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Newbie here: Collective wisdom re ceramic cooktops

"Try not to overheat your skillets. Warped pans will spin like tops."

Funny you should mention this. Two of my girls had glass top stoves and both warped the daylights out of their more or less inexpensive pots and pans. One moved to induction and replaced almost all her cookware and the other moved to gas, back to ceramic top and the new house is gas, along with new pans as the old ones are so warped they all could serve as woks. Because the heating response is very slow as is the cooling response, it's so easy to turn it up to high and then not get it cooled enough soon enough, so the pans warp from the excessive heat.

The other really down side is never, never, never set a spoon on the hot part of the top if it has been in sugar, it becomes a permanent fixture of the top. My wife makes a lot of candy and this is a real problem, we however have gas at our house.

Jul 29, 2015
mikie in Cookware
1

Induction Cooking: Is it really more energy efficient? (US Dept of Energy)

Hot air! You are in Florida after all.

Jul 23, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Induction Cooking: Is it really more energy efficient? (US Dept of Energy)

Yes, they usually do.

Jul 23, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Induction Cooking: Is it really more energy efficient? (US Dept of Energy)

Hi Kaleo,

You answered my question without me even having to ask it. In a radiant heat glass top the coil heats up, then the glass heats up, then the pot heats up, then the food heats up. Because the glass is heated before the pot is heated the pot only transfers heat to the material in it. But with induction, the force heats the pot which then must heat both the material in it but also the surface in which it is in contact, i.e. the glass top. Now I know from your comment that indeed the glass does get hot but because there isn't a hot coil beneath it, it also cools faster, not that it doesn't get hot.

I have yet to be let down by the laws of physics.

Jul 23, 2015
mikie in Cookware
1

My first cookware set

Some good advice already and I don't disagree in general principals with any of it, but general advice is that, general.

If you really have a $200 budget, don't buy a set, $200 is good for a set of two good pots or pans and that's about it. If you actually have more funds available, but only want to spend $200 now, then you either have to buy individual pieces or go over budget to get a quality set. Take Kaleo's advice and don't buy junk just to get a lot of pieces.

The typical down side to a set is that you end up with either pots or pans that you already have or that you will never use because they don't fit your cooking needs. The up side to a set is that in some cases, they are so inexpensive vs individual pieces that you are getting those "questionable" pieces for free, and you just might use them.

I have two girls that are replacing cookware for various reasons, one switched to induction, she needs induction compatible pans, the other is going to gas but her old pans are all shot. The first is putting things together piece at a time and the second is going after a set of Mauvial M-cook. The set was so much less expensive and she could use all the pieces. She still needs to add pieces, but this was in her case the less expensive route. My advice is the key is to shop around and look for what you want on sale and then buy based on those economics.

Jul 23, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Demeyere proline 9.4 & 11 fry pan lids

I assume you already know that Demeyere is owned by Zwilling and manufactures the Sensation pans which are the same as the Demeyere Industry 5 pans, sold under different names.

Also the quality of the lid is no where as important as the quality of the pan. Both an Industry 5 lid and another Demeyere model lid would have the same name on them, that's the only difference with the Zwilling lid.

Jul 22, 2015
mikie in Cookware
2

Porcelain/stoneware or ECI for casserole dishes? And best 2nd size?

I like to see all the Emile Henry fans in the posts above, however we had a nice little EH baker and it chipped on the corner of the handle. Since then we have switched to porcelain bakers and casserole dishes from Revol, Apilco, and Pillivuyt. These have proven to be quite robust. They go oven to table and match our white porcelain dishes, which also are quite robust. Most if not all porcelain is considered oven, microwave, freezer and dishwasher safe.

As far as the use of Emile Henry on an open flame, I have one of their grilling stones or pizza stones (whatever) and use it on my gas grill quite often. The gas grill may be more like an oven than a stove top, but it gets over 500°F and I've had no problems with it. I stick it on the grill when I light it and the stone warms up with the grill, I do the same for shut down.

