09/20/16

Professional Cookware for Amateurs?

When you have new kitchen or have just decided to buy cookware sets, you will realize that this is not a very easy task.  With the wide variety of available cookware sets on sale, finding the best cookware for you may prove to be challenging.

One of the most pressing issues when deciding on what cooking ware to purchase is whether to buy a professional cookware or just a regular cookware.  As a home cook, you may think that buying a professional cookware set may be an unnecessary expense as you may get the same results with using regular pots and pans.  In actual, if your budget permits, buying professional cookware sets may save you more money in the long run and make you happier in the kitchen.

Having the best professional cookware in your kitchen gives you an assurance and confidence that you are equipped with reliable apparatuses for your cooking needs.  It’s like going to a battle with the confidence that you have reliable weapons.  When you have reliable tools, you have one less thing to worry about.

Professional Cookware

Not only does professional stainless steel cookware give you confidence in cooking, it also inspires you to prepare sumptuous dishes and upgrade the recipes you cook.

If you are budget constraint but still wants to opt for professional cookware, you may consider buying the specific cookware you need instead of a complete set.  This is especially true if you only prepare specific dishes and do not need too many varieties of cookware with your type of cooking.

Professional Cookware setWhen you have finally made up your mind to go for professional cooking ware, you are now faced with a wide selection of different brands such as the thomas professional cookware, magnalite professional cookware or ameriware professional cookware.  I am pretty sure these brands are all reliable and mostly dependable.  Each brand will have some stronger points than the others and I will leave it up to you to discover these.  Check different professional cookware reviews to find out.

What I feel is more important to discuss is the type of cookware you would be most comfortable using.  Here is a brief idea on each kind of cookware you may encounter in the market:

  • Cast Iron Cookware – Probably one of the most durable types of cookware, reasonably priced, quite heavy and needs special maintenance called seasoning.
  • Stainless Steel Cookware – One of the most popular types of cookware, reasonably priced, easy and regular cleaning except when food gets stuck on the cookware then you have to soak it for a while then wash regularly.
  • Non-stick cookware – Also a very popular type of cookware, reasonably priced, very easy to clean since food does not stick on it, you may cook with minimal oil.
  • Ceramic cookware – Artistic and attractive cookware, medium to high priced, claimed to be a healthier alternative to non-stick cookware, versatile as you may use it also as serving dish.
  • Titanium cookware – Very durable, quite expensive, easy cleaning, waterless cooking is possible.

07/8/16

Kitchen Cookware: Which suits you most?

As a professional chef, a lot of times I am requested to give a recommendation on what kinds of kitchen cookware are preferable.  This is because there are already a lot of different types and brands of kitchen pots and pans to choose from.  Depending on your budget, you have a wild selection when it comes to the prices.  If there is no limit on your budget, you may opt for the high end brands or buy kitchen cookware sets instead of per piece.   If you are on tight budget, you may opt for cheap pots and pans.   What is important to know is what and how frequent you will use your pot and pans to be able to determine which is best for you.

To give my personal preference on what is the best pots and pans I consider based on my experience with them, I will briefly discuss each of them.

Cast iron cooking pots and pans – For preparing healthy dishes especially one dish recipes, I would recommend using cast iron.  Some of the dishes you can prepare are pork chops, pasta and frittatas.  Dishes which you should avoid preparing using cast iron cookware are dishes which have acidic recipes like tomato or lemon as they may react against the iron.kitchen cookware

In order for cast iron pots and pan sets to last a lifetime, maintaining its quality is important.  Appropriate care must be observed to achieve this.  As you may have already realized, cast iron pots pans weigh a lot compared with stainless steel pots and pans and others made of different materials.  One must be careful when handling it, especially when hot, as dropping it may cause irreparable damage.  Cleaning and storing cast iron pot and pan set also involve a different process called seasoning. Seasoning is putting a sort of coating on the iron cookware by greasing it and heating it in an oven.  We will discuss the process in detail shortly.  Once the cast iron kitchen cookware is seasoned, it is ready for use and should only be cleaned by warm water, and not with dishwashing soap.  The only time you may clean with dishwashing liquid is when you just bought it and took it out of its original packaging as there may be some waxy residue which serves as a protective cover for the new cookware.  After the first wash involving dishwashing liquid, you have to season the cookware and the next washes will no longer involve dishwashing liquid.

