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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Posted: Fri May 13, 2011 12:07 pm UTC
by Hammer
Bakemaster wrote:I'd probably use parchment paper over any broad, flat surface—cutting board, counter-top, etc.

Well, yeah, of course you use parchment paper! Thank you for pointing out the simple solution that was staring me right in the face. Goodness, but I'm blind sometimes. :D

Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Posted: Fri May 13, 2011 1:50 pm UTC
by PAstrychef
I have a roll of the 18" wide plastIc wrap that I use. The roll is huge and one lasts me for a very long time-years and years, but it's much stronger than the usual stuff and the size makes it very handy when I do need it. Since it is as wide at my sheet pans, when the dough is that size I know to stop. And it sticks less than parchment.
As for parchment being too small-go to a local bakery and ask to buy a couple dozen of their full sized sheets. It's 18x24 inches. Should handle any home pizza needs. A whole box has 1,000 sheets and you can order them online. After all, they never spoil!

Come on, doesn't this thread need a little necro?

Posted: Sun Jun 05, 2011 12:47 am UTC
by cerbie
Not exactly cookware, but good jars are all kinds of awesome.
Mason jars, with those white lids? Awesome.
Mason jars, vacuum packed with regular lids? Awesome.
Quality bail jars, such as Bormioli Rocco Fido, and Le Parfait? Awesome.
Misc. ne'ertobemadeagain yard sale jars? Awesome.
Used plastic jars, like from fruit in syrup? Great for bulk spices, IMO.

Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Posted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:05 pm UTC
by philsov
I've inherited an 8-quart Magnalite pot from my grandmother, and recently my dad bought up a whole bunch of other sizes off ebay and restored them up a bit. They're cast aluminum with nice, thick bottoms and not-as-thick sides -- great for browning gravy, making sauces, or any manner of cooking. The lid is rimmed/fitted to help retain water as well. They're also branded as "Wagnerware." I highly recommend this line if anyone's buying any manner of pot in the future.

Re: Come on, doesn't this thread need a little necro?

Posted: Sun Jun 12, 2011 11:42 am UTC
by PatrickRsGhost
cerbie wrote:Not exactly cookware, but good jars are all kinds of awesome.
Mason jars, with those white lids? Awesome.
Mason jars, vacuum packed with regular lids? Awesome.
Quality bail jars, such as Bormioli Rocco Fido, and Le Parfait? Awesome.
Misc. ne'ertobemadeagain yard sale jars? Awesome.
Used plastic jars, like from fruit in syrup? Great for bulk spices, IMO.


Those mason jars will be great for home-canning, if you intend on getting into that. Best brands are Ball and Kerr. You just need to get brand new lids (the part with the red band on the inside), and make sure there aren't any nicks or scratches on the jar. It's work, but so well worth it, whether you grow your own veggies, or buy them in bulk at the produce section of a grocery store, warehouse club, co-op, or some little produce stand at an intersection.

Although, I've also canned soups, stews, chili, spaghetti sauce, and applesauce in the past.

Re: Come on, doesn't this thread need a little necro?

Posted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 2:28 am UTC
by cerbie
PatrickRsGhost wrote:
cerbie wrote:Not exactly cookware, but good jars are all kinds of awesome.
Mason jars, with those white lids? Awesome.
Mason jars, vacuum packed with regular lids? Awesome.
Quality bail jars, such as Bormioli Rocco Fido, and Le Parfait? Awesome.
Misc. ne'ertobemadeagain yard sale jars? Awesome.
Used plastic jars, like from fruit in syrup? Great for bulk spices, IMO.


Those mason jars will be great for home-canning, if you intend on getting into that. Best brands are Ball and Kerr. You just need to get brand new lids (the part with the red band on the inside), and make sure there aren't any nicks or scratches on the jar. It's work, but so well worth it, whether you grow your own veggies, or buy them in bulk at the produce section of a grocery store, warehouse club, co-op, or some little produce stand at an intersection.

