Sunday, 9 December 2012

Metal lids VERSUS Glass lids

When you are purchasing cookware, there are options. MANY options: non-stick or stainless? Silicone handles or metal handles? Induction suitable or not? Which line is the best for YOUR ability? The questions and answers are endless. Before you starts, please consider:
-Are you a beginner or advanced cook? (Generally, beginner cooks like non-stick and advanced cooks like stainless steel.)
-The types of food you enjoy cooking and cook the most.
-Do you have an induction cooking range or will you upgrade to one in the future?
-Do you dishwash your pots and pans?
-What types of utensils you like using when cooking? (Metal versus silicone versus wood.)

 One very important option to consider is: the choice between glass lids or stainless steel (AKA "metal") lids.

The low-down on glass lids:
-Glass lids are preferred for beginner cooks because you "visually" see what you are cooking.
-Less costly to produce, thus less cost.
-Dishwasher safe!
-The downfall? If you accidentally drop it, it may shatter, break, or crack.
-The edges of the lid are difficult to keep clean over time.

Overall: I recommend glass lids for beginner cooks since they enjoy "seeing" the food cooks!

The low-down on stainless steel lids:
-Perferred for people who want a "polished" and professional "look" to their cookware.
-Stainless steel is more costly to produced, thus a higher price.
-Dishwasher safe. It is easier to keep clean around the edges versus glass lids.
-If you accidentally drop a metal lid, it will not break or shatter like glass lids, it will slightly dent.
-The downfall: You are unable to "see" what you are cooking, this is hard for beginner cooks or when you are cooking a new dish.

Overall: I recommend metal lids for more intermediate-advanced cooks or people who want a true professional "look" for their cookware.

Also, when you are purchasing glass lids, make sure they are 'TEMPERED."What is a tempering? Is is a process that includeds extreme heat and rapid cooling to make tempered glass 5x stronger than standard glass. Thus, temepered glass lids will not break once heat is invovled.
Do you see a small "air" pocket in your glass lid? That is a bad thing....a very bad thing. Why? It means the glass lid was not tempered properly, thus it could shatter or break once exposed to constant heat when cooking.

Be sure to check your manufactures warranty, and retail store returning policy, regarding lids before purchasing!

Happy Cooking,

Monday, 3 December 2012

Vanilla: The most over-looked flavor. Honestly.

I love, LOVE vanilla. And by vanilla, I mean the REAL deal. No imitation, liquid-mess for me. Pure vanilla beans or extract add a subtle hint to your baked good. It acts how salt does to savory food:  brings out the most pure and true flavor of the ingredient you are baking with.

I often get a "shocked" face when I tell people I enjoy vanilla and it ranks as one of my favorite flavors. "Why?" They always ask,  "You're a foodie, you cook and bake for a living! Vanilla is so...blah." Not to me, vanilla has been washed down with imitation flavors and ingredients. I saw a white cake recipe with no vanilla extract!!! Oh why! People often see, if it a white, pale, or yellow color baked good, it MUST be vanilla flavored. Nope. There are small differences between white cake, vanilla cake, and yellow cake.

Knowing vanilla beans are costly, I use them sparingly. I go for real vanilla extract. Be sure to make sure the label says "REAL" not "IMITATION." What exactly is imitation vanilla? It is byproducts of wood and contains weird chemcicals. Gross. If the bottle says "vanilla flavoring," that is a combination of real and fake vanilla extracts. <-- and="and" anilla="anilla" baking="baking" bean="bean" blog="blog" by="by" check="check" delightful="delightful" her="her" is="is" out="out" psst="psst" sarah.="sarah." strong="strong" sweet="sweet" the="the" truly="truly">

I always use vanilla extact in my cookies, cakes, and frostings. It adds a soft richness that you, and your taste testers, will notice. Don't over look it the next time you want to bake something delicious: vanilla bean pound cake, vanilla shortbread, vanilla cream cheese frosting, vanilla-chocolate sauce....

Happy Baking,
Kimm AKA Vanilla lover!