randallhank's Profile

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Help me build a great cookware set!

I would think that some of the necessity of thickness regarding copper is mitigated by stainless cladding, at least as far as even heating goes. The need for extra thickness is to compensate for the extremely efficient heat transfer, especially since the heat source is usually smaller than the base of the pan. Likewise, a thicker piece of copper will be able to resist temperature drop. But when surrounded by stainless, I would think 2mm (or perhaps even 1mm) of copper would be quite effective since the steel would help retain heat and promote the spread of heat.

Along the same lines, for cooking with liquid (aside from sauce work), I don't know what advantage there would be to a thicker layer of copper, assuming the base of the pan was more or less the size of the burner.

I'll be able to test this hypothesis on a newly acquired pan by Letang et Remy. The copper layer on the bottom appears to be about half as thick as my Sitram, or roughly 1mm. For boiling a pot of water I don't expect to see a difference. I do however think the difference in a sauté would be significant.

I am no scientist, so correct me if I am thinking about this wrong.

about 18 hours ago
randallhank in Cookware

Help me build a great cookware set!

Really? You think the linens, sheets and towels people register for are still in use decades later? My wife and I had a queen size bed when we got married, now we have a king. We do still have the sheets (and ironically they are probably in better shape because we rarely use them), but we never sleep on them. On the other hand we've only been married six years and our regular towels are starting to fade. We lived in the suburbs back then, later moved to New York City and had to downsize. Now we are back in the suburbs. Our needs have changed along the way. Aside from the china, glassware and silver I say anything is fair game for a return.

2 days ago
randallhank in Cookware

Help me build a great cookware set!

Yes, it sort of is. This is not like a birthday gift, or something you bring home from a foreign country for a friend, or a gift you get a lover to show him/her how much you love them. A wedding gift is basically meant as a transfer of resources to the new couple. While it is considered bad form, by some, to give cash, the function of a wedding gift bought off a registry is to buy something that the couple needs for the new home they are creating together. Once the gift is given, IMHO, the giver should not care what eventually becomes of it. Now, if you aren't using the registry and want to buy something unique that's a different story. But most people find that to be in poor form as well if a registry exists. The couple's memory is usually of the original gift given, and as far as thought goes, that's the thought the couple has, even if the object in their home ends up being something different. People register for all sorts of things, many of which eventually break, are replaced or disappear for one reason or another. If, for instance, someone registers for a vacuum cleaner and I buy it for them, I hope the marriage lasts longer than the vacuum. If at any point they find one they think will last longer, I hope they get it! I suppose your issue is with intent, but once one considers the function of a wedding gift, only the intent of the giver is relevant.

Jul 27, 2014
randallhank in Cookware

Help me build a great cookware set!

The registry is all about the "where" not the "what." Find a place that sells the things you would most want to have, either in store or online. Register for items at price points you think people will be happy to spend on you. Then exchange it for the even nicer stuff that you really want. Nobody cares. They want you to have what you want. In the end, don't be afraid to end up with fewer items of higher quality, and then add pieces one at a time over the years.

Jul 24, 2014
randallhank in Cookware
3

Help me build a great cookware set!

Register for a bunch of All-Clad Stainless at Bed Bath, then exchange it all in a store and have an associate order you several pieces of Demeyere online with the store credit. They will usually arrange for free shipping. You must have the sales clerk in the store order it for you online. They are more than happy to do it. They also sell Sitram online (but not in stores), if that's your jawn.

Get a Proline skillet and a 4.2 quart saute. The 11" Proline, btw, is a very good deal at Bed Bath. If you want a smaller everyday skillet, get the 9.5" Demeyere Industry from Sur La Table which is on sale for $80. You probably don't need all that metal in a smaller skillet, so the slightly thinner Industry works great. Or you could go copper, but based on your choices thus far, I'm thinking that isn't in the cards.

Jul 24, 2014
randallhank in Cookware
1

Help me build a great cookware set!

Hi DuffyH,

I am also a small Le Creuset Dutch oven user. I have both the 3.5 oval and a 3.5 shallow "wide" round one. The oval I use primarily for roasted chicken when I need to make more than one. I usually use a Nesco roaster for chicken because it roasts an entire chicken perfectly in like 35 minutes and doesn't heat up the whole house. So when I need two, I transfer the first one to the DO and put it in a warm oven. It keeps it perfectly while the second one is cooking. I suppose I could use one of my roasters and just cook the two together in the oven, but I think they come out better this way, especially if I pull the first one off at the right moment and let it coast to a finish while the second one cooks. I use both dutch ovens for small batches of soup and for rice and grains. I use the wide one as a braiser, or as a saucepan.

