Looking for the Safest Cookware? Keep These 4 Tips on Your Checklist

On the lookout for the safest cookware? Keep these 4 tips on your checklist.

1. What is your cookware composed of? The most common cookware is composed of metals, or ceramic a great amount with nonstick coatings or chemical glazes and enamels. These materials have the potential of leaching into your food. If you’re not sure about possible chemicals leaching from your cookware into your food try the simple baking soda test found at the bottom of this page. All metals are reactive and leach into food, here is a small list of these reactions:

ALUMINIUM (In Stainless Steel & Aluminum Cookware):

With steam = aluminum oxide + hydrogen 2Al(s) + 3H2O(g) = Al2O3(s) + 3H2(g)

With oxygen = aluminum oxide 4Al(s) + 3O2(g) = 2Al2O3(s),

With halogens = 2Al(s) + 3Cl2(l) → 2AlCl3(s) 2Al(s) + 3Br2(l) → Al2 (s) 2Al(s) + 3I2(l) → Al2I6(s)

With acids: 2Al(s) + 3H2SO4(aq) →2Al3+(aq) + 2SO42-(aq) + 3H2(g) 2Al(s) + 6HCl(aq) → 2Al3+(aq) + 6Cl-(aq) + 3H2(g).

With bases: 2Al(s) + 2NaOH(aq) + 6H2O → 2Na+(aq) + 2[Al(OH)4]- + 3H2(g)

TITANIUM:

With steam: Ti(s) + 2H2O(g) → TiO2(s) + 2H2(g)

With nitrogen: Nitrogen 2Ti(s) + N2(g) = TiN(s)), I

With water (Ti(s) + 2H2O(g) = TiO2(s) + 2H2(g))

With halogens: Ti(s) + 2F2(g) → TiF4(s) [white] Ti(s) + 2Cl2(g) → TiCl4(l) [colourless]

With acids & bases: 2Ti(s) + 12HF(aq) → 2[TiF6]3-(aq) + 3H2(g) + 6H+(aq) Ti(s) + 2Br2(g) → TiBr4(s) [orange] Ti(s) + 2I2(g) → TiI4(s) [dark brown

COPPER (STAINLESS STEEL):

With oxygen:2Cu(s) + O2(g) = 2CuO(s), 2Cu(s) + O2(g)= 2CuO(s),

With halogens: Cu(s) + F2(g) → CuF2(s) [white], Cu(s) + Cl2(g) → CuCl2(s) [yellow-brown], Cu(s) + Br2(g) → CuBr2(s) [black], Cu(s)+ H2SO4(aq) → Cu2+(aq) + SO42-(aq) + H2(g)

With acids & bases: Cu(s) + H2SO4(aq) → Cu2+(aq) + SO42-(aq) + H2(g)

NICKEL (STAINLESS STEEL):

With oxygen: 2Ni(s) + O2(g) → 2NiO(s), Ni(s) + Cl2(g) → NiCl2(s) [yellow] Ni(s) + Br2(g) → NiBr2(s) [yellow] Ni(s) + I2(g) → NiI2(s)[black] Ni(s) + H2SO4(aq) → Ni2+(aq) + SO42-(aq) + H2(g),

With halogens: Ni(s) + Cl2(g) → NiCl2(s) [yellow], Ni(s) + Br2(g) → NiBr2(s) [yellow], Ni(s) + I2(g) → NiI2(s) [black],

With acids and bases: Ni(s) + H2SO4(aq) → Ni2+(aq) + SO42-(aq) + H2(g)

So when making your choice for the healthiest make sure it’s made from an inert or non-reactive material like 100% pure-clay.

2. How safely does it cook your food? As mentioned above when cooking with metal or nonstick pans you run the risk of the chemicals used to manufacture them seeping into your food. So what about the nutritional value of the food? Are you cooking away all of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients your food has to offer? When you touch a metal pan you burn your fingers right? Well the same thing happens to the foods you cook in these pots, food (meat, plants, legumes) are all made up of tissue just as we are made of living tissue. That being said if the pot is harsh enough to burn you it is harming the food in the same manner. This very same heat damages the nutritional cells within the food you cook diminishing the nutritional value.

