Today we are tackling one of the most popular questions, specially from the newly wed’s, we’ve been asked and that is all about cookware pots and pans. What do I need to have in my kitchen to be able to execute dinner every day.
So today I’m going to share with you some essential pots and pans that you need maybe some pots and pans that you would want to include in your repertoire. And some uses for those.
Cast Iron Skillet
So to start off here, I think we should go to the cast iron skillet.
Now the cast iron skillet is something that either your mom or your grandmother has been using for a really long time. And there’s a reason why cast iron skillets are really fantastic in terms of heat retention.
And also if you do take care of your cast iron skillet they tend to develop a really nice non-stick coating. It’s not something that is a given with your cast iron skillet it’s something that you have to kind of nurture throughout time and cast iron can be a little tricky to take care of. Of course it’s really not that hard to do. You just need to be mindful and you need to adhere to the maintenance.
Skillets are really fantastic. It retains heat. It’s really really solid and you should be able to do anything in here from baking to frying. You can find them in many different shapes and even sizes. So I encourage you to give one a try to start and then maybe you can grow your collection.
Cast Iron Grill Pan
Now akin to this cast iron skillet, we have a Cast Iron Grill Pan. And if you don’t have an outdoor barbecue or you live in an area that you’re not really allowed to barbecue, an indoor grill pan is really great to have.
So one thing you want to keep in mind when you’re purchasing a grill pan at your store is that the ridges or the grates sit high up on the pan.
They’re away from the bottom or well off the pan. And the reason for this is when you’re cooking on a grill pan, you want to have as much air flow underneath the food, otherwise if it’s too close to the food and the bridges are short or they’re kind of flat and domed instead of straight up and thin, you won’t get good grill marks and you’ll get some steaming or searing in these type of cast iron skillet.
And one added benefit to this specific model is that on the other side it’s actually a griddle, so you could do your pancakes you could fry eggs or bacon’s. It’s kind of a dual purpose device.
Again you need to take care of this cast iron grill pan in the same sort of way where you have to clean it and season it every time you use it which will help maintain that non-stick coating and will prevent the cast iron from rusting.
Next is a Roasting Pan. One thing that you really should look for in a roasting pan is something that’s not so high and straight sided.
So if you’re roasting your turkey or if you’re roasting chickens or a pork or something like that, you want your roast stays that high up in the pan. You don’t want it to be protected by the sides of the roasting pan. Otherwise the bottom portion of your roast will not brown.
It will be insipid, light in color. So really this slope sided roasting pan is ideal, because it’s not too deep, if deep enough to collect any juices but it’s not going to inhibit the airflow and the heat around the roast, giving it a nice caramelized browning and color and crispness to it.
Now most roasting pans come with a roasting rack so you should look for that. Look for something that’s footed and fits the whole surface area of the bottom of the pan. This way you can roast different sized meats. Not to mention these pans could easily fit a 20 to 22 pound turkey in it.
That’s how nice and wide it is. And the fact that the rack fits in the bottom perfectly will help raise the entire bird up. Also look for a roasting pan that has a nice wide handles to it that you can fit oven mitts in or towels because this is going to be hot coming out of the oven and heavy. You want to have a good grip and you want to be able to get your hands through this.
As I said before you could put this on the stove top which is really maybe important when you’re making a gravy or a pan sauce or something like that. So look for a thick gauge stainless steel roasting pan.
Straight sided saute pans
Next is Straight sided sauté pans and these are really fantastic for a lot of one pot dishes or even shallow frying. And these comes in a number of sizes.A standard 10 inch straight sided skillet which is really good for one pot dinners.
And the wider 14 inches are better for Shallow frying chicken cutlets, You can even fry chicken in here. This one is also good for pasta dishes. When you’re making pasta, especially when you’re using a pound or more of pasta it’s really great to have a wide shallow pan with a side to it so that you can toss your pasta with the sauce. And it’s not sitting on top of each other.You’re not agitating your pasta, breaking it up into pieces, because there’s very little movement.
