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I never used a grater before

Thanks, SWISSAIRE. You always clue me in to the coolest kitchen utensils and gadgets! I actually found these for sale at Amazon Japan for 933 yen (about $9). Should arrive this weekend, and I'm really excited -- actually, is there something wrong with me??? ;-)

Jul 18, 2014
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"Regular" utility knives for kitchen use

I think this utility knife business is a solution in search of a problem. Just use a nice sharp paring knife or other small kitchen knife. (I suppose you could also use a straight razor.)

Hold the blade firmly between your thumb and index finger at the point where the right length is sticking out (maybe half an inch or so between the tip of the blade and your knuckle). Score the meat to the proper depth by sliding your knuckle along the surface. Wash knife and hands. Basically, it's just like "choking up" on your chef's knife to use it like a paring knife.

This method is a heck of a lot easier than trying to disassemble and clean the meat juices out of a retractable box cutter.

Jul 18, 2014
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4

Is it true that deep frying in bare cast iron is bad?

I don't believe it! Traditional Japanese tempura pots are bare cast iron. Southern fried chicken is typically made in a bare cast iron skillet. OTOH, I don't think I would STORE oil in bare cast iron.

Jul 18, 2014
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Garlic Press - do you believe in them?

IME, the rocker makes garlic with a unique texture. The holes are actually quite a bit larger than those in a press, and the lower cutting edges of the holes are pretty sharp. With the first smoosh of the rocker, you get little columns of garlic about 3 mm in diameter coming up through the holes, and they get taller and fall over as you rock back and forth. So the rocker is great if you want medium-sized chunks of partially smooshed garlic -- about the size and shape the erasers on those fancy German and Japanese mechanical drafting pencils.

Here's a quick pic showing the Joseph Joseph Garlic Rocker next to a Kuhn Rikon Epicurean garlic press for comparison.

Jul 12, 2014
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Bacon sticks to my Lodge cast iron skillet

Yeah, I also thought that high heat would mean nice crisp bacon, rather than greasy limp bacon. What it really meant was bacon that was both burnt and raw. Medium heat starting with the bacon in a cold pan works best for me.

Jul 11, 2014
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Garlic Press - do you believe in them?

Depending on the recipe, I will use a garlic press, a Microplane, a Joseph Joseph garlic rocker, a knife, or a tiny little garlic slicer. What's the problem? Just choose the right tool for the particular job. That's also why people own pans of different sizes that are made of various materials.

Jul 11, 2014
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Can anyone suggest a great garlic press?

I have a big drawer full of unloved garlic presses. The only one I use is the Zwilling Henckels Twin Select garlic press. It's almost exactly the same design as the Kuhn Rikon Epicurean garlic press (which I also own), but with MUCH better handles that are less slippery, give better leverage, and can't pinch your fingers.

Jun 23, 2014
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how often to mineral oil a bamboo cutting board?

I read this simple rule of thumb somewhere (maybe here at Chowhound?) --

Oil a cutting board daily for a week, weekly for a month, monthly for a year, and then whenever it looks like it needs it.

Jun 22, 2014
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demeyere cookware

Absolutely LOVE my Demeyere Proline 5 frying pan. It's in a league of its own, IMO. Imagine a solid, very thick, fully clad pan that can hold a lot of heat (like cast iron), but also heats up quickly and evenly (unlike cast iron). Amazing!

I also like my Demeyere Atlantis saucepan, but I have to say that I prefer Fissler Original Pro for saucepans and stew/stock pots.

Fissler has a nicer internal finish (made to resist water spotting, I actually prefer it to Demeyere's Silvinox finish), more practical and comfortable handles, better lids, and laser-etched measurement markings inside. Also rivetless and with perfectly flat, very thick bases optimized for induction cooking, like Demeyere. (Fissler Original Pro also costs about 2/3 as much as Atlantis.)

As for All Clad, I only have one piece (their piella pan). It's okay, but nothing special, IMO. I frankly don't think it compares to Demeyere or Fissler (or even Viking V7, Henckels Zwilling Prime, or Mauviel M'Cook).

