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Outdoor stir fry?

Greetings,

I have inadequate ventilation in my kitchen and stir-fry just doesn't work well there. Any comments on these outdoor options would be appreciated.

1. Outdoor propane burner with wok ring. Amazon sells a few of these and they seem ideal. However, I live in the city and have an extremely small yard with a deck which is about 8x10. I am concerned about the safety of operating one of these on the deck and a few fee away from my house. I won't be deep frying, which I have heard is often the cause of problems with these units.

2. Breville electric wok. http://www.amazon.com/Breville-EW30XL... I am a little skeptical about the non-stick surface on this electric wok, and it's ability to heat up properly with 110 volts, but the reviews on Amazon are pretty amazing. If these people can be believed the wok will get hot enough for a real stir fry. But I wonder if it will have the same smoky flavor as a seasoned carbon-steel wok.
Seems much safer and more convenient than option 1.

3. Get a portable 1800W induction burner and use a large cast-iron pan: http://www.amazon.com/Max-Burton-6015... Not sure if this would get hot enough, but I suspect it would. No problem with non-stick here. Another benefit is that I could cook other smoky things like pan-fried steak, blackened fish, etc...

thanks

Oct 12, 2009
foo1024 in Cookware

stir frying tofu & how to season my wok

Most recipes I have seen say to fry or deep fry the tofu first (if you want that delicious golden-brown crust). I always fry at medium heat in a non-stick skillet, and it also works well in cast-iron. I fry a bunch of it at once and then use it over the next few days in different things.

As for your wok, there are many, many pages out there on google about how to identify what type of wok you have, and how to season it if it needs it.

Jul 15, 2008
foo1024 in Cookware

Rotisserie/Toaster Oven opinions?

I don't think this one makes toast, so if that's important to you then you may want to look elsewhere. I got a combo toaster/rotisserie from Delonghi, and I find it very difficult to get a chicken to balanced properly on the spit so that it will turn evenly and not brush against the interior of the oven.

Jun 30, 2008
foo1024 in Cookware

Should I buy an espresso maker?

I second the moka pot (some call it a stovetop espresso maker). If you are adding milk to your drinks you may not be able to tell the difference between a moka pot and a high end espresso machine. I can't tell the difference even when drinking straight espresso except for the crema. I use mine almost every day. Ikea has a $20 6-cup (6 single shots of espresso) and they have a little battery powered wand for $1.99 that makes great foam (both hot and cold milk). Moka is great for ice coffee too.

I tried 2 of those cheap espresso machines and they never worked right for me, were a pain to clean and eventually broke. The moka pot works the same way every time and is very easy to clean (just rinse and let dry on the counter).

However, beware of the chinese knock-offs. I am sure some of them work fine, but I got a $10 one at tjmax that did not work right. You can't go wrong with bialetti and my ikea has worked well so far.

Jun 18, 2008
foo1024 in Cookware

broiling with oven door open

I think the broiler element itself can get hotter than 500F, but once the temp sensor in the oven thinks that the entire oven is heated to 500F it shuts off. The trick is to give the broiler element itself enough time to preheat (it's gas with an electric "assist") without letting the oven air temperature get to 500F thus shutting off the broiler. I can't say I've been very successful at doing it. I cooked breakfast sausage using the opening and closing door method I described in the previous post, and they reached 200F internal temp by the time they were somewhat brown on two sides (about 12 minutes). These sausages still taste pretty good that way, but a steak or fish would have been way overcooked.

Does anyone else have this problem with closed door broiling? Is my broiler just weak?

I am thinking about preheating a cast-iron grill pan under the broiler for about 10 minutes, put the food on the pan and then do the open/close door trick to try to keep the broiler on and hopefully get browning on both sides before the food bakes too much.

Jun 09, 2008
foo1024 in Cookware

broiling with oven door open

I have a gas kitchenaid oven where the door must be closed or the broiler element turns off. However, it also turns off when the oven temp hits 500F. It is very hard to get good browning in this type of oven. I try to deal with it by closing and then opening the door every 20 seconds to keep the heat down in the oven so that the temperature sensor doesn't turn off the element, and so that the safety feature doesn't see the door open for more than 30 seconds which also turns off the element. A real pain.

Jun 09, 2008
foo1024 in Cookware

Bialetti Brikka on the stove

I don't see why you couldn't use it on a ceramic - it just needs to get hot enough to create steam in the chamber. Quick temperature regulation is not a problem with the brikka because once the valve pops you count to 4 and take it completely off the heat.

