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Cookware opinions?

Discussion in 'Drink, Smoke, and Fine Dining' started by Nurburgringer, Jan 16, 2013.

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  1. Nurburgringer

    Nurburgringer F1 World Champ

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    #76 Nurburgringer, Mar 13, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    uh, it's possible because I don't have money to burn :)

    Still loving the aluminum Vollrath. Doesn't get as much use as our non-stick fryer but last night broke it out for Brussel sprouts. Steamed them for 2 minutes in the micro, then browned in bacon fat, then deglazed with a splash of Pernod and water. YUM!
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  2. ScuderiaWithStickPlease

    ScuderiaWithStickPlease F1 World Champ

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    You meant "braise", I'm sure . . .

    I use the Simply with lid at home. Heat it up, in goes the Costco evoo, a thin bed of kosher salt, flat side down, cover, turn down to ~Low. Remove lid in 5, then brown. Great stuff.
     
  3. Nurburgringer

    Nurburgringer F1 World Champ

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    #78 Nurburgringer, Mar 23, 2013
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    Monsieur Boulud's book arrived yesterday and after a brief review decided it was finally time to pull the trigger on a Dutch/French oven.
    Bought a 6qt Lodge at Target for $60 (almost chose the 6qt "Giada DeLaurentits" DO but decided the flatter base wasn't worth $30, plus I don't really like her, except for.... you know) then for the hell of it checked out the Le Creuset and Calphalon outlet stores.
    LCs are of course gorgeous but even with 25% off and a lifetime warranty I just couldn't abide by $220 for a 7qt oval oven. Pardon moi!
    Calphalon's (Chinese) lifetime-warranteed $90 seven quarter came closer to opening my wallet and sending me back to Target to return the Lodge but (perhaps irrationally) I didn't care for the matte black enamel interior. Plus I'd have felt guilty if the cute LC saleswoman I spent 30 minutes chatting with saw me walking out of Calphalon with a heavy box....
    So giving the (Chinese made) Lodge a whirl.
    Inaugural dish is rustic ratatouille. Love how the onion, eggplant and garlic gently browned up before the tomatoes and roasted zuc went in. It's bubbling away right now (DO's lid gently rocking around a bit) on the second to the smallest burner set on absolute low. Should go great with cornmeal-fried catfish and mac&cheese tonight.
    The pot on the left rear burner in the pic contains two cans of Guinness, balsamic vinegar and dried cranberries and cherries, the liquid that will go in the DO with a 6lb pork shoulder and sweet potatoes tomorrow per Boulud's recipe on pg 72.
    Second pic is chicken korma I made up last week in our cheap and cheerful nonstick 12" fryer. Always nice to have a pound of boneless chicken thighs in the freezer, some misc veggies in the fridge, big bag of Nishiki rice and a jar of korma sauce in the cupboard for those weekday night when you don't know what to eat.
    Bon Appetit!
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  4. ScuderiaWithStickPlease

    ScuderiaWithStickPlease F1 World Champ

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    Sounds and looks wonderful!

    Your bacon and brussel sprouts pic reminded me of a stuffed capon recipe that's stuffed with cabbage, bacon and mustard. Guess what's for dinner some night next week . . . (I bake off the "stuffing" with reduced stock made from the neck bones and gizzards bag, stuffing them for show after they come out.)
     
  5. Nurburgringer

    Nurburgringer F1 World Champ

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    #80 Nurburgringer, Mar 25, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    mmmm bet that stuffed bird comes out great.

    Well I now know what y'all were talking about with dutch ovens. Yeah, it's better than a slow cooker. Still I won't throw ours away just yet; dumping everything in before work then having a very good meal ready to go 8 hours later is still a nice option to have.

    I learned that a 7lb pork shoulder is probably a little much for a 6 quart DO, but the results were awesome.

