More and more...I'm loving my cast iron skillet (well well well seasoned). Everything I throw in there just cooks so well. Corn bread has a nice crust...it sears any food like no other pan can...and it just cooks so well without burning food.
I do intend to pick up a Le Creuset dutch oven for the benefits of cast iron. But I am concerned about the enamel coating cracking. If this is the case...wouldn't I be best off with a really well seasoned cast iron dutch oven?
For my main set of pans I use the older Calphalon commercial. I've tried a few of their newer pans (proffesional series stick and non-stick and ONE non-stick series) but thought they both were far under achievers. I'll keep my old Calphalon...but will be looking else where in the future.
On the same note...it looks like a lot of manufacturers are jumping on the growing popularity of cooking with pans that are aimed with marketing rather than cooking in mind. Could this be a new trend? I hope not:(
I only use non-stick pans for eggs and other foods that require non-stick surfaces. But recently I've been SO impressed with some Aubecq non-stick pans (Karat series) that I bought three more to have as back-up should the current one not hold up. I bought them for a great price at a Target owned HOME GOODS store. They've also got Le Creuset pans at times at good prices (enamel coated steel, enamel coated cast iron and "raw" cast iron).
still confused on my next purchase??? Maybe an enameled cast iron dutch oven or a "raw" dutch oven. Not sure.
Most of my cookware is copper clad, either AllClad, CopperChef, or Mauviel. I do have a few pots and pans of other brands and materials. I really like Calphelon, and I use a fair amount of LaCruset. I still use my collection of antique ( or at least, very old) Pyrex Flameware. A favorite for everyday cooking is the Cuisanart line. Still, its hard to beat an old Griswold skillet or pot. I went back to the kitchen to count my stuff. It looks like over 60 pcs, in various materials and brands. Hmmmm, time to go shopping :crazy:
Well!!! M planning to buy Cookware Set and came across Cuisinart Chef's Classic Stainless 10-Piece…..at amazon.com price is $33.99 I also tried searching for some reviews and this sitehttp://www.inods.comis giving some good info …….just check and help me out!!! Thankz
Bet my kitchen is smaller, though... 8' x 13'. But, we had a completely custom job put in when we we remodeled the condo and it's a heckof a nice kitchen. I made a lot of the cabinets myself, working in the custom cabinet shop my younger son was running at the time. Maple Shaker-style cabinets, roll-out pantry cabinet, granite counter-tops, tile floor and backsplashes. Nice appliances. big sink, Grohe faucets, lots of lights.
My cookware is a hodge-podge of most everything. I buy the pot for the task. I have mostly cast-iron, some old, some not. I have a lot of LeCrueset, too. My (non-cast iron) frypans are mostly Calphalon non-stick or Berndes. My saucepans are old (20+ years) cuisinart, which are much heavier than today's cuisinart in addition to some all-clad, anolon, bodum, berndes and circulon. My big stock pots are Calphalon and a Robert Welch design Stainless Steel pot from the U.K. The Robert Welch pot is very tall-it is a great pot for making jams and jellies (I did that today).
Most of my LeCrueset has been picked up in odd places. I got the 7qt. oval pot w/lid for $12 at a flea market in Nashville, TN. :roll: It was like new. I've gotten some at outlets and some at antiques stores. I'm always on the lookout for a new piece at a good price.
tHIS MIGHT SEEM LIKE A DUMB QUESTION,but i would like to know why some companys sell pot sets meaning pots and pans ,and other places call and sell them as pan sets meaning pots and pans in set? The question comes to me because i always thought a pot was deep and had two handles on sides,and a pan not deep with one long handle,not meaning the above. So my theory was in a pan set only pans and a pot set pots. What am i not understanding? Also some receipes after a certain mention of item to use have pot/pan , like dutch oven pot/pan? Meaning?
We purchased a set, and some open stock of Calphalon Tri-Ply to replace our 30+ year old Farberware cookware.
The primary reason for this change was that we replaced our old POS electric coil top range with a nice new Kenmore smooth top, and after so many years of being subjected to the uneveness of those old coils, the Farberware had become distinctly "un-flat". In otherwords, the flat top cooking surface wouldn't evenly heat the pots or pans.
