I was fortunate to receive some birthday moolah and while I’ve put some of it away for my summer adventures, I also wanted to treat myself to a new kitchen toy. Since my kitchen is teensy-tiny, I need to choose my toys wisely. But I had a very short short-list, and this was right at the top.

Mine is a small one (there are bigger sizes, too), and it came in a gift set with a specially-designed spatula that helps get the cooked food out of the unusually-shaped case, and a recipe book that focuses on ten-minute recipes. Besides the cool Catalan design factor, it’s a very practical solution to one of my main dietary challenges. In Spain, we eat dinner on the late side — for most of us in Madrid, it’s around 9:30 if we’re eating at home — and I often find myself uninspired by the idea of making a mess in the kitchen and then needing to clean it up before I go to bed. I also like to keep things on the light side so that I sleep better.

So how does this little beauty work? It steams ingredients in the microwave (or in a conventional oven, if you’re so inclined) — and because you use it on the high setting for a short time, the nutrients are better preserved. It also requires very little oil, so that’s another plus.

I’ve tried two recipes since I got it, and they’ve both been delicious. Tonight I had asparagus bundles with serrano ham and soft-cooked eggs, and a few days ago I had salmon filet with zucchini. I have a bunch of other recipes flagged in the cookbook and I’ll be working my way through them over the next few weeks.

If you’re interested in cooking lighter and faster, you should definitely give the Lékué steam case a try. It’s perfect for getting you out of the kitchen in a hurry in the hot weather. You’ll find lots of inspiring recipes (in English) on the main Spanish site. This one looks pretty tasty!