I love steamed vegetables. You experienced chefs may laugh at me (either because I didn’t know about this before, or maybe because it’s not how it’s supposed to be done, whatever), but I just discovered the easiest way to make ’em.
I used to use all this:
It took forever for the water to boil and I don’t like all those clanging noises. Besides, the giant pan is great when I’m throwing a dinner party for ten or twenty people*, but it’s definitely overkill when it’s just a couple-three of us.
Then one day a few months ago, I was looking online for ways to make braised carrots. (Note: do not make a typo and search for images of “brazen carrots” instead.)
One recipe said to put the raw carrots in a little water and just stick them in the microwave to soften them up.
It works on broccoli, too!
Just use enough water to fill up about an inch or so of the container. Maybe a little more for a big pile of steamed vegetables, less for a smaller pile.
Put the lid on with one corner loose for venting. Carrots take about three minutes. Broccoli takes about two.
Steamed Vegetables: Really That Easy
If the vegetables are still too firm for your taste when they come out (carrots are particularly stubborn), either stick them back in for 30 seconds at a time, or just set them aside with the lid on the dish. They’ll soften up. If you’re going to use these in something else that still needs heat (I like to throw the carrots in my BBQ chicken stir-fry), remember that they’re going to soften up even more when you put them in the next pan, so don’t over-do it in the microwave or let them stay in the steaming dish for too long. Broccoli loves to turn into mush at the slightest provocation.
When the steamed vegetables are just how you like them, dump the water out of the dish. (Careful! Hot water is hot. I burn my finger every time.) You may want to dump them out on a paper towel and pat them down to get the excess hot water off them and help stop the steaming process faster, if that sort of thing matters to you. I don’t bother.
I haven’t tried this on any other vegetables yet, but it sure has saved a lot of time and clean-up effort with the carrots and the broccoli.
*This is a bare-faced lie. When have you ever known me to socialize with more than, like, two people at once?