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Old 03-03-2015, 01:12 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by RPCookin View Post
Welcome to Discuss Cooking. This is the place to ask questions - everyone has an opinion. If you learn to cook as well as you write, you should be a star in no time flat.

I agree that it's amazing how fast you can fill up your kitchen with stuff, even if you shop sensibly. (and most of us aren't as sensible as we could be) We just moved into a house with a smaller kitchen and far less cabinet space than either of our two previous homes. We had to convert a coat closet in the dining room into a pantry/pot and appliance storage closet. We finally have room to properly store the bread machine, 16 qt stockpot, 9 qt oval dutch oven, KA Pro 600 mixer, roasting pan, and a ton of durable can and paper goods and the like. And I now actually have a bit of counter space to use for prep work and making bread dough.

My biggest problem is, and always has been, my utensil drawers. They are always too full, no matter how often I cull out the unneeded stuff. If I buy one new item, I have to then sit down and figure out what I can get rid of.

Anyway, welcome and don't be shy.
That's the truth Blackitty! Welcome from me too.

Rick, experimenting with my new untensil drawers, I've found that rubberized drawer liner keeps things from sliding around. I've also discovered that it's better if spatulas and big spoons (I have a ton of them) are better stored turned over with the handles to the back of the drawer. Hope that helps.
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Old 03-03-2015, 01:19 PM   #22
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I keep my cooking utensils (wooden spoons, spatulas, ladles, etc.) in a big white crockery jar next to the stove.

And a big welcome to Blackitty! I have a black kitty, too.
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Old 03-03-2015, 02:17 PM   #23
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Thank you all so very, very much!

It is a cast iron pot with a ceramic coat, so I don't know if people say "cast iron" or "ceramic" to answer that question. Metal seemed like it would get stuff burned to it in the oven (like baked beans or whathaveyou) and my aunt (who doesn't live close) told me that I should buy what she has because she's used it for fifty years and it's still in great shape, so I got that. It's made by Le Creuset, if you've heard of that. It got good reviews on amazon and was recommended by Cooks, which I guess is like the Consumer Reports of cooking stuff.

I can't make rules yet, lol. I don't have the solid base and would be building on sand. I'm still learning basic stuff. I grew up eating Shake n Bake and the like and never got any better than my mom. Adding tuna and peas to the Kraft dinner was my major culinary achievement. I never bothered to learn. If questioned about "braising", I'd have said it was "a cooking thing, I think." I have had to read about braising, roasting, searing, etc.

Not only couldn't I do these things, I didn't know what they were. Still haven't seared or braised anything. I have been focusing on making veggies and casseroles because that seemed easier than meat and trying to do all of it in one meal is just too overwhelming.

I google things like, "What is a parsnip?" I spend a lot of time in the produce department, just looking at stuff. "Yes, that's a rutabaga. I saw that online."

I buy one herb, pop some in my mouth to get the "in and of itself" flavor and then throw it in everything I make to see how I like it (and to use it up before it goes bad.) So far, I like thyme, am okay on rosemary and don't really taste parsley. I don't know what the rest of them even taste like yet.

Super newbie. In fact, get me a cape. I'm Super Newbie. ;)

It's a lot. A lot to learn, a LOT to buy and whole lot to mess up. But a lot of fun, too. :)

I so much appreciate people responding. It really is such a big help. You just don't know. Thank you.
Le Creuset is what I meant when I mentioned enamelled cast iron. You can do anything (in reason) with Le Creuset (And it will last out your lifetime AND your children's!! Mine are going strong after over 40 years!! If I could only save one thing in a flood/fire/etc., it would be my Le Creuset!)

By "ceramic" I meant china, porcelain and other sorts of pottery.

As for learning to cook, everyone on here recommends "The Joy of Cooking" and you could do a lot worse for techniques and recipes.

As for herbs sage is good with pork but can be a bit of an acquired taste. Use it sparin,ly to start with. Tarragon tastes a little bit like aniseed and is good with chicken and other things.

Really, it's as well to wait until you need something before you buy it whether it's ingredients or equipment.

It all sounds wonderful. I've never been in your position because I come from a long line of good cooks and absorbed it all through my pores rather than having to start from scratch. It must really exciting coming to it all fresh and new.
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Old 03-03-2015, 02:26 PM   #24
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Welcome, blackkitty! As others mentioned, a ceramic coated cast iron (CI) pot can be used for many things. When you ask if you can cook "spaghetti", are you referring to the pasta or the sauce? You can use it for either, but tomatoes will probably leave a slight discoloration to the white enamel. It can be removed safely with a scrubber sponge, elbow grease, and a non-scratch cleanser like Bon Ami or Bar Keeper's Friend. ~ I use my CI stock pot (I have 2 - a 4 1/2 quart Le Creuset and a 6 quart Lodge) for a lot of things. Boiling rice or pasta, making stock or soup, making the cheese sauce for stove-top mac and cheese...after first using it to cook the pasta. I also use it for pot roast, although you can also start something like that on the stove top and then move to the oven. Like CWS mentioned, be careful that the lid nob is either oven-proof or protected.

As far as not knowing much, we ALL started out at that point! I bet no one was born knowing how to saute or braise. One bit of wisdom I like to share sounds like I'm teaching carpentry skills, but "measure twice". It's really more like measure once and double check the amount. Make sure you have all your ingredients lined up and you have the right measuring aids out. To this day I am my own prep-cook, measuring out each ingredient and lining it up in the order I'll need when making the dish. I learned the hard way...

