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Old 12-16-2016, 09:18 AM   #1
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Any tips for beginners to choose cookware and accessories

I am now seriously learning to make some Chinese dishes. However, I can't cook every meals, and I only cook for one person only. In many videos cooking tutorials, they usually involve many many different ingredients, usually up to 10.

Do you have any tips on cookware and accessories to use and store the unused ingredients for next time?

I also cook sometimes but I do not have appropriate storage box. Usually I cannot store unused ingredients appropriately.

Any recommendation on Amazon?

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Old 12-16-2016, 10:03 AM   #2
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Invest in a cooking thermometer and a deep fryer.
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Old 12-16-2016, 10:43 AM   #3
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Do not buy a set of pans. Only buy pans you will use. I recently bought a two quart saucepan with glass lid. I could have bought a three quart one for just a couple of dollars more. Most of the time I cook for just myself. When cooking for two my purchase still meets my needs. I have a huge 15 inch frying pan with helping handle. It was a gift. Otherwise, I would never buy it for myself. I use it for high volume sautéing. Like eggplant.

I have two empty coffee canisters covered in contact paper. I use them for flour and sugar. I printed out labels on self-stick labels.

I recently had to replace my baking powder. And it is a good thing I did. It forced me to take a hard look at my food cabinet. I tossed out stuff that I had been keeping for eons, thinking I would get healthy enough again and use them. Mostly stuff for baking. Seems like the whole family is on a diet. When purchasing food items that require storage time, check expiration dates. Buy items that have the longest expiration dates.

When I look at a recipe, I only will consider, not counting salt, about five or six ingredients. I, like so many members here, cook from scratch. For veggies, it is to my advantage to buy only a couple of what I need. A small bunch of two or three carrots. (for stews or soups) Two or three large potatoes, one or two of the largest onions I can find. I save the unused part tightly wrapped in plastic and then placed in a zippy bag. I don't buy fresh celery unless I know for sure I am going to use it. I pick off all the leaves and dry in the oven for recipes that call for celery seasoning. I try to buy according to portion control. One person, one potato. The only can goods I might buy are American whole tomatoes for American Chop Suey, canned milk for emergencies, and creamed corn. A weakness of mine. Don't waste your limited space on seasonings or can goods you will never use. I will never make anything that is highly seasoned such as chili. Hence, no space wasted.

Now to Amazon. Find what you like or can afford and at look at the reviews. Anything with more of two and three stars than five, run away from that product. You might want to look at Amazon Prime. It cost $99.00 a year. You can cancel anytime you want if you feel you are not getting your monies worth. The info for cancelling is at the very bottom of each page.
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Old 12-16-2016, 10:44 AM   #4
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Invest in a cooking thermometer and a deep fryer.
For sure!
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Old 12-16-2016, 11:16 AM   #5
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Agree with the thermometer, but I've never owned a deep fryer, and I don't think that would be among the first things I'd advise someone to buy. On the occasions that I need one, I put oil in one of my pots and do it on the stovetop.
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Old 12-16-2016, 11:22 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by kenny1999 View Post
I am now seriously learning to make some Chinese dishes. However, I can't cook every meals, and I only cook for one person only. In many videos cooking tutorials, they usually involve many many different ingredients, usually up to 10.

Do you have any tips on cookware and accessories to use and store the unused ingredients for next time?

I also cook sometimes but I do not have appropriate storage box. Usually I cannot store unused ingredients appropriately.

Any recommendation on Amazon?
Hi, kenny. What do you mean when you say you don't have an "appropriate storage box"? Why can't you store unused ingredients appropriately?

Most of the ingredients used in Chinese cooking last a very long time. I keep fresh ginger in a jar of sherry in the fridge and it lasts forever. I also keep sesame oil in the fridge, because oils can become rancid at room temperature.

Fresh onions and garlic keep a long time on the counter. Soy sauce, oyster sauce, Sriracha and other ingredients in jars keep practically forever and, because of the high salt or vinegar content, don't need to be refrigerated.

Keep in mind that you don't have to follow the recipes you're seeing exactly. Once you've made the base and the sauce, you can use whatever proteins and vegetables you want.

I use a 3.5-quart sauté pan for stir-fry. It's a very versatile pan and can be used for many other types of dishes as well. I also have a set of bamboo utensils - some of which I received as part of a wedding gift over 30 years ago - that I use in practically all of my cooking. A cooking thermometer is also a great idea.

