choosing carefully, choosing well
I made it out to Williams-Sonoma as I was ready to shop for a new addition to my cookware. I got to use the certificate that Michelle gave me – which makes it all the more special. I have been slowly acquiring The Array of Cookware that suits my needs. I hate cooksets. Here is why: No serious cook will ever find the ideal pan for every need in a cookset. It is impossible. Cooksets don’t come with a cast iron skillet for one thing. Secondly, none of the surfaces are all-purpose enough if your repertoire spans more than three styles of cooking. I have an excellent sauté pan for searing. I have an excellent double boiler for pastries and confections. I have a lovely non-stick griddle pan… What I wanted was a high quality non-stick pan for stir fry. I have plenty of workhorse non-sticks, but few can withstand the high heat without warping for more than two or three years.
getting technical about chinese cooking
Some people are intimidated when they walk into Williams-Sonoma because the staff are very knowledgable. I wish REI employees knew as much about the gear they sell as WS employees know about the equipment they sell. These people COOK. So I inquired about the 8.5 quart non-stick dutch oven. The lady didn’t understand why you would want one non-stick. I explained that I wanted it for chinese cooking – that woks are only useful under flames that few domestic ranges can produce and that the high sides of a dutch oven and the wide base allow for clean tossing and even heating for all ingredients. She was intrigued and we discussed the technique at length. She asked if I would invite her over for dinner sometime! In the end, the race between Calphalon and All Clad has been tied in my kitchen. I came away with this:
After the sale and the certificate, it cost me $25. Beautiful. Works for sautés, soups, stews, braising, etc.
decorating with junk
I finally figured out what to do with all of those business cards I’ve collected lo these many years. Some of the best foods I’ve sampled.
After all of that, you’d think I’d have used the new pot for cooking, but no. I like to covet a couple of days before initiation… I made Darling’s Pasta (Jeremy’s parents’ recipe). [Note to self: always buy fresh or frozen tortellini, the dried stuff tastes like crap. Another note to self: if pesto is puke green, don’t buy it.] The ingredients are: pasta, chicken, olive oil, garlic, pesto, sundried tomatoes, roasted peppers, and pine nuts topped with freshly ground pepper and freshly grated parmesan.
Boil pasta al dente. Sauté garlic in olive oil. Add chicken and fry until cooked. Add tomatoes, peppers, pesto and pine nuts – mix. Stir in pasta and cook for another 3 minutes.
Remove from heat and top with pepper and cheese. Serve hot.