Going back to the process of seasoning your cast iron pots and pans sets, you must first make sure it is completely dry before you apply any coating.  You must also preheat your oven to 350 degrees in preparation for cooking or seasoning your cast iron kitchen pots and pans.  Apply a thin layer of edible oil on the inner and outer part of the cookware and place this in the preheated oven, letting it stay for about 30 minutes.  The inner part of the cookware should be placed in the oven where the inner part is facing down.  It is recommended that you place a stray or foil on the under rack where the cookware is being cooked to serve as an oil drip trap.  Once this is done, your cookware is ready to use.  You may repeat this procedure from time to time but not necessarily each time you use the cookware.  This will ensure that your cookware will be passed on the generations to come.

To get more information about other types of cookware, check out other kitchen pots and pans reviews.

06/17/16

Is Induction Cooking For You?

Cooking without open flame may be unimaginable in the earlier years.  Nowadays, you would observe in some cooking shows that they use a flat black surface, without any visible flames, to cook delicious meals.  This is what they call an induction cooktop.  It has a sleek, glossy black color that look really classy and neat.  Instead of using flames to generate heat to cook the food, it utilizes magnetic energy to generate heat.  This will give you an idea that not all types of cookware is suitable to be used on induction cook tops.

What is induction cookware?  Simply put, these are cookware that are compatible or may be used on induction cook tops.  Induction cookware have magnetic bottom which will connect with the magnetic component of the induction top.

The primary advantage of using induction cooktop is that it is safer than gas cooktops.  There are no open flames like burners and you prevent gas leaks which is one of the risks when using gas burners.  Induction cooktop is preferred in apartments and clustered housing because it is generally safer.

Induction CookingInduction cooktop also has a good heating efficiency.  It takes less time to boil or heat using an induction stove cookware.  Cooking using induction compatible cookware saves not only time but also on consumption of electricity.  Induction cooking is more energy efficient than other electrical stoves so you have lower electric bill than other  electrical cooktops.

One amazing thing also with induction cooktops is that the only area that heats up is the area where the cookware is directly under.  The heat does not distribute to other parts as it is only concentrated on the cookware.

One disadvantage of switching to induction cooktop is that you might have to change most of your cookware sets and get an induction cookware set.  The good news, however, is that it is not difficult to find.  There are many brands that carry it.  If you have a good budget, you may opt for the all clad induction cookware or calphalon induction cookware.  If you have a more practical budget,  there are cheaper brands like cuisinart induction cookware and kitchenaid induction cookware.  Before you throw out your old cookware, check first as they may be induction safe cookware.  A simple test to see whether your cookware can be used on an induction cooktop is to check whether  a magnet can stick to the outer bottom of the cookware.

If you want to experience cooking with an induction cooktop but is still unsure if it is really for you, you may try first with a portable induction cooktop which has now become widely available.  This is cheaper and not permanent, in case you change your mind.

To find out which is the best induction cookware, you may check out other induction cookware reviews.  You must also identify what type of cooking you usually do and the frequency of your cooking to help you in identifying which one best suits your needs.

04/19/16

How to Keep Your Non Stick Frying Pan in Good Condition for a Long While

When purchasing a cell phone, you are not only provided with the cell phone unit itself, the charger and headsets normally go with it as well as they are necessities for you to be able to fully use the cell phone.  This goes true with purchasing non stick fry pans, when you buy one, attached sales to it are a non-metal utensil and a soft cleaning material like sponge or scouring pad with soft cloth bristles.

To guide you on the proper use and care of your non stick frying pan, here are some points to ponder on:

  1. After buying your brand new non stick fry pan from your favorite cookware store and taking it home to your kitchen, don’t immediately use it without washing it first with warm water and mild soap.  Use sponge or other soft cleaning material when washing non stick frying pans.  After washing, you need to either air dry the pan or using soft cloth or paper towels.
  2. Once your pan is clean, you need to season it by pouring a small quantity of edible oil and spreading it out to the whole pan using a paper towel.  After this procedure, you may now use the frying pan.
  3. Non Stick Frying PanWhen preheating even the best frying pan which is non stick, the maximum setting of heat you should use is medium.  Do not go above medium as it will compromise the coating of your pan.  Anyway, most dishes you would cook using non stick pans need not be cooked over high heat.
  4. Except if you are using a non stick deep frying pan, you do not need to use a lot of cooking oil on your non stick pan.  A very thin layer of cooking oil maybe enough already to prepare your dishes.  You may just spray oil over your non stick pan.  This is one of the beauties of this type of pan.  It also is a healthier option to prepare food.  This is one advantage non stick has over stainless steel frying pan.
  5. In order to preserve the coating of your non stick pan, avoid scratching the coating when cooking or even storing.  When you are cooking, use stirrers or spatulas which are non metal.  You may use utensils made out of rubber or wood.  When storing, it is better to hang non stick pans than stack them together to avoid possibility of scratching the coating.
  6. Even the best fry pan needs to be cleaned out immediately and thoroughly after use if you want it to last a long life.  Repeat the washing process as indicated in point number one, above.

