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Le Creuset - 3.5 or 5 qt braiser/buffet casserole?

If you haven't bought yet just another experience. I have both. Bought the 5 qt first and the 3.5 later. The 5 quart is the go-to LC pot in our 2 person house. I find that for me it works far better, I prefer the surface area in it and I find that if I'm doing a braise or, our winter favorite, a shepherd's pie, this gives us the right amount for dinner and a couple of lunches of leftovers. I used the 3.5 pretty infrequently.

Another experience, my mother got the 3.5 because she didn't think she needed the 5 qt. She now also owns both and only cooks for her and my father.

I don't think you can go wrong with either piece but the 3.5 is really smaller than you might think when you start adding veggies to your protein.

Jan 07, 2009
redgypsy in Cookware

need a lil more help with gallatoires

Neither Commanders or Galatoire's is a place for jeans. Period. Both places have dress codes and while they may allow you in, even in jeans, you will be underdressed. If your boyfriend will not dress up please consider going elsewhere.
ETA: There are plenty of really good options in New Orleans where the "dressy jeans" concept is perfectly fine. I didn't want to come off as harsh as I thought perhaps my original comment was. It's just that these two restaurants are "grand dames" of New Orleans eating where locals go to celebrate special occasions and not just places where people visiting the city want to get a table. Best of luck convincing the b/f to wear some slacks - that's truly your best option.

Dec 17, 2008
redgypsy in New Orleans

Le Creuset non-stick pans

If you mean the new stainless exterior, teflon-coated LC pans I have one. It's lovely. I bought it because I wanted something to make gyoza in and my enamel coated LC wasn't cutting it. I got it at the outlet store and didn't really find a large difference in price between it and any of the other teflon pans I was looking for. But I needed a large deep one with a glass lid so I had some pretty specific requirements. I don't know that the coating is any tougher but I like it. Note that I also have one of the small LC cast iron but teflon coated omelet pans which is fine but I don't use it very often because of it's diminutive size.

Oct 03, 2008
redgypsy in Cookware

anyone out there with the le creuset risotto pot?

Sorry for the delay -- that recipe is similar but not the exact same one. It ran in the summer of '07 in the Post but I couldn't find it. But really I think the slow low roasting is more of a technique than a recipe per se. Good luck!

Sep 07, 2008
redgypsy in Cookware

anyone out there with the le creuset risotto pot?

Oh good, you'll love the buffet casserole. It's lovely. As for why a dutch oven is better for roasting...well I think a lot of folks on this board would say it's not! I tend to use mine for roasting whole chickens a lot and I think a purist would disagree with that use because the skin only gets golden on the top. However, I always take the skin off and give it to the dog (not because I don't want it but because I need to still fit into my clothes) so having my meat exposed is not a concern of mine. That said though I do prefer a pot roast in a dutch oven, and I think that's pretty proper. I really don't know the food science behind it but I'm sure someone will be able to reply and tell you why a dutch oven is good at certain applications that the risotto pot would not. HungryCeleste has both pieces I know and she could probably tell you why one is preferred over the other. Honestly though, if you can swing it I'd keep the risotto pot, go ahead and try roasting some things in there, a small roast will fit fine and if need be cover it with foil, and save up for a good size dutch oven. If you have an outlet nearby you can get very good prices on "seconds" - also check Tuesday Morning if you have one of those nearby.

p.s. for a beef roast try the low and slow method written about in the Washington Post about a year ago. Most wonderful roast beef I've ever made. And so easy.

Aug 22, 2008
redgypsy in Cookware

anyone out there with the le creuset risotto pot?

I have both the risotto and the buffet casserole (both the 2.25 qt and the 3.5 qt). I find that they are not necessarily interchangeable. I can make most braises and roasts that I care to make in the risotto pot if necessary, although at least when it comes to roasting I do prefer to use one of my dutch ovens. I use the risotto pot for a lot cajun style cooking because it is deep, has a large surface area (great for making a roux) and it has high sides making it easier to stir. I've never used it for risotto but I have Mario Batali risotto pan that I do use and frankly I think I'd prefer because of the sloped sides. In my buffet casseroles - i use them most often as skillets to be honest. Two pork chops in the small one, four in the large is pretty standard. I have also used them to brown leeks for braised leeks (finished in the oven in an au gratin pan) or to do a quick (and non-authentic) fried rice. My 3.5 qt buffet casserole is almost never put away. Goes from stove top to oven to sink and back nearly daily. So I guess this doesn't answer your question as I have them all. In a pinch the risotto pan can do most of what I describe above but it tends to be a little deep and large (and thus ineffecient) for use as a skillet/saute pan. Which of course is not what it's for but once I have one of those pans out I tend to use it. Best of luck!

