The Different Types of Cookware

Cookware is an important part of anyone’s kitchen. Without the right cookware it really makes it difficult to cook quality meals at home.

There are a variety of different materials to choose from when buying cookware. The first is stainless steel. This is the most popular and for good reason. Stainless steel cookware is strong, durable and is easy to clean. If it contains a layer of aluminum or copper in the base then it is even better as it provides even cooking and prevents hotspots.

The second type of cookware is cast iron cookware. Cast iron cookware is a favorite for many people. It is strong and almost indestructible. It also cooks foods extremely well but it does have its drawbacks. It’s heavy so takes a bit of muscle to remove from the stove particularly if there is a lot of food in it to begin with.

Cast iron also requires seasoning so there is a little bit of maintenance involved to keep it working as it should. A popular alternative to bare cast iron is enamelled cast iron. This type of cast iron cookware has the best of both worlds. It has all the attributes of bare cast iron, however you don’t need to season it and clean up is a lot easier.

A third material commonly used in the manufacturer of cookware is hard anodized aluminum. This is a very popular choice as this type of cookware is non-stick making for easy cooking and even better – easy clean up! Hard anodized cookware is also quite strong.

Copper is another material used to manufacturer cookware. Copper is the choice for chefs who understand the benefits of copper. Copper is quick to react to temperature changes making it ideal for delicate sauces and gravies. It also cooks evenly preventing hotspots. The disadvantages of copper are that it can be expensive to buy and also difficult to maintain. That beautiful shiny copper needs to be cleaned regularly in order to keep it looking as good as the day it was bought.

REVIEW: Salton QM2R Santa Fe 900-Watt Quesadilla Maker

Salton Quesadilla MakerDoes your family love Quesadilla?  Such a quick and easy dish to make. And a very satisfying meal when served with a nice green salad and refried beans.

Well there’s no reason to go out to eat them when you can cook them exactly to your  own liking right there in your own home.

The Salton QM2R Santa Fe 900-Watt Quesadilla Maker makes cooking quesadillas quick and easy and only in around 5 minutes.

This appliance takes tortillas that are 10 inches in size.

To use you simply place in a soft flour tortilla and then add your fillings. Then top with another tortilla and then close the lid.

What We Like

  • It comes with an owners manual that has recipes included.
  • The plates are nonstick which helps in removing the cooked items easily.
  • It has an indicator light that lets you know when the appliance is ready to use.
  • The top and bottom of the quesadilla maker latch together so you can store this appliance in a vertical position which saves on space.

Some  things to consider:

  • You can’t wash this in a dishwasher and it can’t be immersed in water. The only way to clean this is the wipe it down with a damp cloth or paper towel. But that doesn’t take much effort really.
  • You will have to watch how much filling you add because it doesn’t take a lot of filling before overflowing.

Want to Read More Reviews?

You can read more reviews for the Salton Quesadilla Maker at Amazon

WHERE CAN I GET THE BEST PRICE?

We found the best price at Amazon

Cookware Review: Calphalon Contemporary NonStick Roaster Set

calphalon-contemporary-nonstick-roaster-setOur lastest review is for the Calphalon Contemporary NonStick Roaster Set.

With Thanksgiving  fast approaching  we thought that this was the perfect piece of cookware to review.

Not that its use is limited to Thanksgiving. You can use this roaster at any occasion when  friends and family get together to to celebrate and enjoy each others company. Good food – good wine  – good company, what more could you want.

Now I have to tell you what we love about this roasting pan.  Well for a start it will fit a turkey up to 25lbs and  then there is the added bonus in that clean up is a breeze – the non-stick surface makes it so easy. And who wants to spend most of their Thanksgiving and Christmas scrubbing away at pots and pans – not me that’s for sure.

There are some bonus pieces included with the roaster  – a non-stick rack, a baster and lifting forks. This roasting pan and accessories are great value for money and this roaster is one you will use for years to come.

Read the full review here: Calphalon Contemporary Non-Stick Roasting Pan

Cooking With Olive Oil for Weight Loss

It’s easy to conclude that any fat will make you gain weight, but that’s not necessarily the case. Not all fats have the same effect on your body. Different fats interact with your body in different ways. Some, such as olive oil, can help you to stay slim.

Olive oil, which features prominently in Mediterranean diets, is a healthy fat that can help you lose weight. In many reviews of best weight loss diets, the top programs are Mediterranean or Mediterranean-inspired. People who follow these types of diets often eat plenty of fish and veggies, which they cook with olive oil.

If anywhere from a quarter to a third of the calories in this type of diet come from fat, how can its followers stay slender? A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition this July described how and why cooking with moderate amounts of olive oil can help you stay slim.

