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Best "one" non-stick pan to have for eggs, omelets, etc

On America's Test Kitchen they recommended the pan I have as an inexpensive alternative to paying $100 for an "egg pan". It's the KitchenAid Gourmet Essentials Hard Anodized Nonstick 8-Inch Open French Skillet. A mouthful to say, but costs less than $25. We've had ours for 2 years and it's still going strong.
http://www.amazon.com/KitchenAid-Gour...

It may not be the best money can buy, but I'd call it a best bang for the buck.

Jan 27, 2010
philly888 in Cookware

How do you saute large batches of food? What piece of cookware?

Is it 42" or 42 cm? 42 inches sounds incredible. On the other hand, 42 cm / 17 inch paella pans are advertised, e.g.,

http://www.hotpaella.com/Products/Traditional-Polished-Steel-Paella-Pan---17-inch-42-cm__PS042.aspx
http://www.tienda.com/paella/paella_pans.html

The biggest I've seen is 39", and it'll make 85 servings of paella!
http://www.hotpaella.com/Products/Tra...

Dec 25, 2009
philly888 in Cookware

How do you saute large batches of food? What piece of cookware?

Oops, never mind what I wrote below, I just saw the follow up comment saying that enameled cast iron is out because of the weight ...

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It's expensive, but consider getting a Le Creuset 5 QT Braiser/Casserole. Here's a buyer's comment:

"This a large pan that can provide enough room for a whole family's meal. I like the size of it, as it reduces spillage and is great for many of the one pan meals I do...from the sauteing of the onions to low simmering of meaty dishes covered, the pan is one of the best I've ever used."

http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/c329/
http://www.amazon.com/Creuset-Enamele...

However, even this might not be enough to do 8 whole chicken breasts. An Amazon comment says: " The 5 Qt. casserole seems like a great size--it holds 4 whole chicken breasts for example, easily, with plenty of room for sauce or vegetables."

It measures measures 16-3/4 inches wide with handles. I can't imagine buying anything larger than this. I want to get one of these, but in the 3.5 QT size; 5 QTs is too big for me.

Dec 22, 2009
philly888 in Cookware

What do I need for Christmas? What amazing doodad don't I have that I must?

Out of curiosity I found a copper pomme vapeur or potato steamer listed on Williams-Sonoma and Sur La Table. It *is* beautiful, a work of art, but costs $340-$390!

http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/sku519017/
http://www.surlatable.com/product/id/218841.do?mr

One eBay seller sold one thinking it was an ice bucket:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/alamedab...

Dec 16, 2009
philly888 in Cookware

Seasoning Enameled Cast Iron

Thanks Chemicalkinetics, your replies always make a lot of sense. You hit on the key point for me right away: he was talking about Staub - in fact, all 5 of his cookware reviews were of Staubs, not Le Creuset.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/cdp/member-r...

BTW, in his most recent review he backed off a little on the duck thing.

I guess I looked at it a little differently than others. I ignored his attempts at scientific explanation (most people who cook aren't great at that anyway) and instead noted that he owns a lot of enameled cast iron and has a lot of cooking experience. That impressed me more.

I think part of the problem is talk of "seasoning" and "pores". Some people look at those as very specific, technical terms, and I suppose that's correct. But I was thinking that there's some logic to the idea of there being microscopic roughness in even an enamel surface, and hence it might be a good idea with a new pan or pot to initially fill that in with a good fat like olive oil rather than some sort of carbonized gunk that could result from messing up one's first meal. Yakitat Jack said something along the lines of my thought process, except he recognized better than me that shiny Le Creuset enamel is very smooth..

As you make clear, the Staub enamel is designed to be rough(er), and even with Staub they don't advocate any sort of seasoning, they just say their cookware naturally becomes somewhat seasoned through use.

BTW, for my first use of my Le Creuset I'm making beef barley soup. The meat (beef shank) browned very nicely in a little oil, barely stuck. So that was my "seasoning". :)

Thanks again to all for the discussion. It has been educational.

Dec 15, 2009
philly888 in Cookware

What do I need for Christmas? What amazing doodad don't I have that I must?

Hehe, no, an infrared thermometer tells you the surface temperature of the pan or something like a hot or cold liquid. Besides being useful, it sounds like something fun to play around with. Here's a quote from one of the Amazon comments:

"This thing is cool. This is something I use more often than I ever expected. How cold is tap water? Is enough heat coming from the fireplace? Is that fry pan ready for my tilapia? Does water really boil at 212 degrees? Is my wine at the right serving temp? Is my computer getting too hot? How accurate is my oven temp? "

Another comment relates how it helps in making perfect pancakes.