Although, I've also canned soups, stews, chili, spaghetti sauce, and applesauce in the past.
Finally started, this year. I've wanted to, before, but finding all the canner parts and canning tools has taken time, since none of them had been used in 20 years (luckily, the canner was stored indoors, so the old rubber is still good). Just broth and chili, so far, to test the waters, and I'm looking out for current seasonal vegetables. I would like to can many pints of spaghetti sauce, if possible, as store-bought took a nose dive when oil speculation got out of hand around '07-08, and that quality has stayed poor. Supermarket tomatoes, by and large, are also hardly even worth adding to salads, much less trying to make sauce out of. Mountains of local ugly tomatoes are what I want :P.

It may be work, but believe me, collecting and cleaning out old jars, that was real work. About 2/3 of the old jars were salvageable, though, even being stored exposed to the elements for a couple decades.

Ball, Kerr, and Bernardin are the same company, now, and all are fine canning jars, AFAIK. The Walmart and Better Homes and gardens jars are obviously of far inferior quality.

I've been seriously considering picking up some Tattler lids. I doubt BPA from home canned goods is going to make much of a difference, but Jarden's, "the FDA approves it, so why should we care?" response to concerned parents is irksome, and I generally dislike consumables designed just to be thrown away, when there could be long-term reliable options. I've also found that new lids only last 2-4 times for vacuum packing (old lids last longer, but I doubt their cycle life will be indefinite), so re-usable lids would help there, too.

Re: Come on, doesn't this thread need a little necro?

Posted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:38 am UTC
by PatrickRsGhost
cerbie wrote:I would like to can many pints of spaghetti sauce, if possible, as store-bought took a nose dive when oil speculation got out of hand around '07-08, and that quality has stayed poor. Supermarket tomatoes, by and large, are also hardly even worth adding to salads, much less trying to make sauce out of. Mountains of local ugly tomatoes are what I want :P.


Make sure to check the jars for nicks, scratches, and other imperfections. These can be bad news for home canning. If any of the jars have these, toss them out.

As for lids, the screw-bands can be used again and again, but the rubber seal parts should really be replaced. I've always thrown them out when I'd open the jar.

One thing I've discovered about canning chili and spaghetti sauce is that during processing, some of the flavor leaks out, so you end up with a slightly bland spaghetti sauce or chili.

There are two options to this:

1. Buy the spaghetti sauce seasoning mix specially made for home canning, which can be costly,
2. Can just the tomato sauce "as-is" (no ingredients added, just tomatoes and salt to taste), then when you're ready to make homemade spaghetti sauce (100 times better than store-bought), just dump a pint or quart or two into the pot, add your spices and other ingredients (if you plan on a chunky sauce with onions, peppers, mushrooms, meat, etc.) and cook.

As for the supermarket tomatoes being sub-par, most varieties found in the supermarket are not of saucing quality. Most tomatoes at the store are meant for slicing or dicing into salads, sammiches, or as a side item. Heirloom varieties are best for saucing. What you want to look for is a lot of "meat" or "flesh" in the inside of the tomato, little to no water, loose skin (easy to peel), and very few to no seeds.

To prevent over-salting or under-salting, and to prevent from it being too "tomato-y" or acidic, do what my mom did: Use a can of supermarket sauce to compare. Once you've got them both matching in taste and everything else, dump the store-bought sauce in with the homemade (cheating, I know, but why let perfectly good sauce go to waste?) and begin canning.

Re: Come on, doesn't this thread need a little necro?

Posted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:07 am UTC
by cerbie
PatrickRsGhost wrote:Make sure to check the jars for nicks, scratches, and other imperfections. These can be bad news for home canning. If any of the jars have these, toss them out.

As for lids, the screw-bands can be used again and again, but the rubber seal parts should really be replaced. I've always thrown them out when I'd open the jar.
Check and check. Many had minor scratches, thus the ~1/3 not salvageable.

