The Joys of Good Cookware

Apparently, people like to eat.

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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby crowey » Thu Mar 12, 2009 11:17 pm UTC

Mmmm, Pi wrote:
netcrusher88 wrote:One thing to remember about cutting boards: glass and marble cutting boards aren't. They will destroy your knife edge, but they are pretty for serving or as a way to cover a section of counter you use a lot, because they're easy to clean.

They aren't supposed to be cutting boards, you're supposed to make pastry and other stuff that prefers to be cold on them.

Indeed, I'm dying for a marble slab for doing sugarwork patisserie stuff on. And a kitchen big enough to house one. *sigh*

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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Rinsaikeru » Fri Mar 13, 2009 12:01 am UTC

This thread causes me to want to go shopping for lots of fairly pricey kitchen items. But I can't look away.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Bakemaster » Fri Mar 13, 2009 2:20 am UTC

BCaz wrote:It might sound kind of odd, but the three most useful things in my kitchen are my many sets of tongs, multiple size whisks, and a heat-resistant, full silicone spatula.

Actually, that sounds absolutely spot-on to me. Although you probably mean a pancake turner sort of spatula, and for me it'd be a rubber spatula for use with doughs and batters.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Rinsaikeru » Fri Mar 13, 2009 2:26 am UTC

How has it come to be that lifter/flipper things are called spatulas when that's not actually what the word refers to? I do it myself sometimes even if I know it's incorrect--it's a really common use.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Bakemaster » Fri Mar 13, 2009 3:12 am UTC

In American English, that is what the word refers to, and its primary use. I don't know the origin of that usage, if that's what you're asking.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Rinsaikeru » Fri Mar 13, 2009 3:39 am UTC

If I ever ask for a spatula when I mean a lifter my mother corrects me. I wonder where she got it from then.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Alpha Omicron » Fri Mar 13, 2009 12:51 pm UTC

I'm from Canada, and differentiate between spatulas and flippers.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Rinsaikeru » Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:13 pm UTC

Oh! That does explain it then. It's a Canadian Britishism---thanks. :D
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Silas » Fri Mar 13, 2009 8:51 pm UTC

Remember, though, the term 'flipper' will draw blank looks from an American. It describes the thing pretty well, but it just doesn't have that meaning. The first three things that came to mind when I was reading it were:
A certain gregarious dolphin
A channel changer (tv remote)
A hard, dense, disk used to upset a stack of pogs. (This is the wrong term for it, but it still beat out the kitchen implement)
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby PatrickRsGhost » Sat Mar 14, 2009 1:21 pm UTC

Silas wrote:Remember, though, the term 'flipper' will draw blank looks from an American. It describes the thing pretty well, but it just doesn't have that meaning. The first three things that came to mind when I was reading it were:
A certain gregarious dolphin
A channel changer (tv remote)
A hard, dense, disk used to upset a stack of pogs. (This is the wrong term for it, but it still beat out the kitchen implement)


If you called it just a "flipper", I might be confused. Other definitions of the term would include an upper limb on some sea mammals, or a swimming device.

I've heard it called "pancake turner" or just "turner".

As for the pogs thing, I've always heard it called, and referred to it as, a "slammer."

Yes, I played with Pogs when they were popular...
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chief knives and other cookwear

Postby psykx » Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:58 am UTC

I've been looking at the cooking for engineers website and I've realised how much I hate the crap blunt knives I have in my house to cook with, so before I go out and splash nearly $100 on a chiefs knife, can people tell me what they use, and is it really worth spending so much on a knife?

