≡ Menu

How to Buy, Season, and Maintain Cast Iron Cookware

Cast iron cookwareI have always been very impatient. I need everything done at the lightening fast speed. I can’t tolerate the slow routines, the waiting in the queues or anything which is not instant. Hence, when I started living on my own, I asked my mother to come down to my place and help me fill my kitchen with all the fast and smart appliances. After the shopping, we started to organize the kitchen when I saw a shiny black colored Cast Iron Skillet in the utensils. I was appalled by the choice as all the seasoning and maintenance of the cast iron cookware was not my thing.

My mother showed me how to do it and said that it would be easy as anything. I have been following her advice since then and find that the maintenance and seasoning of the Cast Iron Cookware are not that much a big deal after all. And believe me, if I can do it, anyone can. So, here I am with my little wisdom on the cast iron and hope that you find it useful.

Buying Guide:

Best Cast Iron Cookware

It is really important that you make the purchase as per your requirement. The family size, the amount of food you generally require, the kinds of food you prefer, the ease of using, and of course, your budget; all should be considered while buying a cast iron cookware. I mean, you won’t want to buy a pan large enough for a family of 4, while you have to use it for only yourself. It would be a waste. And likewise, you won’t want to buy a wok when all you cook can be cooked in a skillet itself.

Keep the budget as well as quality in focus. Don’t buy very high priced items, if you are on a tight budget, but please don’t buy very cheap ones too. They will chip, require more seasoning, lose the protective coating and will take forever to get cleaned. Invest in something good which comes with a perfect balance of price and quality. But do not forget to read cookware set reviews. They will aid you in choosing the best option for you. The Foodista is a terrific cookware review site. Visit their website to get the best cookware within your budget.

Seasoning Tips:

Seasoning of the Cast Iron CookwareSeasoning of the Cast Iron Cookware varies from person to person and region to region. Generally, all the good quality Cast Iron Cookware comes pre-seasoned. You can use them directly if you want. But an extra protection will not do any harm right. Hence, put some oil in the cast iron cookware and heat it. Spread the oil all over the cooking surface and let it get real hot. Once you see the bubbles appear on the sides, switch the heat off and rub the extra oil with some tissue. Wipe all the extra oil away. You can feel that the surface has become really non-sticky. Now, put the cookware on heat again and heat it till it starts smoking. Once it is done, turn off the heat and rub it once more with the kitchen towel. Give it a good rub and you are ready with your seasoned Cast Iron Cookware.

Now, I take only 4 minutes for that, being the speedy me (just for laughs). Hope you should be free in the same time too.

Finally, let us have a look at the maintenance of the Cast Iron Cookware.

Maintenance of Cast Iron Cookware:

Maintenance of the cookware is also easy. You can clean it with normal dishwashing soap and water. There is a popular myth that you shouldn’t use the soap on the cast iron cookware as it harms the seasoning. But, I have been cleaning my skillet with soap only since past month and have not faced any such problem. The oil we have used for the seasoning has already stuck to the surface of the cookware in a plastic like form which means the soap cannot harm it. But, beware; don’t soak it in the water. This can harm your seasoning.

Store the Cast Iron Cookware in a dry place so as to keep the moisture erosion at bay.

Panasonic Rice Cookers – Best value for Money

Panasonic Rice CookersPanasonic Rice Cookers are some of the popular as well as trusted electronic appliances. Bearing the seal of quality promise, the rice cookers from Panasonic are well suited for almost all family sizes and are friendly to all the budgets. Cookers have been designed in such a manner that minimum counter space is occupied and counter remains clutter-free. The easy to use menu, cooking cycles, texture settings and keep-warm feature can be used by almost all the people without getting confused. Apart from the normal cookers, there are fuzzy logic cookers which are one of the most advanced cookers in the market are also manufactured by Panasonic. The main advantage of buying the Panasonic Rice Cookers is that they are very aptly priced.

Price vs Range:

The Panasonic Rice Cookers can be bought from around $30 onwards. There are around 30 models of various capacities available in the market and each one of them has different features. The cheap cookers are the basic ones that come with the basic accessories such as cooking pan, spatulas, steamer trays, measuring cup etc. Some models come without the steamer trays which can be bought as the additional accessory along with the cooker.

The fuzzy logic cooker comes in the price range of $200 which is cheaper as compared to the other brands. All the cookers have been priced very fairly. The quality and the competitive prices make the Panasonic Rice Cookers as one of the most used and preferred brand.

Accessories:

Some rice cookers come with the additional cooking pan which means that if you have to cook for a large party than usual, then you can use both of them to cook rice. Similarly, you can use one of the cooking pans to cook one kind of rice and the other one to cook soup, stew or some other rice dish. This gives you the ability to cook more than one thing in the same cooker without having to empty the cooking pan. If the food gets cold, you can use the keep-warm feature or the reheat cycle in the Panasonic Rice Cooker without any worries.