The change was necessary, we asked for suggestions, made our less than scientific assessment, and have been absolutely thrilled with the perfromance of the Calphalon. A new stove, and un-abused cookware work pretty well together, so this might be more a function of all the pieces working correctly, as opposed to a bunch of little things being not right causing a poor experience (the old stove and pans).
It cooks well, cleans up relatively easily, and the glass lids make monitoring your food as it cooks quite easy. (sometimes the old adage "Out of sight, out of mind" creates a stinky mess...)
It wasn't cheap, but we should be pretty much through buying cookware forever.
We also have a large collection of cast iron, but don't dare use it on the glass top, for fear of scratching the top. I've been thinking about taking it all to a machine shop for a bottom surfacing (super smooth), but could use some comments from others on that approach.
Otherwise, I'll save it for use out on the grill...
I might be suffering from CDO. It is just like OCD, except the letters are in alphabetical order. Just as they should be...
I have the heavy dark pots and pans with the silver lids from 25 years ago. They have/are serving me very well. I'm wondering about seasoning them every few years. Any suggestions? I've heard oil them and put them in a 225 oven for 8 hours?
Yesterday I discovered Demeyere. They suree seem to be of good quality, and compare very well with All Clad. Seems that for some uses All Clad may be a better choice, and for other situations Demeyere may be better.
I like the Le Creuset that I have, and the inexpensive Wearever skillets found at restaurant supply houses have often served very well.
I have used all sorts of cookware, and out of them all, I have to say that my Fissler brand cookware has served me the best! Fissler is a German company, and it's not widely known in the US though it is a high-end brand. I have a stainless cookware set which I use everyday from Fissler, as well as two pressure cookers from the same company. All of them come with this encapsulated base that Fissler calls the CookStar all-stove base, and it's wonderful. My food never scorches, even under high flame, and there are no hotspots, even at the edge of the pot. Also, the stay-cool handles are a lot more comfortable than some cast handles that come with most high-end cookware, and they're fastened using high-strength welds instead of rivets, so the interior of the pots are much easier to keep completely clean. For those of you willing to try something out of the mainstream (allclad and others), Fissler is a great choice that I highly recommend from personal experience!
My favorite is Mauviel copper/stainless cookware, I've got 6 saucepans, 11 3/4" skillet and 8" crepe pan. I use an electric range and these have worked out wonderfully for me; I started with my first one about 6-7 years ago and slowly acquired more. I've also used All Clad MC2 and had a whole set of Cuisinart stainless but wasn't that excited about either.
But recently I've been wanting a large saute pan, my only copper one is 1.9qt and I still have a stainless Cuisinart 3.5 qt and don't care for it much to the point where I'll use my large skillet instead if I can. But the Mauviel is sooo expensive for the saute pans, the 5 qt especially so I haven't taken the plunge.
At Costco the other day I took a chance and bought a Traqmontina 5qt deep saute pan for only $29.95 and it's amazing, stainless, it cooks completely evenly on my larger electric burner, even with so much of the pan hanging beyond the edge. I've been testing it with pancakes and eggs just to see how evenly it cooks and it's absolutely amazing. I did find it takes about 5 minutes to preheat the pan at medium heat compared to about 3 1/2 minutes with my copper skillet but wow it is worth it.
That Cooks Illustrated magazine had rated the Tranmontina 8qt stock pot almost up there with the All Clad at a quarter of the cost to I took a second look at this saute pan when I saw it at the store.
Would I still use it if I also had a copper one of the same size, I might say yes, because when they get this big, they get really heavy. I'm still pining for the Mauviel 3.5qt saute though, I just can't help it, they're wonderful products.
I think a lot of workling with anything is how well you know it, how much you use it and understand your conditions. I have many, many friends who are far better cooks than I and each has a 12" cast iron skillet on their stovetop all the time; they cook almost everything in it that is appropriate and will use no other skillet or saute pan. To the person they will all brag about these pans, some of which they've inherited from their moms and more than 30 years old...and so well seasoned to rival even the best non-stick pans out there.
I had a set of them at one point and gave them to a friend when I got into the copper...all he uses is the 12", a stock pot, and two saucepans on top of the stove. He is an excellent cook, as in fabulous so I really think there are a lot of pretty good choices out there...and yeah, I'll probably get another cast iron skillet myself and this time pay more attention.