Jul 22, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Induction Cooking: Is it really more energy efficient? (US Dept of Energy)

One of my girls recently switched to induction from glass top electric (I know, not the same as coil) and is very pleased with the better performance, mostly response time. She had considered gas, but the need for improved venting and the fact they had just bought a new over the range micro/hood made that an expensive choice. It was less costly to buy induction and new pans (her old ones were shot anyway). Energy efficiency never played a role in the decision process. It was speed to heat up and overall initial cost that decided which to purchase.

I don't know how big of a factor energy cost plays in the US (where energy is relatively inexpensive) when it comes to appliance decisions.

Jul 14, 2015
mikie in Cookware

The perfect handle

I'm with Chem, I don't know if there is such a thing as the perfect handle. I have several of the Viking pieces that were made by Demeyere, handles designed by Viking and I find them to be comfortable. I also have a couple of Demeyere Atlantis and those handles are very nice. Mrs. mikie prefers the Demeyere handle to the Viking handle. The Viking has a lot of curve to it, the Atlantis has less curve and is fuller (more rounded). The biggest difference is rivets vs. welded, between these two handles. I'm not particularly fond of the Mauvial M'Cook handles, they seem to narrow down near the grip area. I don't like the AC handles, even the D5 isn't really that much of an improvement. It's not that I can't use them, just wouldn't be my first choice.

Jul 14, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Favorite U.S. cities (other than Chicago) for a 3 day weekend? Food is #1 priority.... [moved from Chicago board]

Well, in August, there's a good chance it will be very hot no matter where you go. I lived in New Orleans for several years and it never gets to 100, but the humidity is killer. Still, the restaurants do have air conditioning. It's just mulling about the French Quarter in the day is not much fun in August. But the food choices are fantastic and there are some out of the way places that the locals frequent that are fantastic.

Buffalo should be moderating in temperature by then, but their ethnicity is very similar to Chicago, so you will likely see similar types of foods.

Houston and the area has great southern seafood, many places with ethnic foods as well, but it's hot and Houston suffers from urban sprawl in the worst way. If you confine your dining to the downtown area it's not a bad choice, but if you want to expand you have to have a car and deal with the traffic and the heat.

Jul 13, 2015
mikie in General Topics

No fuss rotisserie game hen dinner for two

I don't know how the poor thing can rest, it's all tied up ;) hahaha

The most difficult part is binding the chicken or game hen in this case. Looks like a great meal.

What is a metal trivet good for?

Well it's been covered, but I'll add that on a pierced cast iron trivet there is less surface area, so heat is not conducted as well as if it were a solid surface. The heat is dissipated by the air space below the trivet, think of it as a low version of a pie rack. Depending on your counter top material and the construction of your cooking vessel, it's practicality will vary. It's great on plastic laminate, wood, and other heat sensitive surfaces, it's not that important on granite unless you baked in a glass dish, where the thermal shock might cause an issue. My mother had a slew of them, nothing touched her dining room table without one.

Jul 13, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Preparing chicken for the grill

As has been mentioned, a dry rub under the skin is the best way to get that extra flavor. A good chicken rub would have some sugar & salt (about 4 parts), paprika, chili powder (about 2 parts for color), white or black pepper and a little cayenne pepper (about 1 part for heat), onion and/or garlic powder, etc. (about 1 part for flavor). Put this on under the skin and let set overnight if you like or just a few hours.

I did this recently on chicken halves in a smoker for about two hours and it may have been the best chicken I've ever made.

All-Clad Saute + Electric Coil Stove = Worthwhile?

If you are talking to pro cooks and chefs, then their view is going to differ from that of the "home" cook. They work on high powered hobs (burners) that the above average home cook just doesn't have. This changes their view of what to use for pots and pans. The average home cook with the average coil electric range will greatly appreciate the look and quality of the All Clad sauté. $139 is a very fair price for this cookware and you should enjoy it for a very long time. Chem is dead on with his response, you can get a less expensive pan that will provide you with just as good a meal, but it won't be made in the USA nor will it have the same quality finish. Personally, I like quality tools regardless of the task, so AC is a good choice for a cooking tool.

