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Pans? We Have Pans. Which pan for what job and why.
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cynicalb_repost
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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2005 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I finally bought a copper saute pan. 9 1/2" diameter, heavy gauge, tin-lined Mauviel. Got it at TJ Maxx for a song (it was on clearance - $40, I think) - there is a good tip if you are looking for cookware - TJ Maxx and Marshall's - basically the same company. They get overstocks from department stores and Sonoma-Williams and the like and sell it at deep discounts - typically close to 50% off retail, and if it goes on the clearance rack, you can get it for dimes on the dollar.

Back to my original reason for posting today. The other night I used it for sauteeing turkey breast cutlets - basically turkey scallopine. I initially didn't use enough heat, so it took a bit before the meat started to brown (put the slices in the cold pan with some oil and turned the heat on), but once I figured out the heat they cooked very nicely. Excellent browning of the meat, wonderful fond - it took two batches to cook everything and the fond never burned - it just got a wonderful deep brown, and when I added some stock and wine to create a pan sauce it quickly made a rich sauce. Needless to say, I was very pleased. I'll have to find more excuses to use this pan.
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Dr. Biggles
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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2005 9:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cynicalb_repost wrote:
Back to my original reason for posting today. The other night I used it for sauteeing turkey breast cutlets - basically turkey scallopine. I initially didn't use enough heat, so it took a bit before the meat started to brown (put the slices in the cold pan with some oil and turned the heat on), but once I figured out the heat they cooked very nicely. Excellent browning of the meat, wonderful fond - it took two batches to cook everything and the fond never burned - it just got a wonderful deep brown, and when I added some stock and wine to create a pan sauce it quickly made a rich sauce. Needless to say, I was very pleased. I'll have to find more excuses to use this pan.

YEAH !!! Congratulations mang. And you're right about TJ Max, that's where all mine came from. Huge stock pot, fry pans & sauce pans. Remember to dig for the ones with the cast iron handle, those are the thick commerical rigs. Brass handles are thinner, about 2mm I believe.

Also, treat that tin lining with care. Clean with NOTHING stronger than soapy water and a sponge. Don't preheat the pan, that kind of stuff. I just sent out a fry pan for retinning, 60 bux. Ouch.

Biggles
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capstinence



Joined: 12 May 2005
Posts: 44
Location: Los Angeles, CA

PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2005 3:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've died twice from my non-stick pans... but strangely my birds are fine.

Seriously, though, I worked as a chef in an Italian kitchen for a year and used really nice pans. Then I received non-stick from some relatives for my own personal use and I've noticed a definite difference in quality. It could also be that crappy college-apartment stove too... electric is gross.

But yeah, I miss the good pans.
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Chef Jim



Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 6
Location: Metro New York

PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2005 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All-Clad Rocks!! IMHO it's the best of the best. I have used many different kinds of cookware over the course of 30+ years cooking. My mother's very well-seasoned, well taken care of cast iron frying pan was priceless, her club aluminum was great quality but then we know so much more about aluminum and how to use it now. I've had Calphalon's Kitchen Essentials ala Tar-Jay, loved them when they were new, but they really don't wear well! Shapes and sizes were great, "non-stick" was better quality than el cheap-o but doesn't last any longer. Since I purchased my set of All-Clad and a few added addtions I have determined that there is only two reasons to use non-stick--Eggs and Fish. Otherwide forgettaboutit! I have a wonderful 12" anondized alum, skillet that I use for frittattas, that goes into the oven, don't use if for anything else. I believe it's an old calphalon, it's light grey vs the dark color you see these days. My wife had a set of Saladmaster three ply that we used for 30 years, it was great, never really learned how to use it to it's best advantage and fixed it all up with new handles, replaced missing pieces, spent as much on that as she spent on the set originally and gave it to our daughter for a Wedding present. It's worth about $3,000 to replace today!

I believe it's both skill and quality of equipment that produce good food, after all the science of cooking includes what material it's cooked on, in or around!
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CBRetriever
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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2005 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like Le Creuset (enameled cast iron) myself. It's almost as easy to clean as nonstick. There's some good deals on eBay. In fact some of the deals are so good that I've become obsessed and have quite a collection now (over 30). Currently looking for some of the rarer colors (turquoise) and pieces.
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BMan
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2005 2:08 pm    Post subject: Seasoning cast iron Reply with quote

Hi,

I love reading this topic. Living in Spain I have to do with a couple of French Le Creuset enameled cast iron pans. Sad
Only the beautiful cast iron frying pan I can't work with as it always sticks.

