Great get up Monday everyone! Hope your weekend was just as fabulous as the panfried haddock I enjoyed (had to get in a food imagery somehow…Lol!). If you can’t tell by now, I live, breathe, and eat “food,” and never tire of talking about it. I often joke that when I get to heaven, I hope I have a condo right above the Cheesecake Factory, next door to the Tavern, and down the street from Big Bob Gibson’s Barbecue! Wouldn’t that be ideal…
Ok, changing gears, today I want to talk about one of the most important cornerstones for your kitchen besides your major appliances – cookware. You can go out and buy the best foods, but if you have sub par cookware, you will reap sub par results. I want for you to throw away everything you thought about cookware and grasp the basics of what you need to have to get fantastic results in the kitchen. And no, you don’t have to spend a fortune on cookware, you just have to know the quality of what to look for. This week, I will be discussing different cookware to have in the kitchen, and today I will start with the foundational cookware to have – stainless steel.
18/10 stainless steel. That’s what you need to look for in cookware – is it made from 18/10 stainless steel with a thick tri-ply bottom. Just because it says “stainless” does not mean it is 18/10 grade, so look carefully. This grade of steel is what they use in operating rooms, so you know it will stand up to strong use in the kitchen and won’t absorb odors or flavors. There is nothing worse than cooking a dish in a pan and tasting what you cooked in it prior – Yuck! You will not have this problem with 18/10 stainless steel. Wolfgang Puck sells a quality low cost set for $99 at Sam’s, and Costco sells a slightly higher priced quality set. I like to see what the chefs on television are using, and I personally own Emeril’s Pro-Clad cookware set which I purchased off of Home Shopping Network. Don’t knock it…I have found the most AMAZING deals on cookware from Wolfgang Puck, Gordon Ramsay, and Emeril on their site – with a great money back guarantee.
Some worry about whether stainless steel will stick, but if you preheat your pan properly, and oil it, you should not have a problem. You do NOT need nonstick cookware! If you do some research on the safety of coating in cookware, you will find that there has been much contraversy over nonstick material leaching in our food. I like my cookware to be as “pure” as the food I cook, so my basic foundational cookware is 18/10 stainless steel. To keep it looking brilliantly shiny, you can use a can of Barkeeper’s Friend (found at most grocery stores), along with a good scrub pad to remove any stuck on stains. If you take care of it, this cookware will last you a long time and yield consistently great results. The added benefit is being able to cook on the stovetop, then pop the pan in the oven to finish cooking! Just make sure that the lids are also 18/10 stainless or tempered glass lids.
Now you might ask, what pieces do I need in stainless steel? I recommend you have at least these items in stainless steel:
1. One 6 to 8 qt stockpot with lid. (Include an optional steamer insert here.)
2. One 2 qt sauce pan with lid.
3. One 10 -inch skillet and one 12-inch skillet.
4. One 13 x 10 (or similar size) roasting/lasagna pan.
5. One 10 inch or 12 inch casserole dish with deep sides. double handles and lid.
Of course, you pick what works best for your kitchen. I chose these specific sizes based on what I find I use the most in my kitchen to cook the full range of dishes I prepare – from preparing soups, to making omelets, to roasting a chicken, to making lasagna. Remember we are choosing quality over quantity, so keep it simple, keep it few, but make sure each item you choose can do double duty. If you want to experiment with a “try me” piece of stainless steel, Marshall’s or TJ Maxx usually sell individual pieces of Wolfgang Puck’s 18/10 stainless steel cookware for around $30 – $40. In the meantime, do some research on the different quality and grades of stainless steel and choose the best based on your budget. One day I would love to own the full line of All-Clad cookware, but until that day comes, I will find an equally cheaper alternative, or wait for a good sale and piece together my own 🙂