I have the 2-cup and it works quite well. I had heard others say that the 2-cup produces better coffee, but I doubt that I could tell the difference. The two cup is quite small, makes one double shot. I ended up buying a six-cup from ikea to make enough for two, and a 10-cup which I use for guests and for iced coffee.

May 18, 2008
foo1024 in Cookware

Anchor Hocking vs Pyrex

I have read that the shattering problem comes from going from hot to cold, not cold to hot. I got rid of my pyrex because I make quiches and cheesecakes where I pour the cool filling into a hot pan with a just-baked crust. I also use a toaster oven which is also a no-no with current pyrex.

I have also read that borosilicate glass (pre-1989 pyrex and others) handles thermal shock much better than soda-lime glass (new pyrex). I was thinking about getting this from crate & barrel which is made from borosilicate glass: http://www.crateandbarrel.com/family....
The crate & barrel customer service people say that it can be used in a toaster oven, but they also say not to pour cool liquids into a heated pan because it's not "heat-tempered" whatever that means. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

May 07, 2008
foo1024 in Cookware

Ikea

How do you know it's not enamel? Even if it's black on the inside (like my green ikea dutch oven) it still can be enamel.

May 03, 2008
foo1024 in Cookware

Losing faith in cast iron cookware

I use an 8" cast iron pan for a 2-egg omelette several times a week. The pan came pre-seasoned from Lodge and initially I did have some sticking problems, but not too bad. Recentlyt, while grilling a steaks on my outdoor gas grill I experimented with pan-searing because I had heard that it was superior even to grilling. I put my cast-iron pan on inside the grill, let it preheat, and cooked one of the steaks on it. Ever since then it has been much more non-stick, with eggs sliding right out of the pan onto the plate. With some bacon fat or butter it is now just as non-stick as a non-stick pan for eggs.

May 02, 2008
foo1024 in Cookware

Pyrex baking pan: not in toaster oven?

Wow, I just had a look at this page:

http://www.consumeraffairs.com/homeow...

I think I will be throwing away all of my pyrex pie pans. Too bad, they were cheap and worked well. I had no idea that explosion was a potential problem when using pyrex. Can anyone recommend and good, inexpensive deep dish pie pan?

Apr 25, 2008
foo1024 in Cookware

Pyrex baking pan: not in toaster oven?

I was hoping to do some baking in my fairly large (.7 cu feet) toaster oven, but when I looked closely at the instructions for my new pyrex pie-pan it says not to use it in a toaster oven. Anyone use one in a toaster oven? Isn't 350 degrees in a toaster oven the same as in a regular oven, or does the proximity to the heating elements make a big difference to pyrex?

thanks for any info

Apr 25, 2008
foo1024 in Cookware

Ikea dutch oven - steam escaping

The ikea costs $60 and is made in France.

Mar 24, 2008
foo1024 in Cookware

Ikea dutch oven - steam escaping

Update: I tried boiling some water and then simmering. Once it was simmering I was able to move the lid around until no steam came out. Seems like that should work since I don't plan to be boiling anything with the cover on. Thanks for all the help.

Mar 24, 2008
foo1024 in Cookware

Ikea dutch oven - steam escaping

Thanks to all. I did try moving the lid around and was never able to get the steam to stop completely. I may try the tin foil trick also. But is there any consensus on a tiny bit of steam escaping? I will never use it for bread, just for things like pot roast, chili, braised chicken, beef burgundy, etc...

Mar 24, 2008
foo1024 in Cookware

Ikea dutch oven - steam escaping

I just got the Ikea 5 qt dutch oven. The instructions say to boil a cup of milk with vegetable oil before the first use, so I thought it would be a good test to see how well the lid fits. After a few minutes I checked on it and noticed that a small wisp of steam was escaping near one of the handles. When I lifted the lid the milk was boiling away and a lots of steam came whooshing out, so it appears that most of it is staying inside. Is this normal? If I'm making a pot roast where the liquid is only simmering, will all the steam stay inside?

I checked about 5 of them before I bought mine, and the fit was pretty bad. Thinking of trying the 6 qt. Lodge from Amazon, but I don't want to have to deal with shipping the monster back if there's a problem with it.

Mar 23, 2008
foo1024 in Cookware