The main thing I find these pans useful for is when I want a cooking vessel that will keep food warm when I want to clear off the range to make room for other projects. The heat retention is the main property here, and I cannot tell you how often it comes in handy when I want to do a quick sauté or a sauce and need a spare burner. That cast iron will keep my grains warm and most for at least an hour, if not two. Likewise for brisket or braised ribs, where there is no risk of overcooking. Needless to say, you have to think about the items and order of cooking a bit in advance.

The small DO's are also good for table service. I have a 2.75 quart Staub that I use in the same way.

Jul 24, 2014
randallhank in Cookware

Help me build a great cookware set!

I'll weight in on two counts:

First, I have been down the road with the all-purpose style pans, especially when I had much less space. I still appreciate an economy of means when it comes to space, but the 3-4 quart essential pan or saucier is vastly inferior IMHO to having 3 sauce pans. If you are ever cooking a meal for more than two people, you will want a set of cookware that will allow you to take full advantage of your range. I have 1.1qt, and 2.3 qt saucepans, and a 4 quart casserole for these purposes, plus one straight sided sauté, and and 11 inch skillet. You can get away with just a sauté and forgo the skillet, but 2-3 sauce pans, a stockpot and a sauté are all essential for cooking for a small group. My primary cookware is Demeyere which has no rivets and therefore allows me to take full advantage of the volume of the saucepans. You may want to get slightly larger small pots if you intend on purchasing a brand with rivets. My point here, though, is that once you have the requisite number of saucepans a stockpot and one or two frypans you won't have much need for an expensive do-it-all pan. Better at this point to spend your money on true specialty items.

The second thing I'll share with you is in line with what some other, more respected, members around here will say. I've owned quite a few pieces of All-clad over the years (and still have a few). I have owned lots of Calphalon (and still have a few). My overall perspective on these companies has changed over the years, both based on my cooking experience and on my perception of the quality of the cookware. I can't really say a bad word about All-Clad, but I think you can do better than the stainless line for a bit less money (Sitram). And I think you can do better than the Copper Core for just a bit more money (Demeyere). I am a bit biased because I like flared rims and prefer the welded handles of quality cookware. I also think that those two brands I mentioned have better steel (though I have no empirical evidence for why this would be true, just my experience cooking on them).

Calphalon once made (and still occasionally does) great home cookware. You can still cook a fine meal in Calphalon pans, but a slight downtick in quality combined with other quality options out there puts me in the camp of people who wouldn't go out of my way to purchase them if I had do do it over again.

I still think that for the money, Sitram Catering is the best deal out there if you don't use induction and don't mind the industrial handles. Demeyere is tops for anything besides pure copper (though I think their conical sauce pans are not worth the money). And you can't go wrong with one or two dutch ovens from Le Creuset.

Jul 24, 2014
randallhank in Cookware

Which Varieties Make the Best Apple Butter?

I have always liked Smucker's -- one of their original products I believe. I see some mixed reviews on the net, but the sample size is pretty small. The complaint seems to be that it's watery and perhaps not sweet enough, but this to me tastes like the apple butter I grew up with. More acidic, a bit less "buttery" and sugary sweet, but more apple taste. I have also had Medford Farms which is very good. There may be other good boutique brands out there, but probably harder to get in your local grocery store.

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/357917

Jul 22, 2014
randallhank in Home Cooking

Eggs + Induction Fob = Which Frying Pan?

Hi Kaleo:

Yes, I re-read the original query and it appears OP wants either non-stick or carbon steel. However, I am able to cook eggs over easy (or sometimes basted) on my Catering line pans with just a few drops of oil without anything sticking at all. I am not sure to what extent this is a function of the quality of steel, but I thought perhaps OP would have better luck than with his Pro-Clad. I should mention that I am doing this with a truly crappy radiant ring cooktop, and that the Sitram saved my life because of the combination of copper responsiveness and the ability to sit so flat on the cooktop. Granted this is partially a function of weight and balance (two VERY important factors with electric), but I have read nice things about the Profisserie line as well and assumed these results could be duplicated to some extent on induction (specifically the non-stick part). I can't say for sure how flat the Profisserie bottom is though, and I also suspect that the copper responsiveness can't really be fully replicated once the pan gets hot on an induction burner.

