How to microwave dinner or even cheesecake in a mug

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Softly Set Raspberry Cheesecake from “Mug Cakes” by Joanna Farrow. Photo by Lis Parsons.

Since we’re talking about small-batch baking this week, let’s revisit the mug cake.

What? You’ve never heard of “baking” a cake in a mug? This 3-2-1 mug cake is all the rage among the baking-for-one crowd, of which my grandmother is a proud member. (She’s the one who first introduced me to this mug cooking concept.)

Since then, I’d heard about scrambling eggs in a mug, but it wasn’t until I saw two mug cookbooks on my desk that I realized we were actually talking about a bonafide food trend.

Softly Set Raspberry Cheesecake from “Mug Cakes” by Joanna Farrow. Photo by Lis Parsons.

Softly Set Raspberry Cheesecake from “Mug Cakes” by Joanna Farrow. Photo by Lis Parsons.

Joanna Farrow’s “Mug Cakes: Made in Minutes in the Microwave!” (Spruce, $12.99), which comes out next week, sticks with sweets, but instead of endless variations on the traditional cake or brownie, she offers puddings, mousse, muffins and this softly set raspberry cheesecake. (Mmmmm, soft raspberry cheesecake….)

If you want to go beyond dessert (or sweet breakfast), check out “Mug Meals: Delicious Microwave Recipes” by Dina Cheney (Taunton Press, $16.95). Even though the book toes the line of a leftover cookbook (many of the recipes require pre-cooked meats, grains or pasta), it might inspire you to get creative about what you do with that last little bit of leftover rice or noodles, as she does with Japanese salmon dish below.

Softly Set Raspberry Cheesecake

Generous 1/4 cup full-fat cream cheese, softened
2 tsp. vanilla sugar
1 egg yolk
2 Tbsp. heavy cream
8 fresh raspberries
1 graham cracker or amaretti cookie
Sifted confectioner’s sugar, for dusting

Put the cream cheese, sugar, egg yolk and cream in a 7-fluid-oz. microwave-safe mug and beat together with a fork until well mixed.

Microwave on full power for 45 seconds. Stir in the raspberries and microwave on full power for 1 minute or until the edges of the cheesecake are set but the center is still wobbly. Crush the cracker or cookie, either loosely with your fingers or finely in a plastic bag using a rolling pin. Sprinkle the crumbs over the cheesecake and decorate with a few raspberries. Serve dusted with a little sifted confectioner’s sugar. Serves 1.

— From “Mug Cakes: Made in Minutes in the Microwave!” by Joanna Farrow (Spruce, $12.99)

Japanese Smoked Salmon with Rice and Avocado from “Mug Meals: Delicious Microwave Recipes” by Dina Cheney. Photo by Andrew Purcell.

Japanese Smoked Salmon with Rice and Avocado from “Mug Meals: Delicious Microwave Recipes” by Dina Cheney. Photo by Andrew Purcell.

Japanese Smoked Salmon with Rice and Avocado

3 1/2 oz. (about 1/2 cup) smoked salmon, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup cooked white rice (ideally short grain, such as sushi)
1 Tbsp. thinly sliced scallions
2 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp. unseasoned rice wine vinegar
2 tsp. mirin (sweet Japanese wine) or honey
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. sesame seeds
1/2 avocado, diced

Combine the salmon, rice, scallions, soy sauce, vinegar, mirin or honey, oil and sesame seeds in a medium bowl and stir together. Pour into a 16-oz. mug and pack down. Cover and microwave until the scallions are tender, about 3 minutes. Invert the mug onto a plate and top with avocado. Serves 1.

— From “Mug Meals: Delicious Microwave Recipes” by Dina Cheney (Taunton Press, $16.95)


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