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what do i have here?

Oh yes, I misunderstood. I've always avoided aluminum because of the fear of it leaching into my food but recently read that aluminum pans were really nice and the leaching wasn't an issue unless you stored your food in it. I was wondering if there was such a thing as an aluminum pan with a magnetized core that could be used on induction but that would probably cancel out all the benefits.

Feb 07, 2014
thymewarrior in Cookware

what do i have here?

DuffyH, I am confused. I have an induction range and do not use any non-stick cookware. SS works but I mainly use carbon steel and cast iron. All work amazingly well. BTW, I always cook with a paper towel under my cast iron pans to keep from scratching the cooktop. I love that about my induction range, it makes cleanup so easy and after 3 years, not a mark on it.

Feb 07, 2014
thymewarrior in Cookware

High End Cookware That's Easy To Clean?

I use carbon steel skillets for any food that doesn't contain tomato or other acid foods. I use heavy stainless steel pots for acid foods. I season the carbon steel skillets when I get them and from day one they worked beautifully. Normally it just takes wiping them out with a damp paper towel, letting them dry and then wipe again with a little oil. Carbon steel isn't cheap and it's certainly not the prettiest but it's a workhorse.

If I scorch something in the pan (which does happen when you've got too many things going on at one time) I remove the food and while it's still hot add a little water and scrape the bottom with a spatula, everything lifts right up. It's like you would do if you were deglazing for a sauce. I do the same thing if I scorch my SS pots. Never have to scour them, clean up is simple so there is no need to put them in the dishwasher.

If a manufacturer says to never add cold liquid (tap water) to the pot or skillet when it's hot then I won't buy it. It's not going to perform well for me.

Oct 25, 2013
thymewarrior in Cookware

Cutting boards dull knives?

Everyone has different expectations when it comes to kitchen tools but I think I am going to bow out of this if we are going to start discussing semantics, which is very obviously not the point.

Oct 20, 2013
thymewarrior in Cookware

Cutting boards dull knives?

Alfred, your experience was exactly what I was told I could expect! I would have mine professionally sharpened at the knife shop where I bought my Henckels and within a month they needed it again. I used the steel they recommended and it didn't help. I don't know what the problem was but they sure didn't live up to my expectations.
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And, by the way, I did feel the fault was somehow mine, I just never could care for them properly. The point I was just trying to make was that you really don't need to have such an elegant knife to get a good cut.

Oct 18, 2013
thymewarrior in Cookware

Cutting boards dull knives?

Ok, sorry. So I really didn't throw them away, I gave them to my daughter who appreciated them because her hubby is a hunter-type who loves to wield whet stones.

Oct 18, 2013
thymewarrior in Cookware

Cutting boards dull knives?

Lot's of varying opinions and some obviously very passionate ones. I personally use wood for veggies and plastic for meat. I don't notice any difference in edge wear with either. I wash the wood with soap and water and throw the plastic ones in the dishwasher. Never in 40 years of cooking have I had food poisoning which I imagine would be the symptoms of bad board-keeping. I agree that any board will dull a knife eventually but then, the knife edge is meant to be sharpened routinely. I bought some relatively inexpensive IKEA knives about three years ago and after using them for a while I threw away my old Henkels (which I bought back in the day they were still being made in Germany and supposed to be quality) that I couldn't keep an edge on no matter what I did. I never could use a whet stone properly so I use a pull through sharpener on my knives every two or three uses and the IKEA chef's knife will slip through a soft tomato.

Oct 18, 2013
thymewarrior in Cookware

For Great Gluten-Free Baking, Use Less Fake Flour!

When my daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease I spent two years coming up with gluten free recipes. Although I personally eat a diet based mostly on veggies and lean meats and few carbs, occasionally you gotta have desert! So I would like to share two of my best discoveries.

Pie Pastry
Ingredients
1/2 cup potato starch
1/2 cup sweet white rice flour
(If you use regular white rice get the finest milled you can find)
1/4 cup sorghum flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons guar gum
1/4 cup coconut oil and 1/4 cup soft butter blended together and chilled
(you can also use all butter but not all coconut oil)
4-6 tablespoons cold water

In your large mixer bowl or food processor container, combine potato starch and flours, sugar, salt and guar gum. Mix (or pulse in the food processor) until well blended.