Re-using the standard lids is regarding vacuum sealing. Thus far, no lids from the 80s have failed, while four good sealings is the most I've gotten out of a new lid. The older lids are much thicker, and so less prone to warping when being opened.

Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Posted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 5:53 pm UTC
by dubsola
I recently got my Masterclass knives sharpened professionally. I've had them for four years and they are still fantastic. They feel great to use. The masterclass pans and whatnot I bought at the same time are just ok, certainly not as good as, say, le Creuset.

Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Posted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 6:11 pm UTC
by Ulc
For anyone that doesn't already have one, I can heartily recommend investing in a pizza stone.

Basically a tile in the proper dimensions that you place in your oven and bake the pizza on that - mine cost me $30, and damn the pizza just got a lot better than it does on a standard oven plate in metal.

Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Posted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 7:56 pm UTC
by KestrelLowing
Ulc wrote:For anyone that doesn't already have one, I can heartily recommend investing in a pizza stone.

Basically a tile in the proper dimensions that you place in your oven and bake the pizza on that - mine cost me $30, and damn the pizza just got a lot better than it does on a standard oven plate in metal.


Would a pizza stone work for breads too? I know that sometimes bread recipes want you to have some sort of stone in the oven. I'm guessing a pizza stone would be fine, but I'm not sure.

Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Posted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 8:06 pm UTC
by Ulc
I haven't tried baking bread in it, but I'm planning to try that tommorow, I'll report back after that.

Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Posted: Thu Jul 28, 2011 12:43 am UTC
by PAstrychef
Baking stones are good for bread, and I just use unglazed tiles from Home Despot, laid out on the rack. You do need to heat them for at least 30 minutes before baking on them for the best results.

Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Posted: Thu Jul 28, 2011 9:48 pm UTC
by El Spark
PAstrychef wrote:Baking stones are good for bread, and I just use unglazed tiles from Home Despot, laid out on the rack. You do need to heat them for at least 30 minutes before baking on them for the best results.


I can vouch for the awesome that is baking bread on a stone. I got one for Christmas, but PAstry's idea sounds just fine to me.

Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Posted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 8:38 am UTC
by mercutio_stencil
PAstrychef wrote:Baking stones are good for bread, and I just use unglazed tiles from Home Despot, laid out on the rack. You do need to heat them for at least 30 minutes before baking on them for the best results.


I've seen someone go so far as to line the floor and walls of their oven with bricks before baking. It gets you even closer to that 'brick oven' taste.

The other option is you can simply befriend the staff at your favorite local brick oven fired pizzeria and see if they don't let you throw in the odd baked good now and again.

Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Posted: Sat Aug 13, 2011 11:47 am UTC
by ancientmath
I hate this one really lightweight soup pot that we have at home. It got warped, and now it moves all over the place when I'm boiling water in it. Pans with a heavy, thick bottom are much better.
:roll:

Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Posted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 12:50 pm UTC
by PatrickRsGhost
ancientmath wrote:I hate this one really lightweight soup pot that we have at home. It got warped, and now it moves all over the place when I'm boiling water in it. Pans with a heavy, thick bottom are much better.
:roll:


Two words: Dutch. Oven. Get thee one.

Some reviews

Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Posted: Sun Aug 28, 2011 1:32 pm UTC
by merelydicta
PatrickRsGhost wrote:
ancientmath wrote:I hate this one really lightweight soup pot that we have at home. It got warped, and now it moves all over the place when I'm boiling water in it. Pans with a heavy, thick bottom are much better.
:roll:


Two words: Dutch. Oven. Get thee one.




I swear by my Le Creuset pots. They'll never let you down and with care, like a good pair of proper shoes, they just keep on giving year after year.

Alternatively, if you're time strapped, you could go for a Thermal Pot aka Thermal Cooker aka Thermal Vacuum Cooker.

