Copper Cookware – Choosing the Right Copper Pans For Your Kitchen

Professional chefs and serious home cooks love copper cookware. Copper has the unique ability to conduct heat faster than any other metal that is normally used in cookware. Because the copper heats up so quickly, it moves the heat evenly throughout the pan, eliminating hot spots that can cause scorching and sticking.

Some cooks believe that having the right pans can improve the performance of their kitchen even more than buying a brand new range. Copper pots and pans respond quickly to any change in the temperature of the burner, far quicker than pans made of stainless steel or cast iron. This gives cooks much more control over the cooking process.

There are several types of pans that feature copper. The copper itself cannot come into contact with food, so there must be another metal on the inside of the pan.

Copper Plated Pans:

Some cookware is made with aluminum or stainless steel, and has been plated with a thin copper exterior. The bottom will usually have a thicker layer of copper, and the inner surface is usually stainless steel.

Solid Copper Pans:

Several European manufacturers make solid copper cookware lined with stainless steel; Falk Culinair from Belgium, Mauviel and de Buyer from France. Lara Copper cookware is hand-made in Australia. The Hammersmith Corporation is the last surviving maker of solid-copper cookware in the United States.

Solid copper cookware is much more expensive than plated or clad cookware, but the pots and pans made of solid copper respond much more quickly to changes in heat than any other pans. Professional chefs insist on solid copper, while a serious home cook may choose just one Рperhaps a saut̩ pan or medium-sized saucepan Рthat is used most often.

Caring for Copper Cookware:

Copper pots and pans should always be hand-washed. Never put them in the dishwasher.

Unlike stainless steel and aluminum, copper will oxidize, or change color. To keep the copper shiny as new, a copper cleaning paste is recommended. The Mauviel Corporation makes a copper cleaner called Copperbrill, which works very well, but, like their pots and pans, it’s expensive. A more affordable choice is Twinkle Brass & Copper Cleaner and Wright’s Copper Cream, made by Weiman. All three of these fine cleaners are available through Amazon.com.

Polishing the copper is not just an esthetic requirement. The dark spots created by tarnish can create hot spots in the pans.

Makers of fine copper and stainless steel cookware suggest that the interior of the pans should be cleaned with a fine powder cleanser, such as Bar Keeper’s Friend. After using a powder, wash the pan again in warm soapy water and immediately dry the pan with a soft cloth.

Never use scouring powders, oven cleaners, or any cleaner that contains bleach. Also avoid using steel wool. Soft cloths and nylon scrubbing pads are best.

The stainless steel interior of copper cookware can be damaged by salt, which may cause small white dots or pits. These small pits are not attractive but they will not affect the performance of your pans. To avoid salt damage, always bring liquids to a boil before adding the salt so it dissolves immediately into the water.

Discoloration can also be caused by overheating, or by reheating a pan that has a food film that has not been completely washed off.

As you can see, good copper cookware has many advantages for the serious cook, but these pots and pans do require more care to keep them looking and working their best. For people who really love to cook, the extra care is worth it.



Source by Jonni Good

Choosing the Best Sides, Drinks and Desserts to Go With Pizza

Ah, piping hot pizza! Some folks could live on pizza alone, never eating anything else. The average American devours an amazing 23 pounds of pizza each year, and even more pizza if they live in a college dorm. And while pizza is definitely an American (and global) staple food, there are certain side items, beverages, and desserts that seem to be custom made to go with this favorite culinary treat.

Sides

Pizza is a filling meal in itself, but adding side items to your pizza delivery order can make it even more special. The most commonly requested side items to go with pizza include:

• Appetizers, like bread sticks, chicken strips, mozzarella cheese sticks, cheese bread, grilled eggplant, Buffalo wings, quesadillas, potato skins, nachos, calamari, coconut shrimp, or steamed clams. The type of appetizer that you choose will likely depend on the type of pizza that you order.

• Salad. A simple green salad is a great accompanying side item to go with your Issaquah pizza, but you can order a more robust salad as well. From chef’s salad to a plain garden salad, you can bone up on your veggies while enjoying a perfect side dish to go with your pizza.

Drinks

Many folks prefer the old stand-by drink for washing down their delicious pizza meal – soda. Soda, whether in cola, citrus, root beer, or other flavors, is an ideal beverage that can also be purchased in diet form for those who are watching their waistlines. Fruit juices are also a good choice that is a bit of a break from the norm for those who are big soda drinkers. The healthiest drink of all to have with your pizza is sparkling mineral water, which has no calories at all. For those who prefer a beverage with a bit more head to it, there’s always beer, either in tap or from a bottle. And for the sophisticate on your list who wants to enjoy their pizza in true Italian style, wine in a favorite vintage can really cleanse the palette at the end of the meal. Wine a bit too much? Enjoy a wine cooler instead for fewer calories and less of a punch.

