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Old 12-14-2006, 12:49 PM   #11
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Okay, Nick and Jennyema, you convinced me. I do get a fair amount of use out of an 8" Lodge. I'll look for a sale on the 8" All-clad. Thanks.
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Old 12-14-2006, 01:18 PM   #12
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I'm a single man but when I cook for myself or my girlfriend, I ALWAYS want leftovers. Lately been reading the Americas Test Kitchen books about their successes and failings/learnings and became re-interested in cooking again.

I've always loved to make soups like mushroom barley, blackbean, heavy winter soups and will give making stocks a go also. Their (ATK) recipes for pan chicken looked good, as did their thai dishes.

Never used a saucier though.

do you use your 10" frying pans for things like eggs? does it stick? and what else do you use the 10" for.

can you explain to me what you mean by something steaming in a fry pan instead of frying; something about what happens if the pan is too crowded; what is the science behind that?

any books to recommend on cooking as well would be great.

mack
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Old 12-14-2006, 01:22 PM   #13
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The two things are the same. Overcrowding the pan causes the food to steam rather than brown.

Here's why. You heat the pan to temperature, either high or medium high, then you add the food. The much cooler food draws heat from the pan and reduces the temperature of the skillet so browning will not occur.

If the pan is hot enough and the burner has the capacity, the pan can recover and generate the higher heat necessary for browning. If you put too much food in at one time, the pan cannot recover fast enough to brown the food and it end up steaming in its own juices.
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Old 12-14-2006, 01:28 PM   #14
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First of all, I buy stuff from Cookware and More, but definitely go to a store and look at the pieces you are considering so that you have an idea of their size and shape and usefulness to you.

If it's just the two of you, consider a 10 inch fry pan if you are also getting a 4 quart sautee pan. The larger sautee pan is very versatile.

My 10 fry pan is a bit large for the amount of eggs I cook. Plus eggs aren't that easy to cook in SS. Eggs are one of the only reasons I own a nonstick skillet -- they are usually cooked in my smaller one.

When you overcrowd a pan when cooking things that throw off moisture (like when browning beef for stew) the moisture doesn't properly evaporate so the beef "steams" rather than dry-sears. When frying, the oil temp will drop and your food will not cook properly and absorb more oil.

It's very important not to crowd your pan. But that's why you need to eyeball this cookware and guage how large a pan you need.

Books -- Cookwise by Shirley Corriher is a great book that helps explainthe science behind cooking and baking.
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Old 12-14-2006, 02:33 PM   #15
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Most dishes that I sautee I don't want leftovers of, as the crispness of the exterior softens, and it's very difficult to properly reheat without overcooking or losing what remains of the browned exterior. Same goes for steamed vegetables. Now something like a soup/stew/braise is totally different. Those things tend to get better after resting a day or two in the ice box.

Regarding overcrowding the pan, the opposite is true as well. Too much real estate and too little product and you end up boiling what little water exists in the juices and then burning whats left as the temperature is free to increase beyond 212F. The fond usually ends up turning black as well as the browned surface doesn't have as much surface contact and the fond absorbs the majority of the pan heat. This is especially true when you transfer the item into the oven to roast at a high-temp or broil. Then when you go to make the sauce, you want the liquid up around 200-205F (at a nice simmer) to develop the flavors in the pan sauce. 1/2-C of liquid for one serving spread over a 10 or 12" pan is going to reduce like crazy at that temperature before the ingredients can get their mojo going. In a small 8" pan, you have less surface area and a longer simmering time available.

When cooking for myself, a typical meal is a sauteed 6oz piece of meat browned over high heat in an 8" pan and then tossed into the oven to finish cooking. Beforehand, I'll cube up some red potatoes with a bit of oil, S&P and have those going in the oven (in another 8" pan). Then I'll pull the meat to rest and steam some green beans while I make a pan sauce with the fond/juices from the meat. Whole process including clean-up is usually about an hour, but the first 1/2hr I just have the taters going and I'm off doing something else. So I'll use two 8" pans, a 3qt saucier w/steamer/lid, and thats it. This dish for 2-3 people would see me using my 10" pans and the 3qt steamer setup. For 4-6 people, I would cook the meat in two 10" pans, roast in my large roaster, and blanch the beans in 6qt of boiling salted water with my 8qt pot. More than 6 people, and I won't be making sauteed dishes...
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Old 12-14-2006, 04:45 PM   #16
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Hello and welcome to DC. I would definitely go with the 8 quart stockpot and at least three 4 quart sautee pan. You should also have two 10 inch frypans and as far as the rest I would read all the comments to your post by our wonderful chefs.
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Old 12-14-2006, 07:13 PM   #17
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Thank you Nick. Your description of your whole detailed cooking process was exactly what I needed to hear.

mack
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Old 12-15-2006, 01:40 PM   #18
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Is All Clad ok to use on a ceramic stovetop? Are there pots and pans that should not be used on this surface? Really don't like the ceramic; would much have preferred gas, but this is the stove that came with the house and don't want to buy another one.

mack
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Old 12-15-2006, 02:08 PM   #19
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A-C should be fine on ceramic.
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Old 12-15-2006, 02:47 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluemack
Is All Clad ok to use on a ceramic stovetop? Are there pots and pans that should not be used on this surface? Really don't like the ceramic; would much have preferred gas, but this is the stove that came with the house and don't want to buy another one.

mack

I'm in the same boat (stove came with house) and use All Clad, Le Creuset and Cast Iron every day on mine.
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