I've also resolved to spend more time cooking and learning to cook well, I think I'm going to put together a cookbook for my personal use. So any recommendations for classic pieces of cookware you couldn't cook with out would be appreciated.
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Re: chief knives and other cookwear

Postby PAstrychef » Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:18 pm UTC

Yes, it's worth spending money to get a knife you like that can be kept sharp. Go to a good cookware store and try out a number of knives to find one you like the feel of. It's all personal preference, how you hold the knife, etc. A heavy chef's knife can make some tasks easier, or you can get a cleaver.
If there's a good deal, a set with six or eight knives can be a bargain. A long serrated knife makes slicing delicate things possible.
Necessary pots:
a 12" or larger non-stick skillet
an 8" non-stick skillet
a cast iron skillet, buy it used and re-season it.
two good sauce pans-thick bottoms and well fitting lids. 1 qt and 3 qt sizes.
a big stock pot, 8-10 qt. Again, a heavy bottom, and thick sides as well. Solid handles.
A dutch oven, enameled cast iron. 4-6 quart.
a 9x13" baking pan. Glass is very versatile and cleans up well, but coated aluminum is good too.
a ceramic casserole dish about 6" deep.
A 9" pie pan, glass or metal.
Tools:
Several plastic bowl scrapers-they're about 4x6" one edge is curved.
Silicon spatulas in different sizes.
wooden spoons
metal spatula
slotted spoon
tongs with a locking ring and silicon ends.
a good garlic press
box grater
colander
cutting boards-at least the colored cutting mats


Most of this stuff can be found at thrift stores, TJ Maxx (in the housewares section) Tuesday Morning, yard sales, on clearance at Bed Bath and Beyond and so on. No need to get them at fancy cooking places. If you can find a restaurant supply place go there to buy your knives, or get them online once you know which ones you like.
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Re: chief knives and other cookwear

Postby Coffee » Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:38 pm UTC

Our chief has this wonderful knife that I think used to be a bayonet.
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Re: chief knives and other cookwear

Postby psykx » Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:57 pm UTC

What knives do you use PAstrychef? Thanks for that list, I think It's more than I need at the moment, (*rereads list* ) but I wouldn't know what I'd drop. Actually I don't really do any frying at the moment, so a saucepan, a big stock pot and the baking/oven gear you list is where I'll start.
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Re: chief knives and other cookwear

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:25 pm UTC

I don't know if you need to spend 100 bucks for a single blade though. If you go to any decent cooking supply store, ask what they recommend for beginner chefs and tell them what sort of things you like to cook. I have two knives, roughly 5' and an 8' (might be 6 and 9, I dunno) stainless steel blades that I got on sale for ~50 bucks total, and I think they're great. I rarely use the larger knife, truth be told.
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Re: chief knives and other cookwear

Postby Bakemaster » Tue Feb 22, 2011 6:45 pm UTC

psykx wrote:before I go out and splash nearly $100 on a chiefs knife, can people tell me what they use, and is it really worth spending so much on a knife?

I own a Farberware 22-piece set that's readily available for $60-80. My sister in-law has several expensive Henckels knives, which I have also used on many occasions. As someone who cooks for himself and his family at home, the Farberware set does everything I need it to do. It's full-tang, which is a general sign of quality but also important for balance and durability (doesn't matter how nice the blade is if the handle breaks, which is why partial-tang knives are generally inferior). The benefits of a more expensive set are valuable to professional cooks because they put much more wear on their knives and need them kept more reliably sharp due to the volume of cooking they do and the speed they often require. So, they need knives that will hold an edge over a week of constant use and stand up to frequent sharpening. In my opinion, nobody who's cooking for themselves at home really needs those qualities in a knife; if you've got the money and want the nicer knives, you'll probably get some enhanced enjoyment and utility from them—provided you know how to handle a good knife.

Most people who ask this question probably aren't that familiar with knives, and would be well served by starting with an affordable set on which to learn. If you do end up going shopping for the expensive knives, the cost of the set you started on is going to be insignificant in the long run.
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Re: chief knives and other cookwear

Postby cerbie » Wed Feb 23, 2011 1:14 am UTC

psykx wrote:I've been looking at the cooking for engineers website and I've realised how much I hate the crap blunt knives I have in my house to cook with, so before I go out and splash nearly $100 on a chiefs knife, can people tell me what they use, and is it really worth spending so much on a knife?
You can't go wrong with Forschner (Victorinox). Soft, but good edge-holding, do not chip, take well to steels, and are easy to sharpen (they are like big SAK blades), and even retail, you'll have to work to spend $40 on one (Amazon link to the most common one, and slightly cheaper version). If getting a chef's knife, don't get smaller than 8", unless you are a small person (like 5ft small). Parts of the blade that aren't cutting are still useful to have.