But I admit, I'm a guy, and I want it because it's a neat gadget. I'll probably drive everyone crazy, shooting the IR thermometer at the pans like Han Solo with his blaster, and sticking the Thermapen in every roast, steak, and even pork chop until they look like pin cushions.

Dec 14, 2009
philly888 in Cookware

What do I need for Christmas? What amazing doodad don't I have that I must?

Things on *my* Christmas list, but for next year, because this year I bought a fuzzy logic rice cooker and a Le Creuset Round French Oven:

1. Thermapen thermometer
http://thermoworks.com/products/thermapen/splashproof_thermapen.html

2. Infrared thermometer (not just for cooking, but for finding air leaks in my not-well-insulated-house).
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B000TM7HXC/

3. A set of odd-size measuring cups.
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B0000W07D8/

4. A cookbook, e.g., the Molly Stevens book on braising
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0393052303/

5. A nice carafe, e.g., this Zojirushi
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00004S56U/

6. A new nonstick pizza pan
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B0000D8CAO/

7. Some Oxo or some other thing from this America's Test Kitchen prize list
Note: the contest itself is over. I didn't win. :(
http://www.americastestkitchentv.com/...

Dec 14, 2009
philly888 in Cookware

Seasoning Enameled Cast Iron

Would what he says to do "ruin" cookware? Rubbing a little oil on the inside seems harmless at worst. After all, he's not saying to season it in a hot oven, just rub it with olive oil while heating it slowly on the stove, until the oil shimmers at most but doesn't smoke. And he emphasizes temperature control, never going above medium heat. I thought enamel might be slightly porous after what I read in the "Le Creuset vs Staub" thread, in which some say that the Staub develops a seasoning and becomes more nonstick with use.

Dec 14, 2009
philly888 in Cookware

What brand or type of potato peeler do you prefer?

I was in a Williams-Sonoma store the other day and I held a Rosle serrated peeler in my hand. I loved the heft and feel of it - Oxos have thick handles and I prefer thin - but I'm not sure about serrated and I didn't want to spend $24, either. Sharp, though. Almost cut myself just touching the blade.

When I got home I checked out the comments on the WS website: one 5-star and two 3-star. http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

Dec 13, 2009
philly888 in Cookware

What's the right size & shape Staub Dutch Oven for me?

poptart, Orange-red sounds like this one sold by Chef's Resource:
http://www.chefsresource.com./staub-7-quart-oval-dutch-oven-orange.html

If you got it for only $50 I'm extremely jealous. I guess I'll have to go to Marshall's sometime. Actually, there's one not too far from where I live. Tell me, though, was yours a "HomeGoods" Marshalls? (The one near me isn't).
http://www1.marshallsonline.com/tjx/l...

Congrats on your new Staub!

Dec 13, 2009
philly888 in Cookware

Cookware Purchase

foiegras, I searched the Williams-Sonoma site and did not see a 2 qt Lagostina, just a 4 qt soup pot. It is beautiful, though, and the the comments are all ecstatic.
http://www.williams-sonoma.com/search/results.html?words=Lagostina

I also checked out the Scanpan. I constantly look at egg pans, it's the one pan I use every day. And as I said in another thread, I have one Scanpan myself, a roasting pan. Your pan looks like the ultimate egg pan, but I'd have to be in a certain mood to pay $100 for non-stick. Intriguing, though.
http://www.surlatable.com/product/id/...

Dec 13, 2009
philly888 in Cookware

Seasoning Enameled Cast Iron

I just bought my first piece of enameled cast iron, a Le Creuset 5.5 QT Round French Oven. Now, I know both Le Creuset and Staub say their enameled cast iron requires no seasoning. But in reading a lot of comments on Amazon, I found one long, detailed comment that advocates seasoning from a guy who owns 23 pieces of enameled cast iron. I'd like anyone with the time and interest to read the first comment at this link and tell me what you think:

http://www.amazon.com/Staub-Inch-Fryi...

For those who don't want to make the jump, I'll summarize: he says for a new piece of enameled cast iron, before using it the first time you should season it two or three times (over a period of that many days) with olive oil at low heat, so that the oil is absorbed into the pores of the new enameled cast iron. Then, and this is the kicker, because he feels duck fat is high quality, he cooks a duck to have that fat absorbed into the pores. Plus, he feels it helps a new owner learn temperature control.

Dec 13, 2009
philly888 in Cookware

creuset is 20% off at williams sonoma.

Hey, you're right, they're selling the 5.5QT for $183.96 and the 7.25 QT for $215.96, although not all colors are in stock and shipping is not free. So, comparable to the Williams-Sonoma sale. (Maybe a little less for shipping and no tax).

http://www.cooking.com/products/shpro...

