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mikie's Profile

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Cookware- $600

So much depends on what and how you cook, but in general, spend your money where it counts the most. You want your best pots and pans to be the ones you use the most and where the quality will have an impact on your results. Even if you made stock every day, you don't need to spend a fortune on a stock pot. However if you saute quite often, it's worth spending more on a saute pan.

Although sets can look like a bargin, typically they are not as good as they look. You might get a piece essentially free in a set, if you bought a high quality set you could also end up with a high quality pot where a lower performing and lower priced pot would do just fine.

There are a number of made in the US or EU brands that are very hgih quality. Brands such as All Clad, Demeyere, Zwilling Sensation, Cuisinart French Collection, Mauvial M-Cook are all good brands from which to choose your better pieces.

Jan 22, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Steamer ideas?

Thanks Ray, I already have a 5.5 qt Staub cocotte, so that would be a good choice, but it says it's 3.4" tall, which isn't any taller than the steamer I currently have. Which would work for some things, but would still likely be a bit short for steaming bell peppers in the upright position. It may be difficult to find one as deep as I think I need, maybe 4.5 to 5 inches.

Jan 22, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Steamer ideas?

I've come to the conclusion that the steamer we currently have just isn't large enough. I couldn't steam bell peppers standing upright and then I couldn't steam 8 oz of spinich in one pass. The steamer we have is from the set of pots and pans Mrs. mikie bought over 40 years ago and it works fine for small portiions of relatively high bulk density foodstufs, but alas it's too small for some of the things we're currently cooking.

Suggestions and options for different equipment or technique are welcomed. I don't see the need for high tech here, it's boiling water and a basket to suspend the food above the water, however, if it requires a new pot, then I want the pot to be a multi tasker, not just for steaming. Thanks.

Jan 20, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Can a chopping board be too big? 3 inch high

Counter tops are set up to be comfortable for the average home cook, typically woemen. If you are taller than average then the height may not be an issue for you. However, if you are average height or less, that's not going to be a very comfortable height. I'll complicate matters, my Grandfather was a butcher, he chopped a lot, and the typical butcher chopping block is lower than the typical counter top, in which case adding 3" to your counter top is going to be mighty high. However, you prbably need about 3" for a sturdy chopping block. You don't need that much thickness for a cutting board.

Jan 15, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Demeyere Industry 5 Zwilling Sensation Question

Industry 5 is exclusive to SLT, Zwilling obviously wanted wider distribution and intorduced Sensation. Same pans with slightly modified handles so that Ind 5 is still exclusive, but you can get the same quality and price point at other retailers.

Jan 13, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Need a particular hood vent

I know you said a "slight remodel", but I don't see slight. There is no way I'd put in a gas range without proper ventalation. Right now your stove top is too close to the wall on the left, with a high power gas range it's way too close. The window is definately an issue, you can't get a hood between the wall and the window and have it cover the range. For a high powered gas range you need a hood that's wider than the range top. The hood also needs to be a certian distance above the range top, so you can't just go above the window and you don't really have anywhere to vent it then anyway. If you take out the window and move the range to the right you could vent straight out the back of the vent or slightly up and out the sidewall. Honestly, even with an induction cooktop, I'd want some type of vent just to get odors and smoke out. Not going to be an easy task in your situation. Good luck.

Jan 12, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Best wood for a cutting board?

Hi Duffy,

Although there is a significant hardness difference between hard and soft maple, both are hard. Soft maple is harder than black cherry and just a bit less hard than black walnut. On the Janka Hardness Scale, soft maple, black cherry, and black walnut are all close to 1000, while hard maple is 1450. On the other end of the scale, basswood (used for carving) is only 410. Even the hard maple is well below mid scale, as many woods are harder, with some of the hardest being over 3000, close to 4000 on the scale, such as bloodwood, ebony, and ironwood. Obviously, these would be tough on a knife edge. Just putting things into perspective.

Jan 12, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Best wood for a cutting board?