    The Guinness/balsamic/brown sugar/cranberry braising liquid tasted worryingly sweet in the beginning but after 4 hours in the oven (turning the pork 3 or 4 times, adding sweet potatoes halfway) deepened into a rich, savory, mildly tart sauce that we were drinking straight from the ladle after dinner. The red onions basically disintegrated, adding more sweetness and flavor.
    The pork itself was melt-in-your-mouth tender but with a lovely browned crust and still excellent "bite". Sweet potatoes could have used 1/2 hour less cook time but still delicious.
    Here's the full recipe: http://www.marketplace.org/topics/life/food-and-drink/recipe-chef-daniel-bouluds-economy-friendly-braise-pork-shoulder

    Can't wait to try other recipes from Boulud's book. In particular mackerel & herb curry, ham hocks in Jamaican jerk sauce, Asian pork belly with ginger and soy, spicy oxtails with pears and sweet potatoes, etc. I'd love to do tripe with spicy yellow peppers and watercress but tripe is one of the few things the wife doesn't enjoy. Maybe a small batch....
    5 of us barely ate half of the pork and ratatouille last night so we'll be feasting on leftovers all this week.
    Thanks for the tips on dutch ovens all, looking forward to using the hell out of mine!
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  6. ScuderiaWithStickPlease

    ScuderiaWithStickPlease F1 World Champ

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    Looks great! I'm glad the book works for you (always a concern when recommending something like this.)
     
  7. Nurburgringer

    Nurburgringer F1 World Champ

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    "Braise" is only the second cook book I've ever bought, worth $10 for sure. Our friends looked through it an will be buying their own copy.
    Don't think I'll ever get around to at least half of the recipes (e.g. stuffed pig's feet en papillote looks fabulous, and would take all day to prepare) but a great reference to have on hand.
    Glad I made the pot&pan rack above the stove. The new dutch oven almost takes up an entire drawer by itself!
     
  8. ScuderiaWithStickPlease

    ScuderiaWithStickPlease F1 World Champ

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    #83 ScuderiaWithStickPlease, Mar 29, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2013
    I stopped by Targé to take a look at this pot. For the money it's not a bad deal. And so many Amazon reviewers were enthralled . . . I want the larger size, though, so if I go for it we'll have to risk Amazon shipping.

    From a *** Amazon review:

    A curved bottom in a braising pot can be a good thing, as (i) it avoids corner hot spots, (ii), makes stirring easier, (iii), makes deglazing easier.

    (Saw a Dutch Oven by a company with an Italian name but it was made in China. The enclosed pamphlet made the point that the liner was made with no more than 3% depleted uranium, which is why they recommend lowering the oven temp by 25F . . .)

    http://www.costco.com/Kirkland-Signature™-8-quart-Enameled-Cast-Iron-French-Oval-Oven.product.11758081.html

    Info on the Kirkland, which is made in France:

    http://content.costco.com/images/Content/MISC/PDF/633550.pdf
     
  9. powerpig

    powerpig F1 World Champ
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    Just a side note: We went to the Lodge Cast Iron Cookware outlet in South Pittsburgh, TN a couple of weeks ago. They had great prices in their seconds section in the back.

    I have enough cookware and grills, so I just picked up a little skillet shaped like a guitar for $10.

    If you're in that area, it would be worth your while to stop by.
     
  10. Nurburgringer

    Nurburgringer F1 World Champ

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    #85 Nurburgringer, Mar 31, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    Pig - I'll remember that if I'm ever in the area. Yesterday I ran over to an Ace hardware, first time I'd been to this particular one, where they stocked what seemed like every single Lodge product possible (except for guitar shaped skillets!). My buddy was drooling over their hibachi.

    I read that review prior to purchase and think it's off base on the lid-sealing part. A DO is not a pressure cooker so there will be "leakage". No way you can "fix" this with tin-foil either. Time will tell about the ceramic's toughness.

    Good points about the curved bottom.

    Tonight I'm making Julia Child-style boeuf bourguignon, except with lovely shank and tails from the local supermercado instead of chuck.
    I did also heat up the LC cast iron pan to sear off 1/2 the meat that wouldn't fit in the DO. The fond was getting pretty dark by the time the 1st batch was browned so rather than risk burning it I quickly fired up the LC, deglazed the DO with burgundy and added the rest after it had browned.
    Watched this classic last night which motivated me to follow nearby her footsteps (method tweaked a bit to use less pots and pans.... and also throwing in cauliflower towards the end and 1/2 an onion at the beginning since I like some deep onion flavoring)
    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zA2ys8C-lNk&list=PL1M_Wh0xPbFo2V0PLIvR4rcoWg7VhaZz8&index=11]Julia Child - boeuf bourguignon - YouTube[/ame]
    Note how she uses an electric stove, non-stick pan and no cast iron dutch oven! :)
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  11. spirot

    spirot F1 World Champ

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    Just a tip...