Hey I just looked at the Lodgemfg website and they've got some new products coming out next week. They're cast iron skillets, well they call them skillets but they look more like straight sided saute pans and they have very nice stainless handles. They don't post the prices but just say they will be available April 1st.
And as for what is used in commercial kitchens, as part of my work as a photographer over a period of three decades, I did a lot of filming in kitchens, commercial, test, display and teaching and do not believe I ever saw anything but the metal handled (blue) pans in commercial kitchens.
At places like Whole Foods where they have a teaching kitchen and in special places like a cabin you can rent up on the mountain at Vail Colorado where a chef shows up in the morning to cook everyone breakfast, then you're more likely to see the more expensive stuff like All Clad. But my own experience is that if the cooking's done where it's not on display to the public, then its the cheaper commercial grade stuff that gets used.
But I still love my Mauviel, debating whether to get the 10" skillet (2.5mm) or the 3.2 qt saute next; don't want to buy the saute with a lid though, don't like the little handles and they cost so much, I also don't see the purpose for having copper lids, much prefer stainless lids and have found several from Cuisinart and All Clad which fit my larger copper pots/pans just fine.
Okay so I'll chime in on this thread that looks to have been going for YEARS now. Too cool.
About 2 years ago after much reasearch I settled on getting myself an All Clad set. The best set I could find was for the 15 piece offered by William Sonoma for $999. Part of my search was asking friends and family to get ideas and they would FREAK when I told them how much I was looking to spend but for me I didn't think it was that bad. I mean seriously, we don't even think twice about spening $1500 on a computer that will last 5-7 years tops or even $2000 and up for a cool new plasma TV (ooohhhh ahhhhh) which have a shelf life as well. But spending $1000 on something that 1. will last forever 2. has a lifetime warranty 3. is constantly rated as the #1 cookware and 4. will be used everyday for the rest of your life; to me, personally, I think that is a deal.
The deciding factor to go with All Clad was that not only did I want something that was quality but I wanted it to look nice as well. Like they say, we eat with our eyes but we cook with our eyes too. If something is cooked in a nice looking shiny skillet our visual senses tell us that the food will be good too.
A lot of people say not to get a set and buy individualy but in my case the set was perfect. I have used every piece at one point or another and LOVE the dutch oven. Plus the domed lid for the dutch oven fits my skillet which is great for making Braciole.
Anyways those are just some thoughts I felt like sharing. And no I'm not an "All Clad only" type of guy. I have a good mix of cast iron and a couple of non stick but at the end of the day the All Clad set is what gets me excited about cooking. Isn't that what it's all about? Enjoy.
Jason, did you get the stainless set, and did you get stainless or non-stick skillets. I was looking at one of the 14 piece sets and frankly it looks pretty fantastic to me as well. Not for me though, I'm well into my copper stuff but I really like the sizes and shapes of the All-Clad cookware. If I were to get individual pieces for my daughter, I think I'd get the All-Clad MC2 (she lives in an apartment with housemates, so getting them as utilitarian as possible would be best) I'd probably get her the 1 1/2qt saucepan, 2 1/2qt saucepan, (I love those sizes) 6qt stock pot, a 3qt saute and 10" skillet. Now that adds up to a lot of money but I think it's a pretty good balance. Either that or go really inexpensive and get the SurLaTable brand stainless set which is on sale for $150.00.
Are you referring to the Saute with the handles on both sides in place of the one long skillet style handle? If so buy the one with the two handles that comes with the lid, yes it costs more but it's much easier to move around. I have both and since you already have Mauviel you know how heavy they are. Now imagine the saute pan full of something and without two handles it's not going anywhere. I've only found the one with two handle one up to 9.5 inches though so any larger I have to go with the one handle model without the lid.
They're not really the same thing... There's stick, non-stick and then there's reactive and non-reactive. The enameled surface is non-reactive so you don't have to worry about acidity in tomatoes etc.. There's a place for both. My comals are seasoned cast iron and I have to seasoned tall skillets as well as two enameled dutch ovens (one oval, one round). As far as the enamel goes treat this as you would a non-stick coated pan. I only use wood spoons in mine. The chips won't come from cooking though but rather storing them. Usually around the rip from putting the lid on harsh or around the bottom from bumping into other stuff.
