Nov 13, 20171647 views

[Ongoing] Stovetop Cooking: Questions & Answers

On Massdrop, you can find enthusiasts on all levels from beginner to expert within any given community. Wherever you find yourself on the spectrum, you should always be able to find your answers.
STOVETOP COOKING A lot goes into making the perfect stovetop meal. Whether you’re using gas, electric, or induction makes a big difference. So do your cookware materials and different techniques. If you're just starting out at the stove, or you have 5-star culinary skills, you've come to the right place.
ASK QUESTIONS Want to know about deep-frying in a dutch oven? Need some pointers on using your wok? Or maybe you just need to figure out the best way to clean something?
The best way to find the answers to your burning questions is to ask the community. There are members who are experts in pretty much every area of cooking you can imagine, and they can help you get from beginner to pro.
Ask your question(s) by posting in the discussion below.
GIVE ANSWERS Many of you in the community know a lot about Stovetop Cooking and have great information to share. We encourage you to help out those that have questions!
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Stickied
Howdy folks!

We have some winners! Congratulations to the following people:
· @CraigLewis
· @djfluffkins
· Mastermung

We appreciate everyone that took part in the the discussion. The giveaway is over now, but if you ever have Stovetop Cooking questions then you should always keep it going.
Duncan
It was an honor just to participate, I never dreamed I would win!
TLDR: Bluestar ranges look to have some very nice features

Spent some time this weekend looking a new ranges (might be making some changes in yee old living situation which would allow doing a custom kitchen). I had originally been thinking of going with a thermador, however, after some discussion the sales guy suggested that I take a look at a brand called Bluestar. I'm not fully sold on them yet, however, they have enough interesting features that I am willing to given them a second look. Figured that I'd post this here and see what folks thought.

Pros:

1. Simplicity is a virtue. The Bluestar designers made a deliberate attempt to eliminate as many features as possible from their ranges. In particular, they tried to get rid of various types of electronics that they felt over-complicated the design and reduced reliability. So there's built in clock, or built in timer, or electronic door locks. There's not even a self cleaning feature. From what I can tell, the only real electronics are the igniters. My guess is that not everyone will consider this to be a "pro", but having had to have my Wolf services three time in eight years, each time for a blown circuit board controlling a door lock, I consider this to be a big plus.

2. Price. In part based on the simple design, in part because they are a single fuel range, the Bluestar is coming in at about 2/3rds the price as an equivalent Thermador.

3. Performance. The Bluestar uses a open burner design that blows away the Thermador. (I was originally steered towards the Bluestar when I started asking about high performance burners for stir frying in a wok). The large burners will crank out 25K BTW and you can sit your wok much closer to the fmaes https://www.theartofdoingstuff.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Cooking-With-Wok-On-Blue-Star.jpg

4. Thoughtful design. The problem with most open burner designs is that they are a pain in the butt to clean. Bluestar has a very modular system where different pieces can be taken apart and brought the the sink / dishwasher for cleaning. In addition, they have integrated drip pans all over the place to prevent spill overs from baking onto the actual range itself.

https://www.theartofdoingstuff.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Blue-Star-Range-Pan.jpg

Cons:

1. No self cleaning over
2. You might need to upgrade your gaslines to handle the draw
3. Absolutely requires a serious hood
4. The ceramic ignitors have a reputation for being brittle

Please note: I haven't yet had the chance to cook on one of these. These preliminary conclusions are based more on internet research than direct experience.
Still, this was all new to me and I thought folks might find it interesting












Recently decided to get into cast iron; purchased an assortment of skillet sizes, so far, so good. Made spaghetti the other night--came out quite good. Try this recipe:
http://www.donalskehan.com/recipes/marthas-one-pan-pasta/
Ok, some wok talk, from my end. I have fallen in love with 8-10 year old Calphalon non stick (Unison line, I think) 13" flat bottom wok with glass domed lid. But it is not staying with me (story for another day).

It's main service at my place is to make curry's, some veggies and the odd stir fry. The stir fly's are becoming more common place, and I want to get into Pad Thai as well, but let's stick with the curry's or saucy meat dishes for now. I had been cooking on a gas range, but have recently switched to a glass top stove. I love the space the wok affords me, to create dishes that serve up to 10 portions and the clean up is FANTASTIC. Clean up is huge for me right now, but if you can convince me otherwise, I will listen. A good portion of my cooking in this vessel is NOT using high heat, such as would be used in the case of stir frying.

My first instinct was to just watch for sales and pick up it's current incarnate replacement - https://www.amazon.ca/Calphalon-Unison-Nonstick-13-Inch-Flatbottom/dp/B0028UAALE or http://www.calphalon.com/en-US/calphalon-cookware/cookware-by-category/woks-stir-fry/calphalon-unison-nonstick-13-wok-with-cover-ca-1756067

So my question, after layman that all out - do I just got with the tried and proven, or is there something different, new, better out there, that I need to consider? If it doesn't come with a lid, that might be ok, as I have some large glass lids which I can share to the wok.
jugtree
If that's what you're comfortable with, and really using it as a large sloped-side pot/pan, then go for it. In the realm of nonstick woks, whatever preferred form factor has the nonstick surface you want at the price you want is the one you want.