I have been wanting to try induction myself, but I am not sure there is a reasonably priced portable unit that's worth it. I am certainly open to suggestions if you feel otherwise.

Jun 24, 2014
randallhank in Cookware

Deciding between All Clad and Sitram

The stainless line has been measured at various thicknesses over the years. It certainly isn't "bad" cookware -- far from it. But for my money it doesn't do enough. There is other multi-ply cookware out there that cooks as good or better and can be had for a lot less money, especially if you are willing to scour the discount stores.

I am not going to defend Cuisinart, and certainly not Calphalon at this point (though their customer service is still strong. You know what's better, though, than good customer service? Not having to call them in the first place!).

My original post stands, though, which is that for the money I think Sitram (both Catering and Profisserie) will deliver most cooks a better cooking experience for the money. The catering line is priced where AC stainless is, yet IMHO the 2mm of copper produce a better more even response than the AC. I am also a former fully-clad guy who has converted, for the most part, to disc bottom pans. I just don't think for most applications that fully clad gives a real benefit. So I have a bit of a bias there, but I think it is justified in this case since the person is looking to buy a set of something. I wouldn't compromise efficiency of a copper bottom just to get a fully clad frypan.

Jun 23, 2014
randallhank in Cookware

Eggs + Induction Fob = Which Frying Pan?

Honestly, I am feeling Sitram Profisserie for this guy. He needs a medium weight, induction capable pan, with proven quality stainless for no-stick purposes. As a general rule, when faced with inferior heat source, pan weight is key. Too heavy/too much material to heat and the response is too slow; too thin and the heat isn't even enough. Unless we are talking about copper (which isn't induction capable anyway), a more expensive pan should not be the answer. Cook's Direct has the 9.5" pan for $43.80:

http://www.cooksdirect.com/product/si...

I mean, we know that the 2.6 quart Demeyere sauté will produce some fabulous scrambled eggs, but honestly?

Jun 23, 2014
randallhank in Cookware

Sitram Cookware?

wish I had read this post about 6 years ago. I finally saw the light.

Jun 12, 2014
randallhank in Cookware

Deciding between All Clad and Sitram

This is a late response, but having owned both Sitram Catering and All-Clad, I can tell you they aren't even in the same league.

The Sitram Catering has a 2mm copper bottom, which is incredibly even heating and responsive, and the steel cleans up like a breeze. Other than Demeyere, it's the best stainless cookware I have used.

For twice the money, you could buy All-Clad copper core, which has less than 1mm of copper, and doesn't perform nearly as well for most applications. Or, you can really waste your money on their stainless line, which is relatively thin, doesn't heat evenly, doesn't have rolled rims, and is prone to staining.

You will rarely see All-Clad in a professional kitchen (not on TV), while Sitram is used in the industry all over the world.

Jun 12, 2014
randallhank in Cookware

New Calphalon One pan woes

I am feeling the need to amend this 5 1/2 years later. I still stand by the raw cooking properties of Calphalon One, but I have definitely seen some durability issues. Due to a job change and relocation, I was forced into having an electric "radiant ring" stovetop, and some of the limitations of this cookware began to show. Mainly, the pans exposed to higher heat (skillets and saute), had warped just a little bit. This did not make a difference when I was cooking over gas, but contact with the element is essential on electric.

Secondly, the pans over time developed microscopic little scars on the cooking surface (Calphalon replaced them under warranty). I did use a metal spatula to deglaze, but I am really not sure why this happened. The pans also ding up pretty easily, and some oil stains couldn't be completely removed even with bar keepers friend. I still have some of these, and honestly I haven't noticed an affect on either cooking or cleanup, so I guess it is really just a minor annoyance. If still had a gas stove I wouldn't have tried to replace them.

Now, with an electric range, I have completely revamped my cookware lineup. It is a much more eclectic collection. I also should mention that I became completely dissatisfied with All-Clad stainless. The aluminum was too thin to provide good conductivity and on the other hand the overall thickness was not sufficient to provide even heat. They are too expensive not to perform better at something! I do have one All-Clad copper core sauce pan which I am satisfied with. The rest of my cookware is a combination of 3 pieces of Michael Chiarello's Signature stainless set (clad, PLUS a copper clad base). I also have four sitram catering pans which are truly fantastic as everyday cookware (2mm copper base, relatively lightweight, yet indestructible, and no interior rivets), especially for electric. And I have a few smaller le creuset pieces. My overall philosophy of cookware has changed somewhat over the years in that I think you really need to customize your cookware to your cooking style and to your heat source. This last part is often overlooked (I would rather use two 10" skillets to cook a couple of steaks than one 13" skillet).

http://www.centurylife.org/2013/10/23...

