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meline
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 12:39 pm    Post subject: Cookware Reply with quote

New to american cooking and had a question on what exacattly is a casserole cookware? How do u desribe the cookware u are suppose to use? I have been told its a deep pot with lid and handles and also told its just a 13x9 baking dish,how can both be right? Not understanding , Help!

Meline
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1008
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Meline -

"a casserole" is pretty much like saying "a pot" - it does not have a rigid definition.
not sure how technically true it is - usage changes over time - but often the "casserole" is considered the food itself, served in a "casserole dish"

"cookware" qualifiers would be:
certainly "oven proof" is one characteristic
"has a lid" (but not always used) is another 'need' but probably not a 'must'
'pretty' (?) often cited is that the cookware goes from oven to table for service.
usually has some sort of 'handles' on two sides for ease of handling when hot -

it can be shallow, can be deep, round, square, rectangular.

I've got glass square cake "pans" that would not be mis-labeled for a "casserole"
and round metal cake pan's that I would not label "casserole"
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Meline
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 1:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, is there a mistake in what u said about your glass cake pans? Did u mean to say your glass cake pans could be mislabeled as casserole?
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1008
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

not sure it's a mistake - poorly worded perhaps ...

for example I have a 9 inch square clear glass Pyrex cake/brownie "dish" - little flared handles on each side, it's clear glass and doesn't have pretty flowers for decoration, functionally the "same thing" as a white 9 inch square Corning ware sold as a "casserole" - with flowers.
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Meline
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Would u please take a look at this chart i found at land olakes. When they mention casserole it seems to me they are talking about a certain kind? If so would that kind of confuse things on what was said earlier on casserole?http://www.landolakes.com/mealIdeas/casserole-recipes.cfm. I dont understand if here a casserole is a certain vessel, u would use that if casserole was said in recipe. But yet any oven proof dish would be used for casserole? When if there is different types do u use which when? How do u determine maybe its a deep pot one verse using a 13x9 baking dish (casserole) in a recipe that says a casserole dish if all these types are used? This is important to me,hope u understand . Again, dont know how they can come up with meaning of a casserole vessel to mean different things?(Deep pot with fitting lid and another any oven proof baking dish)
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DrBiggles



Joined: 12 May 2005
Posts: 355
Location: Richmond, CA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Meline wrote:
Would u please take a look at this chart i found at land olakes. When they mention casserole it seems to me they are talking about a certain kind? If so would that kind of confuse things on what was said earlier on casserole?http://www.landolakes.com/mealIdeas/casserole-recipes.cfm. I dont understand if here a casserole is a certain vessel, u would use that if casserole was said in recipe. But yet any oven proof dish would be used for casserole? When if there is different types do u use which when? How do u determine maybe its a deep pot one verse using a 13x9 baking dish (casserole) in a recipe that says a casserole dish if all these types are used? This is important to me,hope u understand . Again, dont know how they can come up with meaning of a casserole vessel to mean different things?(Deep pot with fitting lid and another any oven proof baking dish)


Hi! Well, as Dilbert mentioned above, a casserole is more of a recipe than what it's cooked in. Anything that's oven proof can be used to make a casserole, I've done it in one of my old cast iron skillets. As far as whether you use a deep one or a shallow one, that's up to you. I generally use the 13x9 pan because it gives more surface area on the top for whatever you're cooking to brown, even get crunchy. This adds a dimension of flavor that you won't get much of with a deep one.

If your food fits in it and it's oven proof, use it. Play with it and see what you like. Get cookin'!

Biggles
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1008
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

some confusion comes from the language.

If I say "I made a casserole for dinner" few people would think I made the physical glass or ceramic container, and intended to eat it.

If you go into a store, point and ask "What's that?" you may get the answer "It's a casserole." technically I suppose they should answer "it's a casserole dish" but that's the fun of language.

whether to use a deep or shallow casserole dish depends on the recipe.

for example at the top of that Land o Lakes page is a picture of a casserole with large chunks of meat, potatoes, + ??? because of the size of the pieces a deeper (ca. 10 cm) casserole dish is appropriate. if the dish is so shallow that specified volume of pieces becomes one layer, that's basically "roasting the stuff"

the macaroni&cheese dish would be best done at half that depth - say 5 cm.

but if you are cooking and you want it deeper / shallower - that comes under the "chef's surprise" rule.

the chart is help with "Ack! I don't have the specified size pan!" issue.