Dessert

Some say that dessert is the best part of the meal, while others say that desert is entirely overrated and that they can’t afford the calories! Dessert adds a pleasant end to any meal, especially when served with a hot cup of coffee or tea. Pastry desserts like baklava are always a popular treat when eating Italian. Baklava is a golden pastry with flaky layers that are separated only by syrup and walnuts. Tiramisu is another Italian favorite. This rich cake is drenched in espresso and layered with a mousse made from mascarpone cheese and then topped off with cocoa sugar. From ice cream to cheesecake to pie, there are many desserts that fit the bill for topping off your pizza meal.



Source by Robert Crowley

Choosing Kitchen Utensils For Enameled Cast Iron Cookware

When choosing kitchen implements for enameled cast iron cookware, it is important to understand the nature of the enamel that makes it different from ordinary cast iron pots and pans. Standard cast iron can be given nonstick properties and rendered easier to clean by seasoning with hot oil or grease. Baking oil into the pan at high temperature forms a bond that reduces the likelihood of rusting and iron getting into the food, and also makes it relatively nonstick and easier to clean.

Enameling is also a way of creating a barrier between the food and the iron base, and enameled cookware is fairly easy to clean and possesses an acceptable degree of nonstick properties, though you should try to avoid burning food onto the bottom or sides of the pan. If you do, however, enamel is fairly resistant to scratching – much more so that straight cast iron, stainless steel or nonstick Teflon surfaces. It can therefore tolerate scouring better than these other surfaces, but is very sensitive to knocks and bangs that can chip the enamel off the base.

Enamel is not baked on paint, as many think it to be, but is silica, or glass, that is mixed with pigments and then melted onto the iron surface. The process creates a bond that, while strong enough for normal handling, can chip if given hard knocks. If you drop enameled cookware onto a hard floor, for example, it is liable to chip, but not if you stir the contents with a metal spoon.

Nevertheless, although you can use stainless steel and other metal kitchen implements with enameled cast iron cookware, you are advised not to, and to try to use wood, plastic or silicone. Silicone is a form of plastic that has been cured and cross-linked to render it heat resistant, a property that ordinary plastic kitchen implements lack.

Wood is best for any type of cookware, but most people have a set of wooden spoons in their kitchen arsenal, and perhaps a wooden spatula, but very little else. You can get a wider range online, but the ladles and slotted spoons tend to be very small in comparison to their metal or plastic alternatives.

Plastic is excellent in respect of protecting your cookware, but it can be soft and can get even softer when hot. Not only that, but forget to take it off the pot when cooking and you will have given a new meaning to plastic food! The same is true of a plastic spatula or fish slice: these kitchen tools rarely last long without showing signs of a few burns. Which takes us to silicone kitchen tools.

Silicone kitchen implements are heat-rated, and some are rated as high as 900 degrees, so they will not soften or melt in the same way as normal plastic. There is also a good range of silicone implements, such as turkey lifters, fish slices, spatulas and cooking spoons, but still not as many as are available in stainless steel.

The problem with stainless steel is not that it scratches enamel, because it doesn’t as long as you are not trying hard to do so, but that if you hit the pan with a heavy stainless implement it might chip. Nevertheless, it is possible to use stainless kitchen utensils for enameled cast iron cookware as long as you are careful, and make sure that you don’t knock or drop any implements onto the pan.

Taking an overall view, when choosing kitchen utensils for enameled cast iron cookware you are likely best advised to use wood or silicone where you can, particularly for stirring spoons and the like, and stainless steel where you must. That is a reasonable compromise, but if you prefer to have a battery of tools hanging from racks on your kitchen wall, then stainless steel looks great but be very careful when using them.



Source by Rosemarie Gerdich

Choosing Kitchen Utensils For Enameled Cast Iron Cookware

When choosing kitchen implements for enameled cast iron cookware, it is important to understand the nature of the enamel that makes it different from ordinary cast iron pots and pans. Standard cast iron can be given nonstick properties and rendered easier to clean by seasoning with hot oil or grease. Baking oil into the pan at high temperature forms a bond that reduces the likelihood of rusting and iron getting into the food, and also makes it relatively nonstick and easier to clean.

Enameling is also a way of creating a barrier between the food and the iron base, and enameled cookware is fairly easy to clean and possesses an acceptable degree of nonstick properties, though you should try to avoid burning food onto the bottom or sides of the pan. If you do, however, enamel is fairly resistant to scratching – much more so that straight cast iron, stainless steel or nonstick Teflon surfaces. It can therefore tolerate scouring better than these other surfaces, but is very sensitive to knocks and bangs that can chip the enamel off the base.

Enamel is not baked on paint, as many think it to be, but is silica, or glass, that is mixed with pigments and then melted onto the iron surface. The process creates a bond that, while strong enough for normal handling, can chip if given hard knocks. If you drop enameled cookware onto a hard floor, for example, it is liable to chip, but not if you stir the contents with a metal spoon.