Aug 20, 2008
redgypsy in Cookware

Bike Tour of France

Charmedgirl - I don't know if you've already gone on your trip or not but I just came back from France after doing a walking tour of Normandy with my SO with Discover France. We found the trip to be amazing and the included dinners to be wonderful. The tour was 4 nights and 5 days and it was P2P walking with the tour company transferring luggage. We were, however, totally on our own. And that's how they do it -- there may be other Discover France'rs out there but you're given your own guide maps and set loose. So that may not work for you if the bike tours are similar. But back to the food -- my only problem (and it was a lovely one to have) was that there was too much food. The dinners were long multi-course affairs with delicious dish after delicious dish, I however, was exhausted and really truly just wanted dinner to be over so I could sleep. Walking 9-13 miles a day will do that to you. In any case if you've already gone to France I hope you had a wonderful time and if you're still deciding good luck!

Jun 16, 2008
redgypsy in France

[DFW] Zander's House, Plano

Just wanted to give this post a bump. We ate there last night and my oh my it was delicious. Yes it's a haul from Dallas and we live in East Dallas but IMO entirely worth the drive. We took advantage of the half-priced wine, ordered and off-menu appetizer of grilled (or maybe roasted) shrimp and pepper sauce and had lemongrass chicken and a basil beef dish for our entree. The entrees were fantastic although my understanding from our incredibly helpful and delightful waiter is that they are the more americanized versions of central vietnamese food. He encouraged us to come again and ask for the off-menu items or even better, approach the restaurant with an idea of what we'd like to eat and ask for "beef tonight" please (for example) and be surprised with whatever's freshest. We will definitely take his advice. The regulars around us were being served interesting and wonderful looking dishes that were almost exclusively off-menu. We will absolutely be back and with half-price wine on Mondays and Wednesdays this is a nice weeknight dinner location that won't break the bank.

Apr 17, 2008
redgypsy in Texas

Best Roast Beef Recipes

I just used this method a couple of weeks ago and it was the pot roast of my childhood. Browned and delicious on the outside, wonderfully pink and juicy on the inside. Add some homemade mayo, a healthy dusting of salt and some good bread (or shoot, even *gasp* Wonder Bread) and it was the best roast beef sandwich I'd had in a long time.

Mar 13, 2008
redgypsy in Home Cooking

Tomato Powder

I got some for Christmas from my Mom and have no idea what to do with it so I'm interested in seeing any answers you get. My Mom suggested putting it bread dipping oil -- but I can't figure out why.

Mar 13, 2008
redgypsy in Home Cooking

Does Anyone Make "Frozen Dinners" for the Office?

I do this all the time. What works for me is to think of my weeknight meal prep as weekday frozen lunch prep -- what I mean is I try and prepare things that I know won't suffer from the freezing. One that I make often is a polenta topped shepherd's pie type dish. I make the pie shallow and then invert it in the tupperware so the polenta is on the bottom. This helps with the reheat (because it's not a huge frozen block) and the liquids make the polenta better IMO when re-heating. Not better than fresh for sure but not bad. Of course this works equally well with a potato topping. I also make a couple of cups of barley a week with whatever vege are in the fridge. That can be tossed in 1 cup containers and kept in the freezer for an easy grab and go grain. In the morning I can grab a 1 c. container of barley and maybe some leftover protein from the fridge -- whatever we had the night before -- and have a pretty good meal if I add some salad or maybe any vege leftovers. I also find that for me meats in sauces tend to taste better reheated -- I like making pork chops in a little mustard/sour cream pan sauce and putting those in small glad containers. Again heated up and dumped over the barley I've got a great lunch.

As for keeping your husband from eating too much of tomorrow's lunch and/or remembering leftovers I'm not sure what to do there. I try and remind my dearest that a big pan of "x" is not all for tonight before we start eating. I also put things into containers quickly -- either before he has a chance to grab seconds (or thirds) or even before we sit down. He benefits from the leftovers (and the portion control) so it works for us. Good luck.

Mar 13, 2008
redgypsy in Home Cooking

Oak Cliff - Party/Happy Hour spots

Thanks everyone for the recs -- I think Bar at the Belmont is the winner. The guest of honor expressed some reservations about it b/c of it's layout -- but I think it will be fine.

