and tears, but it will tremendously speed up your food preparation for the most arduous recipes. Anything that involves a lot of slicing, dicing or chopping can great benefit from one of these machines. You can check out reviews of the top food processors and see that they can do a lot more than saving you from the wrath of the onion. These are a godsend to have in the kitchen and well worth the investment for anyone who loves to cook.

Soak the onions in water before cutting them

When you soak the onions in water, you create a water-air boundary which inactivates the enzyme. This tactic is especially helpful for those who do not own a freezer or refrigerator. However, this process may eliminate some flavor and will also make the onion a little more slippery than normal.

Wear a gas-tight mask or onion goggles

You can use onion goggles or even your pair of swimmer’s goggles that perfectly fit your face. Since they are gas-tight it means that the gaseous substance will not get into your eyes.

Cut onions next to a window or a fan

Cutting the onions close to a fan or a window helps pull the gas away from your eyes.

Some of these will work better than others. The top two ways are to chill your onions or to use a food processor. While using goggles might work, you might find the whole idea rather silly.  Onions are quite a popular vegetable, and for good reason. There are ways around the crying that should let you enjoy them even more. Don’t be afraid the next time your recipes call for chopping some onions.