Find a local restaurant supply place to look at them. Maybe scour discount stores, too. A decent chef's knife, paring knife, and some serrated knife, can take care of practically everything.

My arsenal for home cooking:
Forschner Santoku (now retired to small cutting board duty)
Shibazi and CCK small slicers, AKA Chinese cleavers (8"x3.5", in place of a chef's knife; the CCK is redundant, and not stainless)
Forschner paring
Messermeister paring
No-name bread knife

If you plan to cook large chunks of meat, you might want to get a carving knife.

NEVER put your knives in the dishwasher, and don't do the sink, either. Get into the habit of cleaning them off right away. Not after you eat, but as soon as you can leave your food for 30 seconds, or right away, if cutting up all the food before any other prep. If not cleaning off annoying oils (turmeric, FI), starchy residue (potato, FI), or greasy stuff (meats, avocado, etc.), you won't even need soap. Don't let them stay dirty long enough for food to dry onto them, and let exposure to oxygen over hours do most of the sanitizing.

Get cutting boards that won't kill your knives, and lightly rinse them immediately, too. Hardwood cutting boards rock. Plastic can be harder to keep clean over time, and most other common materials are pretty hard on knives. Maple and cherry seem to be the best woods to use. Exotic woods, like Acacia, can look good, but can be too hard, or have abrasives in them. Epicurian(sp) are not so good. Not sure about composite types. Oh, and get at least one cutting board than is significantly bigger than your main knife's blade in its shortest dimension. You probably don't need a 18x36, but maybe a 10x16, 12x12, or something like that, would be pretty good. Wooden cutting boards do require some care, though, which is part of why others are popular (periodic oiling, only quickly rinse them, so they can't swell up, etc.).

I will disagree with Bakemaster about full tang. It is a sign that the handle has a cold metal strip all the way through it, and really says nothing about the quality. A low quality full tang knife will keep a handle on it better than a low quality partial tang knife, but neither are very good knives. Any good knife will either not separate, or will be made so the handle is easily replaced (many Asian knives fit the latter category, with handles made of unfinished wood). Same with stamped v. forged.

$100 should get you 3 or more knives, and a storage device (consider a mag strip, if you don't get a knife block set), and, depending on exactly where you buy from, maybe even a hardwood cutting board of reasonable size.

Spending a bunch on a Wusthof or Henckels gets you a heavier knife with a brand name. Most people that think they stay sharp are just using the extra weight to do the cutting with a dull edge. I think you'd be better off, for that style, to get Kitchenaid, Faberware, Mundial (excellent for the money, carried by a few department stores), etc..

If you get a knife with harder steel, that may be worth $100, you will also have to treat it more gently. Harder steels will chip in situations where softer steels will roll. Edges that roll can be rolled right back (the length of the edge weakens over time, though); edges that chip will need to have a good deal of metal removed in sharpening, and harder steels tend to be more work to sharpen. Such is the price of having the capacity to stay sharp longer. A very good example of this is the close-up in the Good Eats knife episode: Alton's Shun has a pretty massive chipped spot. That would not happen with a well-made softer blade. Some knives are just too soft, IMO, but many, at many price points, are perfectly good, trying to strike a balance between holding an edge as long as possible between sharpenings, yet putting up with potentially tough food, tough cutting boards, and haphazard treatment by human users. So, if you go research and find out about those amazing knives with the Japanese super steels, remember that there's a good counterpoint to their advantages.