Jun 22, 2014
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Stainless steel vs cast iron temp science

I also experienced this phenomenon (very low temp readings for stainless steel) when I was testing the heating characteristics a bunch of frying pans a while ago. A bit of digging around on the net gave me a plausible answer.

An IR thermometer detects the IR waves emitted by a hot object, but a shiny mirror-like surface will also reflect IR waves. So when you try to make a measurement, the temperature will read too low because the thermometer is also picking up the IR from the room itself that is reflected off the shiny pan.

Hope you find this explanation helpful. (Since I'm not a physicist, I can only hope that it's correct!)

Jun 22, 2014
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Starting to sharpen and getting a whetstone. What grits? What brand do you recommend?

I think the answer depends on whether you are interested in knife sharpening as a fun hobby or you just want sharp knives.

Knife sharpening as a hobby can go as far as you want it to, just like any hobby. Go wild!

Personally, although I can definitely appreciate the artistry of knife sharpening, I basically just want razor-sharp knives.

If you have the same attitude as I do, over-complicating the process of knife sharpening will simply mean that you wont sharpen your knives very often after the initial excitement of all your new toys wears off.

In my case, a Shapton Pro 1000 grit water stone and a homemade leather strop allow me to sharpen my high-quality Japanese knives to sharper than they come from the factory.

I like the Shapton because it's truly splash-and-go. Put it on the counter, splash some water on it, sharpen, dry it off, and put it away. It also is very long-wearing and durable. I've been using mine for years and there isn't a hint of dishing. After the Shapton, 6-10 strokes on a leather strop charged with chromium dioxide finishes the job.

The total time required is maybe 2 minutes, and the result is a blade that will easily push-cut paper or allow me to slice ripe tomatoes HORIZONTALLY (with the blade moving from right to left while held parallel to the cutting board). That's definitely sharp enough for me, and since sharpening isn't much of a chore, I don't mind doing it whenever I detect a hint of dullness.

PS. For a sharpening angle guide, I just made a small wooden wedge cut to an angle of exactly 16 degrees. Just put the wedge on the stone, place your knife on it, carefully check the distance between the back of the blade and the stone, remove the wedge while maintaining the correct distance/angle, and start sharpening. (After you've sharpened the same knife a couple of times, you won't need to use the wedge anymore.)

PPS. In addition to the Shapton 1000, I also have the 320, 2000, and 5000. I used the 320 once to fix a knife that got a 1-mm chip in the edge after it fell into the sink during an earthquake, and it worked very well for that rare need. The others are just sitting on a shelf.

Hope you find these comments from a pragmatic knife sharpener helpful.

Jun 20, 2014
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Best Cookware For Induction Cooktop <$1000

For multiclad stainless steel frying pans, my favorite is Demeyere Proline 5 by a wide margin. Really pricey, but also really great. Perfect for pork chops and pan gravy.

For saucepans and stock pots, I'd recommend Fissler Original Pro. I actually prefer this line to Demeyere Atlantis (which seems to win universal acclaim as the best you can get), at about 2/3 the price. If you don't mind rivets and want fully clad cookware, Mauviel M'Cook 5-ply is very nice. Tramontina from Brazil is a great budget line -- nice, solid, no-nonsense cookware. I believe they make both disk-bottom and fully clad pieces.

Carbon steel frying pans work great on induction. You can't go wrong with De Buyer (check out the many informative threads posted here at CH by Chemical Kinetics), but IME, restaurant supply grade carbon steel frying pans also work great. A true bargain. Perfect for browning onions and sauteing vegetables. You can also use a big carbon steel chef's pan like a flat-bottom wok.

Le Creuset enameled cast iron is also great on induction, as is regular cast iron. Just make sure the bare cast iron has a smooth bottom to avoid scratching up your cooktop.

For nonstick, Swiss Diamond's induction line is nice (if you can get over their misleading "no Teflon" advertising). So is De Buyer CHOC Induction, Calphalon Nouvelle Copper, and Kyocera CERABRID ceramic. I've never used it, but Scanpan CTX gets good reviews.