Jul 08, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Stainless Steel Spatula recommendation

I like well made and made in the USA items and flippers and spatulas are one item you can still find that's USA made. Lamson makes some really good turners, I also have their BBQ tools. Very well made. http://www.lamsonsharp.com/products/t...

Jun 22, 2015
mikie in Cookware

What did Y'all Grill this Weekend?

This was a heck of a Smoking weekend! The short story goes like this: 6 packers, 10 pork butts, 24 chicken halves, and 6 fatties. All this with about 3 inches of rain overnight while the large hunks of meat were smoking. The chicken was superb, the fatties and the pork were excellent and the packers were not my best effort, or at least not my best result. Still very good, but I've smoked better. They smoked almost 16 hours at 225°, they had a fantastic smoke ring, but just not as tender as some I have smoked in the past. This was all done on a smoker I hadn't used before.

Which pan(s) should be copper

In the link you provided I only saw one set of data (electric) where the pan was placed on a ceramic top. This is not induction, but then you knew that. Perhaps there are more pages to the report but they didn't show up when I clicked the link.

My experience in my work has been, that if you want something to be something it's not, you can force it, but it's never going to be all of what it isn't. Example: plastic is a thermal and electrical insulator, now I can make it both electrically and thermally conductive, or pick one or the other, but it will never be as electrically or thermally conductive as most metals. You can make an induction capable pan from a non induction friendly material, but you are going to have to give up something to get there. In this case it may still be the best of the bunch, but it is going to have to give up some of that thermal response to the induction friendly layer.

Jun 10, 2015
mikie in Cookware

grill grates

The raised portion of the grates are about an inch apart so they are not as far apart as it may look. Obviously some foods need to be grilled cross grate, but very small items, such as brussel sprouts need to be grilled on a perforated metal tray, but that's the same as with my regular grates. As far as delicate food, I grill salmon on there all the time, no problems. I guess I don't grill anything more delicate than that.

Jun 10, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Glass cookware?

I'm buying into all of that. Don't forget you can't drink water out of the tap because it has flowed through copper pipes and a brass faucet that has been fitted with solder that has metals like tin in it. But wait, you can't drink bottled water because it comes in a plastic container, and we all know how toxic plastic containers are. Beer, comes in real glass bottles, that's the solution! And if you have new construction, there's no copper, but plastic tubing your water flows through, water is definitely out, beer it is then.

Jun 08, 2015
mikie in Cookware

grill grates

The very best grill grates are "GrillGrates" http://www.grillgrate.com/ I've had SS and enameled cast iron and regular cast iron, and these are superior to any of those. They can sit on top of SS grates or replace the grates on your grill with an exact fit (in some cases). The grill marks are impressive. I've seen these used on charcoal grills as well and they are used by competition grillers, like the great steak cook-off. I've had mine for several years and they work like new. Sticking is greatly reduced, just follow the instructions. At this point I wouldn't use anything else on my grill. Click on the Science of GrillGrates for more information on how they work and they do work.

Jun 08, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Do you use an American butcher knife in your kitchen?

I have one, it was my grandfathers, never used it.

Jun 08, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Griswold cast iron

It's easier to list what you don't want, after that just about any Griswold or Wagner is going to be good.

Avoid pans with heavy rust and pitted surfaces, these will create problems with release.
Avoid pans that are cracked or chipped, the are somewhere between difficult and impossible to repair.
Avoid pans that are warped, obviously these will not sit flat on your stove top and will make cooking difficult as oil will not be evenly distributed.

Just about everything else can be dealt with at home.

I have a relatively large Griswold that was my grandmothers and still has some of her grease splatter dried on the outside and a small one that I bought on ebay at a reasonable price that had been stripped and reseasoned.