Break up the coconut oil/butter into spoon size pieces, add to the flour and mix on medium speed using your mixer paddle (or pulse with the metal blade of your food processor) until the butter/oil is about pea size or smaller.

Add the cold water a tablespoon at a time and mix in. Pulse two or three times with a food processor after each addition of water. Stop adding water as soon as the dough easily sticks together.

Quickly press the mixture into a ball, don’t handle the dough too much or you’ll melt the coconut oil and butter, place in a plastic bag and put in the refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes to make the dough easier to handle.

Place about 18” of parchment paper on a counter and sprinkle with sorghum or rice flour. Dump the cold dough onto the flour, dust more flour on top of the dough and pat and roll out the dough to about 1/8” thick.

Pick up the dough with the parchment paper and slide into a pie pan. Crimp the edges and prebake at 375°F for several minutes until just starting to color and before filling or bake according to your recipe.

This pastry is not quite as flaky as wheat pastry, it has a little more crunch to it, but it tastes exactly like pastry made with wheat, even raw. I serve it to non-gluten free folks all the time and they love it. The trick is not to get the dough too dry and if it does break when putting in the pan just pinch it back together. I use it mainly for making a dynamite pear tart but have also used it for apple pie and cut out leaf shapes from the pastry for the top of the pie.

I'll post my cake recipe next.

May 08, 2013
thymewarrior in Features

For Great Gluten-Free Baking, Use Less Fake Flour!

The following is my go-to cake recipe. It has a firm texture but it’s moist and not at all crumbly. It also stays fresh for several days covered at room temperature. I’ll admit it takes more effort than a mix but it’s really, really good and worth the trouble. I'm not saying this is healthy for you but what cake is!

Ingredients
1 cup white rice flour
3/4 cup tapioca starch
3/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup potato starch
2 teaspoons guar gum
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup of milk
2 sticks unsalted, soft butter
2-1/4 cups sugar
6 large eggs at room temp
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
1 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 325°F.

In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients together: rice flour, tapioca starch, cornstarch, potato starch, guar gum, baking powder and salt.

In your stand mixer, beat the sugar and butter until light and satiny on medium speed. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Mix in the orange peel and almond extract. Take as much time as necessary to make sure this mixture is very smooth before continuing (the key to success). Reduce to low speed and continue mixing and alternately adding the flour mixture and the milk until you have a smooth batter. Do not over-mix at this point.

Pour the batter into a greased and floured angel food or bundt cake pan and bake for 60-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for a few minutes and then remove from pan. The cake can be frosted when completely cool or drizzled with icing while still slightly warm.

This is a basic cake recipe. Sometimes I leave out the orange peel and add poppy seeds and bake in a loaf pan for a coffee cake and sometimes I use vanilla instead of almond and make cupcakes and frost with cream cheese frosting.

Tip: Don't get the batter too heavy or the cake can be dry.

To make it easier to whip up a desert for unexpected guests, I mix a bunch of the flours together so I have it on hand. It will fit in a container made for holding 5 pounds of flour.

All Purpose Cake Flour
Makes 12 Cups

4 Cups White Rice Flour
3 Cups Tapioca Starch
3 Cups Cornstarch
2 Cups Potato Starch

Mix together very well and store at room temperature or in the refrigerator for extended storage.

Try out your own recipes just by substituting the flour called for with this mixture and about a teaspoon of guar gum for every cup of flour mix you use.

May 08, 2013
thymewarrior in Features

Why Cast Iron Isn't 100% Awesome

I started using cast iron about 10 years ago when my mom passed hers on to me. I never realized how fantastic they are. I use stainless pots for boiling but for frying, simmering and sauteing there is nothing better in my book. I used them on a regular glass top stove with no problem (other than scratches). Now I have an induction top stove. I put a paper towel under the pot to make sure it doesn't scratch the glass top and the cast iron performs like magic. Induction heats up fast and very evenly. I wait until the skillet has settled in at the right temperature before adding the food and then there are no hot spots. After cooking I pour a little cold water in the hot skillet, scrape the bottom with a spatula and put the skillet on a trivet to cool. After dinner a quick rinse, dry and wipe with an oiled paper towel is all it needs to be ready for next time. All this and a reasonable price too.