Lastly, if you live somewhere with a basement, you can always store your less-used appliances and cookware down there. I frequently burn as many calories as I consume when cooking a dish, especially if I come back up from the basement and then say "dang, I forgot that....".
Tomato and other stains on Le Creuset can be sorted out by soaking in water with a few drops of bleach. If anything needs a bit of a scrub I use bicarbonate of soda as scoring powder.

I'm with you, CG, on preparing your ingredients before starting to make anything.


And I still remember the rhyme we were taught in Domestic Science at school when we were baking cakes. It adapts well to anything you are doing in the cooking line.

"First the oven,
Then the tin,
Wash your hands
and then begin"
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Old 03-03-2015, 02:30 PM   #25
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I keep my cooking utensils (wooden spoons, spatulas, ladles, etc.) in a big white crockery jar next to the stove.

And a big welcome to Blackitty! I have a black kitty, too.
So do I. Have everything to hand where you need it. I remember a photograph of Elizabeth David's kitchen in the newspaper when she died. At first glance it looked chaotic but when you looked again carefully it was very well organised.


I have a tiny dog kennel of a kitchen and I have a veg and meat prep area and a baking area and everything I need for doing those things is where I can put out my hand and pick it up, from the flour jar and the rolling pin in the baking area to the knives and the chopping boards in the veg area
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Old 03-16-2015, 10:21 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Mad Cook View Post
Le Creuset is what I meant when I mentioned enamelled cast iron. You can do anything (in reason) with Le Creuset (And it will last out your lifetime AND your children's!! Mine are going strong after over 40 years!! If I could only save one thing in a flood/fire/etc., it would be my Le Creuset!)

By "ceramic" I meant china, porcelain and other sorts of pottery.

As for learning to cook, everyone on here recommends "The Joy of Cooking" and you could do a lot worse for techniques and recipes.

As for herbs sage is good with pork but can be a bit of an acquired taste. Use it sparin,ly to start with. Tarragon tastes a little bit like aniseed and is good with chicken and other things.

Really, it's as well to wait until you need something before you buy it whether it's ingredients or equipment.

It all sounds wonderful. I've never been in your position because I come from a long line of good cooks and absorbed it all through my pores rather than having to start from scratch. It must really exciting coming to it all fresh and new.
It is fun! I won a prize for a cake I made. It's just a little cooking/cookbook group I joined. The group votes on who made the best thing and that person gets a cookbook and a gift card to the grocery store. Not like The Pillsbury Bakeoff or anything. But it might as well have been, because I was that excited about it.

I had to buy everything. Every single thing. If it said I should combine things in a large bowl and whisk them together, I had to buy a large bowl and a whisk. (I love whisking. I feel so cool, like a real cook, when I'm whisking things. If the recipe calls for whisking, I'm more likely to try it, lol. Very proud of my whisking skills. :)

I have also bought some cookbooks. I went a little crazy on eBay and amazon with the cookbooks and now have cookbooks aplenty, which I have been reading in place of novels.

I'm pretty much done buying stuff, though. Maybe one day, I'll get a griddle and/or a grill. I could probably use a 3 quart pot. But other than that, I'm set. Finally. Thank God. :)
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Old 03-16-2015, 11:21 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Cooking Goddess View Post
I do use a plastic scrubber sponge like a Dobie pad, so I'm not too bad of a cookware "mommy". Every once in a while I do get a bit of stuck stuff on the interior that I feel needs to be gone. So far, so good. I'm sure you can suggest a better way to clean that so I don't damage the interior? I would appreciate it. My Le Creuset isn't as old/quality as yours is, either. I'm guessing since they it doesn't have a lifetime warranty, they aren't going to warn me that I might end up needing to buy a new dutch oven.
I think that both baking soda and Barkeeper's Friend are slightly abrasive. It adds up over the very long life of enamelled CI. When I get stains on my Copco CI enamelled pots, I put them on the stove, add some water, sprinkle a bunch of baking soda, and turn the heat to low. That usually gets stains out really well. I'm pretty sure it was someone here who mentioned that method.
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Old 03-16-2015, 11:31 AM   #28
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I think that both baking soda and Barkeeper's Friend are slightly abrasive. It adds up over the very long life of enamelled CI...

I don't need my LeCrueset to last forever, just until I die.
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Old 03-16-2015, 12:01 PM   #29
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Blackitty, I just want you to know, I enjoy your enthusiasm so much. Some of us old timers forget what it was like when we first started out in the kitchen. Although I still get excited when something I bake or cook looks like the picture in the book. Then I know there is hope for me. Even if I am cooking for just one person. Don't ever lose your enthusiasm.
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Old 03-16-2015, 02:43 PM   #30
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Blackitty, I just want you to know, I enjoy your enthusiasm so much. Some of us old timers forget what it was like when we first started out in the kitchen. Although I still get excited when something I bake or cook looks like the picture in the book. Then I know there is hope for me. Even if I am cooking for just one person. Don't ever lose your enthusiasm.
I agree Addie! I made ciabatta bread on Sunday (well, it was started on Saturday evening, but finished Sunday), and it came out exactly like the photos on the Artisan Bread Baking website. The recipe makes 3 loaves, and I was so excited and proud of it that I gave 2 of them away. Now I have to make it again so my wife and I have some.
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