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Pans? We Have Pans. Which pan for what job and why.
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Heather
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2005 12:27 am    Post subject: Seasoning a cast iron pan Reply with quote

Personally I'm a fan of old, well-loved cast iron, but if you have to season a new one yourself, I suggest doing it in the barbecue - it doesn't smell so bad then!
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2005 2:47 am    Post subject: Re: Seasoning a cast iron pan Reply with quote

Heather wrote:
Personally I'm a fan of old, well-loved cast iron, but if you have to season a new one yourself, I suggest doing it in the barbecue - it doesn't smell so bad then!


Hey Heather,

Cast Iron = Love.

I've gotten a little lazy over the last few months and have been seasoning my dutch ovens on the stove top. Rub with grapeseed oil and get more than smoking hot. Let cool completely, rub lightly again and store. Seems to do a bangup job.

Biggles
www.meathenge.com
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Eleanor Hoh



Joined: 25 Sep 2005
Posts: 1
Location: Miami Beach, South Florida

PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2005 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I discovered Cooking for Engineers on SignatureDays.com, a new website that promotes unique experiences. Signature Days offers a class I teach as one of their unique experiences in Miami-- "Easy Style Cooking with an Asian Flair". 

I enjoyed reading Michael Chu's detailed report on different cookware materials, along with the accompanying posts of people's favorites.   In my class, I give two criteria for selecting a wok:  shape and material.  As for shape I recommend a round bottom wok because it has a more natural feel.  As for material, I tell my students they have two choices:   cast iron... and then all the rest.  The fact that so many posters preferred cast iron cookware reconfirms my belief about how smart engineers really are. <smjavascript:emoticon('Smile 

I emphasize to my students that their cast iron wok will become their favorite pan.  Once they get over their association of "wok = chinese cooking", they realize they've got a pan with the all the benefits and flavor of grandma's cast iron skillet without the weight (my wok weighs only 3 pounds, I can lift it with one hand).  NOTE:  I am NOT talking about the flat bottom cast iron woks available in many stores (the Bodum is the most stylish example of this).  Those woks weigh over ten pounds and the resulting mass makes for a completely different approach to cooking because they are slow to heat up and slow to cool down.

Some other benefits:

    •  Versatility.   There's an expression that the French have a pan for every sauce and the Chinese carry their entire kitchen under one arm.  The wok can be used for a variety of techniques (steam, deep fry, shallow fry) to cook almost any style of cuisine...  Spanish paella, Italian sauces, soups, stews, or even frying hamburgers.  

    •  One Size Fits All.   The curved bottom of the wok is a great design for cooking any quantity of food (and it requires less oil).  My husband started cooking a year ago (after 17 years of marriage) and developed his own style of cooking breakfast in a wok.  He calls the wok his "adjustable omelet pan" because he can make a one egg or a four egg omelette simply by rocking and rolling the wok. 

    •  Easy Clean Up.  While the cast iron wok is easy to clean (a 15 second wipe under running water),  it also keeps the stove top clean.   The wide mouth of the 14" wok catches splatter and prevents food from falling out.      

    • Natural Non-Stick Surface.   The more you use cast iron, the more patina you will build up which creates a natural non-stick surface.   Teflon coated woks, which have become very common, should not be used at high heat.   (the three most important ingredients of a successful stir fry are HIGH HEAT, fresh ingredients, and a good wok).   The surface of the natural patina is very tough.  I use a metal spatula and students are always concerned about "metal on metal" because they're used to non-stick surfaces wearing away.   With cast iron the natural patina builds UP with use.

I also agree with Dr. Biggles' analogy to photography.  Tools are important (try manipulating depth of field using an automatic camera with only a fixed wide angle lens) but knowledge is essential.  I teach a visual approach to cooking as an alternative to mechanically following recipes.  This appeals to both experienced chefs (who find it frees up their creativity) and people who don't even enjoy cooking (it flattens the learning curve and turns their time in the kitchen into a creative activity from a tedious chore).  