If you get a knife that can hold any edge, make sure to have a plan to keep it sharpened. Softer steels take to using the devices called steels, most of which both true (roll bent parts back straight), and remove some metal (smooth steels, which aren't abrasive, can be hard to find, and expensive; I've read that brass rods do the job well). Even these softer blades, though, will eventually need metal removed. Pull-through sharpeners with several grits can work well, and require no training. Don't use them excessively, though, and never use the coarsest slot. Avoid carbide sharpeners like the plague. You can also use clamp and rod systems (any outdoors store should carry some), but these do take a more work for a good edge on cutlery than you might think (you'll want a 1k+ grit edge on western knives, and this is about the limit of such sharpeners, w/o spending on extra parts), so you'd probably wish you'd spent as much on a good pull-through, learned to use stones, or found a pro sharpener, by the time you got a good edge, even on softer steel.

Oh, and on this subject, some lulz: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1fUFbij ... re=channel (read the comments on her videos, as well; there are some hilarious gems)

Finally, if you want to spend more later, cheaper knife/knives will give you a good idea of what you really want, so that you'll be less likely to spend a ton on a good knife, only to find out that it's not a good knife for you.
Last edited by cerbie on Wed Feb 23, 2011 4:33 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Bakemaster » Wed Feb 23, 2011 2:19 am UTC

It's true that there are high quality partial-tang knives that are as good as any knife out there. In my experience, though, the lowest-quality knives are almost always partial-tang with plastic handles and terrible balance. Looking for a full tang at least cuts out a lot of the crap.

OH, I almost forgot. This might go without saying, but stay away from any knife that claims to be a miracle cut-anything knife with amazing micro-serration technology. Or whatever they're calling them where you happen to be shopping. They are crappy infomercial knives and nobody really needs to cut through tin cans anyway.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby PAstrychef » Wed Feb 23, 2011 2:40 am UTC

The knives I use a lot are:
My 6" chef's knife from Chicago Cutlery, which I got after watching a Japanese guy cut up chickens at lightening speed, and I didn't know about different knives, so I found the closest I could. It's become my go-to knife for most work as I have fairly small hands and I like the precision I get with the smaller blade.
My Santouku, which is a Japanese blade shape, but it made by Cuisinart (or sold with their name on the blade) It has a bit of decorative etching on the blade to make it look like a real folded steel, but I don't think it is. I found it for $25.00 at TJ Maxx.
My 10" chef's knife, also by Chicago Cutlery. It's big and heavy enough to deal with large squashes, big piles of things to be chopped small and most bones.
I have a few knives from the kit I got at culinary school, but those were amazingly mediocre, considering what we were expected to do with them.
My paring knives all came from the sale bin at the professional knife store and are cheap enough that if I accidentally throw one out with the pile of scraps I don't worry about it.
Forschner made my 14" serrated slicer, which I love. They make great, affordable knives that are easy to sharpen.
If you don't have room for a block, e sure to get blade guards for your bigger knives. Even if you hang them on a mag-strip, you will want to reduce the possible danger both to them and yourself.
You might not do much frying, but if you scramble an egg or make pancakes, or pan-sear a steak or chicken cutlet, the skillet is the way to go. You can also add water and cook asparagus or green beans, or saute other vegetables. The cast iron one is so you have one that can go in the oven safely, and they make the best cornbread. If you look at enough places you should find one for under 10 bucks.
There are few things where spending money now to get good equipment will pay off later-you can learn to cook in cheap pans and then enjoy the benefits of the good stuff when you have more money. However, if you see a nice piece at some where like TJ Maxx, Costco, Marshall's, the Salvation Army etc. buy it. After months of scorching the bottom of your pot making chili you will find a controllable dutch oven a treat. Ask your mom if she can give anything that she doesn't use much, as well as a lesson in your favorite foods. Cooking with your parents as an adult can be a blast.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Thesh » Thu Feb 24, 2011 6:58 am UTC

I've recently gotten an urge to buy 1000, 1500, and 2000 grit wet/dry sandpaper and polish my Calphalon stainless-steel skillet. It's never been able to handle eggs without sticking. Someone please tell me it's a bad idea before I actually decide to do it.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby netcrusher88 » Thu Feb 24, 2011 7:02 am UTC

Egg sticks to steel. It just does that. I think it's because it's all protein, which kinda works like glue. Don't look at me, it's science.