Another factor that affects the loss of nutrition is steam, most conventional cookware do not lock in steam, some even provide a vent to let it escape. This is detrimental to your consumption of fully wholesome meals due to the fact that much of the nutrients in food evaporate in steam. Which brings us to our next question…

3. Does it lock steam naturally? As stated above most traditional pots and pans do not seal in steam but instead let it escape. Steam in essence is the juice or lifeblood of the food you are cooking that evaporates due to being exposed to high temperatures. Trapping this vapor will keep the nutrients in the food instead of letting it dissipate into the air. Keeping the juices in the food also keeps it moist and flavorful plus one more added bonus it makes the pot even easier to clean.

4. How was your pot made? How your cookware is manufactured is of great importance to you and the environment. Cookware made from metals such as steel, iron and aluminum are processed with chemicals such as that can leach out into your food. Companies often mine these materials and this causes great damage to the planet through deforestation, water pollution.

So the safest cookware should be able to cook without leaching any chemicals or toxins, and without damaging foods its nutritional cells. Lock steam inside and also be made without harming the environment.



Source by Sharon Ray

Best Chili Recipes – 5 Tips For Cooking Great Chili!

Chili is a metaphysical thing in the world of cooking. There are major competitions all over the United States, and believe me they can get really cutthroat. People take their chili seriously! Chili is a creation that is highly personal to the person that has created the dish. Lots of folks can work a lifetime to perfect a chili recipe and that is no joke. Just ask anyone that has ever competed in a chili cook off. If you are a newbie to the world of chili and want to get out of “the canned stuff,” then welcome! Even if you are an old hat at making chili, welcome! The tips herein will do no harm and only enhance your chili experience! Lets get some tips!

Tip 1. What if your chili is too thick? What kind of chili is it? White?, Red? Beef? Chicken? If your chili is too thick do not use water to thin it out that is what everyone in the world does. Use broth instead! Water will “kill” the hard worked for flavor of your chili creation. Broth adds the liquid that you need and unlike water it also adds flavor and depth to your chili recipe!

Tip 2. What if your chili is way to thin? You could add some tomato paste to it as one way to thicken it. Try it a little bit by little bit until you achieve the consistency that you are looking for! What if the tomato paste does not make your chili thick the way you want it to? Then the next step is to try to use something like cornstarch or corn flour commonly called masa flour! You can also try the old school use of cornmeal. I like this one myself. Cornmeal gives a good texture. Some people I know in the Southern United States say to just use good old fashioned instant mashed potatoes. Not bad! It works and adds texture as well. Then the is the no calorie way to do it by using arrow root mixed with a bit of water and then added to the chili and stirred. As you can see there are many way to make your chili thicker. The choice is yours and you should experiment.

Tip 3. Most people that I know of that make chili at home just use plain old boring everyday Jalapeno’s. This is fine in most cases and they do bring the “heat!” But the fact of the matter is that there is a world of different chilies out there. Anaheim, Poblano, Serrano, Sante Fe Chilies, Ancho Chilies, The very popular these days Chipotle in Adobo sauce or Chipotle powder, Cayenne, Tabascos, Thai Chili, Habanera, and Scotch Bonnets! The list can go on and on from country to country. So why not try to use more than one type of chili pepper in your chili? Change the flavor, do not settle for the mundane! Have fun!

Tip 4. first thing is first! Cook the meat! Any meat that you are using should be cooked first. Brown the meat way before you have to add the liquids to the recipe. Browning the meat aids in locking in the flavor of the meat. You do not want your meat to get soggy with the liquids from the chili recipe. I prefer to sear cook my meat. That is turn the flame up high and putting the meat in the pan of my fave the cast iron skillet and so it sizzles quick and stir it around a bit and then turn the heat down. This is a classic searing technique that locks the flavor into the meat.

Tip 5. The better the meat the better the meal! It is a fact that the better the quality of any meat or main component for a meal the better the meal. Remember that is it quality over quantity! Just because you can get some meats cheap and get lot’s of it does not mean that it is quality meat and that you will get a quality meal. If you have to use a cheaper meat that is less tender then expect to cook your chili longer to soften it up and consider using a meat tenderizer on it to aid in the softening of the cheaper cuts and cook the chili longer and you should be OK. In the long run if you can afford to get the better cuts then I always day do it!



Source by Richard L. Blaine

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

How to Cook With Cuisinart Stainless Steel Cookware – 3 Helpful Tips for Easier Cooking

If you’re new to cooking with Cuisinart stainless cookware, there are some things you should know about how best to use your new pots and pans. In this article, I’ll discuss how to cook with Cuisinart stainless steel cookware, so you can make the most of your new set.

1.) Do you need to preseason your Cuisinart Stainless Steel Cookware?