Can someone please explain how you "season" a cast iron pan. I've already heated it with salt in it as someone suggested, but (not being an engineer) I couldn't understand the why. It didn't help either Smile (Btw this is also an enameled Crueset)

As for Teflon; it would be a great opportunity to get rid of those Frenchmen next door if it was as lethal as some might think. They invented the stuff and already cook on it for years (I think the whole of Western Europe does). Would be a pity for the birds in Europe though! Laughing Out Loud
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DrBiggles



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

PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2005 1:39 am    Post subject: Re: Seasoning cast iron Reply with quote

Quote:
Can someone please explain how you "season" a cast iron pan. I've already heated it with salt in it as someone suggested, but (not being an engineer) I couldn't understand the why. It didn't help either Smile (Btw this is also an enameled Crueset)


Awww, I feel your pain. So many people are daunted by Cast Iron. It isn't fair, with some effort it'll give you years of great results.

To season the beast, pre-heat your oven to 300 degrees F. Bottom or center rack, it don't matter much. While the oven is getting ready, rub the inside of your Cast Iron with a fat of some kind. Lard, Peanut Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Corn, vegetable or Canola.
Throw a cookie sheet on the bottom of your oven.
Install your Cast Iron UPSIDE DOWN on the rack above the cookie sheet. Cook at 300 F for an hour.

Consider it seasoned. You'll end up doing this from time to time.

To keep it smiling? (Cast Iron has pores that are porous, it loves FAT) Cook things that are fatty from time to time. What's this you might ask?

Use your skillet to roast chickens, porks & beefes. Sear chops, steaks (finish in the oven) and bacon love.

NEVER use soap on your Cast Iron Friends. Salt is used to CLEAN them, not season. Use a stiff brush and soaked hot water to clean. If you just can't get it clean, then use Kosher Salt as an abrasive on a dry pan, smoosh around. Then wash with hot water.

Nothing finer for toasting spices/herbs/seeds. I have over a dozen on my walls. They take more care than non-stick, this is fine. Good things in life take effort.

Quote:
As for Teflon; it would be a great opportunity to get rid of those Frenchmen next door if it was as lethal as some might think. They invented the stuff and already cook on it for years (I think the whole of Western Europe does). Would be a pity for the birds in Europe though! Laughing Out Loud


I only have 1 teflon pan. I use it for preparing frozen pot stickers.

Biggles
www.meathenge.com
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CBRetriever
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2005 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the Le Creuset pan is enameled on the inside, you can't season it like you can a straight cast iron pan as far as I know.
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DrBiggles



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

PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2005 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CBRetriever wrote:
If the Le Creuset pan is enameled on the inside, you can't season it like you can a straight cast iron pan as far as I know.


Yup, you're right. I missed the line about it being enameled as well. Nope, those cannot be seasoned and cared for the same way as straight cast iron.

I apologize for making things cornfusing.

Biggles
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BMan
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2005 7:06 am    Post subject: Seasoning cast iron Reply with quote

DrBiggles,

Thanks a lot for this explanation about seasoning cast iron. It has increased my knowledge again with some essential information that I never find in cook books or magazines. Still don’t know how to treat my enameled frying pan with wooden handle, but as soon as I have I will post it here.

If someone knows a good book about the techniques of cooking (and I do not mean “how to make a dark fond”, but more about the subjects discussed in this threat like sharpening knives, type of pan materials, type of heating sources, cleaning a chicken, duck, wild boar etc.) I would appreciate to hear about it. It is I think a very suitable subject for this blog and I haven’t found much literature about it. It’s probably those things that are past on from your mother or granny down the line.