Eleanor Hoh
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DrBiggles



Joined: 12 May 2005
Posts: 352
Location: Richmond, CA

PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2005 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eleanor Hoh wrote:


Some other benefits:

    •  Versatility.   There's an expression that the French have a pan for every sauce and the Chinese carry their entire kitchen under one arm.  The wok can be used for a variety of techniques (steam, deep fry, shallow fry) to cook almost any style of cuisine...  Spanish paella, Italian sauces, soups, stews, or even frying hamburgers.  

Eleanor Hoh


But I like having my trailer load of pans around me, they're my friends. I think if I had only one pan, I'd only have one friend.
Which means I'll have to drag out my little wok and play with it sometime soon. It's a cast iron rig with a wooden handle, large enough to feed about 2 people worth. I've got an old Wedgewood gas range and you can adjust the flame on the burners so you can get a decent flame thrower-like spew. It gets the wok smoking hot in next to no time at all, very nice.

Biggles
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cynicalb



Joined: 12 May 2005
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fellow equipment hounds,

Have any of you used Baumalu copper pots and pans (from Alsace, France)? I saw some today for the first time and was very surprised. They are hammered copper, tin lined, cast iron handle and appear to be at least 2mm thickness. The surprising aspect is that they are about 1/3 the price of a comparable Mauviel pan. Fit and finish isn't quite as nice as Mauviel, but is pretty good - definitely appear to be a super bargain for what they are for the price (i.e. too good to be true). Appear to be much better quality than comparably priced Italian copper cookware (which is typically only 1mm thickness). I'd be interested in any comments any of you have, especially our Continental readers who probably know more about this brand than we do in the States. I tried searching the net, but all the sites I found were in French (which I do not speak) and the company does not have a website. Thanks in advance.

cb
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jagstyle



Joined: 08 Aug 2005
Posts: 45
Location: CA

PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 2:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recently purchased my first set of pots n pans and decided that Falk was the best that I could find:

http://www.copperpans.com/

Individual prices look ridiculous but be sure to consider the "Build Your Own Set" discounts:

> $ 250 10%
> $ 500 20%
> $ 1500 25%
> $ 5000 30%


2.3 qt. sauce pan is on back order and has yet to arrive

For frying I use Black Steel Frying Pans. They are dirt cheap ($30 for 12") and offer excellent performance once seasoned. I love pans that get better with use. I bought mine here:
http://www.knifemerchant.com/products.asp?manufacturerID=32
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cynicalb



Joined: 12 May 2005
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 5:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Jagstyle,

I have drooled over Falk for years, but cannot get myself to choke down the price. Bourgeat also makes some beautiful copper pans, but again, a set would be about the same as a mortgage payment. So, being the cheapskate and bargain hunter that I am, I scour the discount racks and have done pretty well picking up some Mauviel tin-lined copper at about a 50% discount (also have scored some All-Clad at about a 70% discount). What interests me about the Baumalu is the quality - looks decent (straight lip like Mauviel, not the nice rounded lip like Falk or Bourgeat) and is about 2mm (whereas Mauviel, Falk, and Bourgeat are all 2.5mm, I believe), nice beefy cast iron handle - and the price. At the discount rack that I saw it on today a roughly 9" saucier was $25 - you read that right. Comparable Falk or Bourgeat is probably (I'm guessing here at the list price) around $175, and Mauviel would be close to $140. So, obviously my bs detector started going off and I wonder if it is too good to be true. I may end up buying one or two just to try it out, but thought that I would see if anyone has used them before.