It's not as much about what's best, but more about what to avoid. BoardSMITH had very good suggestions. Trees that bare fruit and nuts or edible sap are typically not going to be toxic, but that doesn't necessiarly make them great cutting board woods. Pecan for example, the grain is more open than would be preferable, same with oak. Mapel and Cherry have been used because of the tight grain these woods have. Walnut is a bit more open grained, but not so much as to make it undesireable for a cutting board. The reason is that you don't want juices penetrating deeply into the board and oil or oil and beeswax are not going to completely seal the grain in the wood. Someone mentioned Teak, poor choice, it grows in an area where there is a tremendous amount of silica in the soil and the tree picks up the silica and it's throughout the wood. This is going to be very rough on a knife. If you love your knives, avoid bamboo, too hard, might as well be cutting on a brick (exaggeration to make a point). Soft woods like pine, poplar, sweet gum, etc. can be cut on, but aren't going to last long, you're going to cut the dickens out of them because they are so soft. With edge grain boards, the soft woods would quickly splinter. Pine typically has a lot of resin in it, and that's not going to be good either. Exotic woods are fantistic for a "show" board or even a serving board, where no real activity is going to take place. But, even as a serving board, you need to be aware of the potential toxicity (not likely going to kill you, but you could have an alergic reaction, and it could kill you). Also, many exotic woods are very open grain and this is the same problem as with domestic oak or pecan.

In the US the most common and most appropiate woods are Maple, Cherry, and Walnut. These were also the most common woods for american furnature during the colonial period. They were readily available, reasonably priced and easy to work, with the tools available at the time. That makes these traditional choices. There are some other woods that would potentially work, but these are three good choices.

Jan 11, 2015
mikie in Cookware
1

New Vking Cookware

Thank you btc. We've replaced a fair amount of cookware over the last couple of years. Some is Staub, much is the 7 ply Viking and some is Demyere. I have the 6 and 3 qt saute pans and the 9.5" fry pan and the 2 qt. sauce pan in the 7 ply. Good stuff in my opinion and I found all of it discounted to one extent or another.

Jan 08, 2015
mikie in Cookware

New Vking Cookware

Based on what I could see on the web-site, they aren't even a sub-contractor, more like a distributer. There were no manufacturing sites mentioned, but two distribution centers.

Glad I got my Viking when Demeyere was making it. The 7 ply Viking was really quite a bargin by comparison.

Jan 08, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Cutting Board Maintenance/Restoration HELP!

You might want to make a small investment in a card or cabinet scraper rather than sandpaper. Beeswax is going to clog sandpaper about as soon as the two make contact. A card or cabinet scraper takes off a very thin layer of wood and leaves behind a very smooth surface.

Jan 06, 2015
mikie in Cookware
1

Hanging Cast Iron Cookware

I agree X-nay on cuphooks and wall anchors. Regardless of the hook, wall anchors just don't take much abuse before they loosen up. I like your rail idea, but if these are being hung in a staircase, the rail likely will not be able to be hung horizontally but at an angle paralell to the staircase. In which case, all the hooks will slide to the lowest point on the rail. I would be infavor of some more substancial hook and a wooden strip onto which the hooks could be mounted.

Jan 06, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Demeyere vs All-Clad

Mrs. mikie bought very costly pans well over 40 years ago. They have plastic handles attached to a welded metal bracket. Only recently has one handle failed, it too was dropped on a ceramic tile floor from about counter height. Upon examination, it was clear that at least two of the four spot welds had failed years ago, but the handle was still attached. It didn't prompt a phobia of welded handles, but I don't have a concern about rivets either. This would be a good survey question; how many people have had a welded handle break off and how many have had rivets fail?

We now have Demeyere Atlantis and Viking cookware, there are pros and cons to each. The rivited handles of the Viking are more difficult to clean on the inside of the cookware, while the welded handles of the Demeyere are more difficult to clean if something spills over on the outside.

Jan 06, 2015
mikie in Cookware
1

Demeyere vs All-Clad

From what I've seen in stores, All Clad has two different boxes that their products come in. One is white and these products are made in the USA and the other is gray and these products are made in China. The white boxes contain pots and pans, while the gray boxes contain things like griddles, roasting pans, and accessories such as the spoons and ladels, etc. I'm guessing at that point that any disc bottom pans made in China would come in a gray box, but I don't recall seeing these.

I think it's fair to say that if one is refering to cookware and product lines from Tri Ply to Copper Chef, that these are made in the USA, but one does have to be carefull to note the origen of the roasting pans, etc.

