09/3/16

The Appropriate Pots and Pans for You

For a professional chef or a home cook, choosing the suitable pots and pans for your cooking requirement is an individual choice.  A lot of options are available and different factors are to consider in choosing the right one for you.  Some of the considerations are the frequency of usage, dependability, comfortableness, safety and versatility.

Another consideration is whether it is wiser to buy single pots & pans or to buy pots and pans set.  If you cook limited dishes for yours and your family’s consumption, buying single pot and pans may prove to be more economical.  You may do a lot of different dishes on a single reasonably sized pot.  Do not but a small pot as you are limiting its capacity as to the quantity and the types of dishes you can prepare in it.  As for pans, a small and bigger pan may be recommended for a few varieties of dishes, from simple frying to more complex dishes.  You may also want to have some stainless steel pots and pans and some non-stick ones.  You can find some good quality but cheap pots and pans which are suitable for everyday home cooking.

For professional chefs or cooking enthusiasts who are more daring in preparing more varied dishes, buying pots and pans sets may be better and more cost friendly in the long run.  It also saves you the hassle of not having the right cookware when you need it for your particular recipe.  Cooks of this type prepare dishes that range from seared meats to paellas so a wide variety of cookware is very much welcome in their kitchen.

Now there are also ingredients which are only suitable to certain types of cooking ware.  Example is tomato or lemon which is acidic and may react negatively on cookware with copper finish or aluminum finish.  Your best bet for acidic ingredients is stainless steel pots and pans set.  Stainless steel metal is non ferrous and non corrosive so it does not react with food ingredients.  This ensures the flavors of your ingredients do not get tampered with any metal taste.  Another option is glass cooking pots and pans which are surely non-reactive but has limits as to the type of cook top you will use.

The cast iron pots pans is an excellent option for cooks who are more into frying.  Cast iron has a good heat retention lessening the time required for you to achieve the brown crisp you are aiming for.  Cast iron cookware needs to be seasoned, though, prior to first use and this has to be repeated once or twice a year.  Ingredients will not stick to a well seasoned cast iron cookware thus is easier to clean compared with using stainless steel.

pots and pans setFor more complicated type of cooking which involves both a cook top and an oven, one consideration you have to bear in mind in selecting your cookware is the handles of your pot and pans set.  Take note that you have to transfer a hot pot or pan into the oven which is presumably pre-heated.  Your handles must be easy to grip and safely attached to the cookware itself.  It is also better that the handle stays cool even during cook time.  Do not rely on kitchen pot holders as you may underestimate the hotness of the handle if it is not the stay cool type.

The best pots and pans for wannabe chefs is a mixture of different types.  This way, you get to try each and know which one works well for each type of dish you are preparing.  For sure you will have favorite pots and pans over time and from this you would know which will be your next buy.  Discovering the versatility of your cookware will trim down the pieces you would need to buy.  Discovering also which wears down easily with your cooking frequency will enable you to be more cautious on your next purchase.  If you’re the artsy type, you may also want to try colored cookware like green pots and pans or pink pots and pans which are now available in the market.

To get the best value for your money, before deciding the cookware pieces you would buy, make sure you contemplate on what you really need.  Think about what you regularly cook and what dishes you still want to try.  Do not just imitate what others are buying or be fooled into buying the most expensive ones thinking it is the best or cheapest ones thinking you are saving money by doing so.  Note that some cookware is made for rigorous cooking like in catering or restaurants and for this reason the cookware are reinforced and therefore cost higher.  In the same manner, not all cheap pots and pans set are of inferior quality but you have to choose wisely because the possibility of getting low quality cheap cookware is high.  Doing a good research may save you a lot of bucks and having unnecessary cookware in your kitchen.

07/24/16

Seasoning Lodge Cast Iron Cooking Ware

Lodge cookware is a well known brand of cast iron pots and pans.  This brand has withstood the test of time being in existence for decades.  The secret to their continued success is the superior quality of their lodge cast iron cookware.

To be able to have your lodge cast iron cookware last for generations, proper care must be exercised.  This is not limited to the lodge pans brand but even the best cast iron cookware must undergo this specific care and maintenance in order for last a lifetime.  This is the process which we refer to as seasoning.

Cast iron cookware, regardless of the brand, has to be seasoned to serve its function and to be usable for a long time.  A cast iron pan or a cast iron pot which is properly seasoned will have a silky black finish.

