Apparently there's still room under the cabinet as manufacturers continue to bring out under-the-cabinet merchandise. According to one manufacturer, to be successful, a UTC (under-the-cabinet) product should fall in the category of tools or equipment that are used almost every day in the kitchen. Two items that easily fall into that category are the microwave oven and the toaster oven. Here are some of the latest products available:
Just recently introduced by Litton is the Micro-Browner microwave oven. It's the first under-the-cabinet unit that not only microwaves but bakes, roasts, broils and toasts food. The 650-watt microwave oven offers 10 levels of cooking speed. Thermal energy comes from the upper and lower heating coils, which can be set between 200 and 500 degrees. When used in combination with microwave energy, cooking time can be reduced by about 40%. For instance, a nine-inch square white cake, which takes 35 minutes to bake conventionally, will only take 18 minutes in the new Litton unit.
Automatic cooking takes away the guesswork on the part of the cook. The Litton oven determines when to use thermal heat and when to use microwave power. Printed on the unit's touch pad panel are 20 codes, covering a variety of microwave-only and microwave-thermal combinations. By simply entering the food code and the number of items to be cooked, the oven automatically figures out the time, correct cooking method, oven temperature and microwave power level.
Non-Stick Interior Finish
Unlike other combination microwave ovens, which have metal interiors, Litton's Micro-Browner is made with micolon, a non-stick interior finish. That feature and the rounded corners inside the unit make for easier cleanup. The cavity will hold a 12x7-inch baking dish or a four-pound chicken or ham.
Weighing 49 pounds, the oven measures 11 3/4 inches high, 21 3/4 inches wide and 13 3/4 inches deep. The exterior has a simulated wood grain wrap. Included in the front panel are a timer and a clock. The Micro-Browner comes with a temperature probe, a three-position sliding rack with a ceramic shelf for holding small food items and a broiler pan. Sold separately is the mounting bracket for installing under a cabinet.
Another first-timer in UTC appliances comes from Toastmaster Inc. The company has just introduced an under-the-cabinet conventional toaster in its Kitchen Dimensions line. The unit has four slots that are wide enough to accommodate most bread slices and other toaster convenience foods. Narrow and compact, the toaster is simple to operate. The front panel contains a full-range dial for controlling the color of the toast and a signal light indicating when the unit is in use. An audible signal lets you know when the toast is done, and the toaster shuts off automatically.
The exterior of the Toastmaster unit is chocolate brown with almond-colored, textured end panels. It has a double-wall construction with insulated top, back and sides and hinged crumb trays for easy cleaning. A special safety interlock system prevents toaster operation when the door is open. The front trim panel also protects cabinets from heat and moisture. Complete installation hardware and instructions are included in the package.
Three Other Models
Toastmaster also has three other models of under-the-cabinet toaster ovens featuring the glass front oven door. It has two models with four-slice capacity and a larger toaster-oven broiler with six-slice capacity.
When National Presto Industries Inc. introduced their AboveAll Toaster/Warmer, the concept was a product that will still provide headroom for countertop items. Shorter in height than most under-the-cabinet toaster units, the AboveAll Toaster/Warmer quickly toasts two slices of bread, from thin sandwich slices to thick "Texas" toasts with an automatic shut-off when the toast is done. It can also be used for warming pastries, making open-face sandwiches, preparing frozen waffles, big English muffins and large bagels.
The appliance has a color-keyed control for light to dark toast, fresh or frozen pastries and convenience foods. A slide-out crumb tray and removable chrome wire rack facilitate cleaning.
If you're considering an extra-large under-the-cabinet toaster-oven, the Spacemaker Toast-R-Oven Broiler from Black & Decker has a 14x10-inch interior that can accommodate a nine-inch pie pan or a 12-cup muffin pan. Styled in dark brown and white, the unit bakes, broils, top-browns and toasts. It features a durable heat guard mounting hood that protects kitchen cabinets from heat and cooking vapors. Safety features include a temperature sensor and a large bright signal light that glows continuously to remind users when the oven is on. The oven may also be used on the countertop, if desired.