Jun 04, 2015
mikie in Cookware
1

Help me build my kitchen

Not necessiarly so. Woods, soft or hard either have an open grain structure, like Oak or Pecan or a closed grain structure like maple and cherry. It's even more complicated than that, but that's the short answer. There are what are technically classified as "hardwood" that is in fact rather soft, poplar for example. Red oak and white oak have different grain structures, that's why white oak is fairly water/rot resistant and red oak isn't. Me, personally, I wouldn't use anyting for a cutting board with a grain structure more open than walnut, I would not use oak or hickory, or any other wood with an open grian. Soft woods, like pine, are just going to splinter too easily to make a good cutting board (with the possible exception of endgrain).

Jun 02, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Looking for everyday tableware

BKF will work, it's a huge job and it doesn't last very long. I couldn't tell you how many hours I spent applying the elbow grease needed to get the black marks off, only to have them reappear. Save yourself a lot of work for nothing and don't do it.

Jun 01, 2015
mikie in Cookware

backyard bbq for 80 people

Teenage boys consume food like a bottomless pit! If there are young kids mixed in then the 1,1,1 approach probably isn't a bad idea. I'd do potato salad by the gallon, may take a couple of those and the same for pasta salad.

Good luck!

Looking for everyday tableware

We bought Apilco (French Porcelain) a few years ago and the only piece that has broken so far is one I slid off the BBQ in the dark onto the concrete patio. It's very robust and very attractive with food on it. The plates are not oversized, it's French, and their portions are typically smaller than American portions anyway. It's expensive, but I think it's worth it. And I know exactly what you mean about the silverware markings, makes a clean white plate look awful. No issues with this on the Apilco.

New refrigerator

Tired of getting on my hands and knees to get stuff from the back of the bottom shelf! The old fridge went into the laundry room which is just a couple of steps away from the kitchen. The new fridge is ALL fridge and the bottom shelf is a bit higher and not as deep. This has saved so much money in food that we couldn't find until clean-up day when it got pitched. When the old fridge dies, bottom freezer will replace the old top freezer.

Jun 01, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Help me build my kitchen

At the BBQ class I took, with professional instruction and experienced chefs, when the chickens came out so did new plastic cutting boards and as soon as the chickens were butchered and seasoned, those cutting boards disappeared just as quickly. We don't butcher chickens at our house, so I don't have cutting board issues in that regard, but we are very careful to wash everything that had raw chicken contact. From what I have read, plastic cutting boards need to be replaced when they become worn as bacteria will live in the deep cut marks. I agree with your concerns about plastic cutting boards produced in China. I'm in an international business and China manufactured items are not always what they are supposed to be, just ask the folks at Lumber Liquidators.

Jun 01, 2015
mikie in Cookware

Help me build my kitchen

Hi Duffy, what a good point. Talk about something that got out of hand, wow. Anyway, I don't care what you cut on chicken on, if you don't want to get sick, you darn well better wash it very well if you plan to chop your salad on it next! Forget the knife edge, glass, stone, wood, plastic, ceramic, unobtainium, they are all going to hold bacteria long enough that you can't go from raw chicken to raw vegetables with any level of confidence of not getting very sick.

My point about the cutting boards, is simply, many people (law_doc89's post proves my point) believe that plastic cutting boards are sanitary, yet they don't dare use plastic items for other purposes. Well, if it's safe to cut your food on (which from a bacteria stand point is still up for debate IMO, then it should be safe to stick a plastic fork in it (drrayeye). If something isn't safe then it isn't safe, how can it be safe to cut on but not safe to drink a cold beverage from? If using plastic bothers you, then how can you justify putting your raw food on a plastic cutting board, it doesn't meet the logic test for me.

Jun 01, 2015
mikie in Cookware
1

Help me build my kitchen

I too would stay away from heating plastics in the microwave, if there is something there, this is when it will come out. On the other hand, a plastic cereal storage container doesn't bother me a bit.

I'm old enough to remember getting into a hot automobile and grabbing the steering wheel and finding it to appear to have been greased. These were the plasticizers coming to the surface because of the heat.

Jun 01, 2015
mikie in Cookware