You’re combining the sauce and the pasta. This is also a great pot for any shellfish as well. Again you’re not stacking the shellfish on top of each other so it’s cooking in a nice even layer. And these pots typically do come with lids which is something important to note.
Sauce Pots or Sauce Pans
Now after that we go into Sauce Pots or Sauce Pans. Now this is a really great size sauce pot that we love to use for many different things from soups to broth are the kind of small batch items that you can do in this pod.
It’s really great for making curds and pastry creams in a decent amount of quantities. This is like almost a four quart saucepan and it’s really great to have, in addition to smaller pots and pans that you will use for smaller jobs.
Next comes Stock pots. Stock pots are large in sizes,and they come in different sizes also. This giant stockpot here is something that we really like to use for making pasta. So when you’re making pasta you should have at least ten times the amount of water as pasta. And so this deep pot is really great for that.
In addition to pasta, a stockpot is fantastic for stocks, so whether you’re making chicken stock or beef stock or any of those, these are really great pots to have.
Again because burners are usually limited in size, so I think that a 12 inch diameter Base is perfect. The heat radiates up the sides and it will help simmer your stock for a very long time.You want to make sure that you’re getting a stainless version.
It’s really great to have stainless handles as well because if you wanted to put any of these into the oven, not the stockpot, but maybe a straight sided skillet or the saute pan, you could easily go from stove-top to oven without any issues or restrictions with different materials on the handles.
Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Now probably one of my favorite pots,is an Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven.And a Dutch oven is really fantastic for so many different things from stew’s to Braises to actually bake bread in these because they go up to really high temperatures and retain their heat.
So similar to the cast iron skillet we were talking about before this is made of cast iron. But the real benefit here is that it has this wonderful enameled coating and this is really fantastic because it lends a non-stick surface. And in addition to that you don’t have to care for it as much, and season it as you would, with regular cast iron. Now when you’re buying a dutch oven like this look for a model that has a lid with rings and you might say is this just the design of the lid. It’s actually not.
What these rings do. Is they take all of the condensation that accumulates at the top of the pan and it encourages it to drip back down into your stew into your braised dish and it keeps the moisture circulating within the pan giving you a really moist and tender dish in the end.
Now another important detail to mention when buying one of these enameled cast iron pots or any Dutch oven is again look for handles that you can fit your hand through both the top and the bottom because this is heavy and you’re going to be taking it out of the oven or off the stove top hot and make sure that the hardware on the sides and on the top are oven proof as well.
Make sure there are no plastic or silicone tops that can’t go up to a high temperature otherwise you risk melting in the oven or having an unpleasant smell in the end.
Now a lot of people in the United States love to use non-stick cookware and I like to have one or two pots and pans in my kitchen that used nonstick or that have nonstick. And this is a new type of technology that’s being used in non-stick cookware and that is ceramic nonstick.
This coating is not Teflon like we’ve been used to in the past that have had a lot of negative associations with it. This ceramic non-stick cookware is really fantastic because it doesn’t have as many harmful components in it and it’s much greener.
I guess I would say but I like to have non-stick pans in my kitchen for when my making things like some egg dishes. I usually have them in smaller forms like an 8 inch or a 10 inch sized skillet.
They’re really great for Crepes. Foods that tend to be sticky, well, you go for a crepe pan. Sometimes people are intimidated by making fish, well it’s great to start off with a non-stick pan.
Again look for a pan that can go easily from the stove top to the oven and make sure it’s heat resistant all the way through from the core to the handle.
Now last but not least, if you’re really serious about cooking and you want to challenge yourself a little bit, invest in a Wok. Try looking for a Wok that’s made out of black steel something that’s really sturdy and heats up well.
You don’t want a Wok that has too thick of a gauge to it. You want something that the heat radiates through very quickly because you want to be able to heat up a Wok fast and you want it to kind of maintain that heat because that’s really what you’re doing.
You’re looking to stir fry in these Wok’s. You want it to be hot from the base all the way up into the sides. But it is nice to have a nice wooden cool handle.
So there you go guys. A cookware 360 for you.
Now as always we love to hear from you. Happy cooking 🙂