Looking at this, and a few other threads as well, it seems as if, every so often, someone chimes in as the "voice of reason." The time has come again.
It's very easy to overrate the distinctions between various brands of cookware as well as the importance of materials and construction. From a practical standpoint you don't need Le Creuset, you don't need Mauviel, you don't need All Clad. What sets these and similar brands apart from the herd is not performance but appearance. Indeed from most performance perspectives these are poor values. In addition, most of these high-end name pots and pans are much heavier than they need to be. Most of the reason you don't see these types of pots and pans in restaurant kitchens is not their expense (at least not taken alone), but the lack of rationale to spend the money.
In some ways the high quality of the high-end lines hurts them. They are heavy. Weight is more important with pans you'll use for sauteing and/or browning than pots. You want something light enough to lift so you can toss, shake and slide the food by hand. Thats partly why plain ol' mid-weight, cheap, commercial aluminum and carbon steel pans one sees in most restaurant kitchens are superior -- not just cheaper.
When it comes to pots -- all the high-tech even heat distribution stuff doesn't matter much. And again, mid-weight aluminum does as good a job as anything else. Of course, you want to avoid long exposure to high-acid foods to prevent discoloring the product. So it's nice to have at least a few decent, stainless pieces.
Cast iron is another thing altogether. Holds the heat like nobody's business. Nice for fried chicken, corn-bread, and whatever else you cook by overloading a hot skillet. Otherwise, it's just heavy. Enamel over cast iron loses the heat retention value of ridiculous mass and exchanges it for an absolute superiority as braising material. But c'mon! Braising is really no big deal, you don't need golden vessels. Besides, the stuff is expensive and fragile. Also, there are less expensive approaches than Le Creuset.
None of the above is to say you shouldn't buy and love what you like. It's beautiful, no doubt about it. And it works well, if you can deal with the expense, weight and maintenance. But you don't NEED it. And when it comes to pure performance, you can do better for a lot less money.
Spoken like a true American cook! We seem to think that since we don't really have a cuisine of our own that all food is cooked in an alluminum fry pan or stainless pot. We have the Chevy attitude toward cookware, if a small block v8 works in a truck then by god we'll use it everywhere! Look at the Mexicans and their use of cast iron. I've tried to do the same thing with a stainless or aluminum fry pan followed up with a stock pot and it just doesn't work the same. After I moved away from my aluminum core pots to Mauviel copper sauce pans I can't imagine going back. Yes, they're heavy but I can tell you that risotto is now possible without making it that wet mush you buy in Italian-American restaurants.
If you've only worked in traditional American restaurants you will only see cheap commercial aluminum fry pans and stainless stock pots. You said "most" restaurants which makes me think of all those people who generalize everything, it's rarely because they have data to back it up (and I'm generalizing..). Go work in a Thai restaurant and you'll see high carbon steel woks, Mexican restaurant and it's heavy cast iron, French and it's copper. Are all of these people nuts or do they know something you don't? Why don't they just buy some cheap aluminum pans?
To say that a heavy cast iron dutch oven will lose it's ability to retain heat because it has an enamel coating is really silly.
Also you say the high tech heat retention is bologna for pots. Apparently you only boil water in your pots. Again you're talking about a very small slice of cuisine. Caramelize onions at high heat in your stock pot and then pour in a sauce that has any sugar in it and watch it burn right at bottom radius of the pot. It won't burn on the bottom, just around the lower edges and burn it does.
As far as aluminum discoloring food - you said that you should avoid long exposures? How about 10 minutes. Do you ever simmer tomato sauce for more than 10 minutes? Might want to start thinking about a non-reactive coating...
What I do agree with is you don't have to spring for the name brands of everything every time. I don't own any Le Cruiset any more. I have off brand dutch ovens and I swear they're every bit as good as Le Cruiset but they're still enameled cast iron and I'd swear by them for the specific food I use them for. I think I paid $50 ea for them whereas the Le Cruiset equivalent would have been $200. If it's cast iron, it's enameled, it's the right size and the lid fits (important if you're getting it from marshals or TJ-Maxx) then you're good.