Have fun upgrading your cookware!

Jun 18, 2014
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1

A 'beautiful' cast iron frying pan?!

Sorry, by "handled" I meant only being able to pick it up and judge its heft. It seemed to be about the weight of a good quality carbon steel frying pan.

The reason I question the usefulness of the "Magic Pan" is that when I choose to use a cast iron frying pan, it's because I want a thick and heavy pan that has a lot of thermal inertia.

Since cast iron and carbon steel have similar thermal conduction properties, when a cast iron pan becomes as thin and light as a carbon steel pan, I figure they should perform pretty much the same, in which case I'd probably choose carbon steel.

Jun 18, 2014
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A 'beautiful' cast iron frying pan?!

I actually handled a Magic Fry Pan at the Shinjuku branch of Tokyu Hands a while ago. Apparently, making a cast iron frying pan that thin was something of a technological tour de force, but I really didn't see any advantages over a carbon steel pan of equivalent thickness.

Jun 17, 2014
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PSA Nakiri vs chicken bones!

Seriously, that is the most frightening instructional cooking video I have ever seen.

Jun 15, 2014
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A 'beautiful' cast iron frying pan?!

I see your point. Maybe it has something to do with the weight distribution. When people pick the pan up for the first time, they always remark that it feels very nicely balanced.

OTOH, maybe it just looks cool.

Here's a straight side-on picture.

Jun 15, 2014
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A 'beautiful' cast iron frying pan?!

Hi. OP here. Yes, the pan is actually shaped like that. The side away from the handle is about 2 cm higher than the side near the handle. It's designed like that to make it easier to flip the omelet.

Jun 15, 2014
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My 6 month old ceramic pans are starting to stick

I've found that ceramic pans can lose their nonstickiness if they are not COMPLETELY clean (same with Le Crueset, actually).

Even though the pan may seem to be perfectly clean, if you look really carefully in good light, you may notice a very thin hazy film on the surface (and it also wont feel slippery like clean glass, but very slightly tacky). It looks kind of like the residue you might see on a shiny surface after peeling off a label.

I've noticed this film on LC dutch ovens, Silit Silargan high-temperature ceramic pans, and Kyocera CERABRID ceramic pans, especially after browning protein.

IME, it comes right off with a quick scrub using a soft sponge and some Le Creuset Pot & Pan Cleaner (that orange gritty stuff they sell). As you're scrubbing, you can actually feel the sponge start to slide more smoothly and easily. When it feels as slippery as wet glass, you're done.

Other abrasive cleansers (BKF, BA, etc.) would probably also work, but I figure that if the LC cleaner is recommended for enameled cast iron, it should be perfectly safe for ceramic pans.

Good luck!

Jun 13, 2014
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De Buyer Affinity? Owner impressions and comments?

I don't know how you feel about online shopping, but Fissler Original Pro is usually available at Amazon (and other sites) at a pretty substantial discount.

Good luck in your cookware quest!

PS. In general, you can expect the price of FOP to be about 2/3 that of DA for comparable sizes and designs.

Jun 13, 2014
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De Buyer Affinity? Owner impressions and comments?

Hi Sid,

I had a De Buyer Affinity frying pan, but gave it away because it spun on my induction cooktop, didn't have a pouring lip, and had rivets (which I, like you, don't really care for). Nice handle though. All in all, it just didn't do it for me.

That said, I strongly agree with Demeyere's philosophy that a nice thick disk base is superior to a fully clad design for saucepans and stew/stock pots, while fully clad is better for frying pans.

I really like my single Demeyere Atlantis saucepan, but my number one favorite cookware line has to be Fissler Original Pro: 7-mm thick encapsulated aluminum base optimized for induction, perfectly flat, no rivets, nice pouring lips (with no cheap fold-over seams to catch and hold gunk), nice straight tubular handles on the small saucepans and big loop handles on the larger pots, good solid lids with a depressed center for self-basting, laser-etched volume measurements on the inside, and an impressively wide range of sizes and designs. Also, not (quite) as expensive as Demeyere Atlantis.