Nevertheless, although you can use stainless steel and other metal kitchen implements with enameled cast iron cookware, you are advised not to, and to try to use wood, plastic or silicone. Silicone is a form of plastic that has been cured and cross-linked to render it heat resistant, a property that ordinary plastic kitchen implements lack.

Wood is best for any type of cookware, but most people have a set of wooden spoons in their kitchen arsenal, and perhaps a wooden spatula, but very little else. You can get a wider range online, but the ladles and slotted spoons tend to be very small in comparison to their metal or plastic alternatives.

Plastic is excellent in respect of protecting your cookware, but it can be soft and can get even softer when hot. Not only that, but forget to take it off the pot when cooking and you will have given a new meaning to plastic food! The same is true of a plastic spatula or fish slice: these kitchen tools rarely last long without showing signs of a few burns. Which takes us to silicone kitchen tools.

Silicone kitchen implements are heat-rated, and some are rated as high as 900 degrees, so they will not soften or melt in the same way as normal plastic. There is also a good range of silicone implements, such as turkey lifters, fish slices, spatulas and cooking spoons, but still not as many as are available in stainless steel.

The problem with stainless steel is not that it scratches enamel, because it doesn’t as long as you are not trying hard to do so, but that if you hit the pan with a heavy stainless implement it might chip. Nevertheless, it is possible to use stainless kitchen utensils for enameled cast iron cookware as long as you are careful, and make sure that you don’t knock or drop any implements onto the pan.

Taking an overall view, when choosing kitchen utensils for enameled cast iron cookware you are likely best advised to use wood or silicone where you can, particularly for stirring spoons and the like, and stainless steel where you must. That is a reasonable compromise, but if you prefer to have a battery of tools hanging from racks on your kitchen wall, then stainless steel looks great but be very careful when using them.



Source by Rosemarie Gerdich

Tips For Choosing and Cooking Tasty Tilapia

Tilapia is healthy, tender, and delicious. It can be used to make many different recipes and it suits lots of cuisines. This fish is also known as Nile perch, cherry snapper, St Peter’s fish, mouthbreeders, and sunshine snapper.

Tilapia comes in different breeds and various colors, including black and white, green, silver, or red. Most tilapia are exported live or as fresh fillets. Indonesian, Thai, and Taiwanese farmers export frozen tilapia to the United States. This fish is widely farmed so it tends to be available year-round.

You can bake, broil, grill, or steam tilapia. You can also use it in stir-fry recipes or pan-fry it. This versatile and flavorful fish is one of the most popular fish that you can get. A red-skinned tilapia might have pink flesh but most tilapia have white flesh. The flavor of the fish can be described as mild, sweet and rather like sole. You can serve tilapia with the skin on because it is attractive, but do not eat the skin because it has a bitter flavor.

How to Choose and Prepare Tilapia Fillets

When buying fresh tilapia, choose moist-looking fish, which is layered in ice. Do not buy tilapia, which has a musky smell. Also, tilapia absorbs the flavor of the water it is raised in so check the harvest methods and source.

Tilapia keeps for two weeks at 32 degrees F. If you cannot get live or fresh tilapia, choose “IQF” (individually quick-frozen) tilapia. This is where the fillets are not stuck together in the packaging. Tilapia keeps well in the freezer for up to six months.

Before cooking tilapia, it is important to clean it well, inside and outside. This means rinsing the fish well under cold running water, as well as removing all traces of the internal organs. You can then cook the whole fish or individual fillets.

How to Cook Tilapia

Thoroughly clean your tilapia fillets and dredge them in beaten egg. Dip the egg-coated tilapia in breadcrumbs and bake it for half an hour in a 360 degrees F oven. You can use parmesan instead of the breadcrumbs or even seasoned flour. Add some chili powder and cayenne pepper to the flour for a spicy kick.

You can steam tilapia in about twelve minutes. To cook a whole tilapia using this healthy cooking method, you should remove as many of the fish scales as you can. Remove the organs and insides from the fish, and then steam it until it flakes easily and is opaque. You can pan fry tilapia fillets in oil or butter for a quick and easy meal, and this takes two or three minutes per side.

If you would rather grill the fish, choose inch thick tilapia fillets and rub a light coating of oil over both sides. Preheat the grill to medium and coat the grill rack with nonstick cooking spray. Tilapia takes about ten minutes to grill to perfection. It takes half that time if you place it directly on the grill.

When the meat is white and opaque and the juices are clear, it is ready to serve. Try wrapping tilapia fillets in aluminum foil with white wine, butter, lemon juice, and julienne-cut vegetables for a delicious summer dinner or cook it directly over a hot grill, with spices rubbed into it, for a tasty blackened tilapia recipe.



Source by Christine Szalay Kudra