How to Choose an Indoor Grill

Grilling is one of the most healthy cooking options. It lets any grease drain away from the food, cutting down on your fat intake and total calorie intake.

Almost anything can be grilled, from fish to steaks to veggie burgers. What you cook on your grill is limited only by your imagination.  Unfortunately for those us that don’t live in Hawaii or Florida sometimes we have to grill indoors. So the question is how to choose an indoor grill?

The first thing you’ll want to consider when choosing an indoor grill is if you want a stovetop model or a countertop model. There are benefits and disadvantages to both.

  • Countertop: A counter top model is a great cooking option. You can find countertop grillswith a heavy lid so that the food cooks evenly on both sides in much less time. You can find countertop grills that are set at an angle so any grease drains away from the food and into a grease

    trap. The only real disadvantage to a counter top indoor grill is the space you will need for storage when it isn’t in use.

    Stovetops: A basic stovetop grill is more commonly referred to as a griddle.  You’ll want a heavy cast iron grill so you can use the highest heat possible on your stove. The only disadvantage of a stovetop model is that grease doesn’t drain as easily as with a counter top model. Although there are stovetop grills available that have a raised cooking surface which helps to eliminate this problem.  The best benefit of a stovetop grill is the high heat you can use.

How to choose an indoor grill basically boils down to whether or not you want to cook on the stovetop or use a separate countertop model. Both are great choices when you’re forced to move the grilling back indoors in the dead of winter. With an indoor grill you can enjoy that great grilled flavor all year round.

CorningWare French White 7-Ounce Ramekins, Set of 4

A set of ramekins are a must for  any well equipped kitchen. Ramekins can be used as a small bowl for dipping  sauces, a bowl for your morning cereal and of course for cooking up individual  servings of custard, flan, and crème brulee.  They can even be used as small  fruit bowls and for dipping sauce.

I have a set of these ramekins, actually I have 8 of them. Along with everything else you can use them for, I find them great for making individual chocolate muffins. A treat I don’t make very often thanks to an ever spreading waistline.

These CorningWare French White 7-Ounce Ramekins are really well made.  They are a manufactured  stoneware that can hold up to the harshest treatment.  You can use them in the freezer, the fridge, the microwave and even  in the oven.

CorningWare French White ramekins,  are slick and non-porous. You don’t have to worry about food sticking to the  sides or staining. Since it’s non porous you don’t have to worry about any  strong food odors transferring between dishes.

The ramekins have a classic design with a flared lip and  fluting along the outer sides for a traditional classic look. These are a bit  larger than standard ramekins but that just makes them that much more  functional.

What We Like:

  • CorningWare have so much faith in their product that their French White Ramekins come with a ten year warranty. Something not too many other companies have the confidence to do.
  • They are  a quality set that can be used in any cooking environment. So the price is very reasonable for what you get. The Corningware set is quite competitively priced  compared to some other sets we looked at.
  • We really like the 7 ounce size. They are bigger than the  traditional four ounce ramekin. This just means that we get bigger crème brulee  servings, not exactly a bad thing.  The larger size also makes them much more  functional than standard four ounce units.

And while you are thinking about creme brulee you might like to consider buying the Bonjour Chef’s Torch.

Canning Before the All American Home Canner/ Pressure Cooker was Available

Long before the advent of the All American Pressure Cooker Canner, preserving food was a necessary task.  And the methods used in the past were often tedious.

The history of home canning can quite easily be traced to the early 1800s. But there are plenty of suggestions that man’s attempt to preserve food started well before that. The Egyptians used to place sealed jars containing food in the Pharaohs tomb for his use in the afterlife. The Romans certainly used sealed earthenware containers and buried them for future use. Although these early attempts were hardly successful that evidence of man’s obsession with retaining the bounties of a current harvest for the future.

It is also said that Napoleon authorized the use of sealed glass jars to preserve food for his troops during long campaigns.