Mar 02, 2008
redgypsy in Texas

7 hour lamb: can I do it in my Le Creuset?

While it looks like the basic question has already been answered -- you can roast in a LC dutch oven for long periods of time and the high sides don't seem to matter. I did a pot roast in the oven on Sunday night (low/slow roast for 9 hours) and the roast came out beautifully. It was browned in the dutch oven on the stovetop and finished in the oven. I also tend to use my oval LC dutch oven to do chickens in the oven and then use the stovetop to make the pan sauce after the roasting is complete.

Feb 27, 2008
redgypsy in Home Cooking

Cookbook on techniques with photos

I have the Jacque Pepin book and it's good. Very useful. I found at Half Price books at a substantial discount. So I would recommend checking there. I also subscribe to Cook's Illustrated podcasts on iTunes -- some of which are video podcasts demonstrating certain things -- braising comes to mind. And...last but not least. Both the Washington Post and New York Times have a cooking simply series (my name, not theirs) that highlights technique versus specific recipes. The NYT series includes video. The WashPo series is still rather new. But I use all of these as references. And if I find myself in a bind in the middle of a recipe -- google and you tube are my best friends.

Feb 27, 2008
redgypsy in Home Cooking

Le Creuset--is dulling inevitable?

Cpt Wafer -- no recipe to speak of. Rubbed the roast with a mix of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper and put it in at 170 degrees (the lowest temp my oven would go) for 2.5 hours a pound. I got the idea from a great Washington Post story about a month/month and a half ago. It also has no recipes but does give a guide for which cuts of meat to buy.

And it was delicious. We'll have the last leftovers tonight in cold roast beef sandwiches. MMMMMM.

Feb 27, 2008
redgypsy in Cookware

Oak Cliff - Party/Happy Hour spots

Can any Chowhounders recommend a good spot in Oak Cliff for a group of 15-20 young professionals to gather for a happy hour/going away party for a friend who is leaving the area? I live in Dallas but spend so little time in the O.C. that I figured someone on here would have a better recommendation than I could come up with using the phone book.

Thanks!

Feb 27, 2008
redgypsy in Texas

Le Creuset--is dulling inevitable?

I've not seen any non-stick claims on any LC enamel from LC. I see it all the time on the boards but I think it's a common mistake. Enameled cast iron, simply put, is not non-stick. If it was we could all cook in it without oil. Anyway, NS or not it is a great workhorse in the kitchen, but like another poster it would not be my choice to boil liquids in -- it takes too darn long. Use a stainless steel stock pot or other type sauce pan for that job.

As to your original question regarding the dulling -- while I wouldn't worry about it I understand your concern. You've gotten a nice new pot and you'd like to keep it nice. I find that the interior color and shine of my LC changes daily based on what I cooked in it last. They are always clean but sure, there are occassional "stains" -- from searing meats maybe or maybe something else. I don't know. Like I said I don't care too much. But if you really want it off and shiny try a regular cleaning followed by the LC formula cleaner (or Barkeeper's Friend) followed by a rinse in clean water. That usually does the trick. But I'd also urge you to consider just letting it go and cooking with abandon, interior dullness be damned. And definitely try roasting or braising something in it. I did a slow/low pot roast in the oven overnight and it was just the most beautiful thing this morning. I can't wait to get home and eat dinner.

Feb 25, 2008
redgypsy in Cookware

Le Creuset and oven

I saw your post re: onions on another thread and it puzzled me. I always carmelize my onions in LC -- in a braiser to be exact -- and they end up wonderfully golden brown. The benefit of cast iron to me is that I can get it up to heat at a lower temperature, toss in the onions and walk away. For hours. And when I come back -- with maybe some minimal checking because the smell is awesome they are perfectly browned. I've not used SS or a ScanPan so maybe there is something magic about their onion carmelizign properties but my experience has been that the longer the carmelization takes the better the flavor.

Jan 23, 2008
redgypsy in Cookware

ISO One good non-stick saute pan w/ lid

I'm hoping the 'hounds can help me find a good NS saute pan (or skillet) w/ a lid for a one-application type thing. I've been making my own potstickers and there is just no amount of oil one can put in a cast iron or stainless pan that will make them not stick. Unless someone give me some secret technique I'm missing I need a new pan. So can anyone recommend a good line to look at? Is All-Clad NS worth it? What about the LC line of stainless -- does anyone know if they have any NS pans in their line? Or for a one-application type thing am I better off going to Target and buying the $9.99 special?