BTW - I agree with you on black cast iron. I have (I think) 8 fry pans, ranging from 4" to 12" diameter. However, I only buy OLD Griswold or Wagner, as their surfaces are smooth as glass, and I typically pay around $8 a pan. You really have to scour the rummage sales and thrift stores to find nice ones cheap but they are worth it.

cb
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ralph
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 5:38 am    Post subject: seasoning cast iron Reply with quote

I season Eleanor's woks for her (see ealier post - eleanorhoh.com). Heather's idea of seasoning in the barbeque is a good idea although I haven't done that myself. I use a respirator when I season because the smell can get quite bad and I don't think it's healthy breathing the fumes. With the barbeque it's ventilated outside, smart.
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jagstyle



Joined: 08 Aug 2005
Posts: 45
Location: CA

PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cynicalb wrote:
BTW - I agree with you on black cast iron. I have (I think) 8 fry pans, ranging from 4" to 12" diameter. However, I only buy OLD Griswold or Wagner, as their surfaces are smooth as glass, and I typically pay around $8 a pan. You really have to scour the rummage sales and thrift stores to find nice ones cheap but they are worth it.


I wasn't talking about cast iron. Black steel fry pan:


Black Steel Frying Pans with iron handle. These are the classic carbon steel pans we used before stainless steel, they are great heat conductors and very strong.

I also love black cast iron. I am looking to score some old relics...
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geo



Joined: 07 Oct 2005
Posts: 8
Location: Florida USA/Switzerland

PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 2:54 pm    Post subject: Falk Culinair Reply with quote

Hi jagstyle. I love those pans! May I ask you a question? I just recently purchased the Cuisinart Multiclad Pro (MCP-12) set. It's the set in competition with All-Clad. All of my nonstick pans went bad at the same time so I needed to replace everything at the same time and could not afford the copper. The Cuisinart MCP 12 pc set was $184. I think I can afford one copper pan, though. If you could only have JUST ONE copper FALK CULINAIR, which piece would you choose where you'd get the most benefit from copper? I am thinking maybe the large saute pan...? Anyone elses comments on this are welcome, also!
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cynicalb



Joined: 12 May 2005
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Gail,

My 2¢ - I would either get the biggest copper saute pan or saucier that I could comfortably handle - depending on the exact style of pan, I'd probably opt for the saucier. In the case of Falk or Bourgeat, that's what I'd do, because their sauciers have the rounded sides that are more like a saute pan along with the greater depth, whereas the more traditional sauciere has the flared sides (like the Baumalu I reference above). I've had that fantasy for awhile now, but I can't justify upwards of $250 for one pan...

Jagstyle - those black steel pans are intruiging. I'm assuming that you treat them just like black cast iron? What do they do well and what are they not so good at? Thanks.

cb
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geo



Joined: 07 Oct 2005
Posts: 8
Location: Florida USA/Switzerland

PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 9:53 pm    Post subject: Falk Culinair Reply with quote

Thanks, cynical. I will keep that in mind. I'm getting a little ahead of myself. I just quit my job to be with my baby and I've since bought a freezer and new cookware set and now on to this copper piece next! I am getting excited about cooking. I never had the time to cook much before. I did a lot of research before coming to this site and suddenly it was much easier--had to GET PAST the marketing hype first before I learned about quality cookware and specs that top even All-Clad. I think I will be happy with just having ONE versatile copper piece. That's how I'll justify it--it's just ONE and the ONE will get LOTS OF USE so must be the most versatile.

I recently bought the Lodge Logic (pre-seasoned) cast iron 12" frying pan and the cast iron 5 qt Dutch oven (since I cannot afford Le Creuset enameled cast iron). I already enjoy them and was soooo happy to buy them PRE-SEASONED. I don't know how they do it, but nothing much is sticking to the pan and this IS a new pan. I read that the pre-seasoned pans are equal to a pan that has been used already for a year or two (according to one cast iron user & I don't know if that's true or not). I don't know if I'll ever buy the enameled cast iron. Would you? I'm not sure the advantage is worth it. That red pot sure is attractive, though! I saw that LODGE is also making enameled cast iron for a little cheaper and without the black knob, too. I'm not sure I like the way Le Creuset has changed over to putting black knobs on their pots. I read the Amazon reviews for Lodge cast iron dutch oven (5 qt) and some reviewers were more happy with this product than with the Le Creuset dutch oven. I think some of them owned the Le Creuset.
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DrBiggles



