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

Cuisinart Chefs Classic NonStick Hard Anodized 17 Piece Cookware Set Review

Cuisinart Chefs Classic 17pc Hard Anodized Cookware SetThis set contains a 1½ quart saucepan with lid, a 2 quart saucepan with lid, a 3 quart saucepan with lid, an 8 inch skillet, a 10 inch skillet, a 12 inch skillet with lid, a 4 quart sauté pan with lid, a 9 quart stockpot with lid, a 7¾ inch steamer insert with lid and a 9½ inch pasta insert.

The Hard Anondized Aluminum of this set conducts heat much faster.  This is great but it also means that you have to be careful because everything gets hotter quicker.  You need to turn the heat down much lower than you were used to or you’ll end up with burned food which can stick.

The insides of the pots and pans are a special Cuisinart non-stick substance that’s reinforced with titanium.  This makes it long lasting and extra smooth so that you will be able to cook without oil or very little.  It also makes cleanup a breeze!  Cuisinart say it’s best not to use metal utensils, so you will need to purchase a few inexpensive silicon and wood ones to make this set last.  There’s also a lifetime guarantee, if you look after the set properly!

The lids that come with the Cuisinart Chef’s Classic 17-Piece Cookware Set are glass and are apparently break-resistant.  The glass is a big bonus as you can see the food but there is also a lid for every item in the set.  You won’t have to hunt around for a spare lid that might fit the right pot…they’re all there!  Just be careful as the lids do get hot so you’ll need a potholder.

The other bonuses are the insert for steaming veggies and the one for cooking pasta.  You don’t often get these extras in a cookware set.

My only grumble would be that the pots don’t stack because the lids are domed.  So you will need plenty of space for storage if you want to leave the lids on. If you do stack the pots inside each other, put some kitchen paper between layers to prevent the pots scratching each other.

The set isn’t dishwasher safe but that’s not a problem because they are so easy to clean.  As long as the heat stays low and food doesn’t burn and stick, you can just run them under a tap and everything just slides off.  Even if there are a few burnt bits, a quick soak soon gets rid of it.

The set is safe in the oven up to 500 degrees which is a big help as it cuts down on time and the number of pots you will need to use when making a dish.

All in all, a great set for the price.

Where Can I Buy This Set?

Our ‘best buy’ choice is Amazon

Paula Deen 12 Piece Porcelain Cookware Set

The Paula Deen 12pc Signature Porcelain Cookware Set Includes:

  • 1 quart saucepan with lid,
  • 2 quart saucepan with lid,
  • 2¾ quart saucepan with lid,
  • 6 quart stockpot with lid,
  • an 8 inch skillet,
  • 10 inch skillet,
  • a slotted spoon .
Customer Ratings: [ReviewAZON_Rating_Bar rating="4.5" imagesize="large"]

Paula Deen Cookware Set

“Paula Deen says that this set was inspired by hunting through antique shops with her Aunt.  It is a lovely looking set and is available in charcoal gray, olive green or red.  The sets have tiny black speckles on them which you can’t see in photos on the internet but they are so pretty.

Even the bottoms of the cookware are good-looking, with ‘PD’ for Paula Deen and an ivy pattern in black.  There are also many other pieces available so you can add to it if you wish.

This Paula Deen Cookware Set is basically aluminum (so it heats up quickly and evenly) but has a porcelain exterior and is non-stick inside.  The non-stick inner means that it’s not safe in the dishwasher but it’s so easy to clean that this isn’t a problem.

Because it’s non-stick, you need to be careful not to stack them as this could scratch the surface but they are so pretty that they look amazing hung from a rack or from cup hooks under a cupboard.  The pieces even have copper plated rings already attached to them so they are ready to hang!

The handles are color co-ordinated so the red set has red handles, the green has green ones and the charcoal set has dark grey.  The handles are well fixed on with two rivets and are rubberized so they are easy to hold.  The cookware is safe to use from stove top to oven up to 350 degrees.

The lids are glass so you can keep an eye on what’s cooking and the knobs are copper plated.  This looks very pretty but does mean that the lid handles get hot, so you’ll need a pot holder or oven mitt.

The cookware is safe to use on any stove top BUT there is a warning that letting them sit on a high heat when they are empty may cause the porcelain to stick to a glass cook top.  So if you do have a glass cook top, don’t ever heat them empty and keep the heat low.

Some reviewers have commented on how lightweight the pans are.  It just depends how you like your cookware.  You also have to remember that once the pan is full of food or liquid, it increases the weight.  On a positive note, this set would be ideal for anyone with arthritis or just weak wrists who couldn’t manage a heavier pan.

This is an inexpensive, lovely looking set in a choice of colors which would brighten up anyone’s cooking and would look particularly good in a country style kitchen.”

However I must add that there are mixed reviews about the quality as can be seen by the reviews at the bottom of the page.

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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.

Review: Lodge Logic Pre-Seasoned 10-1/2-Inch Round Griddle

lodge-logic-pre-seasoned-round-griddleDo you like camping as much as you like being in the house? Perhaps you want the secret to how restaurant pancakes taste so great. The Lodge Round Griddle is what you need.

Made of cast-iron, the Lodge Logic Pre-Seasoned 10-1/2-Inch Round Griddle is a great piece that will hold up inside, outside and more for generations, not just years.

This is the type of griddle your grandmother cooked on and likely her grandmother before her. Cast-iron is a tried and true cooking surface and will last for decades or longer if you take care it.

It is important to understand how cast iron works before you start cooking with it. Before cast iron is cooked with it has to be seasoned. This pan has been seasoned in advance of your purchase with vegetable oil. Periodically it may need to be re-seasoned with more vegetable oil to keep it cooking properly.

When it comes to cleaning you should only rinse the Lodge Logic griddle clean with hot water. Soap will remove the oil it has been seasoned with. If there are particles of food that you cannot get off you can scrub the surface with steel. Make sure to dry it thoroughly before you put it away as it can rust if you don’t.

What We Like:

  • This is a good piece that will be with you for generations to come.
  • The griddle cooks evenly.
  • This is a heavy-duty piece that will do just what it’s supposed to.
  • It can be used inside the oven, on the stovetop or on an open fire.
  • The flat edge makes this a great choice for cooking things that need to be flipped like eggs and pancakes.

Other Things to Consider:

  • It has to be hand washed and periodically re-seasoned to keep cooking effectively.

CLICK HERE to buy the Lodge Logic pre seasoned round griddle