PS. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that IME they are surprisingly resistant to water spots.

I recommend you check this line out. Here's a link:

http://www.fissler.com/en/products/po...

Jun 13, 2014
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These handles on these pans look intriguing. Possibly ergonomic?

Jun 10, 2014
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Eggs + Induction Fob = Which Frying Pan?

Hi DuffyH,

No, I've never experienced slow heating with any of these aluminum skillets. Actually, to me, it's how quickly the heat spreads out laterally that's the main issue. My usual test is to wait for the butter to start to melt and then tap my fingertip against the rim of the pan, which should already feel warm to hot.

Since the OP was interested in eggs specifically, I restricted my recommendations to nonstick pans, but I think my comments concerning a nice thick aluminum (or even copper) layer also apply to non-nonstick pans. IME, such pans heat up quickly and evenly. (BTW, I usually set the induction "burner" to 4 or 5 on a scale of 9.)

I also use carbon steel, cast iron, and enameled cast iron pans on induction. Even though they heat up quickly near the center, it seems to take forever for the heat to spread out to the edges of the pan. This isn't really an issue for some kinds of cooking. For example, my big carbon steel chef's pan is my absolute favorite for browning onions and stir-frying vegetables. It's super-fast and responsive in the central flat area even though the curved side walls stay relatively cool. Just keep the food moving around during cooking.

TS

Jun 06, 2014
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Eggs + Induction Fob = Which Frying Pan?

I'm in Japan and use a 200-V Mitsubishi built-in unit.

Jun 06, 2014
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Eggs + Induction Fob = Which Frying Pan?

For fried eggs, I definitely prefer a griddle -- usually a 12" Vollrath 3-ply induction-capable nonstick aluminum one (also great for grilled cheese sandwiches). I also have a Fagor and one by a Japanese company. The main thing is that you want the main body of the griddle (or a reasonably thick internal layer) to be aluminum for even heating.

For omelets or scrambled eggs, I've had good luck with De Buyer CHOC induction, Swiss Diamond, Analon Nouvelle Copper, Infinite Circulon, and Kyocera CERABRID skillets. All of them are induction-capable aluminum, all are nonstick.

Jun 06, 2014
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salt mills - how to stop the mess?

I agree with debbypo. WMF makes nice salt and pepper mills with the ceramic grinder mechanism on top. Pop off the cap and you're ready to go. You can also leave the cap on and grind right into it. Pull off the cap and you have a little bowl of freshly ground salt or pepper. Excellent design, IMO.

May 21, 2014
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Cookware you secretly use as dishware?

Hi, K. I don't eat out of the Prima Matera pan, though. It's too heavy to hold in one hand for the duration of a meal.

May 17, 2014
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Cookware you secretly use as dishware?

I have a small Mauviel M'basic conical sauteuse that's just right for heating up a can of soup or pork 'n' beans for a midnight snack. The saucepan and a wooden spoon are all I need.

It reminds me of the hilarious column by Russel Baker from many years ago. For those of you who haven't read it, here's a link:

http://chip.choate.edu/bbcswebdav/ins...

PS. I should also confess that for many years I used Pyrex pie plates as dishes and laboratory beakers as drinking glasses, but I have since graduated to Corelle dishes and Duralex Picardie glasses.

May 17, 2014
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Space knives!!!

I don't know how good the knives actually are, but I don't think the concept is total BS (despite the BS-looking website).

Here is a link to the Wikipedia article on amorphous metal:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amorphou...

May 02, 2014
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Looking for a griddle pan that is NOT nonstick

How about this one? It measures 10-3/4 inches by 18-1/2 inches by 1/2 inch.

http://www.amazon.com/Wilton-Armetale...

Apr 30, 2014
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Cutting Boards

"Would love a 24x36" board 2-3" thick"

Personally, I'd go with two 24x18 boards. A lot easier to handle, wash, store, etc. Also probably a lot easier to find.

Apr 28, 2014
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