FYI here is the type of steamer I am talking about (mine is much cheaper looking and battered:)
Over the years I have developed a number of kitchen strategies that help me prepare meals “from scratch” on a daily basis. I don’t tons of time to spend in the kitchen, but my body and mind run better on “real” food, so I have gotten pretty efficient.
One of my favorite tools is the double steamer basket. This is a big pot with two layers of steamer baskets in it. Technically I think it is a pasta cooking pot with a steamer insert.
A weeknight meal goes like this:
- Get home at 6:30 (honestly, that is on a good day)
- Fill the big steamer pot with an inch or so of water, put in the bottom basket and place on the stove to boil.
- Cut up/prep my “hard” starchy veggies, which could be beets, carrots, winter squash, cauliflower, sweet or regular potatoes, rutabagas, etc. and add to the bottom steamer basket. I can modulate the overall cooking time by cutting the veggies into smaller or bigger pieces.
- Cover and turn the now boiling water down to a high simmer.
- Prep my “tender” veggies, typically kale, collards, spinach, etc. De-stem, wash and spin, and place in the top steamer basket, ready for 5 minutes of steaming at the end of the cooking time.
- Prep the meat: typical for me is a Prather Ranch pork chop, a grass-fed burger, steak or sausage, but fish is also weeknight fast. If I am doing chicken, it is usually a whole one, or bone-in, skin-on parts, so that is relegated, along with stews and pot roasts, to the weekend.
- When “hard” veggies are about 15 minutes out from being done (which is about now!), start to pan cook the meat.
- During last five minutes, stack the tender greens into the steamer and cover.
- Turn off both pans, pull tender greens out and dump into a bowl, toss with olive oil and salt. Pull the “hard” veggies out and dump into a bowl and toss with butter and salt (or dump into same bowl and greens and toss together – one less bowl to wash).
Ready to serve – in about 30 minutes.
I generally find the steamer only needs quick rinse, so I just have one pan to wash. If I didn’t already have my metal double decker, I might go with a bamboo steamer set, but I like that mine is also gives me another big soup pot.
Who says slow food can’t be fast!
Photo Credit: by ImageBG – https://pixabay.com/photo-1269716/