Dec 12, 2009
philly888 in Cookware

creuset is 20% off at williams sonoma.

The LC outlet store I spoke to seemed reluctant to offer me the mailing list 35% off even though I called to add my name to their mailing list. They indicated that I could get 25% off $193 list price for a second, which would make it $145 plus free shipping. I didn't want to buy a second via phone order, but it probably is worthwhile, I agree.

Dec 12, 2009
philly888 in Cookware

creuset is 20% off at williams sonoma.

I had thought a trip to a Williams-Sonoma store meant a trip to center city Philadelphia for me, but after reading your post I double-checked and found a store in a mall less than 10 miles away. So $2 in gas and a little aggravation saved me more than $25 that I would have paid in shipping and extra tax from the WS website.

BTW, my store had only one 5.5QT Round French Oven in Flame, so if someone wants that color or Slate, which I also didn't see displayed, they should call ahead first.

Thanks again for the tip. I didn't want to buy a second by phone from an LC outlet, nor drive to the outlet closest to me (it's too far). This way, I got a perfect one for $184. I'm not a shopper who haunts Marshalls or TJ Maxx or any of those places that sometimes offer really awesome deals, so this is a bargain for me. It's my first purchase from Williams-Sonoma! :)

Dec 12, 2009
philly888 in Cookware

What's the right size & shape Staub Dutch Oven for me?

Yesterday I drove to Williams-Sonoma (after finding out that there's one near me) and I bought a Le Creuset 5.5 QT Round French Oven like yours.

I thought I might want the Staub 6-qt. Coq Au Vin in Grenadine. The shape and size seem better for chicken and roasts, I like the idea of the self basting spikes, rougher interior that takes seasoning well, dark interior that cleans up better or at least doesn't show stains, and Staub is reputed to be superior for browning/searing meat.
http://www.surlatable.com/product/staub+6-qt.+coq+au+vin+pots.do?keyword=staub&sortby=ourPicks
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00166MEBU/

At the risk of re-igniting the Staub vs Le Creuset debate, here's why I went with the LC:

1. Price. WS is offering 20% off LC thru 12/13. I couldn't find a sale on Staub. If I had run across a Staub 6QT for $52 like cutiepie721 reported in another thread (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/461190) I would have grabbed it too.

2. Availability. I couldn't help but wonder why WS doesn't seem to be selling Staub? Didn't they used to? Anyway, it meant that I could inspect the LC but not the Staub.

3. Quality Control and Customer Service. Going thru the Staub vs LC thread, it sounds like maybe Staub had better QC back in 2007 when that thread started. More recent posts and Amazon comments indicate some problems there - enough that I'm hesitant to order a $200+ Staub sight unseen. Staub has a Limited Warranty and there are complaints about their CS. Someone who bought the Staub I like from Amazon had a big issue with their quality control, and there's a whole thread on another forum about their QC and CS. I think LC probably wins on this issue hands downs. Their CS is widely praised, and they have outlets for seconds which failed their QC checks. And even their seconds are said to be almost perfect. It's nice to know my expensive pot is guaranteed for life and that LC isn't nit-picky about honoring their guarantee.

I'd love to get a Staub someday to complement my 5.5QT LC French oven. Having never even used a French oven before, I'll have to use it for a while before I can figure out what should be my next piece of enameled cast iron. I'm thrilled with the LC and can't wait to start putting it to use. I haven't made stew or roast beef in years because the meat was always too tough and dry, and at this time of year I like to make beef barley soup. Those are probably what I'll try first!

Dec 12, 2009
philly888 in Cookware

Scanpan copper pans - 6-Piece Fusion CS5 Saucepan Gift Set

I had originally ordered a Fusion 5 roasting pan, and I was sent the Fusion CS5 by mistake. It was so beautiful looking that I decided to keep it. However, to keep it beautiful I have to clean the outside, because the copper darkens under heat. If you're familiar with copper, then you know this, but anyone who isn't should know that they're more work to keep clean. I only use a roasting pan occasionally, so I don't mind. However, if I were rich and wanted some Mauvier copper, for example, I don't know if I'd think it was worth the extra work to keep clean for everyday use. I'd say the same for this Scanpan cookware. But it is beautiful, and IMO very good, and that's a terrific bargain price.

Dec 12, 2009
philly888 in Cookware

Scanpan copper pans - 6-Piece Fusion CS5 Saucepan Gift Set

I have a Scanpan CS5 Small Roasting Pan.
http://www.amazon.com/Scanpan-Fusion-4-Inch-4-Inch-Roasting/dp/B000SQVS7K
BTW, it's 13-3/4-Inch-by-9-1/4, not 4X4 as the URL suggests.