Please give us a few links to the videos you're watching so we can give you better advice.
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Old 12-16-2016, 11:26 AM   #7
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Agree with RP that a deep fryer is not a necessity for a beginner cook.
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Old 12-16-2016, 12:12 PM   #8
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Hope everyone realizes this is the person from the onion ring thread that refuses to take/accept the advice he's been given; thus, the mention of the thermometer and deep fryer.
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Old 12-16-2016, 12:15 PM   #9
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Keep in mind that you don't have to follow the recipes you're seeing exactly. Once you've made the base and the sauce, you can use whatever proteins and vegetables you want.
I just wanted to mention, as an example, I have a recipe for stir-fry with brown sauce that calls for using diced chicken and shrimp, along with carrots and 2 cups of onions. I never make it with shrimp; I use either chicken or pork. And I almost always use a combination of onions, green bell peppers, red and/or yellow bell peppers, and celery that adds up to the total amount veggies called for in the recipe.

And I use only about half of each of the peppers. Then later in the week, I'll use the rest to make spaghetti sauce or a Thai curry (with store-bought curry paste and coconut milk) or a Mexican dish like enchiladas or fajitas.
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Old 12-16-2016, 12:40 PM   #10
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Hope everyone realizes this is the person from the onion ring thread that refuses to take/accept the advice he's been given; thus, the mention of the thermometer and deep fryer.
Oh yeah. Mr. Know-it-all.
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Old 12-16-2016, 12:47 PM   #11
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Some of the new Rubbermaid produce Tupperware can stretch your produce time, by holding them up on a mesh, and venting gasses well. I think it is worth the dollar or two extra to buy good quality tupperware.

If you are into Chinese food, I suggest a good carbon steel wok.

I think everyone should have a cast iron dutch oven, a cast iron skillet, and a large stock pot. I think between the three, and occasional use of a covered sauce pan, that is about what I use in my cookery. And the cast iron skillet can double as a sauce pan in a pinch.

Really, really want a vacuum sealer for Xmas, for freezing stuff.

If you cook for one, your big problem is going to be portioning stuff. It is hard to cook in small amounts, been there. Lots of time something like a whole roaster chicken, or a sirloin roast, is actually cheaper than a smaller portion, and ends with a better result.

I for small quantity cookings tend to go with either stews and soups, or a dual stage thing, where one day I eat the chicken breasts from a roaster chicken, and then I make some pot pies to freeze with the rest.

From the Chinese recipe angles, friends have had good results with dumplings, making a big batch and freezing them. I just can't get my dough right with it yet, so I tend more towards pasties and pot pies.

I now have about five of the good new Rubbermaid bins, and they are great. Worst case, though, Ziploc bags, and tin foil.
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Old 12-16-2016, 04:07 PM   #12
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Old 12-16-2016, 04:09 PM   #13
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Hope everyone realizes this is the person from the onion ring thread that refuses to take/accept the advice he's been given; thus, the mention of the thermometer and deep fryer.
I do realize that. Maybe the extended scolding he received had an effect.
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Old 12-17-2016, 03:24 AM   #14
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Agree with the thermometer, but I've never owned a deep fryer, and I don't think that would be among the first things I'd advise someone to buy. On the occasions that I need one, I put oil in one of my pots and do it on the stovetop.
I don't own a deep fryer. When cooking for 1 oil gets kind of pricey. I use a wok for deep frying. Less oil. I realize a wok is an unusual recommendation, but for 1 it is a multi tasker.
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Old 12-17-2016, 06:37 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by erehweslefox View Post
Some of the new Rubbermaid produce Tupperware can stretch your produce time, by holding them up on a mesh, and venting gasses well. I think it is worth the dollar or two extra to buy good quality tupperware.

If you are into Chinese food, I suggest a good carbon steel wok.

I think everyone should have a cast iron dutch oven, a cast iron skillet, and a large stock pot. I think between the three, and occasional use of a covered sauce pan, that is about what I use in my cookery. And the cast iron skillet can double as a sauce pan in a pinch.

Really, really want a vacuum sealer for Xmas, for freezing stuff.

If you cook for one, your big problem is going to be portioning stuff. It is hard to cook in small amounts, been there. Lots of time something like a whole roaster chicken, or a sirloin roast, is actually cheaper than a smaller portion, and ends with a better result.

I for small quantity cookings tend to go with either stews and soups, or a dual stage thing, where one day I eat the chicken breasts from a roaster chicken, and then I make some pot pies to freeze with the rest.

From the Chinese recipe angles, friends have had good results with dumplings, making a big batch and freezing them. I just can't get my dough right with it yet, so I tend more towards pasties and pot pies.

I now have about five of the good new Rubbermaid bins, and they are great. Worst case, though, Ziploc bags, and tin foil.

Do you have any recommendation on specific brand of the containers to buy on Amazon?