Monounsaturated Fats vs. Polyunsaturated Fats

Which type of fat a person eats is one of the biggest factors in whether he or she will gain weight. Monounsaturated fats are found in foods like nuts, avocados and olive oil. They’re healthier than polyunsaturated fats, which are contained in foods like red meat and sunflower oil.

The study compared participants’ cooking habits and their weight statistics. The researchers took samples of the cooking oils that the participants used and determined whether they prepared their meals with olive oil or sunflower oil. The participants who used more olive oil (or a mixture that included olive oil) were healthier than those who used sunflower oil.

People who consume fewer polyunsaturated fats and more monounsaturated fats—particularly olive oil—are much less likely to be obese than people who don’t. And even though people who like to cook with olive oil might take in a slightly higher number of calories than people who don’t, they still will have a far lower chance of being overweight.

What Does Olive Oil Do?

According to the study, the monounsaturated fats found in olive oil reduce the risk of obesity in three main ways:

  • Healthy fats help you feel full longer. The healthy fats in olive oil help to satisfy your hunger, so you’ll need to eat less (therefore consume fewer calories) throughout the day.
  • Olive oil breaks down fat. Olive oil increases the break down the fat that is stored in the fat cells that make up fatty body mass. This process is called lipolysis. An increase in the rate of lipolysis is necessary when you want to reduce the percentage of your body fat.
  • Regularly cooking with olive oil raises your metabolism. Olive oil provides a boost to your metabolic rate. With an elevated metabolism, you can burn more calories all the time—even when resting.

Olive Oil Helps Reduce Obesity

The study, which followed about 600 people of a wide range of ages, found that those who were regular consumers of olive oil weighed less than people who weren’t. Although both groups ate about the same number of calories, the people who prepared their meals with olive oil took in a higher ratio of mono-unsaturated to polyunsaturated fats. On the other hand, people who ate a greater proportion of polyunsaturated fats were much more likely to be obese.

Some people who follow a diet rich in olive oil could have different eating habits than those who don’t, including taking in more calories, but they’re still slimmer. They have a lower percentage of body fat, their metabolisms are higher, and they feel fuller after mealtime. Regularly cooking your meals with moderate amounts of olive oil could help you stay full, lose fat and burn more calories.


Article provided by Matt Papa is a biochemist who enjoys researching the benefits of-as well as cooking and eating- healthy food. In his leisure time he develops his website where he regularly posts a Medifast discount coupon, offered by a medically approved diet program, and coupons for Nutrisystem discount.


ManPan Stir Fry Wok Review – The Eco Friendly Cookware

ManPan Stirfry PanI never tire of receiving cookware samples to review, so when a box arrived and was sitting on my desk I couldn’t wait to open it. Inside I was happy to find a Manpan stir fry wok.

If you’ve never heard of ManPans before then you’re not the only one. We have been running this website for a few years now and it was only when a representative of the company contacted us that we found out about them.

So who are they? Well, ManPans is a brand of Lloyd Industries and Lloyd Industries supply commercial cookware to restaurants and commercial kitchens. However, their Manpan line of cookware has been developed with the specific purpose of supplying chef quality pans to consumers.

First Impressions…

As I lifted the pan out of the box I was surprised at how light it was. I am so used to cookware like All Clad and Cuisinart Multiclad where the clad bases make the pans feel solid and weighty.

My other initial reaction was that the pan looked a bit rough around the edges. Almost as if it hadn’t been packaged properly and had scuffed during transport.

Okay not a good start, but stay with me here as although these were my initial thoughts, there are explanations for each of them…and things only got better from there.

What’s in the Box

We received a 10in stir fry pan with a steamer and lid. Both the lid and steamer can be purchased separately.

Where is it made?

It’s not very often that you find a pan that is manufactured in the US but this is one of them. This pan is made in Spokane, WA USA.

What is it made of?

Many will be pleased to know that this pan is 100% PTFE and Teflon-free!!

The pan is constructed from hard anodized aluminum so it conducts heat well and means you don’t need to use high temperatures to cook.

Amazing Non-Scratch Surface!!!

The surface of the pan is coated with what the company calls Gem-X2 which they describe as a two layer sapphire/quartz-like natural mineral finish. Apparently it is resistant to scratching, chipping and flaking. They are so sure of the high standard of the finish that they claim that you can rub a coin across the coating and it will not scratch the surface and in fact, it will wear down the coin instead. I found this a bit too good to be true but decided to take up the challenge and give it a go.

This was harder than I thought…I hate to see cookware with scratches but for the sake of this review, I knew I had to do it. So out came the coin and away I went scratching at the surface. I tried it first on the bottom surface of the steamer as I didn’t want to ruin the pan itself.

It was pretty amazing actually. After a lot of effort with the coin, the surface did have what looked scratches although they were quite faint. BUT as soon as I rubbed the scratches with a damp cloth they disappeared. I did it again and again and scratched even harder but each time the scratches just rubbed off. In fact they just came off by rubbing the area with my thumb.

