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I usually just write about my own experiences, in the culinary world and traveling. I post recipes from my friends, family and myself, but also from others… whenever I love a dish, the recipe usually is shared here. And my travel experiences, of course.
I’ve come up with the idea of having to share a little more than just experiences and exploring. Every week, I will share how you can get even better at cooking, with tips, tricks and some recipes from real professional chefs.
Marcus Polman’s book “Nog beter koken met de perfecte kok” is my guide. Some of which are written in this post come from his book and some come from the internet.
Pots and pans
Good cooking starts with choosing the right pan. Will it be a rock-solid iron pan or a stylish copper one?
Here’s a lesson in pan basics for beginners.
The oldest, cheapest and best sort pan is iron, according to Marcus Polman’s specialist. This is the ultimate pan the bake the perfect steak. The iron can get red hot which lets the meat Sears nicely immediately.
An iron pan should be overheated with oil and salt for five minutes before the first use, just to clean the bottom. Never wash the pan after use, but make it grease-free with a piece of paper. The blacker the pan becomes after years of use, the better. An iron pan has one drawback: it can rust.
Cast-iron cookware is heavy-duty cookware made of cast-iron. It is valued for its heat retention, durability, ability to be used at very high temperatures, and non-stick cooking when properly seasoned. Seasoning is also used to protect the bare cast iron from rust. Types of cast iron cookware include frying pans, dutch ovens, griddles, waffle irons, flattop grills, panini presses, crepe makers, deep fryers, tetsubin, woks, potjies, and karahi.
In Asia, particularly China, India, Korea, and Japan, there is a long history of cooking with cast iron vessels. The first mention of a cast-iron kettle in English appeared in 679 or 680, though this wasn’t the first use of metal vessels for cooking. The term pot came into use in 1180. Both terms referred to a vessel capable of withstanding the direct heat of a fire. Cast-iron cauldrons and cooking pots were valued as kitchen items for their durability and their ability to retain heat evenly, thus improving the quality of cooked meals.
Copper provides the highest thermal conductivity among non-noble metals and is therefore fast heating with unparalleled heat distribution (see: Copper in heat exchangers). Pots and pans are cold-formed from copper sheets of various thicknesses, with those in excess of 2.5 mm considered commercial (or extra-fort) grade. Between 1 mm and 2.5 mm wall thickness is considered utility (fort) grade, with thicknesses below 1.5 mm often requiring tube beading or edge rolling for reinforcement. Less than 1mm wall thickness is generally considered decorative, with the exception made for the case of .75–1 mm planished copper, which is hardened by hammering and therefore expresses performance and strength characteristic of thicker material.
You shouldn’t wash your Copper pans in the dishwasher. Just wash them with dishwashing liquid. To keep the outside pretty, use copper polish.
Stainless steel is an iron alloy containing a minimum of 11.5% chromium. Blends containing 18% chromium with either 8% nickel, called 18/8, or with 10% nickel, called 18/10, are commonly used for kitchen cookware. Stainless steel’s virtues are resistance to corrosion, non-reactivity with either alkaline or acidic foods, and resistance to scratching and denting. Stainless steel’s drawbacks for cooking use are that it is a relatively poor heat conductor and its non-magnetic property, although recent developments have allowed the production of magnetic 18/10 alloys, which thereby provides compatibility with induction cooktops, which require magnetic cookware.
Since the material does not adequately spread the heat itself, stainless steel cookware is generally made as a cladding of stainless steel on both sides of an aluminum or copper core to conduct the heat across all sides, thereby reducing “hot spots”, or with a disk of copper or aluminum on just the base to conduct the heat across the base, with possible “hot spots” at the sides. In so-called “tri-ply” cookware, the central aluminum layer is obviously non-magnetic, and the interior 18/10 layer need not be magnetic, but the exterior layer at the base must be magnetic to be compatible with induction cooktops. Stainless steel does not require seasoning to protect the surface from rust but may be seasoned to provide a non-stick surface.
Aluminum is a lightweight metal with very good thermal conductivity. It is resistant to many forms of corrosion. Aluminum is commonly available in sheet, cast, or anodized forms, and maybe physically combined with other metals.
Sheet aluminum is spun or stamped into form. Due to the softness of the metal, it may be alloyed with magnesium, copper, or bronze to increase its strength. Sheet aluminum is commonly used for baking sheets, pie plates, and cake or muffin pans. Deep or shallow pots may be formed from sheet aluminum.
Cast aluminum can produce a thicker product than sheet aluminum, and is appropriate for irregular shapes and thicknesses. Due to the microscopic pores caused by the casting process, cast aluminum has a lower thermal conductivity than sheet aluminum. It is also more expensive. Accordingly, cast aluminum cookware has become less common. It is used, for example, to make Dutch ovens lightweight and bundt pans heavy-duty, and used in ladles and handles and woks to keep the sides at a lower temperature than the center.
Steel or aluminum cooking pans can be coated with a substance such as a polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE, often referred to with the genericized trademark Teflon) in order to minimize food sticking to the pan surface. There are advantages and disadvantages to such a coating. Coated pans are easier to clean than most non-coated pans, and require little or no additional oil or fat to prevent sticking, a property that helps to produce lower fat food. On the other hand, some sticking is required to cause such to form, so a non-stick pan cannot be used where a pan sauce is desired. Non-stick coatings tend to degrade over time and are susceptible to damage. Using metal implements, harsh scouring pads, or chemical abrasives can damage or destroy the cooking surface.
Non-stick pans must not be overheated. The coating is stable at normal cooking temperatures, even at the smoke point of most oils. However, if a non-stick pan is heated while empty its temperature may quickly exceed 260 °C (500 °F), above which the non-stick coating may begin to deteriorate, changing color and losing its non-stick properties. Above 350 °C (662 °F), the non-stick coating will rapidly decompose and emit toxic fumes, which are especially dangerous to birds, and may cause polymer fume fever in human beings.
Next time we’ll write about the basic pan set and special pans
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