...don't sand your cookware. Unless you're casting your own iron in a wet sand cast or whatever that's called. But that's not sanding. And I don't think it's sand anyway.

Get a nonstick skillet (Teflon is better nonstick but I prefer scratch-resistant hard anodized because Teflon is fragile), or some cast iron and a long ton of bacon.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Thesh » Thu Feb 24, 2011 7:26 am UTC

I have cast iron, but it doesn't work well for omelets. You should be able to cook eggs in stainless steel without it sticking.

EDIT: also, I should note that when I try omelets it doesn't stick to the whole thing, just the center where it is noticeably less smooth to the touch.

On a side-note, now that you mention cast iron:

My cast iron skillet was new, and has a rough surface (apparently back in the old days they made them smooth, but don't anymore). It was seasoned pretty well, and it works fine for fried eggs now, but they still stick a little. My mom's was smooth, and the eggs would just slide around on them. I put it in the oven on self clean cycle to remove the seasoning (it looks almost like it did new, gray metal... kind of makes me sad), and tomorrow I am going to try to sand it down with 60, 120, and 320 grit sand paper (from an automotive store, designed for metal), to the point where it is smooth. It might take me a couple of nights to get it smooth, but I'm dedicated.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Zohar » Thu Feb 24, 2011 10:43 am UTC

I don't know about the sanding process, but you still need to season it again afterward. Preferably more than once. And remember that seasoning also works over time. A 10 year old skillet will be seasoned better than a 1 year old.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Azrael » Thu Feb 24, 2011 1:18 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:You should be able to cook eggs in stainless steel without it sticking.

No, you shouldn't. Try some cooking spray and lower heat.

Or a non-stick pan.

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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby mercutio_stencil » Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:47 pm UTC

I can't be the only one who uses a Chinese style chef's knife as my go to knife? You know, the ones that look like a cleaver, except they have a thin blade? I might be biased from watching too much Yan Can Cook as a kid, but I haven't found much that I can't do with it. The carbon steel blade takes an amazing edge, but it isn't quite as durable as stainless, so it requires a little more upkeep, nothing compared to a cast iron pan, but more than most knives.

Also, I can't be the only person less than enchanted with cast iron. Well seasoned cast iron is pretty non-stick, but nowhere near as non-stick as an actual teflon coat, which makes delicate work more difficult. My heirloom skillet sits unused most of the time because I can never really think of a time to use it. If I want to sauté something, either a wok or my All-Clad skillet is my tool of choice (depends on my mood), if it's something delicate like eggs or fish, then a non-stick does a better job, most of my pans are ovenable, and a good bit lighter and more manoeuvrable as well. I've just never found a place in my kitchen for it.

Marshall's is a great place to do your kitchen shopping, most of my fancy cookware is from them. I managed to pick up a 13 inch All-Clad French skillet for $25.

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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Bakemaster » Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:53 pm UTC

Yeah, I'm joining in the consensus re: stainless steel and eggs. The only thing I've found to reliably work is a liberal amount of grease and disturbing the eggs as little as possible. Though I think high heat actually works a bit better to keep eggs from sticking, as long as you've got the pan well-greased (by which I mean enough fat in the pan so that when you flip the egg, there's enough left to keep the other side from sticking as well).

Large (family-size) omelettes require a significant amount of fussing in order to cook evenly, especially filled. I would use cast iron or a non-stick pan for those.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Telchar » Thu Feb 24, 2011 7:03 pm UTC

My mother can't say no to anything so she bought some cutlery from some guy that came to her house selling Cutco products and gave them to me for a birthday present. She never told me how much they were but they really are amazing. Having used a range of products from awful to pretty good these much better than anything I've used.

They may be fairly expensive (they don't list prices online and apparently aren't sold in stores which is a weird business model but w/e) so they might be overpriced but I love using them.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby netcrusher88 » Thu Feb 24, 2011 8:00 pm UTC

The rough cast iron surface should be fine, a few decades of use and seasoning will make that smooth too. It isn't that rough.