I then tried it on the pan itself and had the same result.

I checked the pan a day later to see if the scratches ‘suddenly reappeared’ but no they were gone for good and in fact I couldn’t even find the spot where the scratches were to begin with.

And for those that need to see the results take a look at the pics below:

Manpan - Scratch Marks Made with a Coin

 
Manpan - Scratch Marks Disappeared

The Shape

The pan has deep curved sides and is not as open as the tradtional style wok that we are used to …but we need to remember that we are looking at an American style wok here not a traditional wok… so we won’t get into comparisons between the two.

However, for those that aren’t aware, a traditional wok has a wide opening and a small handle on each side. The bottom is curved and requires a stand for it to sit secure on the stove top. An American style wok, on the other hand, is known as a stir fry pan. It has a flat base and one long handle and sometimes a handle helper. So although they are basically designed to do the same job they are quite different in their construction.

I find that this is a great pan to move food around in as the sides are deep and curved.  It is surprising just how much food you can fit into this 10in pan. And the flat bottom ensures that the pan stays secure on the stove top.

Does it generate enough heat?

The goal for any stir fry pan or wok is to generate a lot of heat. This is so foods cook quickly and evenly – a low heat tends to cause the foods to stew in their own juices which means that the meat can become tough and vegetables soggy and unpalatable. For this reason we really wanted to focus on this aspect of the pan to ensure it made the grade. If it didn’t there really was no point reviewing any further.

So what did we find?

We’re happy to say that the pan did exceptionally well in the heat department. I actually used my own stovetop for testing. And we used it on a hot plate that is renowned for not generating a lot of heat so we were surprised that the pan did so well. The pan got hot quickly and maintained good solid heat the entire time.

I would tend to think that because this pan doesn’t have a thick base is what makes the difference here. It means the pan heats up quickly and maintains the heat during the cooking process.

Can it be used on a ceramic stove top?

Yes definitely – the pan is safe to use on ceramic stove tops.

Can I use the Manpan in the oven?

Yes, these pans are oven safe to an amazing 700F…not that there are many home ovens that get anywhere near to that temperature but at least the option is there if you need it. Just be aware however that the lid is only oven safe to 400F.

What is the handle like?

The handles stay cool on the stovetop but ensure that you use oven gloves if using in the oven as they will get hot. It also feels quite comfortable to hold.

Beauty Marks…

Manpan - Eg of Scuff MarksAs I mentioned in the opening paragraph, this pan arrived with what looked like scuff marks. You can see an example of what I mean in the image. These were examples of marks found on the steamer but there were also minor marks on the pan itself.

I attributed it to poor packaging, however on checking the manpan website I found the following:

“We believe the Gem-X2 finish quality of our pans gives you the most beautiful cooking results imaginable. Our exclusive manufacturing process leaves an occasional harmless streak, smudge or rack mark on the cookware and we don’t overfinish them with unnecessary pretty coatings. We call these our “beauty marks”.”

I guess when your priority is to supply cookware for industrial applications where the performance of the cookware is the top priority then a few ‘beauty marks’ on the final look of the cookware isn’t an issue.

This may work with those in the industry but I just wonder about home cooks. I must admit that I was initially disappointed at seeing the scuff marks but on the other hand I quickly got over it after using the pan and assessing its performance.

Eco-Friendly?…definitely!

Being eco-friendly is definitely something this company is good at. Here’s what they had to say about their cookware:

“Since we manufacture, anodize and finish all our pans in one US location, we save carbon by reducing transportation. Our anodizing process is very clean both in sewage and air quality and receives high marks from the Washington State Department of Ecology. Our finishing technology contains no petroleum products, no PFE or PFOA, is water based and completely non-reactive. From manufacturing to our finished product, we are truly embracing the most eco-friendly cookware available.”

You can read more about it here…Man Pan Eco Green Manufacturing

Does it come with a warranty?

Yes, the pan comes with a lifetime warranty for any defects in material and workmanship. Plus if you aren’t happy with the pan for any reason you can return it in 30 days for a refund.

Our Final Analysis

If you’re looking for perfection then you may be disappointed if the pan happens to turn up with minor scuff marks or discolortions. People tend to expect everything to be just right when they purchase something new so I can only think that this may be an issue for some. Just be aware that this in no way detracts from the ability of this pan to do the job intended.

Overall if you are looking for a green eco friendly pan that stir frys exceptionally well then we definitely recommend this pan. It’s strong but light, it looks good, feels good and does a beautiful job at generating the required amount of heat for cooking stir frys.

Recommended Links

>Watch a Video to see the pan in action – ManPan Videos

>Read more about Manpan Eco Green Manufacturing

>The Manpan Homepage

>Read more about the ManPan Stirfry Pan.

>Check out prices here.