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Old 10-07-2004, 09:00 PM   #11
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If I could get anything I wanted right now it would be a Viking set. With several pieces of Le Crueset, cast iron pieces and some non-stick for eggs and such.
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Old 10-07-2004, 09:13 PM   #12
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There is no one set that does everything as well as a collection of things. I like stainless for some things - especially for searing meats where I want the fond in the bottom of the pan to deglaze to make a sauce - but cast iron does that equally well. And, cast iron is cheaper - but heavier. Nothing else can ever make cornbread like cast iron.

And, you'll have to pry my cold dead fingers off my non-stick Calphalon for eggs and such. As for LeCrueset ... just give me a well seasoned cast iron pot - might not come in designer colors but cooks just as good.

As for blanching vegies or boiling eggs - plain old heavy commercial kitchen aluminum works better than anything else. Not bad for rissoto or polenta, either.
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Old 10-07-2004, 11:02 PM   #13
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My personal preference is for stainless tri-ply. The LeGourmet Chef line is really decent. I have several pieces as well as some All-Clad.

Stainless has the advantage of being virtually bullet-proof (literally and figuratively). No special care requirements and they'll last forever. The metal core ensures even heat distribution with no hot spots.

If you follow some basic procedures, they can be non-stick, too.
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Old 10-08-2004, 03:29 AM   #14
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One probelm Andy is that not all Tri-Ply is created equal.

For some brands, like All-Clad, it means one thing - for another brand like Martha Stewart/Emerilware/WolfgangPuck - tri-ply means something else.
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Old 10-08-2004, 11:30 PM   #15
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I too own a mismatched collection of pots and pans. My favorites are the stainless steel pots with encapulated bottoms and good lids, the cast-iron frying pans (have made everything from deep-dish pizza, to cherry cobler in those pans, and are non-stick due to being very well seasoned), and my steel wok. If I can't make what I want in those pans, then it can't be made.

Of course for baking breads, cakes and such, a whole different set of rules exist. I have a ten-inch Kaiser spring form pan that is abosolutely indispensible to me. it makes the most phenominal cheesecakes and layerd cakes. Steel laof pans are good but need to be seasoned, just like carbon steel or cast iron. A good jelly-roll pan makes so much more than helly rolls.

And you can't beat LE' Crueset for baked beans (though my stainless stell and my slow cooker work well for those as well.

All in all, check out swap-meats and garage sales for the best deals in cast iron (look for Griswold or Lodge. There's a lot of cast-iron juck out there that is just worthless).

The biggest thing you can do for your kitchen is to treat info-mercial cookware like they're tryng to sell you cyanide in a vitamin pill. Don't buy it! Can you tell that I detest info-mercials?

A word of caution with even the highest quality tri-ply steel. Though it can be nearly stick free, and is nearly indistructable, if used wrong, things will stick like crazy and the cookware can be very hard to clean. But then, if you treat cast-iron improperly, well, do you own a sand-blaster ?

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Old 10-13-2004, 11:45 PM   #16
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I just got another promotional copy of "Cook's Illustrated Magazine" - and they had a couple of interesting articles on cookware (skillets).

First - the review of Calphalon One. Unlike most nonstick which has a problem with developing a fond (those brown bits in the bottom of the pan) this rivaled their favorite All-Clad stainless in that catagory. But, as nonstick - it sucked. As in - don't buy this for it's supposed nonstick function. To quote, "Calphalon's new pan did not fare well in the nonstick catagory. .... This pan's only likeness to a nonstick pan appeared to be in the sink, where it cleaned up as easily as a nonstick if given a brief soak."

Next, they had a test review of 8 12-inch skillets. They were evaluated on Price, Materials, Weight, Diameter of the bottom surface, Performance, Saute Speed, and User-Friendliness. You really would need to be able to look at all of the data to understand how some of these got rated as they did. For example - the 2 pans with a disk base heated up the quickest - but they felt they sauted too quickly (hey, turn the heat down stupid). Anyway - without going into all of the details ... here are their picks ...

Favorite Pans:
All-Clad Stainless
Viking 7-ply Stainless

Best Buys:
Calphalon Tri-Ply Stainless
Farberware Millennium Stainless

Recommended with Reservations:
Emerilware Stainless
Cuisinart Multi-Clad Stainless
KitchenAid Hi-Density Hard Anodized (stainless interior)
Le Creuset

When you read the test protocols - and study the specs - it's easy to see that it's not easy to say which one brand is better than another. The disk bottom pans heated up to the test temp of 361-degress 15% faster than the clad pans (4-5 minutes) - Le Creuset took a little over 10 minutes. If you're doing a "flip it in the pan - look like a TV chef" it would certainly be easier with All-Clad (at 2 lbs. 14 oz) than Le Creuset (6 lbs. 9 oz). This might explain why Emeril used his nonstick on TV but uses All-Clad stainless - since it weighs about half as much.

I wish Cook's Illustrated (aka: America's Test Kitchen) would do a real comparison of ALL cookware instead of pick and choose of seemingly similar but really dissimilar products.
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Old 10-16-2004, 12:35 AM   #17
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if money isn't an issue, you MUST try some all-clad. it is the best out there IMO. that is what i cook in almost exclusivly. if you use it correctly, it will not stick. cop*r*chef is my favorite. i am very attached in particular to my smallest saucepans and my littlest pan. not even scrambled eggs stick if you use a good wooden spoon and plenty of butter. :D
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Old 10-16-2004, 02:40 AM   #18
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I just change my range to ceramic top last February and decided to get new cookwares to go with it. After some research I decided to go for Le Creuset cookwares. I have always longing for this cookware but could not justify the expenses years ago but now I think I deserved them. I am so happy with them, I have the omelet pan, 2 of the 5quart French oven, 5 of the 2 quarts. a large Karahi pan, a grill pan an 6 1/2 quart oval to name some. I love cooking and these cookwares just make me wants to try something everyday! I think I will start collecting Le creuset cookwares! I am so passionate about them and tried to convert my friends to use them but so far I cant convince anybody! The usual excuse is that they are too heavy, too expensive, too slow to cook etc! well if you love cooking then these attributes actually pays in the long run.
Well I hope you do get some Le Creuset pieces. I forgot, among the main reason I choose this cookware is the fabulous colors: I love all the colors!
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Old 10-16-2004, 11:15 AM   #19
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Welcome to the boards puteri and congratulations on your Le Creuset purchase. They sure are great. I personally would not want to use them for everything I cook (hard to do the cool food flip in the fry pan with cast iron), but you sure will get a lot of use out of them and build your muscles at the same time :) Enjoy them and take good care of them and then your children and their children will be able to enjoy them as well!
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Old 10-16-2004, 02:36 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Michael in FtW
One probelm Andy is that not all Tri-Ply is created equal.

For some brands, like All-Clad, it means one thing - for another brand like Martha Stewart/Emerilware/WolfgangPuck - tri-ply means something else.

No, not all are created equal. I recommended the Le Gourmet because I have used it and like it. I also have and recommend All-Clad

The Puck and Emeril stuff aren't tri-ply, they have a disk on the bottom and are single-ply on the sides. A different product all together that I don't like or recommend.
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