Apr 09, 2014
randallhank in Cookware
1

what do you think of calphalon one annodizes for 112.00

I assume this was the larger 12" wok -- yes, a pretty bad wok! But as I mention elsewhere, the 10" stir fry is actually a nifty little piece.

Apr 09, 2014
randallhank in Cookware

what do you think of calphalon one annodizes for 112.00

Not the greatest cookware ever, but pretty darn good in terms of functionality. And frankly at that price, who cares? They are generally well balanced, transmit heat well, have above average responsiveness, GREAT handles, and can put a mean sear on some meat.

But, as some have pointed out, they have durability issues. At $112, it's not an issue though. I would have loved to have paid that little with mine (and I paid < 50% for mine!).

Apr 09, 2014
randallhank in Cookware

Calphalon One Roasting Pan

One version is truly "Non-stick" one is "Infused Anodized" which I would describe as semi-non-sick. When They were still making this line, the Infused Anodized was generally rated as the best roasting pan, above All-Clad and other stainless competitors.

Having owned several pieces of this cookware I can say that the small sauce pots and the roasting pan are the best pieces. The larger pots and skillets tend to warp a bit over time, and the surface layer has long-term durability issues. When the pans are in good condition, however, they do cook beautifully and clean up a bit more easily than comparable stainless products.

As I discussed on another thread, this line was designed to be "the ONE", meaning the most versatile set available that could replicate the results of various other pans while successfully functioning as an everyday set. With a gas range, these skillets provide the closest results to cast iron (but without the weight), while the responsiveness of aluminum would allow for more subtle cooking techniques associated with copper clad cookware. Combine that with relatively easy cleanup and there's your "one" pan.

One should consider though whether they are better off buying a Lodge cast iron skillet, mauviel copper saucier, and some sitram rondeau's and stockpots.

A good dark hard Anodized roaster is tough to beat, and I think that is where the Calphalon One Roaster really shines. Aluminum is a pretty ideal conductor, and because the Infused line doesn't have a teflon coat, you can deglaze it on the stovetop. Also, since this isn't serving as your everyday skillet, it won't take the abuse on the range, though, that would expose the aforementioned durability issues. And even if it did warp a bit, this isn't a big deal in a roasting pan.

Apr 09, 2014
randallhank in Cookware

Thoughts about the All-Clad d5 Essential Pan

I found a copper core 4 quart essential pan at Marshall's for $100. It has a couple of scratches on the exterior and a bit of the decorative copper stripe has worn away, but functionally there is nothing wrong with it. I already have a 5/9-ply copper core 3 quart saute by Michael Chiarello that has the same amount of searing space if not a bit more. So, the only advantage of this pan is volume/versatility. I truly do not need it, but at $100, should I keep it anyway?

Feb 25, 2014
randallhank in Cookware

Omelette Pan?

If you truly make the omelette the way Julia suggests, it should not be elastic at all. The key is to only cook it for 20 seconds, so it is barely cooked (à baver, or "drooling,") when removed from the pan. The last bit of cooking is done in the plate via conduction. I guarantee you will not have elasticity this way. Yes, there will be a slightly different texture on the outer part, as compared to the inner, but this is one of the properties of a classic French omelette. If what you were going for was absolute consistency of texture (which is called for in many other French recipes and techniques), you could simply use a sous-vide method. But, the end result would be something very different from a French omelette. Also, two large eggs is all that you can really use with Julia's classic French method because, as Julia points out, if you have higher egg volume, the high heat will cause some of the eggs to become rubbery before the omelette is really ready to be served.

Dec 16, 2013
randallhank in Cookware

Best Ice Cream Shops in the US?

Ohio has so much incredible Ice Cream. And Jeni's is indeed pretty awesome, but not even the best in Ohio. That award, my friends, goes to Handel's, based in Youngstown.

Jun 16, 2013
randallhank in General Topics

Best Ice Cream Shops in the US?

Jeni's is the best in Columbus, and in my top three in Ohio.

Jun 16, 2013
randallhank in General Topics

Kosher Krispy Kreme in Las Vegas

I do, as a matter of fact, keep kosher. In my house I am very strict and only use products that are marked by a reliable authority. As to which Krispy Kremes I would eat outside of my own home, vis a vis the fact that 20 years ago they used lard, well that's another story.

