Lynn Alley, author of Gourmet Toaster Oven, tells us that she first encountered the toaster via a neighbor who cooked peanut butter on bread until it bubbled. With this paradigm to guide her, she categorized the toaster oven as most of us do- a tool for the quick and boring, not for the gourmet. She changed her mind when fate stepped in and destroyed the model that had heated her English muffins. Shopping for a new one, she thought about innovation, and Alley is innovative.
Why not use this for gourmet meals, Alley thought, and set about discovering what a toaster oven can do. Her discoveries are an inspiration to all of us. Her forays began with with an examination of the oven itself, and she shares those discoveries with us. She has tips on buying the right toaster oven, as well information on the care and cleaning of the oven.
Then Alley starts to cook, and we can only marvel at the daring that it took her to break through her own concepts about toaster ovens. To have classic recipes adjusted for a more energy-efficient means of cooking might be enough, but these recipes are modern and innovative. The result is a book of fifty recipes that go from breakfast to dinner, from course to course, including some great dessert recipes.
Alley uses her oven to make dough-based dishes of all types, from basic whole wheat bread, muffins, and scones to pizza, calzone, samosas and piroshki. If you want cookies for dessert, they are there, too, along with custard and shortcake, carrot cake and cheesecake.
For substantial, main courses, Alley offers meat loaf and oven fried chicken along with some enlivened classics such as Macaroni and Cheese with Olive Tapenade, Chicken Pot Pie and Quiche Lorraine.
There are beautiful photographs throughout by Joyce Oudkerk Pool
About the author: Freelance food and wine journalist Lynn Alley is the author of the popular The Gourmet Slow Cooker. She has also contributed articles to Fine Cooking, Cook's Illustrated, San Francisco Chronicle, and Wine Spectator.