If you want to improve your cast iron I still recommend a long ton of bacon. Nothing seasons like lard (though Crisco does make a good coating for the initial treatment).
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Telchar » Thu Feb 24, 2011 9:53 pm UTC

netcrusher88 wrote:If you want to improve your cast iron I still recommend a long ton of bacon. Nothing seasons like lard (though Crisco does make a good coating for the initial treatment).


This question was posted about in the science forum...viewtopic.php?f=18&t=68100

This blog was brought up and appears fairly knowledgable.

Ironically, it’s for exactly these reasons that the best oil for seasoning cast iron is an oil high in omega-3 fatty acids – in particular, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Free radicals are actually what enable the polymerization. Drying oils, which produce the hardest polymers, are characterized by high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids, especially the omega-3 fatty acid ALA.

The lard that was traditionally used for seasoning 100 years ago was much higher in ALA than fat from pigs today, because back then pigs ate their natural diet. Today they are raised on industrial feedlots and forced to eat grain, making their fat low in omega-3s.

Since lard is traditional but no longer readily available, many people substitute bacon drippings, but this is a bad idea. If it’s conventional bacon, you’re baking in carcinogenic nitrates. But even organic bacon is not good for an initial seasoning because it’s filled with salt.

The reason that Pam seems to work well in seasoning is that its main ingredient is canola oil, which is relatively high in ALA (10%), making it a “semi-drying oil”. Flaxseed oil, a drying oil, is 57% ALA. But it’s not a good idea to use a spray oil, no matter what oil it’s made with, because of its additives. You’re doing chemistry here. If you want good results, use pure ingredients.


Excerpted. There's a lot more cool stuff in the post

TLDR:High Quality Flaxseed Oil is the best because it's a drying oil.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby KestrelLowing » Mon May 02, 2011 8:58 pm UTC

Ooh, ooh, ohh! I love cooking stuff!

My parents had an interesting setup for us that I really want to continue if I ever have kids. Every Christmas, along with some toys, we'd get tools and kitchen stuff. It was a little disappointing then, but now when I'm living on my own, I am so very, very thankful.

This means that at the age of 21, I am basically just a kitchen aid mixer away from having a fully furnished kitchen.

I have jcpenney hard anodized aluminum pots and pans. They work really well - much better than teflon coated pans. My parents have a set as well, and theirs are starting to wear out after 15 years or so, but I feel like that's acceptable for a non-stick pan. My mom also is a big fan of cutco knives. I've got a paring and serrated trimmer knife from them. They work really well. I can hack through any frozen meat with the trimmer and the paring knife makes peeling really easy. Also, I have their cheese knife which is surprisingly helpful.

I don't actually have a good chefs knife because my boyfriend has a set of victorinox knives (paring, trimmer, chefs). They're really sharp and have GREAT handles. While we're not living together currently, we have before and we will be in a few months so I just haven't bought a good chefs knife.

Also, another kitchen implement that I love are various sized ice cream scoops. I've got one 1/4 cup one (really good for drop biscuits, pancakes, and big cookies) and one that's probably 1/8 cup (good for normal sized cookies). If you don't bake they're probably not too helpful, but if you do, they save so much time and you get even sized things that cook for the same time!

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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Bakemaster » Mon May 02, 2011 11:19 pm UTC

Hmm, somehow it looks as though neither I nor Sarah thought to post in this thread when we received our Kitchenaid 6-qt stand mixer in December. She also got a new electric kettle though it's currently at work until we move.

What I need is a pizza peel. I've got a stone that's fine (could be bigger, but then I'd need a bigger oven...), but using a plastic cutting board as a peel because it's the only thing big enough is a pretty huge bummer. I have to work really quickly with the dough to keep it from sticking, which isn't a bad thing in itself, but sometimes I'm not fast enough, which is.

I'm kind of sad that I got rid of my stick blender and my nice set of stainless steel mixing bowls with non-slip rubber bottoms, when I swapped coasts a couple years ago. When we move, we shall require mixing bowls.