I want to keep the number of containers as minimum as possible to make things neater

Should I focus on only large containers or containers of different sizes is a better ideas ?

I am thinking if getting a lot of small / very small containers is a better storage and handling skills in the kitchen...
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Old 12-19-2016, 12:17 AM   #16
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I like the rubbermaid brand, because they have lasted well. I also have separate ones for produce, from their keep fresh line, that are good for stretching vegetables. One thing cooking fresh is managing fresh ingredients.

For my cabinet, and I also don't have a ton of space, more in the new kitchen, tend to differentiate between fresh ingredient Tupperware and portions to freeze and take with me to work.

So I have about four to six tupperware I use regularly that are the durable expensive kind, and once a month I buy a six pack of the cheap disposable soup sized gladware ones for work.

I'm cooking for two now, mostly (unless Beloved Wife gets called away on a lawyerin' trip), so it easier to manage portions. The problem cooking for two, and more so for one, is that it is most cost efficient to buy in more quantity than you need.

So, Produce, one big of the fresh keeper type (the ones with vents and suspended bottoms), that I use to keep spinach or lettuce or other roughage. 2 medium of the same, large enough to hold a decent bunch of broccoli, two leeks, scallions, cauliflower, etc...

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Rubbermai...&wl13=&veh=sem

This set seems to work. I have two of the medium and one large without the smaller one, but you get the idea.

Meat and leftover you need one big Tupperware that is big enough to hold the remains of a chicken carcass. Generally if I cook a full chicken, I take the breasts one night for dinner, and use the wing meats and thighs another for pot pie, then use the carcass for stock. I generally don't want to do that all in one night, so I like a big bin that I can stick a carcass in after, say I take the breasts off.

I'd go again for two medium just to hold extra ingredients that you didn't get around to using. Maybe even a small one, I have a small Tupperware that I use for cheese once I've unwrapped it.

OK that is for fresh stuff, and I generally have them in use most of the time. I usually make recipes that yield 4-6 portions, so there are leftovers.

Those go into these:

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Glad-Food...&wl13=&veh=sem

This will hold a decent lunch portion of a stew, or a entree/side combo, maybe with another one for salad. I like them as I can load them up, they go in the freezer. They are not as durable, you can use them five or six times, and dishwasher them before they start to get a little techy. However, they aren't that much, and you don't have to worry about bringing them home from work, also they get to nasty, just chuck them. I like these because they are a standard size, so extra portions get divided up to these and frozen. My wife and I have a couple cheaper insulated bags, and those ice pack things? So we know that we can just if we are in a rush leaving for work (and we both work weird inconsistent hours) grab one and a fork and spoon, and good to go.

Also stack nicely and don't take up a ton of freezer space. they last an average of between three and ten uses before they have to be replaced, get them at the dollar store (off brand not gladware) try to reuse them, but not something we feel bad about leaving at work.

I also buy the cheap insulated lunch bags at the dollar store, I'm pretty good, but my wife loses one a month or so. Better to buy a $2.99 and a buch for the ice pack than something nicer.

So I'll take my groceries, put the produce into the keep fresh rubbermaids, and those are worth the extra money, as they reduce spoilage. Meat either gets used right away, or wrapped in freezer paper if I get a good bulk deal and frozen. I always take my stuff out of the grocery packaging right away.

After cooking, I either make up complete meals (either a stew, chilli, or a side/entree double) in disposables keep one unfrozen for the next day, freeze the others, or put bulk meat (like the leftovers of a whole bird or rump roast) into a larger Tupperware to use again in a day or so. The other medium tupperware is for fresh ingredients that I didn't use all up, or sometimes sauce or stock. Mostly that goes into Ball jars, and gets pressure canned if it is true excess.

Our system has worked rather well, I think I have reduced my fresh food waste from about a quarter to about 5 percent. Mainly I lose fresh herbs, even in a Ball jar with a bit of water, I sometimes don't get to all of a bunch of parsley, cilantro or basil before it starts to get a little rubbery.

So I'd say one big and two medium produce keep fresh. One fairly large and two medium regular Tupperware, maybe a small one for cheese, and a rotating 6-12 disposables available to freeze leftovers for lunches, which I standardize to the 24 oz soup/salad as it seems to have enough for a lunch and works OK with an entree/side or a portion of a stew, soup, or chilli.

TBS


Quote:
Originally Posted by kenny1999 View Post
Do you have any recommendation on specific brand of the containers to buy on Amazon?

I want to keep the number of containers as minimum as possible to make things neater

Should I focus on only large containers or containers of different sizes is a better ideas ?

I am thinking if getting a lot of small / very small containers is a better storage and handling skills in the kitchen...
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