When you season cast iron pots and pans, you apply edible oil, either from vegetables or animals, onto the outer and inner areas of the cookware to form a coating.  This is done for the following reasons:

  1. The coating safeguards the cooking ware from corroding.
  2. The coating will prevent food ingredients from sticking onto the pan.
  3. The coating will shield the food from acidic reactions against cast iron.

 Detailed procedure of seasoning cast iron frying pan and other pans and pots:

  1.  When you buy a new cast iron griddle or other cooking ware, it has a protective wax cover which should be washed off prior to seasoning the pan.
  2. Thoroughly wash the new pan or pot with dishwashing soap and water to remove the protective wax.
  3. Dry the cookware with a towel or leave it hanging to air dry.  Ensure that it is completely dry as this is very important prior to seasoning.
  4. Apply edible oil on the whole cookware.  This includes the bottom, sides, insides and even the handle.
  5. Preheat the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Place the cookware properly coated with edible oil into the preheated oven and let it bake for an hour.
  7. After an hour, open the oven door and let it stay open so the cookware can cool faster.  Do not remove it from the oven until you are sure it is cool already.
  8. Your cookware should now have a silky, shiny black look and it is now seasoned and ready to be used.
  9. This process need not be repeated for every use.  You may repeat this process once or twice a year to maintain the good quality of your cookware.

Instructions on Washing Your Iron Cast Cooking Ware After Use

  1. After using your cast iron grill pan, wash it off with warm water.  If you need to take off something, you may use a soft cloth to remove it.
  2. Do not use dishwashing soap or rough materials to scrub off dirt from your cookware as it will damage the seasoning.
  3. In case you really need to soap or scrub your cookware, season it again afterwards.
  4. After cleaning your cookware, dry it completely dry before packing it away.

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.

05/25/16

The Good and The Bad in Hard Anodized Cookware

You may have heard of hard anodized cookware and wondered what it is made of.  The material used in this type of cookware is aluminum but instead of combining it with other metals like stainless steel, it undergoes a process called electro-chemical hardening wherein it is treated with sulfuric acid prior to the electro-chemical process.  After the process, the result is a very hard and sturdy cookware, probably even tougher compared with stainless steel.  There are advantages and disadvantages of using anodized aluminum cookware.  Let us list down some of these points to help you make up your mind whether hard anodized cookware sets are for you.

Advantages

Sturdiness and Durability

As already discussed above, hard anodized aluminum cookware is very hard and durable.  Because of this, it does not easily dent during accidental bumps or knock offs.  It could last for generations with suitable maintenance.

Safe for oven use

One of the most asked questions when buying cookware sets is if it could be used in an oven.  So, is hard anodized cookware safe for oven use?  That would be a resounding “yes,” granted, of course, that the cookware has metal holders.

Non-stick

Hard anodized aluminum pans are non-stick so there is no need to worry about your dishes sticking on your pans.  You can also prepare healthier dishes as being non stick, putting in a lot of oil is no longer needed.  This saves you also on the cost of cooking oil.

Cleaning  convenience

Hard Anodized CookwareUnlike stainless steel cookware, hard anodized cookware set is non-stick which makes it more convenient to clean, less the effort of taking out sticky food items on your pan.  In rare cases you get some clingy food stick on your pan, a tested technique to get it out is to soak it with baking soda mixed with water for a few minutes.  You may afterwards wash it normally.

Good heat conductivity

Hard anodized cookware is one of the best  cookware because it is made of aluminum metal which is a good conductor of heat.  Translating this into practicality, it means that you can cook your meal faster and you avoid hot spots as the entire cookware is made of alumunim, not just the core.

Disadvantages

Cost

The first turn off of most potential buyers of even the best hard anodized cookware set is the price.  Because of the tedious process involved in creating this high quality cookware, production cost is quite high and so does the selling price.

Weight

Ironically, aluminum does not weigh a lot like stainless steel , yet hard anodized cooking ware is heavy.  It is after going the coating process that makes it weigh a ton.  So for petite chefs, this might not be very ideal for you.  You need extra precaution when transferring this cookware with So for petite chefs, this might not be very ideal for you.  You need extra precaution when transferring this cookware with hot meal in it.

Cannot double as a food container

Unlike ceramic or glass cookware which you can use to store food for reheating on a later time, it is not advisable with hard anodized cooking ware.   Aside from it being heavy, it also does not have a tight-lid cover and giving air access to the food while in storage may spoil the food.

Manual washing only

So this is a big disadvantage for those who love the convenience of washing dishes in the dishwasher.  Only manual washing is recommended to protect the coating of this cookware.  After all, who wants to get contaminated with aluminum when the coating is damaged?

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.