many casserole recipes will suggest the "volume" of casserole dish to use (based essentially on the quantity of ingredients.)

if the recipe says to use a 2 quart (1.893 liters) casserole - but you don't have a two quart dish handy, you can use a 9 x 9 x 1-inch baking dish.

the volume is 9 x 9 x 1.5 = 121.5 cubic inches or 2.10 quarts
or in metric 22.86 cm x 22.86 cm x 3.81 cm 231=1.991 liters

when to use deeper or shallower also affects how the dish is assembled and what effects you want.

for example, many casseroles feature a "topping" or "crusty stuff" - a shallow pan of the same volume will have more surface area. so when a recipe indicates a shallow pan with 2 cups of croutons, if you use a pan half as big but twice as deep, probably only need one cup of croutons....

whether you need a lid is entirely recipe driven - some say bake covered, some not covered, and some a combination - starting covered then uncover.

I'd recommend not getting too caught up in sizes and exactitudes - if the recipe say use a 1 quart dish and you only have 1.5 quart size, it'll most likely work just fine.
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GaryProtein



Joined: 26 Oct 2005
Posts: 535

PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are looking to purchase casserole dishes, I like the CorningWare. You can cook in an oven, serve them on the table, re-heat in a microwave, freeze them and they are reasonably priced. They also come in MANY sizes and shapes, with and without lids.
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Meline
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

all this advice is helpful. But I just want to make sure on the chart land olakes mention are they refering to a casserole as the deep one with lid and if u dont have it of course u can use what they say. Just trying to find out if the chart is indictacting a certain vessel for casserole here?
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1008
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the chart only indicates "similar" sizes of approximately the same volume.
that chart cannot address whether the casserole dish needs to be "deep" or "normal" - that information must come from the recipe.

whether to use a larger but shallower dish is a decision for the cook, based on the recipe.

for example, the beef and potato casserole recipes specifies a 1.5 quart casserole dish size.
note that the table cites a 1.5 quart casserole dish is 8x8x1.5 size
(must say, the picture looks deeper than 1.5 inches....)

oh, with or without cover is does not come into play unless the recipe call for covered baking and your 'substitute' size does not have a cover . . . been there, had that problem. some aluminum foil wrapped over the dish works very well as a "cover"

the table says a 1.5 quart casserole dish is 8x6x1.5
the 8x6x1.5 is or 72 cubic inches volume
the two quart size is
the 8x8x1.5 is or 96 cubic inches volume

if you do not have a 1.5 quart casserole dish, those 96 cubic inches in a 1.0 quart casserole dish is 2 inches deep. the math says you may have a problem! 2 inches of ingredients will not fit in 1.5 inches of depth... however, in practice very few, if any, recipes will specify a size "right up to the top" - meaning that something specifying a 1.5 quart casserole dish will most likely fit in a 1.0 quart casserole.

now, 0.5 inches (13 mm) difference in "depth" is very unlikely to make a real world difference in how the dish turns out. a bit deeper may require slightly longer cooking time; less deep may cook slightly faster. probably only important in casseroles where "end" cooked temperature could make a significant difference - a fish/seafood casserole is the best example that comes to mind.

for example the PIZZA SPAGHETTI CASSEROLE says:
"Spoon half of spaghetti mixture into greased 8-inch square baking dish"
same thing here... note that there is no mention of the depth required.
well, 8x8 = 64 square inches, a 9 inch round casserole dish is 63.58 square inches, the "depth" - whatever it turns out to be for the volume / quantity of ingredients, would be essentially the same.

going out on a limb ( means I'm guessing ) most casseroles tend to the 1.5 to 2 inch depth. you may find recipes that specific a "deep dish casserole" - that's a clue - you will need something deeper than 'typical'

the dish size specified in a recipe is most useful for judging the amount of "the dish" being prepared. if you're cooking for two, and the recipe says "layer into a six quart casserole (dish)" - that's a lot of food for two people. as an example in such a case, I would consider cutting the amounts of ingredients in half for just two people.

there's an old saying that exists in many cultures / languages: cooking is an art, baking is a science.

when you're cooking, a bit more of this or a bit less of that - per your own tastes - works. if you're baking bread, the recipe calls for yeast but you don't have any, that's a problem. the proportions of various ingredients in baking can be much more critical to the success of the "end product" than whether or not you had real saffron threads to successfully make the dish.
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