A double decker steamer tray is also available which can be used to make momos, steam veggies, soya chunks, meat etc. Apart from that, there are idli plates, dish separator pans, and steaming basket too.

Why Panasonic?

Panasonic has established its name as one of the leading electronic appliance manufacturer in the world and has earned repute with its flawless products. The customer support is good. You are able to find the parts, accessories and products themselves at almost all the stores.

Panasonic Rice Cookers come with very easy menu and even novices will be able to operate it very easily. Hence, they are the best rice cookers one can buy in the market at such exciting and competitive rates. If you are going to buy a rice cooker, it is very important to go through best rice cooker reviews as otherwise you will lose your money for a bad product.

How To Bake Bread Like Pro?

How many times have you walked past a bakery, and you have been lured by the incredible smell of freshly baked bread? How many times you wished your house would smell like that? How many times has the thought of baking bread at home crossed your mind baker?

kneading dough by  handWhen I was a little girl, I used to put a cap over my head, and knead the dough with my mom in her kitchen. Then I’ll look through the oven’s glass door how the bread would get bigger and browner. When my mom would open the oven door, the delicious smell of freshly baked bread would fill the entire house.

Good bakers, professionals, always choose the best bread making machine in order to have the best bread. A few of the top brands recommended by professional chefs are Zojirushi, Panasonic, Cusinart or Breville, and I’m positive that after baking just a few times, using one of these, you will agree with me.

This is when, I also realized that it was high time to pick one now for my little apartment. I started my search for a good bread making machine from my mom, who informed me about not knowing any brands. I did some online searching and froze on couple of bread machine brands. If you are also thinking of buying a new bread machine, then you must first read bread machine reviews at eco-chef. Eco-chef.com analyzes user-generated bread maker reviews and recommends products for purchase based on their research and findings.

bread machine panasonicI chose the Panasonic bread machine because of the easy bread baking process and its simple control panel. It’s control panel makes it highly intuitive and very easy to use, even for an inexperienced baker. I love its features and the best thing is its price. It provides total value for the money. It has got features similar to high end Zojirushi bread machine and but at half the price. The first time when I made my first loaf, I enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed baking bread when I was a little girl.

The Panasonic bread making machine is equipped with a lid which can be opened any time during the cooking process, this feature is helpful for beginners who wish to see how simple dough become a loaf and keep a close track on the loaf’s color. There’s also a delay timer. You can add ingredients and start it whenever it’s convenient for you.

So, you don’t have to become a baker in order to eat a good bread, you don’t have to be a dreamer, all you have to do is to buy a good bread machine and bake like a pro. Here are some good recipes to try.

Espresso Machine Parts Glossary

espresso machineOne of the most common types of questions I see in my inbox goes like this: “What is boiler?” or “What is a portafilter?” People, who want to buy a new espresso machine rarely, really know what they should look for and how to choose the right one for their home or office. That fact makes the process very difficult and sometimes you may end up with a machine you don’t want. That is why you would find very helpful the following list, which will explain the different parts of the modern espresso machine.

Portafilter

The meaning of this essential part of the espresso machine is portable filter. It is made of metal and consists of a handle, a basket and some spouts. Experienced baristas recommend for the portafilter to be always warmed before it is used to make espresso. Its design varies from model to model, but the main job of the portafilter is the same – it filters the coffee and provides for its fragrance.

Tamper

The tamper is used to press the ground coffee in the protafilter. There are different designs of tampers, some of which are hand tampers.

Group Head

The group head, known also as the brew head, is the part that holds the portafilter during the brewing process. It is situated at the front of the espresso machine and is another important part of it. Most customers categorize the machines according to the number of group heads they have – one, two, three or four.

Boiler

This particular part of the espresso machine can vary in size and material. Most of them are made of brass and stainless steel. The size of the boiler is the most important thing about it, as large boilers heat up slowly and need more power to maintain the temperature, but also make it possible to make more cups of delicious espresso. Today, many espresso machines come with two separate boilers – one for brewing and one for steam.

Pump

The pump of the espresso machine is used to fill the boiler and to push the water through the group head. It is usually made of brass and has water in and water out fitting. In some machines the pump can be turned on and off manually.

Pod

The pod is a contained and pressed grounded coffee, placed inside perforated paper filter. You can buy them individually, as they come well wrapped up to preserve their freshness.

These are the major working parts or an espresso machine. What you should consider carefully is the make and model of the part you are buying, as well as that the brand of coffee you use for your espressos is of great importance.