I'd really love a nice big thick edge-grain hardwood cutting board, but they're expensive. That might be a while coming.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby netcrusher88 » Mon May 02, 2011 11:25 pm UTC

Do you live or work anywhere near a Cash & Carry or some other kind of commercial kitchen supply store? I think I paid $10 for a good sized wood pizza peel there.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Bakemaster » Mon May 02, 2011 11:34 pm UTC

I don't live or work near anything.

We used to have a (somewhat expensive) kitchen supply place in town, actually, but it closed down last year.

I know I could get one pretty easily either on one of our serious-shopping-road-trips or online, but space is at a premium and I am trying not to make any unnecessary purchases before we go home-buying. So for now I will just complain about not having one. When we move, it's on.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby PAstrychef » Tue May 03, 2011 1:11 am UTC

Until you get your peel, put parchment paper on your transport device, sprinkle it with cornmeal, then put on your shaped dough. At the oven, slide the while thing off, paper and all. The paper won't affect the baking time, and will release easily once the pizza is baked.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Axman » Tue May 03, 2011 1:16 am UTC

Bamboo cutting boards are something I've come to like. They wash clean and stay smooth very nicely, and don't warp easily. They are about as hard on knives as those industrial white plastic boards but they don't take metal off, just the edge. They're a whole lot cheaper than other hardwood cutting boards, the only real drawback I've found is that they're ugly for serving unless you brush them with mineral oil which is, well, laxative (in greater-than-cutting-board-brushing quantaties) but no so much that I won't do it. Besides, I rarely serve food on cutting boards.

The only thing I ever find myself in want of is more weight, but it's worth saving half or more over teak or maple, that's for damn sure. Just throw a damp dish towel under the board if you're worried about it sliding around.

And +1 to PAstreychef. Sprayfat works well where cornmeal doesn't.

Oh, and this is a bit late to the party, but Henkel's makes great, not-super-expensive cutlery. I love Henkel's hardware, it gets the most use out of anything in my kitchen. All that Calphalon crap that's been gifted to me collects dust.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Bakemaster » Tue May 03, 2011 2:28 am UTC

PAstrychef wrote:Until you get your peel, put parchment paper on your transport device, sprinkle it with cornmeal, then put on your shaped dough. At the oven, slide the while thing off, paper and all. The paper won't affect the baking time, and will release easily once the pizza is baked.

The issue with this is that my roll of parchment paper is not wide enough, and if I use two sheets things just get confusing. What I've found works most of the time is to do cornmeal plus a little flour (either one alone isn't as good) and sauce and top the pizza as quickly and efficiently as possible. But now that I think about it a little more, maybe it doesn't matter at all if the parchment is too narrow... I could just put a square in the center of the crust, which would take care of the real problem spot as far as sticking is concerned. You're a genius, PAstrychef!
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Hammer » Thu May 12, 2011 7:32 pm UTC

OK, so I've been baking a lot of stuff lately that wants to be rolled out. I don't like rolling out dough directly on my countertops for various reasons. So, I thought I'd get one of those nifty silicone pastry mats. Which do a great job for the rolling out, but if you actually need to then cut your rolled out dough in any way, you can't do it on the mat because anything with an edge will destroy the mat. Which kind of defeats the purpose of having it on the mat in the first place. And marble pastry boards will destroy the edge on your knife. So, what's the right combination of equipment to roll out and cut dough?
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby broken_escalator » Thu May 12, 2011 8:33 pm UTC

Would wood be a good choice if you need to cut? I know I've seen pastry boards when browsing cooking stores.

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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Telchar » Thu May 12, 2011 8:39 pm UTC

I use a large dulled down proffesional pizza cutter cut for dumplings. You might be able to find something similar (dull edge, long) at a resteraunt supply store. Otherwise I'd use parchment paper over a wooden/bamboo board and keep slippage to a minimum by putting a moist towel under it.
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Re: The Joys of Good Cookware

Postby Bakemaster » Thu May 12, 2011 11:00 pm UTC

I'd probably use parchment paper over any broad, flat surface—cutting board, counter-top, etc.
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