Jan 05, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Pegboard advice needed

It's also more water resistant. I don't recall what resin is used as a binder, but it's different than regular pegboard. I don't think it would be necessary for hanging pots and pans.

Jan 05, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Pegboard advice needed

PSRat is right, there are two thicknesses of peg board, a regular duty that is 1/8" thick and will hold small items and a 1/4" thick version that will hold a significantly heavier load. The thicker board also has a more heavy duty hook that fits the larger diameter holes. I have the lighter duty board in my shop and honestly it can hold a considerable amount. I don't think a 10 lb pan is goning to break through. If the thicker board is still in your budget then I would go that way, but if that breaks the bank, I believe the other will hold. I just pulled down on a peg with my hand as hard as I could and I didn't do anything to the pegboard, that has to be more force than a cast iron pan.

barbecue "alternate" meats

Unfortunately, just like chicken wings, smoking meat have greatly increased in price due to popularity. My butcher rarely carries a good supply of brisket, because it has become so expensive.

Here are some beef cuts that lend themselvs well to slow cooking:
Chuck Roasts of various tyes, Back Ribs, Brisket, Botom Round or Rump Roast, and Cross Cut Shank. Some of these will smoke better than others, and I'm not sure how the prices compare with Brisket. It's possible that Brisket is still the least expensive cut.

I made a beef tenderloin braciole for the holidays, talk about expensive, but extreamly tasty. It has become the family favorite.

Do you really like the look of stainless steel appliances?

We have all SS appliances and found a ss colored microfiber towel that's supposed to be just for cleaning SS appliances. This is great for the daily or every other day wipe down, even weekly if there are no grands around. Our handles show virtually no finger prints, so if we use the handles to open and close the appliances, there isn't much of an issue. Only the SS and black glass, gass range top requires more agressive cleaning on the SS part.

True enough white painted appliances require less maintance, but I really like the look of SS.

edit: this is the cloth http://www.amazon.com/Quickie%C2%AE-H...

Jan 04, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Staub vs LeCreusett

We've accumulated 4 Staubs over the past few years and frankly, I like the way they cook and the way they look. LC and Staub are the most robust of the enameled cast iron products, so you can't go wrong with either. As you mention, the black interior has never been a problem. Very little of your fond is going to actually be black, so you still have contrast, if it disapears, then it's burned. Enjoy!

Jan 04, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Staub now owned by Zwilling……..dutch oven/cocotte question

I would add that Zwilling also owns Demeyere. In this case, I believe some of the higher end models are made by Demeyere, but not sure all the Zwilling cookware is. Obviously, if it says made in Belgium, there is a good chance it's made by Demeyere. This would apply to the Zwilling Sensation which is a clone of the Industry 5, exclusive to SLT.

Jan 01, 2015
mikie in Cookware

All Clad d5 brushed sauté pan - 4 qt.

Bought the 3qt. Triply for my daughter for Christmas from Chefs and there was a lid. AC does offer some pots and pans without lids, so it's possible that you may have seen a good price on a unit without a lid. I assume they do this because some lids fit multiple pots or pans.

Dec 29, 2014
mikie in Cookware

Staub Lovers - Question about black interior

At first guess you would think the black surface would make it difficult to see, but the reality is there is still contrast, so it's not as difficult as one might think.

Dec 28, 2014
mikie in Cookware

"Seasoning" a wooden butcher block - should I gently heat block in oven?

I probably wouldn't put it in the oven, not good for the glue or the wood. In actuality, it's not going to penetrate too far into the wood regardless of the temperature. My daughter's board recently fell off the counter and broke. It was easy to see how far the mineral oil had penetrated, not very far. For the most part, the idea of oil and bees wax is to protect the surface and to keep the wood from drying out, so it's a bit of a sealer. It needs to penetrate some, but it doesn't have to meet from both sides.

Dec 20, 2014
mikie in Cookware

What is your opinion on Pampered Chef products?

Ask and yee shall receive. My opinion is quite low, it's cheap junk and the quality ia poor. The silver paint came off the garlic press we had.