Joined: 12 May 2005
Posts: 352
Location: Richmond, CA

PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cynicalb wrote:
Fellow equipment hounds,

Have any of you used Baumalu copper pots and pans (from Alsace, France)? I saw some today for the first time and was very surprised. They are hammered copper, tin lined, cast iron handle and appear to be at least 2mm thickness. The surprising aspect is that they are about 1/3 the price of a comparable Mauviel pan. Fit and finish isn't quite as nice as Mauviel, but is pretty good - definitely appear to be a super bargain for what they are for the price (i.e. too good to be true). Appear to be much better quality than comparably priced Italian copper cookware (which is typically only 1mm thickness). I'd be interested in any comments any of you have, especially our Continental readers who probably know more about this brand than we do in the States. I tried searching the net, but all the sites I found were in French (which I do not speak) and the company does not have a website. Thanks in advance.

cb


I don't. But I do have some other coppy fry/sauce pans that aren't quite the quality of the Mauviel. Even so, the characteristics of the solid copper is breath taking. I say, buy one or two.
That being said, I'm NEVER buying another tin lined pan. This march I sent my favorite 3mm, commerical 10" solid copper fry pan to www.retinning.com and still have not received it 7 months later. I did receive a 3" fry pan, but sent it back. Turns out they received it back in March, invoiced it in April and sent me the wrong pan in August. I've sent numerious letters, no luck. That was a world class pan and I miss it every day. Danit.

Biggles
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DrBiggles



Joined: 12 May 2005
Posts: 352
Location: Richmond, CA

PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 10:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Falk Culinair Reply with quote

geo wrote:


I recently bought the Lodge Logic (pre-seasoned) cast iron 12" frying pan and the cast iron 5 qt Dutch oven (since I cannot afford Le Creuset enameled cast iron). I already enjoy them and was soooo happy to buy them PRE-SEASONED. I don't know how they do it, but nothing much is sticking to the pan and this IS a new pan. I read that the pre-seasoned pans are equal to a pan that has been used already for a year or two (according to one cast iron user & I don't know if that's true or not). I don't know if I'll ever buy the enameled cast iron. Would you? I'm not sure the advantage is worth it. That red pot sure is attractive, though! I saw that LODGE is also making enameled cast iron for a little cheaper and without the black knob, too. I'm not sure I like the way Le Creuset has changed over to putting black knobs on their pots. I read the Amazon reviews for Lodge cast iron dutch oven (5 qt) and some reviewers were more happy with this product than with the Le Creuset dutch oven. I think some of them owned the Le Creuset.


As far as the preseasoned goes, I love it, so far. I bought a 12" and 10" Camp Dutch Oven and even charcoal briquettes couldn't break the season. But then I haven't simmered a pot of tomatoes or apples in there yet. I do know that no matter how seasoned your pan is, if you leave acidic foods in there too long after cooking, it'll take on the metallic taste. This is where the enamel coating comes in handy, it's non-reactive. I've got a few enamel coated ovens and some fry pans. The fry pans I just don't use, but the ovens get used weekly. I got no idea what the new enamel coated ovens are like. Mine are Danish and probably 40 years old.

Biggles
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geo



Joined: 07 Oct 2005
Posts: 8
Location: Florida USA/Switzerland

PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 11:54 pm    Post subject: Seasoning Cloth Reply with quote

I'm wondering what you all use to season or oil down you cast iron after use? I used paper towel and got too much lint. I also don't buy paper towels very often. Then I tried a lint-free baby diaper. It worked great--cast iron is coated but I think the diaper is holding most of the bottle of oil! What do you think about using a handkerchief dedicated to this purpose and keeping it in a plastic container?
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