    I see you have a kitchen fork in the back ground on the stove. You dont want to pierce the meat when its browing ... that lets out all the liquid that makes it tender... then you have to cook the meat longer to get it tender - and can get stringy... in osso buco not such a huge issue -but you'll have a much tastier piece of meat if you use tongs...

    the fork in a piece of meat is a very bad habbit. if you have to use it use it to scoop up things - dont poke holes in it.
     
  12. Nurburgringer

    Nurburgringer F1 World Champ

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    #87 Nurburgringer, Apr 1, 2013
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    Good one Spirot. I have metal tongs that would have worked better for turning the meat anyway (being careful not to scratch the enamel), just felt like stabbing something....
    That means those injectors for squirting marinades into meat are also a bad idea? I have one but haven't used it.
    Also piecing large cuts and pushing in garlic cloves should be avoided?

    After 3.5hrs at 350F it came out VERY tasty. Shank was almost like brisket while the ox tail meat just melted in your mouth. This was the first time my wife ate marrow; she's a convert now.
    Used a rioux to thicken the sauce but it was still a bit on the the thin side. Should thicken a little after the gelatin from the bones sets in the fridge I bet.
    The white enamel interior of the Lodge looked quite blackened and crusty above the liquid but was quite easy to clean with a nylon scrubber.
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  13. spirot

    spirot F1 World Champ

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    The issue is not poking holes in food when its raw, that is ok, its when you are cooking it.. once you start moving all the juices around in the meat you want it to stay there that is what makes it tender and tasty. if you remove all the juice when cooking all you have left is the coagulated protein which is like long fibers, that need moister to be tender ... when they are empty of water... they are tough.....

    Love bone marrow... we ( used to - on a diet now) get marrow bones, sprinkle them with salt & pepper ... roast for 1 hour, then take them out and eat with fresh baguette roasted garlic and butter.... that is a good meal... served with sliced radishes ...
     
  14. Norm512TR

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    I was with you all the up the sliced radishes part, never one of my favorites, but just a matter of taste.
     
  15. ScuderiaWithStickPlease

    ScuderiaWithStickPlease F1 World Champ

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    I picked up the Kirkland 8qt oval dutch oven from Costco (picked up two, actually, in order to assure I could get one well built, chipless oven.)

    It's really well made. Good shape, non-stick-like finish inside, metal knob, good enamel, it has pathways in the lid to assure condensate returns to the interior in a somewhat helpful pattern. It's made in France, only comes in a decent red, it's cast in a single use sand mold (vroom!), and is very heavy for its size, with much of the weight coming from the lid.

    It does have three nubs on the lid which are meant to balance the lid on the rim, preventing banging and chipping (it also eliminates the need to machine and match a lid to a pot . . .) The lid extends past the nubs on the inside, dropping vertically for a small distance. This is probably meant to aid in sealing. With the lid centered on the pot, you can barely pull a piece of Bounty out without ripping it so this may be a tight enough seal.

    It has the look, feel and many design features and cues of a Staub. Given Costco's tendency to commission decent products at low prices from leaders in a given industry, this may well be a Staub.

    The only thing I don't like is that the interior is dark in color. That makes it difficult to both judge the state of fond when on the stovetop and to take a peek in the oven. But for $80, I can't complain.

    First recipe will be cod fillets in Tahini and herbs (right out of Boulud), served with couscous that will be topped with a wet, tangy Greek salad.

    All I need is a Middle Eastern/North African acidic white . . .
     
  16. Nurburgringer

    Nurburgringer F1 World Champ

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    #91 Nurburgringer, Apr 8, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    Nice!
    I can't find it on Costco's website but a Chowhound post speculates that they're made in LC or Staub's factory:
    Costco - 8qt oval Le Creuset, erg, I mean "Kirkland Signature" French Oven - $79 - Cookware - Chowhound

    Couldn't you open the box to check for any flaws in the enamel?

    When I asked the LC sales lady about those nubs on the inside of Staub lids she claimed they don't help in any way. Made the good point that the lid is going to be just as hot as the oven (usually what, 300F+ for braising?) so there won't be much if any condensation forming and dripping down onto the food. Which of course led her to try to sell me on a $300 "Doufeu" that has a reservoir for ice in the lid, which would certainly condense any steam on the inside as long as there was liquid in it.
    I also really liked LC's Tagine, but not at $200.

    The cod recipe sounds great. It's finally warm enough outside for me to fire up the grill and smoker so I'm afraid the DO won't get too much braising use for a while, but I have been craving that tripe recipe so won't be for that long.
    It took us all week but we finally polished off the shanks and tails bourguignon. That was a great dish that just got better after a few days in the fridge!
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  17. spirot

    spirot F1 World Champ

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    thin sliced radish butter and salt... YUMMY!!!
     