The total wall thickness is 3mm. The pan is thick and heavy, and the copper layer seems pretty thick to me. Scanpan is a good manufacturer from Demark, and I love my roasting pan - it's very hard to find a quality "petite" roasting pan other than the All Clad. However, like the All Clad roasting pan, mine was made in China (under Scanpan's supervision, so they say).

I don't know if the other CS5 is made in China (roasting pans may be atypical, a la the All Clad), and whether or not that makes a difference to you, but they are NOT induction ready. The FUSION 5 line is induction-ready but the FUSION CS5 (copper) line isn't. Perhaps that's why they're not making the CS5 anymore.

http://www.scanpancookware.com/fusion-cs-5-open-stock-37/
http://www.thecookshop.co.nz/potspans.html

They're also not making the non-copper Fusion 5 line anymore, either.
http://www.scanpancookware.com/pages/...
This is Scanpan's official US distributor. You're probably not interested anymore, but they're pretty good at answering questions by email. At least they were when I got my CS5 roasting pan from them a couple years ago.

Dec 12, 2009
philly888 in Cookware

Baking/roasting pans--which material is best?

Isn't there something along those lines that was recommended by Cook's Illustrated? I looked for it and put these two items on my wish list (sheet and rack):

http://www.amazon.com/Lincoln-Foodservice-5314-4-Inch-Heavy-Duty/dp/B0001MS3P6/
http://www.amazon.com/CIA-Masters-Col...

Reviews were mixed and there's confusion as to whether or not this sheet is really what was tested by CI, so I held off, since it's not a big need for me.

Dec 10, 2009
philly888 in Cookware

Cookware Purchase

Most people say not to spend too much on a non-stick egg pan because it doesn't last. I use 8" and 10" ones that came with my Kitchenaid cookware set. However, I've had my eye on a Berndes 8" pan that sometimes can be found at a steep discount, e.g., BBB has it for $30 right now.
http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=Berndes+SignoCast&oe=utf-8&cid=4647385855351277430&sa=title#p

For a saucepan I'd like some All Clad, but since (so far) I mostly use them to boil water, I'm satisfied with Farberware. They're still made pretty good, IMO, unlike Revere, which seems to have gone way downhill.
http://www.amazon.com/Farberware-Clas...

Dec 10, 2009
philly888 in Cookware

What's the right size & shape Staub Dutch Oven for me?

What's a good first Staub, and when's the best time to buy (i.e., do they go on sale? If so, when?)

Here's what I want it for: soups, stews, roasts, chickens, spaghetti - for two people.

I've been lusting after a Le Creuset 5.5 QT Round French Oven. However, now looking at Staub, I see that Chef's Resource sells slightly smaller Staub 5QT Round & Oval Dutch Ovens, an Oval 5.5 Coq Au Vin Cocotte Dutch Oven with a rooster knob, and larger Round 6.5 Quart and Oval 7QT Oval Dutch ovens.
http://www.chefsresource.com/cookware...

I'm worried that 5QTs may be a tad small for a chicken or for the amount of soup I usually make, but 6.5 or 7QTS sounds too big. And Round vs Oval? I've never had an oval piece of cookware, and I have a small gas cooktop, but oval might be better for chicken. (I intend to use this mostly on the cooktop).

Any recommendations on a good first Staub for me? And should I wait for a sale? Staub is harder to find than Le Creuset, and I'm leaning towards the LC because it's on sale at Williams-Sonoma (20% off).

philly888

Dec 09, 2009
philly888 in Cookware

Save me from another purchase?

herring, I was waiting to see if there'd be a reply from a cast iron fan; I don't own any cast iron myself, although I very much want to buy a Le Creuset enameled cast iron French Oven for making soups and stews.

Only you can decide if you'll use the fry pan enough, be aware that the sides are low, but from my point of view, a 12" All Clad frying pan is a marvelous first piece of All Clad to buy (better than 10" or 8", even for just 2 people), and that's an outstanding deal. I waited a long time to get mine for $80 on sale, and that's w/o a lid. (A lid by itself sells for $47). I considered getting a Lodge seasoned cast iron fry pan, and I may still get one (very inexpensive), but the weight is too daunting for the second cook in my house.

Everybody is different, but for me it came down to choosing between a fry pan or saute pan for my first All Clad. And I didn't want to spend too much on my first piece. (I generally limit myself to $100-$200 a year on cookware/small appliances) Whatever you do, good luck!

Dec 09, 2009
philly888 in Cookware

creuset is 20% off at williams sonoma.

Thanks for the tip!