While preseasoning your stainless steel pots and pans isn’t absolutely necessary, it does help to prevent food from sticking. Stainless steel cookware doesn’t have a non-stick interior, like many of the pots and pans you can buy. The steel is very porous, and therefore it’s easy for food to get “stuck” within these pores. Seasoning the cookware helps to seal up these pores and prevent sticking.

To season your stainless steel pan, cover the bottom of the pan with oil and salt. You’ll want to pour in about 1/2″ to 3/4″ of oil. Place the pan on your stove burner, and heat it up until the oil begins smoking. Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool, until it is safe to touch and discard the oil and salt. Next, take a soft cloth and wipe out any remaining oil and salt. Your pan is now ready to use!

Now remember the porous nature of the pan I mentioned previously? This also means that whenever you wash the pan in hot water, those pores will open back up, and the oil used to season will be washed away. Therefore, you’ll probably want to repeat this process after washing your pan. Again, the preseasoning isn’t necessary, but it does help to eliminate a lot of food sticking problems caused by not having a non-stick interior.

2.) Use a lower heat setting

You’ll find that you don’t need to use as much heat as your used to, when you cook with Cuisinart stainless steel cookware. Due to how the pots are constructed, they tend to heat up very quickly. Start with a lower temperature than you think you’ll need and gradually increase your temperature until you get used to how the pans heat up.

3.) Prevent food sticking

There are few things you can do (besides seasoning) that can help prevent food from sticking to your pans. First, always make sure that your oil is hot before adding any food. You’ll want to preheat your pan, then add the oil and allow that to heat up, and only then should you add your food.

Don’t try put too much food in the pot at one time. If necessary, cook up smaller batches of food.

What if you get burnt on or stuck on food? Try some vinegar and baking soda to scrub away tough food spots. Another trick is to use a product called Barkeeper’s Helper, or a cleaner specifically made for stainless steel cookware.

By following these tips for how to cook with Cuisinart stainless steel cookware, you’ll not only enjoy cooking more, but you’ll also be ensuring that your pots and pans will last for a long time.



Source by Emily A. Johnson

How to Cook With Cuisinart Stainless Steel Cookware – 3 Helpful Tips for Easier Cooking

If you’re new to cooking with Cuisinart stainless cookware, there are some things you should know about how best to use your new pots and pans. In this article, I’ll discuss how to cook with Cuisinart stainless steel cookware, so you can make the most of your new set.

1.) Do you need to preseason your Cuisinart Stainless Steel Cookware?

While preseasoning your stainless steel pots and pans isn’t absolutely necessary, it does help to prevent food from sticking. Stainless steel cookware doesn’t have a non-stick interior, like many of the pots and pans you can buy. The steel is very porous, and therefore it’s easy for food to get “stuck” within these pores. Seasoning the cookware helps to seal up these pores and prevent sticking.

To season your stainless steel pan, cover the bottom of the pan with oil and salt. You’ll want to pour in about 1/2″ to 3/4″ of oil. Place the pan on your stove burner, and heat it up until the oil begins smoking. Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool, until it is safe to touch and discard the oil and salt. Next, take a soft cloth and wipe out any remaining oil and salt. Your pan is now ready to use!

Now remember the porous nature of the pan I mentioned previously? This also means that whenever you wash the pan in hot water, those pores will open back up, and the oil used to season will be washed away. Therefore, you’ll probably want to repeat this process after washing your pan. Again, the preseasoning isn’t necessary, but it does help to eliminate a lot of food sticking problems caused by not having a non-stick interior.

2.) Use a lower heat setting

You’ll find that you don’t need to use as much heat as your used to, when you cook with Cuisinart stainless steel cookware. Due to how the pots are constructed, they tend to heat up very quickly. Start with a lower temperature than you think you’ll need and gradually increase your temperature until you get used to how the pans heat up.

3.) Prevent food sticking

There are few things you can do (besides seasoning) that can help prevent food from sticking to your pans. First, always make sure that your oil is hot before adding any food. You’ll want to preheat your pan, then add the oil and allow that to heat up, and only then should you add your food.

Don’t try put too much food in the pot at one time. If necessary, cook up smaller batches of food.

What if you get burnt on or stuck on food? Try some vinegar and baking soda to scrub away tough food spots. Another trick is to use a product called Barkeeper’s Helper, or a cleaner specifically made for stainless steel cookware.

By following these tips for how to cook with Cuisinart stainless steel cookware, you’ll not only enjoy cooking more, but you’ll also be ensuring that your pots and pans will last for a long time.



Source by Emily A. Johnson