Mar 01, 2013
thymewarrior in Features

Dinnerware safety--brand suggestions?

Whether or not it's true, I've read that it's colored dinnerware that you need to be really concerned about because many companies used lead glazes to get vibrant colors.

I have white Mikasa for my good stuff. I bought it about 20 years ago and it's marked "Japan". It's beautiful and has been durable. Mikasa is made in many different countries though, so you have to check each pattern.

I use Fiesta for casual dining. It's almost indestructible, is dishwasher and microwave safe, and I think it's very attractive.

For those of you who think Fiesta has never contained lead, by the company's own admission, they only began to produce lead-free china in the early 80's. http://www.hlchina.com/company.htm. Look at the paragraph titled "The Third Generation..." So for Fiestaware collectors, it might be a good idea to only use it decoratively if was made prior to that time period.

Feb 25, 2013
thymewarrior in Cookware

Gluten free gravy

Sauce is one thing but sometimes you just have to have gravy. How good it is depends of course on the base. You get plenty of pan drippings from poultry to make a good gravy. I like white gravy with poultry so I usually add half & half or whole milk to the reserved drippings and heat it. I make a gluten free blend of flours for bread that uses sorghum, amaranth, rice and corn flours. I use that to make my gravy using the Julia Child method of making a paste of the flour and soft butter, then madly whisking it in to the simmering liquid and then season. It thickens perfectly without any lumps, no after taste and it reheats well. This doesn't taste any different than my mother's white gravy when I was a child. I made some yesterday to drizzle over the turkey and dressing and I must say it was divine.

If you use a commercial gluten free mix, make sure it doesn't contain any bean flour. That WILL have a nasty after taste that ruins the flavor of anything, in my opinion.

Nov 23, 2012
thymewarrior in Special Diets

How to Circulate at Holiday Parties

Personally, I like small dinner parties with a few couples. Some people simply do not require a large circle of acquaintances and prefer a few comfortable friends. I don't enjoy large parties and will not go to one unless feeling extremely obligated. If the host/hostess was rude enough to call me to complain about my lack of mingling they would never see me at another of their parties, obligation or not. Unless it's a business affair, I don't feel the need to pretend to be enjoying myself to make someone else comfortable, and that's what enforced mingling is all about.

Jan 26, 2012
thymewarrior in Features

How to Handle Blood Sugar Crashes

I'm very hypoglycemic and have been for years. I didn't know what it was at first and it was very frightening when I would experience (all) of the above symptoms. Maybe some people have a harder time processing carbs as they get older, I don't know, but I do know that I've had to severely restrict carbs of all kinds, even whole grains and fruit. A serving of brown rice will cause a reaction in me as quickly as white rice. Breakfast is the meal that will make or break my day. If I have only meat or dairy protein for breakfast my blood sugar stays level even if I miss meals. Eat a slice of toast and I am starving and hypoglycemic within an hour. Fast food is out for me and I carry baked chicken breasts or slices of ham, cheese and veggie slices for lunch. My emergency stash for long car or plane trips is Snickers. If I know I'm going to be eating soon, a bite or two will hold me until food arrives. Logically, that shouldn't work, but it holds me for several hours with no crash. Very strange, I know. And I am not saying snickers are health food, I use them strictly for an emergency. I used to carry peanut butter but people look at you funny if you pull a jar out of your purse and start eating peanut butter with your fingers. This diet would obviously not work for a vegan but it works for me.

Jun 23, 2011
thymewarrior in Features

Dinnerware safety--brand suggestions?

I'm sorry you don't like Fiesta. I've used it as my everyday dishes for years. I even inherited some pieces from my mother that she had when I was a kid. Not a single piece of my Fiestaware even has a chip on it and I don't baby it. There have been times I've been surprised I haven't broken something. I bought my original Fiestaware at Macy's on sale but you can also find good prices on Amazon. Fiesta is made by Homer Laughlin. Everything they make is, and always has been, lead free and made in the USA. You can also buy other HL dinnerware which I believe is made more for the commercial trade, although quite attractive. I also inherited some "very old", Homer Laughlin dishes from my mother that I threw away because I thought they were ugly, although in perfect condition. I didn't know what they were then and I wish I still had them because vintage Homer Laughlin is pricey. I keep kicking myself.

Oct 29, 2010
thymewarrior in Cookware