If you want to make Pad Thai I suggest using a flat saute pan. The goal is to evaporate the liquid, which a flat pan is going to do much better than a wok. In Thailand they use a flat pan/griddle with very short sides. While the dish does have Chinese origins, they don't use a wok to cook it.

For Chinese stir-frys, the wok's sloped sides lend it to easy tossing, such that you can cook with one hand, and with a side effect that the extremely hot flames can vaporize the air-suspended oil droplets and release the "wok hei" back into the food. No one is going to be doing this at home unless they've expressly outfitted a kitchen for it. So what I've been doing is using an oil mister with my blowtorch to achieve this. Suffice it to say, this is very dangerous and I can't recommend it unless you are well-prepared for the worst. You'll need something better than those recalled Kidde fire extinguishers.

But fret not! Chinese restaurants have high-heat burners so they can get orders out quickly. You can still stir-fry thoroughly enough at home, it'll just take longer. For meat, use the technique called "velveting", it's how it becomes tender quickly. http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/07/chinese-velveting-101-introduction-water-velveting.html
b9d9ffdad3ac59e7f6f
Wow, thanks for the great reply. Yes I like the slope-sided pan effect of the wok. Didn’t think I would, but I grew fond fast.

Water velveting, grin, this is gonna be good. Up until now my relatively good stir frys have employed sliced meat coated in corn starch alone, so of a self taught,watch and cook process. Of course I never thought to YouTube or further research this. I’m sure ducted to try this technique. Rice wine, egg white and CS sound like extra layers of authenticity.

I promise to to read up on Pad Thai before making it again. Thanks for the great directional advice!!!
I need a good dependable stick blender. Any recommendations?
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CBG6
My first choice would be a Waring Pro, which you can find at any restaurant supply company, but they’re expensive. In consumer lines, I’d probably take the All-Clad. Just avoid anything with plastic at the business end, as it can warp in really hot dishes (gravies, for example).
I also use the Kitchen Aid stick, it really works well for home use. At the restaurant, we use the giant Dynamic sticks, but the Kitchen AId is just fine up to about 1 gallon or so.
A good old Lodge dutch oven I have found is the way to go. http://shop.lodgemfg.com/prodcat/dutch-ovens.asp I find cheap cuts of meat are very tasty made into a stew in the dutch oven. What I do want to get into is baking sourdough bread in the dutch oven.
Does anyone have a recommendation for a good set of stainless steel cookware for use on an induction cooktop? I've been looking at WMF, Zwilling and Viking but I don't know who makes higher quality cookware. My budget is upto $400.
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When you say “a lot of All-Clad..” is made in China, which All-Clad pieces are you referring to? It’s my understanding that while their celebrity endorsed stuff like Emerilware, or the appliances are made in China, any cookware is made in Pennsylvania.
Mastermung
it depends. some of it is made in the states, and some pieces in China. For example, when I was shopping for a stock pot, the All Clad ones were Chinese manufactured, such as this one: https://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO-1551522/All-Clad+Pasta+Pot;jsessionid=BCD570C45D1BF1E2245623BD933D46AF.slt-app-03-p-app1?cat=cat450425_All-Clad This roaster is also Chinese: https://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/all-clad-stainless-steel-roaster/?pkey=e%7Call%2Bclad%7C161%7Cbest%7C0%7Cviewall%7C24%7C%7C44&cm_src=PRODUCTSEARCH Most of it is still made in the US and its still superb cookware, but I'm just alerting you to the fact that some of it is NOT made here, and it's not necessarily branded under a celebrity etc. :)
So I've been kinda eyeballing some of the carbon steel pans, because I'm not gonna have a lot of kitchen real estate for a big cast iron skillet in the immediate future. Do they really work as advertised, and almost as well as cast iron??? They're always held up as nearly equal to the venerable cast, and I wanted to hear if anyone cooks with both regularly and would share their thoughts on both.
Snarge
I exclusively use carbon steel and cast iron skillets. From my experiences, the carbon steel pans do work as advertised and akin to cast iron. Carbon steel heats a little faster so sometimes it is even more beneficial than cast iron since it will allow you to get cooking sooner. I would not hesitate to buy carbon steel. Season and upkeep it like cast iron and I'm positive you won't be disappointed. My carbon steel pans get used more than my cast iron, despite having two very nicely seasoned cast iron pans. Pick up the Mafter pan offered here. I have three brands, Mauviel, DeBuyer, and Mafter Bourgeat, and like them all, but the lack of handle rivets on the Mafter makes cleaning super easy.
jkiemele
This is right on, I would only add that carbon steel is prone to hot spots, and stirring is a real priority for long cook times,stews, etc.
Has anyone had experience using All Clad tri-ply cookware on a portable induction cooktop? I find that mine makes a high pitched noise that is annoying but tolerable; was wondering if this is the norm, or if my pan has some sort of defect.
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mistermunchiezz
As mentioned, this is not that uncommon with induction units. It is not a defect in the pan. It's the way the induction coil is energized with that pan.
mistermunchiezz
My HappyCall Plasma Induction pan has the same experience when I'm heating up the pan on the high setting. But it stops after a few seconds.