Nov 15, 2012
randallhank in Kosher

What exactly is "deli-style rye"?

I concur on Schwebel's. By far the best bagged rye out there. It still has the old world taste and holds a sandwich perfectly. Eli's on the Upper East Side of Manhattan make a similar style.

Nov 15, 2012
randallhank in General Topics

Kosher Krispy Kreme in Las Vegas

Well, they stopped using lard over 20 years ago. You would think there would be some statute of limitations here. And at some point all the old equipment would have been replaced. I realize that in theory there are never ending cross contamination issues, but at some point you have to ask yourself "what would G-d want?" I think there is good Biblical precedent for 40 years representing a clean slate, the equivalent of being buried in the yard for a year, if you would. So we only have about 12-13 years left I guess.

Apr 21, 2011
randallhank in Kosher

Kosher lunch in Chicago/butchers in Cleveland

Uh, plenty of kosher meat and groceries to be found in Cleveland. Tibor's and Boris' are both outstanding for meat. There are several very good kosher bakeries, a kosher market called Unger's and probably the best kosher Chocolatier you will find, called Chocolate Emporium. Obviously Chicago will have some great choices, but if you don't want to shlep the food from Chicago, you will easily find what you want in Cleveland.

Apr 14, 2011
randallhank in Kosher

Best Kosher Wine or Scotch whiskey

Sorry to say, but your response to this "bubbamaise" (who is this Bubba character?) is the real bubbe-meise. Meshuval wine is indeed stripped of most of the qualities that any serious wine drinker would say differentiates between a very good wine, and a fairly terrible one. I won't brag on my credentials too much here, but suffice to say I speak with authority on this subject. A nice 185 degree "bath" will kill anything. Actually the conservative tempurature used in the restaurant industry is just 140 degrees. Just using common sense though, if the process were "safer" in any significant way, shape, or form and didn't affect flavor, then all wineries would use this method wouldn't they?

Dec 27, 2010
randallhank in Kosher

Help! Commercial Calphalon Hard Anodized finish wearing off?

I make Chili all the time in my Calphalon One pans without a problem.

Jun 29, 2010
randallhank in Cookware

Help! Commercial Calphalon Hard Anodized finish wearing off?

As I have posted here and elsewhere, I own Calphalon One pans (in addition to All-Clad, and several others) and have found them to be my very best for serious cooking. No, they aren't nonstick, but they clean up easier than stainless, and they also transfer heat better.

The color of the pan, anodized or not, has NOTHING to do with browning ability. Come cooks prefer a mirror finished pan (stainless) because they can SEE the browning process better. My Calph One pans sear better than my All-Clad.

After suspecting that Calphalon One was overrated and All-Clad the real deal, my experience has taught me the opposite. The All-Clad pans are getting thinner and thinner, with my Frnech skillet measuring at well under 3 millimeters. Presumably this means I have less than one millimeter of aluminum core. While the stainless, as a poor conductor of heat, does prevent hotspots, I find that the heat transfer is too slow and inefficient to make it a great skillet. I do love my All-Clad saucier though, as even cooking is key in sauce work and other applications I would use this pan for. Ditto for the ceramic double boiler.

The overall advantages of clad stainless aren't purely culinary (which is why most restaurants and chefs don't use them). All-Clad's pans are expertly engineered and the clad metal makes it virtually warp proof and indestructible. They can take quite a beating. Another advantage is that, at least when the pans were of the proper thickness, you get very even cooking ability in a relatively light weight pan. Eventually I will pick up a piece of copper core which should distribute heat more efficiently.

Jun 29, 2010
randallhank in Cookware

New All Clad Stainless d5 line at W-S?

great post. dead on. I don't think most All-Clad owners understand the principles at work regarding the stainless.

Jun 29, 2010
randallhank in Cookware

New Calphalon One pan woes

I can't really disagree with this post. Nonstick pans don't get hot enough, and stainless sticks too much. I will say, though, that the 10" inch Calphalon One stir fry does a pretty nice job. They were clever and made it with a thinner gauge than the other pans in the line, and with as well as anodized aluminum transmits heat you can get it really hot. Use medium heat for five minutes, prep the pan well with oil, then turn it to medium high before adding the ingredients and it's not a bad stir fry pan at all.

Jun 10, 2010
randallhank in Cookware