As far as what we would currently term canning, the inventor of the Mason jar, John L Mason, first introduced his famous threaded jars in 1858. These jars became the central focus around which our modern approach to home canning developed.

In the early days, fruit was the most commonly preserved item. American women pioneered the increasing use of fruit preservation and extended it to vegetables. The idea was that the home orchard’s produce could be more completely harvested in that all excess fruit and vegetables could be preserved for use during the winter months when fresh produce became unavailable.

As sugar became less expensive and wood-burning stoves became a common household implement, preservation methods developed into a kitchen-based activity which all families could utilize.

The process involved placing the jars in a large bath like, water filled container on top of the wood-burning stove. The food was placed in the jars and went through a cooking process before being filled with hot liquids, usually sugar-based syrup in the case of fruit, to seal the food in, and then applying a screw top lid.

The jars had to be regularly inspected to ensure that there was no spoilage. From all reports, the food was often overcooked but still quite edible. Nevertheless, it fitted the bill for the times, and the cost of food purchases were reduced considerably. Salt and sugar were the main preservative elements of the canning process, so sauces and pickles were favorite products.

There were many other products apart from the Mason jars however. Over the years many manufacturers entered the market and provided kits to be used for home canning. Atlas jars and Bell jars were popular as were the lightning jars manufactured with a metal clamp and a glass lid.

Even if those products are no longer used in today’s home canning industry they are still popular collector’s items and can be found at second-hand shops around the country.

Thank goodness the All American Pressure Cooker Canner has made preserving your excess produce a simple task. Read our review on the All American Presser Canner and in no time at all you will have a pantry stocked full of  home preserved great tasting food  even when it is normally out of season.

A History of the KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer

As our regular readers are aware, we love the KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer and have written a detailed review on the benefits of owning one. So I thought you might like to read the history behind this great looking, excellent performing machine.

The KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer has its origins in the first standing mixer powered by electricity. This first mixer was designed by Herbert Johnson in 1908, and it was primarily designed for commercial use in large bakeries. 

Johnson’s 80-quart electric stand mixer was scaled down to a home “food preparer” and was sold by the newly renamed KitchenAid company in 1919. The new 1919 version of the KitchenAid Stand Mixer was still a bulky machine that weighed around 65 pounds. On top of that, it cost $189.50, or around $2,300 in present day cost.

 In 1936, KitchenAid hired an industrial designer to redesign their stand mixer. Three new models were produced, and the Streamline KitchenAid shape that still characterizes these machines was developed. The price was cut to around $55, making KitchenAid mixers much more affordable for home use. 

Over the years, KitchenAid stand mixers gained a reputation for quality and versatility as a food preparation tool. Virtually from the start, KitchenAid offered a variety of attachments that would allow the machine to perform many different functions. Early attachments included the food grinder, citrus juicer and pea shucker. 

KitchenAid began to offer stand mixers in a bright array of colors in 1955. KitchenAids became available in Petal Pink, Satin Chrome, Sunny Yellow, Island Green and Antique Copper.

Although more than 90 years have passed since the introduction of the first KitchenAid, the machine has remained much the same in many ways. Today’s stand mixers are still produced in the same factory in Greenville, Ohio where the very first 1919 model was manufactured. The mechanics of the original mixer have been altered so little, attachments made in 1919 will still fit today’s KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer. 

Today there are many more colors to choose from when it comes to purchasing a KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer, but the spirit behind offering the original color varieties in 1955 remains the same. Colorful choices make buying, owning and using a KitchenAid stand mixer more fun and exciting for owners. 

The tradition of designing useful attachments that allow the KitchenAid to serve as many roles as possible in the kitchen is also in place now as it was in the past. Today, the Artisan Stand Mixer can not only mix dough and batters, but can serve as a food grinder, citrus juicer, sausage maker and pasta maker, to name but a few roles it can serve.

So there you have it, the KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer – a product manufactured with performance and style, just right for your everyday baking needs.

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.