Although, with tax and shipping, I'd save only $9.41 on a 5.5 QT French Oven over what I'd pay at Amazon. Still, a $10 savings is nothing to sneeze at.

BTW, I noticed that Calphalon is also 20% off, and on some of the Le Creuset (and All Clad) sets there is free shipping:
http://www.williams-sonoma.com/shop/cookware/cookware-le-creuset/
http://www.williams-sonoma.com/shop/cookware/cookware-calphalon/
http://www.williams-sonoma.com/shop/c...

Does anyone know if with Williams-Sonoma a return could be made (in person) to one of their stores? I'm trying to think of a reason (besides the $10 savings) they'd be better than Amazon.

Dec 09, 2009
philly888 in Cookware

Save me from another purchase?

Does All Clad make a 12" French skillet? I don't think they do. 11" then 13"
http://www.all-clad.com/new-products/...

I don't own a French skillet, but I have the All Clad 12" Fry Pan and it's my favorite pan. Even just for 2 people, it's perfect for frying a steak or 2 or 3 pork chops.

For my next All Clad, I'm leaning towards buying a saute pan. After the 12" fry pan, the second most used piece in my house is a 3 QT saute pan. It's in some ways similar to a french skillet, I suppose, but has higher sides and holds more.

My All Clad 12" was my first SS pan, and my first expensive pan. I can't help with whether or not you *need* it; I can just say that's it's great and I don't know how I got by w/o it.

Dec 09, 2009
philly888 in Cookware

How to measure the surface temperature of my cast iron griddle?

Here's one infrared thermometer popular on Amazon that I saw mentioned as a good buy on a "deals" forum:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/...

Dec 06, 2009
philly888 in Cookware

le creuset outlet store sale

I called my Philly area store today (it's about 35 miles away) and was added to the mailing list. However, I was told I might not get a 35% off postcard because "they've already gone out for this month".

I also learned that 5.5 QT Round French Oven seconds are priced at $193, which with the non-postcard sale of 25% off would make the cost about $145. Tax would add, I suppose, another $10-$13. So, say $155 sight unseen (if I order by phone) for a second, compared to $229 for a flawless first from Amazon.

$75 difference between a first and second. That's a nice savings, but I'm torn ... I really don't want to drive there, especially if I might end up coming home empty-handed, but I'm loathe to buy a gift over the phone (for my Mom) that might have a noticeable flaw. Decisions decisions ...

Dec 06, 2009
philly888 in Cookware

Seen Bobby Flay's ads for ceramic baking sheets? What do you think?

Under "Cookware" there's a 9 x13 baking *dish* made out of terra cotta ...
http://www.kohls.com/kohlsStore/ourbrands/bobbyflay.jsp

I also checked all the other Food Network bakeware at Kohl's:
http://www.kohls.com/kohlsStore/landi...

Perhaps it's just not out yet. (I also have not yet seen that commercial).

Dec 04, 2009
philly888 in Cookware

le creuset outlet store sale

Mdfifi, I do know what I want, a Flame 5.5 QT. The sale goes to Jan 1, so there's time to get on the mailing list. I suppose I could even try more than one outlet, since I intend to have it shipped. I feel some trepidation getting a second sight unseen, though. I guess it comes down to how much money I'd save. Thanks for the info! I'm so accustomed to internet shopping that I didn't think it could be done this way.

Nov 28, 2009
philly888 in Cookware

le creuset outlet store sale

Cutipie721, a 6.75 QT for only $100 is pretty amazing. Retail for firsts is $240-$260. (I think that size is oval, though)

I'm hoping to find a Flame 5.5QT Round French Oven for less than the $229 retail price, taking into account I'd have to pay tax. I guess it pays to call the outlet.

Nov 28, 2009
philly888 in Cookware

Rice cooker recommendations, please

"Fuzzy-logic rice cookers have computer chips that direct their ability to make proper adjustments to cooking time and temperature. Unlike basic rice cookers, which complete tasks in a single-minded, mechanical manner ..."

For the long version, see "How Rice Cookers Work" at
http://home.howstuffworks.com/rice-co...

As for the second part of your question, it's what you start out with. I believe what you end up with is double that. For example, my 5.5 cup rice cooker makes about 11 cups of cooked rice. To put it another way, I only ever put in one cup and it makes enough rice for two of us. I can't imagine ever using the full capacity of my medium sized cooker, at least for rice. I even considered the smallest, a 3-cup, but got the 5.5 cup in case I want to use it as a steamer or slow cooker.

BTW, if you're short on counter space, get one with a retractable cord. That minor feature is a life saver for me.

Nov 28, 2009
philly888 in Cookware