Jan 23, 2008
redgypsy in Cookware

Bars/lounges that serve great egg nog?

The Daiquiri Place on St. Charles near Lee Circle (and other locations in Metarie and the West Bank) has, I think, the best egg nog daiquiri. But I also agree that a milk punch is a solid (and wonderful) alternative. The Brennan's location on Bourbon street sells a frozen milk punch that is fantastic.

Dec 13, 2007
redgypsy in New Orleans

[DAL] Reveillon?

You must have mis-read -- my request was if you found a Reveillon to to please post about it. Sounds like you struck out though which is what I expected. Sadly Dallas has not embraced the concept of alcohol fueled dinners starting at midnight.

Dec 12, 2007
redgypsy in Texas

Alternative to gravy seperator?

I use the ziplock bag trick with great success with one alteration. Because the pan drippings are generally pretty hot I put my ziplock in a bowl with a layer of ice underneath it. This isn't to separate the fat as that happens naturally -- instead this keeps the darn bag from melting! Snip off the corner -- let the pan juices return to the pan and sacrifice a small amount of the juices to the trash in order to stop the flow before the fat starts coming out.

Dec 12, 2007
redgypsy in Cookware

Honeymoon in NOLA

If you're interested in going to lunch at Commander's you can have a very nice meal at a very decent price (three courses usually around $30) plus 25 cent martinis. We did this all the time in law school and it was a blas to get a late seating (1 pm or so) and just stay on through the afternoon. I would request a seat in the Garden Room and they might accommodate you but even if you end up downstairs you will still enjoy good food at a nice reduced price.

Dec 07, 2007
redgypsy in New Orleans

Absolut New Orleans Vodka

I bought some of this in Dallas a few weeks ago. Made a French 76 per the recommendation of the internet. It was fantastic. I wasn't sure what this combo would taste like but I may have found a new favorite champagne cocktail.

Dec 03, 2007
redgypsy in Spirits

[DAL] Reveillon?

I moved to DFW from NOLA and I have yet to run into a Reveillon here. I'm sure there are special holiday prix fixe menus (actually I'm not sure -- the one place I could bet on is now closed) but nothing that quite matches up to a traditional Reveillon. Sorry. But...if you find one please do post about it.

Dec 03, 2007
redgypsy in Texas

need Le Creuset French Oven sizing help

LOL I have all three (!) sizes of buffet casserole. The smallest is great for a pear/apple/whatever fruit you want upside down cake and I make a great turkey shepherd's pie in the 3.5 quart. Seriously those are my go to pans on a daily basis for everything, even if it's not a one pot meal. I just find the size and shape so pleasing. Thanks again, I've already got my risotto pot ordered.

Nov 28, 2007
redgypsy in Cookware

Cajun spice blends - favorites?

I adore Chachere's but I've also made Emeril's spice blend in larger batches and saved it in an extra spice jar. That has a somewhat "smoother" flavor but still gives a requisite kick for a good cajun spice. I've never tried Penzey's but the smell seemed off to me -- too much of something that wasn't cayenne.

Nov 27, 2007
redgypsy in Home Cooking

opinions on Mario Batali's cookware line

I don't know if you've purchased or not but I have the 6 qt oven and I don't like it nearly as much as my LC. I may have gotten an off product but the lid doesn't seal as well as I would like so my stovetop braises go dry ridiculously quickly....so for all it's "nipples" on the underside I have a steam bath going in the kitchen as soon as I add the liquid to the pot. I do have the risotto pan and it's servicable. But I greatly prefer my LC and at the point only use my Batali oven to do oven roasts, with the lid off ;)

Nov 27, 2007
redgypsy in Cookware

need Le Creuset French Oven sizing help

Ahh! Hungry Celeste you are a genius. I've been coveting a "risotto" pot for weeks and eyeing my preferred customer card from the outlet wondering what I actually needed and you've hit the nail on the head...we need more surface area for all our great South LA dishes of course this pot would work better than our round dutch ovens. Thank you!

Nov 27, 2007
redgypsy in Cookware

Texas Caviar

I tend to use the one with red wine vinegar but that's because I don't normally ahve apple cider vinegar or vegetable oil in the house. I also almost always add chopped green bell pepper and red oinon for color. If the tri-color bell peppers are on sale I add red, green, and yellow bell pepers. Make it early so the flavors really meld and have a great time.

Nov 20, 2007
redgypsy in Home Cooking