More info can be found at the following link : http://marleneonthewall.hubpages.com/hub/Another-Kitchen-Must-Have-The-Thermal-Cooking-Pot

Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Posted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 9:25 pm UTC
by Nath
My cook's knife just got back from the sharpener, and I'd forgotten how awesome a nice sharp knife is. I hone regularly, and it's really not that expensive to take it to the professionals ($10ish, and I only have two knives I need sharp), but I figure I should learn to maintain my knives myself. Does anyone have any recommended sharpening equipment? I don't want one of those pull-through carbide blade chewers, and it doesn't make sense to spend too much money on equipment to sharpen $25 knives (Dexter-Russells), so I was looking at this and things like this. Any recommendations?

Now, I'm going to go find something to cut.

Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Posted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 5:30 am UTC
by Bakemaster
Sarah said she just heard an episode of America's Test Kitchen where they were recommending a super cheap sharpener. Dunno if she can find the episode or what, but hey... HEY SARAH. HEY. She'll read this if I bug her.

Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Posted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 6:12 am UTC
by Nath
That would probably be the AccuSharp. I hear it's pretty good, for a tungsten carbide pull-through thingy, and it's probably a good option for the cheap knives I have. But I think I'll go with some kind of whetstone or one of those things with the fixed angle rods, to get some practice in before I switch to a better knife.

Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Posted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 2:07 pm UTC
by bigglesworth
I have a similar thing, it works for me. Super quick to use.

Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Posted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 12:30 am UTC
by Bakemaster
A friend of mine loaned me some kind of sharpening jig setup. It has a stone on a rod that fits into an angled post on a wood base and swivels, then a clamp that holds your knife at a certain angle for hand-sharpening via the stone-on-a-rod thing. I haven't used it yet because whenever my son is asleep I'm doing other things, but it'll be nice to have not-dull kitchen knives for the first time since I bought them in... uh... 2006.

I ordered a digital scale and it arrived yesterday. Looking forward to washing fewer dishes, sometimes! And I guess I'll be more picky about how I feed my starter.

Man, what else have I acquired this year. I think I posted about my awesome chinois in another thread. That's the only notable thing, really. Nobody needs to hear every time I buy a new utensil. That's what Twitter is for.

On the list next is a nice set of wooden spoons. My cheap crap wooden spoons are starting to split and fall apart. Nice to have some money so I can think about which spoons I want instead of which dollar store is closest.

Also, a big tall stock pot, since the ones I have are too short for the chinois. I think I'll go for stainless. Soup is the new cake, and there are so many I've never tried.

Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Posted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 12:43 am UTC
by PAstrychef
Remember, a good stock pot is only as good as its base is thick! But the best ones have the same thickness up the sides as well.
Alas, I cannot justify buying any new kitchen stuff for myself.

Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Posted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:31 am UTC
by Zohar
Following the wedding we've received some excellent cookware. From my husband's parents, a pair of Le Crueset lidded pans; from a German friend of ours - a cast iron dutch oven; from a friend of husband's - a LeCrueset cookie sheet (so heavy and non-stick!), muffin sheet, and quiche pan. Very happy. The only things I feel we really miss in the kitchen is a mixer of some sort. We don't really have room for a stand mixer, but we can probably get a hand one.-

Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Posted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 7:36 pm UTC
by Bakemaster
PAstrychef wrote:Remember, a good stock pot is only as good as its base is thick! But the best ones have the same thickness up the sides as well.

Why is heat retention important for making stock? Seems like all the water should do the job just fine. Or is there another reason?

Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Posted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 6:44 pm UTC
by freezeblade
Bakemaster wrote:
PAstrychef wrote:Remember, a good stock pot is only as good as its base is thick! But the best ones have the same thickness up the sides as well.

Why is heat retention important for making stock? Seems like all the water should do the job just fine. Or is there another reason?