I have a couple of All-clad pans and stock pots but I really think the handles on Al-clad are insane and I'll probably never buy a fry pan from them larger than 8 inches because I'd probably drop something when trying to pick up the pan. I do respect their workmanship and the way they cook is good but who's idea was it to make a handle that focuses all of the pan and it's contents weight on two small ridges of handle no wider than a knife blade?
You said "most" restaurants so I assumed you actually meant most restaurants. But since I know that's not true I again assumed you were referring to most American restaurants which is true. Most of the American restaurants I know (and all I've worked in) use commercial aluminum fry pans and stainless steel pots. I was attempting to make your statements more true.
Although I've not cooked around the world I've spent time in 30 countries eating like a pig and talking to chefs and I don't believe most restaurants globally use the type of cookware you mentioned. Maybe that's what you meant and I just read into it wrong.
I don't want to get into the middle of a quarrel between two people who clearly know of what they speak, but I do have dos centavos of my own...
All Clad does not necessarily mean heavy. All Clad Copper Core is exceptionally heavy. On the other hand, the All Clad Stainless line is of reasonable weight. This coming from a 5'3"-ish woman, 40-something, delicate build (i.e., small bones, no weight-lifter).
My copper-core pans (not necessarily All Clad) are a definite liability, and I think ahead before deciding whether to use them. Not a good thing to be in the position of emptying my 5qt saute when it's full nearly to the brim. I just don't have the upper body strength, helper handle or no! Generally, I end up recruiting hubby or one of the more fully grown sons in the house to help me!
I do have a huge aluminum stock pot (like 16 qts or some such), which I love, but I seldom use it. Not due to size -- even completely full, I can generally manage to move it from point A to point B on my own -- but because it's so reactive. As it is, it's got plenty of black stains!
Two things I really do love about my SS cookware vs. my aluminum stuff (especially non-stick), are the ability to clean it with Bar Keepers Friend, and to put it in the dishwasher without a second thought.
BTW... the idea that enameled CI does not need to be Le Creuset... well, I really do have to agree with that one, 100%.:smoking:
Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly. -M.F.K. Fisher
I thought when I was in Dehileran in Paris looking at Mauviel that the stuff was completely impractical because of it's weight and how it looked 5 minutes after you cooked something with it. However, I bought a few pieces of copper anyway to try based on reviews that I'd seen and research that I'd done. I absolutely love copper for certain types of pans and I have to say that I don't really notice the weight now because I've been cooking with it for quite a while although I've got enough beef to lift it..
My daughter (who's headed to Corden Bleu soon) loves how it cooks but struggles with the weight. Williams Sonoma sells some copper cookware made by Mauviel with their name on it but it's .5 to 1 mm thinner, I presume because of the weight. Most home cooks that I know just aren't going to pack a pan like that around. Anyway I realize that there are pans for purposes and the Copper is awesome as a fry pan and great as a sauce pan. I have a copper sautee pan that sits in the cupboard gathering dust because I use Aluminum sautee pans. Different strokes for different folks... I'd have to say that my thick Mauviel pans are worth the effort but I'd probably go alluminum instead of the thinner copper.
All three of my stock pots are stainless. One of them is one of those heavyish stainless pots that comes with a steamer insert and a spaghetti strainer. You know the kind.
Maybe I expressed myself poorly, but I'm not opposed to All-Clad. It's great stuff but heavy. As you pointed out the stainless core isn't as heavy. But you're still paying a premium for a conductive layer which extends all the way up the sides of the pan. Nice but usually not necessary. For most pot tasks a thickish aluminum bottom is all it takes. Personally I like stainless pots a lot -- even if most of mine are old fashioned anodic Calphalon. FWIW, most of my pans are also Calphalon, and they're getting near replacement age. I'll mostly replace the slope sides with commercial French blue steel. Ugly, but it works. Cheap too. I've already replaced my large straight side pan with commercial aluminum. Again: ugly, productive and cheap.
Over the years, I've managed to discolor food by cooking acidic product in aluminum -- but can't recall doing it in as short a time as ten minutes. I've stained a few pots too. But who cares about aluminum?
Back to the weight thing -- moving food in the pan by moving the pan is one of the most important sub-techniques in the techniques of sauteing and browning. Let me explain: "Saute," means "jump," and you should toss the food to keep it jumping. Stirring is not as good. Two reasons. You can use higher heat, and you get different texture.
