by Kate Heyhoe
First, I would like to say how much I love your magazine, FoodWine.com! Every month there are just too many good recipes to choose from that I can't possibly keep up!!
Second, I would like to pose the age old question of non-stick or stainless? I have been thinking of buying a really nice cooking set, either by the piece or in a set and I can't decide as to which type to get. Should I get a mix of the two? Which is better?
I thought that I would pose the question to your panel of distinguished members in hopes to answer these questions. Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated!!
Thanks, and keep up the amazing work!!
Wow! Thanks for the kind words! Can you see me blushing? ;8)
Re: Nonstick vs. Stainless...Most professional chefs swear first and foremost by stainless that has been clad to other metals. Stainless steel itself is nonreactive but a poor heat conductor, so it's usually combined with aluminum, copper or carbon steel, all of which conduct heat well and retain it well. However, you do have to cook with it properly—heat it in advance and add oil to keep foods from sticking.
For most consumers, though, some very good nonstick cookware works quite well, as does enamel on steel and enamel on cast iron, both of which clean up easily. I use all three of these on a regular basis. If you're going to use nonstick, make sure it's a top brand whose surface will not deteriorate rapidly. If it starts to bubble and peel within the first year, you've been snookered. Check out the warranty and usage instructions.
I have a complete set of Chantal cookware that I love. It's enamel on steel, meaning it heats up quickly and conducts the heat well. They also make nonstick skillets which I've been quite happy with and use daily. I sometimes use Le Creuset for some dishes, which is enamel on cast iron. It takes longer to get hot, but once it does it solidly retains the heat. It's quite heavy, which makes it good for long-cooking foods, but some of the larger pieces can be cumbersome to handle because of their weight, although they're good for aerobic workouts. ; )
Enamel coatings are almost as good as nonstick, sometimes requiring just a thin spray of oil to keep foods from sticking, and they clean up easily.
Continue your research by asking folks what they use at home and what they like. Restaurant stoves get much hotter than home ranges so the cookware the chefs use may not be the best for you. On the other hand, you actually may want to reach those higher temperatures in your cooking. If you cook from a lot of celebrity chef cookbooks, then stainless steel clad on other metal will help you better replicate their recipes.
Here's a favorite recipe below from Chantal Cookware. It came with their Sauté & Serve, a versatile nonstick piece that works on the stove, in the oven and on the table.
Good luck and let me know what you end up with.
from Chantal Cookware
2 Tablespoons butter
1 bunch green onions chopped
2 Tablespoons flour
1 cup whole milk
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 dashes white Lea & Perrins
1 lb. lump crabmeat
1/2 cup buttered breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In the sauté & Serve pan, sauté green onions in butter. Sprinkle in flour and mix well. Pour in milk and simmer on low heat for about 3 minutes or until smooth.
Add 3/4 of the cheddar cheese, pepper and Lea & Perrins and cook until melted. Add crabmeat and remaining cheese and stir gently to prevent breaking up the crabmeat. Mix buttered breadcrumbs with Parmesan and parsley and sprinkle on top. Bake for 15 minutes and serve.
This page originally published as a Global Gourmet Today column in 1998.
Copyright © 2007, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This page modified January 2007
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