The non stick fry pan is a convenient partner in the kitchen.  It will lessen your frustration when preparing dishes as it eliminates the problem of the ingredients sticking on to the pan.  If you would like to try other types of fry pans, try a stainless steel fry pan or a ceramic frying pan and compare the differences.

01/31/16

Copper Cookware: Is it the one for you?

One of the important considerations of a chef in choosing the cookware to use is its heating capacity.  It is also important that heat is distributed evenly and consistently on the cookware.  It is for this reason that copper cookware is preferred by most chefs.

Copper pans are normally made of various plies of different metals.  Some of the metals that may be layered with copper are stainless steel, aluminum and nickel.  Both copper and aluminum are good heat conductors thus this tandem on a cookware is very ideal.

To give you an idea on whether copper pots and pans are the right cookware for you, let me discuss some of it positive and negative points.

Positive

  • As earlier stated, a copper cookware set is preferred by most chefs.  This in itself is almost a guarantee that it works well with most dishes, especially those you love ordering in a restaurant.  Copper cookware sets are sturdy as the copper metal is not brittle and is almost unbreakable. It is also one of the reasons it is preferred as even if you use it day in and day out, it does not easily give in to wear and tear which makes it economical in the long run.
  • FCS24 main view

    FCS24 main view

    Copper pots, a copper frying pan and other copper cookware look really classy.  When not in use, they could serve as impressive decors around the kitchen.  You could put them in display by hanging them on your kitchen walls.  There is no need to hide them inside the kitchen cabinets.

  • Copper has the reddish-brown color which looks very appealing that may exceptionally entice the cook in creating sumptuous dishes.  It is extremely common nowadays that a kitchen has a red theme color because the color red stimulates the appetite.  Now, you don’t even have to paint your kitchen r
    ed if you have a copper pan or a copper pot set as you could use these a accent colors to your kitchen.
  • Copper is a good thermal conductor.  It is known to evenly pan out heat evenly and consistently.  In this aspect, it is far superior that its other metal counterparts like the aluminum.  It is also more superior to glass.
  • Since pots and pans made of copper have good thermal conductivity, it shortens the period of time you have to cook a dish compared when using cookware made of other materials.  Cookware with good heating capacity emits heat faster, better and evenly.  This also lets you avoid the common problem of having hot spots when cooking.
  • Copper cooking pots make polishing optional as copper looks good even without polishing.  Unpolished copper gives out a rustic look so if you have a knack for this vibe; you only need to do regular cleaning without having to polish every now and then.  However, if you like shiny cookware, then polish away!  Copper gives you these options and a lot more.
  • The outer layer of copper pots and pans set, where the cooking happens, is layered or covered by another metal like stainless steel because copper cannot interact with food.  With a smooth stainless steel finish, cleaning the cookware becomes easier.  There are several techniques you can find in the internet on how to clean copper pots and pans.

Copper pots and pans are all these great but of course, there are a few points to watch out for before you can finally decide this is the right type of cookware for you.  These are some of the negative things I observed or experienced with copper pans and copper pots.

  • Copper Cook ware

    Copper is almost an unbreakable metal but it is prone to become deformed as it is malleable.  This is also one of the reasons why it is bonded with other metals when creating a cookware, aside for the fact that copper is toxic and cannot interact with food.

  • Copper is a heavy metal so obviously a copper cooking ware weighs more than other cookware made of other lighter metals.  You must take this in consideration especially if you are petite.
  • Even the best copper cookware is flawed with being prone to discoloration after so many uses.  Also, if you do not clean it well, patina may develop on the exposed copper of the cookware.
  • If you are on a limited budget, one of the major turn offs of a copper cookware is its cost.  The price may almost be double of a regular cookware where other types of metals were used.
  • As mentioned in the first point, copper is toxic and will react to food so it is coated with another non toxic metal for the part where you do your cooking.  You have to take extra caution not to scrape off the non toxic metal coating so you could still use your copper cooking ware.

Now that you know the strong and weak points of copper pots and pans set, you can more or less decide whether this is the suitable cookware for you.