Dec 20, 2014
mikie in Cookware

Le Creuset French Oven purchasing question

Round or oval depends on what and how you intend to cook. Round is better for stove top cooking because the oval sticks out over the hob on each end. Oval is better for certian cuts of meat or a whole chicken that's going in the oven. Both are effective in the oven, it's just a matter of what you're cooking.

3 1/2 quart would be very small. I would suggest 5.5 to 7 quarts as a good all purpose size. But again, it depends on what you want to cook in it. Something in the 5-6 quart range is great for many cuts of meat, stews, braises, moderate sized chicken, etc.

Dec 12, 2014
mikie in Cookware

Kitchen venting

A vent in the ceiling is better than nothing, but only slightly better. It's simply too far away from the range top to move enough air efficiently. You will suck all the hot air out of the house if it's big enough to move the air above the range top, because it will have to move a lot of air. We have an friend that the kitchen designer put one of these in becaue they didn't want a hood over the island, but that's where the range top was located. It moves a lot of air and still doesn't work the way a hood does. They were going to have a hood put in to replace the ceiling vent. My daughter has one in her kitchen, she has the same set up as you, and it's just a small unit. It doesn't really move much air and obviously doesn't capture anything at all, but it is better than nothing.

I read that you can convert your microwave/vent to vent to the outside. That would be the best choice. Depending on what your outside construction is, it may be possible to go straight through the wall to the outside. Otherwise you go up throgh the ceiling and out the roof or into the attic and then out the side, depends on where things are and the type of construction you have. My vent goes up about 3 feet then makes a turn in the attic to the outside, my alternative was to go through the roof, but I prefered to not do that. The gradual 90 degree turn is about as restrictive as the additonal vertical run to go out the roof, so it was a wash on efficiency.

Dec 10, 2014
mikie in Cookware
1

Walnut Butcher Board Counters - raised wood areas - Ack!

Once the finish flashes the solvent, most all wood finishes are food contact safe. The varnished table top at your local pub is food contact safe, you just can't cut on it, that's the difference. You can use sandpaper, scotchbright, or the scraper, the scraper will give you the smoothest finish.

When I make a cutting board I sand with 100 grit paper and then wet the board slightly to raise the grain, then I sand it again with 150 grit, and raise the grain again, sand with 180 or 220 grit and raise it one more time, then finish with 220 or 320 grit paper and the grain doesn't come up after that, these boards are end grain, edge grain will scrape easier but it will still take a couple of passes to tame the grain. You do need to do the whole top or you will be fighting this for a long time.

Dec 09, 2014
mikie in Cookware

Walnut Butcher Board Counters - raised wood areas - Ack!

Your problem is that the maple top was old and the walnut top is new. The grain had probably been raised on the maple enough times that it eventually quit expanding with heat and moisture. If you had raised the grain on the walnut several times before you oiled it you would have accomplished the same thing. You can use a cabinet scraper, that would be prefered at this point to shave off the fuzzies, then I would moisten the counter top with a damp rag and see if the grain raises again, if it does, then repeat the process. When the grain no longer raises, then give it a good oiling. The oil doesn't totally seal the board from moisture, but it does help. You just need to get over the hump with the new wood. You can use a random orbit sander, but with the oil on the wood, you are going to clog up sandpaper in no time, so a scraper is better. The scraper is just a rectangular flat piece of metal with a curled edge or burr on the edge. You place your thumbs in the middle of the blade to flex it a bit and push, taking a very light shaving off the wood. Something that used to be tought in Woodshop class in Jr. High.

Dec 09, 2014
mikie in Cookware
1

Nutcracker recommendations?

I bought one of these last year and it works really well:

http://www.amazon.com/Drosselmeyer-DR...

It's made in Sweeden and won some sort of design award. It has good reviews as well. But it's not inexpensive.

Dec 09, 2014
mikie in Cookware

Am I the only one bothered by stuff like this?

Hi Chem. You know we deal with chemicals all the time and a good hood can and does make the difference between life and death with some of these chemicals. If the vent hood has enough air flow (cfm) then there shouldn't be much if any increase in CO levels at any distance from the hob. Also for Hiracer, a good hood is not noisey, we shopped around and found a hood that moves a lot of air but is very quiet. It's still not the same as no fan, but it does allow conversation while drawing out the CO, steam, and odors of cooking.

Dec 02, 2014
mikie in Cookware
1