I used to be a city boy in the Netherlands but moved away from that crowded country to find some space in Catalonia, Spain. As the Dutch don’t have much of a cooking culture (pancakes is probably the best they have to offer) it was quite a revelation to find the Catalans so immersed in their love for food. But having no cultural roots related to food it is difficult to catch up.
So I started to bread some chickens, ducks and goose and slaughtered the ones the fox left over. But having no experience it ended up like a small massacre every time again. So I gave that up and now buy them from the shop again. Laughing Out Loud
I was able to kill a wild boar a couple of years back and cleaned that beast. That was a lot of work compared to the chickens but at least it got me my fridge full of fantastic meat. But having hardly any guidelines doesn’t help with these kinds of works. And I think that this type of work is not considered part of the “cooking” process so you won’t find anything about it in the cook books. But materials and equipment used are also never part of the regular cook books, which is something that I find really missing.
So if someone has a suggestion I’d appreciate it.
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CBRetriever
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2005 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On Amazon.com there's a book called Basic Butchering of Livestock and Game by John Mettler that might help you. For basic cooking try either Le Cordon Bleu's Complete Cooking Techniques or the Culinary Institute's The Professional Chef. Actually, the best way to browse books is to go to Amazon.com and enter cooking techniques in the search engine and look at the various choices.
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Bart



Joined: 05 Jun 2005
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2005 6:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CBRetriever,

Thanks for your suggestions. I will check them out directly. That's what I like about you Americans; you're still able to do a lot of things yourself if you want to. Be it building your own house or butchering your lifestock. In Europe we all go to the constructor and the butcher. :vomit:
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cynicalb



Joined: 12 May 2005
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2005 3:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Bart,

A few books for you - I had previously posted about the first two of these in the "Cookbooks for the Science Minded" thread in the Cooking Tips post:

"On Food and Cooking" by Harold McGee - Chapter 14 discusses the science behind materials used in cooking. I don't have the latest edition (I have the 1984 edition), which I know has been completely revamped, so I am not sure what is included. This is a great cookbook for the science behind the cooking, and I recommend it highly.

"Larousse Gastronomique" - I have the first American edition - 1961 - and it has extensive butchering diagrams for beef, lamb, pork, etc. and shows the differences between how different countries butcher (US vs. England vs. France). Again, I do not know if the later editions contain this information or to what extent.

"Mastering the Art of French Cooking" by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck actually has pretty good instructions and drawings of how to dismember or carve pretty much any critter they give recipes for.

"The L.L. Bean Game & Fish Cookbook" by Angus Cameron and Judith Jones has an appendix that deals with field dressing of game animals and carving of same. Plus, the recipes are pretty decent (I've tried some of the fish, pheasant, wild turkey, grouse, duck, and bear recipes). I think this book is out of print, but I would expect that you could find it from Amazon or the like.
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cynicalb



Joined: 12 May 2005
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2005 4:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Bart,

Regarding your question about seasoning an enamelled cast iron pan - Biggles is absolutely right - you cannot season it. Enamel is basically a glass surface - it is amorphous and non-porous. As long as that surface is unbroken, nothing should be able to adhere to it very well. However, that does not mean it is as non-stick as teflon. It is brittle, and just like any other coating, can be scratched (although I do think that will take some effort). I would also expect that thermal shocking is a real concern as that will cause cracks. Although I have not used much enamelled cast iron, from a materials science perspective, I would think the following should help:

1. Don't bang the pan around or drop heavy or sharp objects into it - basically do anything that will cause the surface to crack.
2. When cleaning, take it easy and do not use scouring powders - if you want to use cleaners, use something that won't scratch, like Corning's Soft Scrub. Actually, if you have something stuck to it, I would just heat the pan on the stove top with some water in it, get it boiling, and using a wooden spoon or spatula "scrub" the surface - basically you are deglazing. I do this with most of my pans if something is stuck to them and it works great.
3. Slowly heat the pan - don't subject it to instant high heat. This will allow the two separate materials (cast iron and enamel) that have different coefficients of expansion, from creating stress raisers which may lead to cracking of the enamel.
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Bart



Joined: 05 Jun 2005
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2005 5:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Cynicalb,

Thanks for the explanation. It probably means that I will use my deep frying pan not for eggs and the like. The casserole and saucepans are really great though. Not as none sticking as Teflon, but they don’t have to be either. And they will last a couple of lifetimes (my mother is still using some Creuset pans from my grandmother).
But last year I got my first copper pan and a new world has opened up. It’s a cheap version (was sold in a French supermarket where they had a kilo price for their copper pans) but still gives fantastic results.
Thank you all for the support. If you someday anyone has questions about the Spanish kitchen (and more specific the Catalan kitchen) I might be able to return the favour.
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