The key to sear-browining is the "release." When meats go into a hot, more or less dry pan (ALWAYS lightly oil) they sweat proteins which turn brown as a result of the "Mailard reaction" (like carmelization). Similarly, vegetables sweat starches (which convert to sugars), and actual sugars which (simply) carmelize. During the process, the food will stick to the pan. If you move the food too soon, the process is interrupted and can never successfully be restarted. If you move it too late, the food over browns -- the worst aspects of which are bitterness and toughness. But when the food is browned, it will spontaneously release from the surface of the pan. How can you determine the perfect moment? Shake the pan. If the food moves, it's ready to turn. No move, no turn. Think of this as "Scallops 101," the first day of seafood at chef school. So what happens if the pan is too hard to toss around? The food suffers.
Let me modify these technique lessons with the observation that there are few absolutes in the kitchen. You do what you can with what you have to make it work. (For instance if the pan is too heavy or you're using a grill -- gently tap the product on the side with your tongs. If it moves sideways, eh la!) Of course that's true with equipment choice as well. If you like the way copper looks, you can afford it, you can care for it and you can handle it -- buy it. Similarly, I like the ex-pug homeliness of my workhorse pans. That doesn't mean you should like it or own it. I'm all for people buying what they want. I just wanted to add a little information.
I almost corrected you about the Maillard reaction not being carmalization but after re-reading your post I think that's what you meant anyway (you said "like carmalization"). :) You are correct in saying you learn new ways of doing things. I know that I don't throw my copper around like I would an aluminum pan because of it's weight but I also know that I have no problem grabbing the handle of my tossing something in my 11 frypan but it takes a good heft to do it. So I don't "toss" food that much but I do shake the pans all the time but only laterally like how we used to make popcorn on the stove in a pan as a kid. It works just fine to release food. If I'm doing a stir-fry and need to toss the veggies then I'm using a non-stick aluminum pan anyway.
I don't however consider All-clad remotely heavy. The copper core yes (and the core is of little improvement anyway according to ATK) but the alluminum core pans weigh about the same as an all alluminum pan. I really doubt a .5mm lining of stainless weighs that much. Like I said my biggest problem is the handles on those beasts. Some of my All-Clad is galvanized on the outside and has the stainless lining and some have the lining in and out. I don't see a weight problem with either.
I don't really have a problem with the way alluminum cooks either but I have a few requirements. 1. it has to be lined. I just makes sense that if your food is discoloring that there are also foreign flavors ending up in it. Maybe for some heavy spiced curry you're ok but for something more delicate not. 2. Everything that I've had made of pure alluminum 11" or larger warps at some point. My Calphalon saute pan doesn't touch the burner in the middle anymore. I have an Analon alluminum saute that's never warped because it's thicker but doesn't cook that nice either. My copper stuff never warp and cook great.
My two complaints with the copper is that it's heavy and that the handles are Cast Iron. Why does Mauviel do that? Cast Iron transfers heat fairly well - right into your hand. Seems they should have gone stainless because it's absolutely horrible at transferring heat. Stainless would make a great handle.
I hear people say that copper is pretty so they want some - yeah, when it comes out of the box. Mine looks like these old things that someone dug out of the attic. I refuse to pollish my pots every day just so they look nice. My intention is to create food! I had a friend ask me if I was going to cook in them... That's a lot of money to just have something sitting in the pantry because it looks pretty. They haven't been pretty since a week after I bought them.
There's one note that I'd like to make that I think BDL has been touching on from the beginning. There is the stuff that real chefs use and there is the stuff that "designer home cooks" buy into. Anything that comes in a set is probably not the best. I don't know how many people buy their All-Clad copper core set of pans and Their JA-Henkels set of knives and then spend most of their time talking them up because of the brand recognition. Each of my knives I bought separate for the task as I did my pans. The closest I come to a pan set is probably three pans! There's no real reason to use the same type of pan construction for every type of pan. Sometimes we have to just swallow the pride and use the best tool for the job and not get caught up with what the Jones's are doing. When people see my enameled cast iron and I tell them it isn't Le Creuset I see their heart sink. My knives are a mixture, my pans are all different. They probably think I went dumpster diving or couldn't afford a proper set.