The thinner the pot, the more likely it is to burn stuff into the bottom, because the heat hasn't had a chance to distribute as fully.

Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 10:38 pm UTC
by Zohar
I'm looking to get a new rolling pin, any tips? Will be used mostly for pie crusts, but possibly pasta/pizza as well.

Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 11:58 pm UTC
by freezeblade
Zohar wrote:I'm looking to get a new rolling pin, any tips? Will be used mostly for pie crusts, but possibly pasta/pizza as well.


I'm a big fan of the french-style tapered rolling pins. Should be able to get them cheap at a restarunt supply place, or sur le table if you want fancier ones.

Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Posted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 12:09 am UTC
by PAstrychef
For rolling pie crusts, use a French pin. For pasta, just go to the lumberyard and get a pices of 2" hardwood dowel. They will even cut it to size. Measure your baking sheets and get it cut to fit, so rolling out shortbread crusts is easy. Having a pin linger than 16" can be nice for doing big batches or large sheets of laminated doughs.

Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Posted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 12:45 pm UTC
by Zohar
I knew I'd get some good answers here, thanks! It's about $10 on Amazon and we have Prime so that's a no-brainer (and BTW Sur La Table advertises the same maker, but for $15).

Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Posted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 2:11 pm UTC
by ahammel
There were some glowing reviews of carbon steel pans in the latest Cooks Illustrated. Anybody have any experience with them?

Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Posted: Wed Aug 26, 2015 6:55 am UTC
by Nath
I'm happy with my carbon steel wok. Same sort of deal as cast iron -- you've got to season it and care for it a little, and it gets nice and non-stick. The one difference from cast iron is that for some reason they tend to make carbon steel skillets lighter than cast iron, so they heat up faster but lose more heat when you add food.

Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Posted: Wed Dec 09, 2015 7:44 am UTC
by Nath
Double post for new shiny thing: got myself a Tojiro DP gyuto. I can't believe they're selling a knife this good for just a few bucks more than the cheap stamped blades you get at restaurant supply stores. Straight out of the box, I could barely feel the slice of paper I cut through. My old knife doesn't cut this well even right after I sharpen it. Now let's see how well it holds an edge.

Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Posted: Wed Dec 09, 2015 9:21 am UTC
by bigglesworth
I just ordered a whetstone. My cheap knife will have a shiny, shiny blade :D

Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Posted: Wed Dec 09, 2015 1:50 pm UTC
by Zohar
Whetstones are ridiculously cheap and super useful. We just got rid of tons of our old stuff while rearranging our kitchen. It's so nice to get rid of that crap.

Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Posted: Sat Dec 12, 2015 4:08 am UTC
by Nath
Whetstones are indeed pretty neat.

Just got another cool piece of cooking gear as a gift: a sous vide circulator. Haven't used one of these before; I expect I'm going to be playing around with it the next several weekends.

Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Posted: Mon Dec 28, 2015 6:48 pm UTC
by Zohar
Got lots of new kitchen stuff for Christmas! I got Alex a waffle maker, and other people in the family got us a new bamboo cutting board with removable, washable plastic tops (I'm not super excited about the removable surfaces but we'll try them out), a Le Creuset stir-fry pan, a herb-mincing knife and board thing (one of these things which I'm not totally sure if they're actually useful), some silicone baking mats, and a really great Japanese knife. His sister and her boyfriend had us use those knives a few times on different occasions when we cooked there and once they saw we liked it, they got us one of those. It was the best long-con.

Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Posted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 6:54 pm UTC
by Izawwlgood
We've got a couple great steel pieces but things stick to them like crazy. They're easy to clean, but I find it kind of a drag using them for certain things as a result.

I need to reseason my cast iron, and want just like... a nice simple non-stick teflon thing for frying eggs in the morning.

Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Posted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 7:23 pm UTC
by Zohar
That sounds like it should be easy to get.

Oh me yarm that knife is so sharp it's amazing. Also cut my finger, but not badly.