  18. ScuderiaWithStickPlease

    ScuderiaWithStickPlease F1 World Champ

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    The boxes are sealed. The interior surfaces are too dark for inspection at Costco. Plus we were in a rush. It's easier to just return the reject next time we stock up.

    I'll let you guys know how things turn out. In the meantime, I need plans for an indoor/outdoor pizza oven . . . LoL!
     
  19. Nurburgringer

    Nurburgringer F1 World Champ

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    #94 Nurburgringer, Apr 16, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    So how'd that cod turn out Scud?

    I wanted to make smoked sable chowder but don't have easy access to sable or smoked cod so that will wait.

    The local asian market does have very nice pork belly so on Sunday pretty closely followed his "Asian Pork Belly with Ginger and Soy" recipe. Substituted 1/2 a jar of bulgogi sauce from the pantry for hoisin and added savoy cabbage near the end.
    Made extra beef stock the night before; will use the leftover for Pho tonight.
    Nearly filled up my big grease jar skimming off all the rendered pork fat from the pot!
    Boloud's right - the belly was fantastic hot and fresh but perhaps even better cold the next day.
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  20. ScuderiaWithStickPlease

    ScuderiaWithStickPlease F1 World Champ

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    That looks great, Ringer!

    I haven't tried the cod recipe yet. We'll be doing so soon. (Tomatoes aren't exactly at their best right now, and I really want the tangy Greek salad topping on the couscous.)

    I'll upload pics when we get there. Let me know if you'd like me to ship out either salted cod or smoked sable.

    No Italian markets by you for quality, modern bacalao? Many restaurants here salt their own, both to control how long they cure and to make sure they get cuts they want. Maybe that's another way to go. Also, there's just one truly impressive retail tahini brand and a decent backup to that one: Joya and Krinos. (Let me know if you need either.)
     
  21. Nurburgringer

    Nurburgringer F1 World Champ

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    Thanks for the very generous offer Scud, but I'm sure with some digging I'll find some around here. If that fails either my cop buddy or I can always smoke some up ourselves.

    Milwaukee does have a quite good Italian Market downtown that surely has bacalao Gloriosos Italian Market - Fine Italian Specialties Since 1946 - Milwaukee, Wisconsin | Gloriosos Italian Market
    I've never cooked with it, should give it a try.

    Finished off the pork belly tonight.... my hair and skin are nice and silky from all the pork fat and skin we ate this week :p
    So freakin good!
     
  22. ScuderiaWithStickPlease

    ScuderiaWithStickPlease F1 World Champ

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    I've decided to return the Kirkland-Staub 8qt. While it has some wonderful strengths I can't get over the looseness of the lid. Too much moisture works its way out, robbing the final product of braising advantages.
     
  23. Nurburgringer

    Nurburgringer F1 World Champ

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    #98 Nurburgringer, Apr 22, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    How does one determine if the lid forms a tight enough seal? Boil water and watch for steam?

    Cooked beans all day per Alton Brown's baked beans recipe in the Lodge yesterday, along with the season's first grilled chicken (can't go wrong with the Yakitori treatment, so simple and delicious) and my first attempt to add some smoke flavor to Corn Pone with a little cast iron smoke box set directly on the gas burners.
    Went through two loads of soaked hickory chips but not much smoke permeated the dense batter.
    Wife forgot to add sour cream to the mix but the finished product still came out great. Live and learn....
    Dutch oven interior was extra crusty but after a few hours soaking came up looking like new from a little effort with a nylon scrubber.
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  24. George Vosburgh

    George Vosburgh F1 Rookie
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    Hey, it looks great! What's cooking in the cast iron skillet? It looks like a frittata. We make it all the time.
     
  25. Nurburgringer

    Nurburgringer F1 World Champ

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    oh yeah, reheated beans were just as good with a sandwich for lunch today...

    That's my aunt's recipe for "Corn Pone" as she calls it.
    Very simple and one of my favorite sides for almost any meal:
    http://www.ferrarichat.com/forum/141732906-post324.html

    Like I said it didn't seem much different without any sour cream, maybe just a bit crunchier around the edges which we liked. Next time I'll probably 1/2 the called for amount.

    We haven't made a frittata in ages, have to do so!
     

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