I thought it would be fun to do a series of posts on my favorite kitchen items - the ones that I own and use and consider to be essentials to how I cook these days. I was not paid or asked to review any of these items. They're just things that I love, things that I've either bought with my own money or received as a gift from family members, things that I would totally buy again.
Today I'm going to start with what I consider to be the essential and most loved pans for both baking and stove top use.All-Clad
Seriously, you've heard me go on about these before
. I bought my first set when I was about 19 years old, and I still own and use those same pots and pans today at almost 34 years old. Yes, they're expensive, but when they last like that and you know you'll probably never have to replace them, isn't that worth it? Also, they're nice and heavy so they cook evenly. Some people freak out because they're not Teflon coated, but really, if you have a good pan and know how to use it you don't need that non-stick coating. (It's bad for you anyway
If you can only get one, I would totally recommend the D5 three quart saute pan
. This thing is a workhorse! My original set (Master Chef) came with a three quart saute pan and that one is the one I used most out of all of them. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, All Clad did send me the D5 version of this pan a while back in return for participating on a blogger panel when they were released. (What what? My name just a few reviews over from Thomas Keller's review?
HOLLA!!!) However, I would totally spend my own money on this. This is the pan I reach for time and time again when I'm making dinner each night. It's just the best, and it gives the best results.Le Creuset Classic 7 1/4 Qt Dutch Oven
This is the newest addition to my arsenal. I love it for the same reasons I love my All Clad - it's heavy, it gives excellent results, and it's beautiful. It makes me happy to look at this while I'm cooking in it. It's going to pretty much last forever too as long as I take care of it.
I love love love the results I get when baking in these pans. They're heavier than the bakeware you'll find in most of the places you would usually buy bakeware. Cakes rise more evenly, and they don't end up with that rough, crumbly edge and bottom like they do in the cheaper pans. I switched to these for my cake and loaf pans and will never go back.
Also, can we talk about the range of sizes available? WOW!
Do me a favor. Take your air-filled, non-stick coated, flat cheap cookie sheets and give them to someone you don't like. Then, find your local restaurant supply store and buy a few of these. They're the 1/4 sheet size and they are perfect for so much! You can use them for cookies. You can use them for sheet cake. You can use them to heat up frozen fish sticks even! A Silpat
fits PERFECTLY inside them. They don't warp or get crooked in a hot oven.
Best of all? They're actually cheaper than anything you can get at Target or the Walmarts. I think mine were under $6 each.
Check back tomorrow for post two in this series - Tools!