Ahhh… the New Year… Every January I think my life will slow back to a normal pace again because the crazy holidays are over. Every January I am wrong. Why is it that January feels just as busy, if not busier than December? Maybe it’s that feeling of a new beginning and so far to go before you reach your goals? Start the race off with a sprint, so to speak? Or maybe it’s because we all finally slow to a stop when the holidays eventually arrive, and gearing up to go again seems hard?
Regardless, the fresh start of January makes me strive for success, efficiency and new promises. I, along with many other people, make grandiose plans (aka “resolutions”) about how the next year will unfold. When it comes to the kitchen, some people resolve to cook more healthfully. Others just resolve to cook more often. I usually resolve to venture into cooking a different ethnic cuisine. This year, I’ve started by working my way through my newest favorite cookbook – “Jerusalem” by Yotam Ottolengi and Sami Tamimi. Yotam Ottolengi is my favorite chef/cookbook author. His food is beautiful, creative and I have yet to come across something that I didn’t love or that didn’t turn out how I wanted it to. If you haven’t seen any of his stuff and have an adventurous kitchen spirit, I highly recommend both his books – “Plenty” and “Jerusalem”.
But, enough about me and more about you… What are YOUR kitchen resolutions? Are you going to entertain more? Promise to try new techniques or dishes? Or maybe you’re hoping to make more homemade meals for your family this year? Maybe you’d like to commit to one vegetarian meal a week? Or promise to eat fish once a week? I think I can subscribe to all those resolutions.
How can I help you with those resolutions? The same way I’ve tried to help cooking students throughout my career – by setting you up for success with good cookware. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again … the two essentials in the kitchen are a good set of pots and pans and a good chef’s knife. If that were all you had in your kitchen, you’d be ok (not necessarily happy, but ok!). Well, your opportunity to upgrade your cookware set to a great set is coming on Wednesday January 16th on QVC!
There are three qualities that matter to me when I’m looking for cookware: performance, durability and beauty (in that order). A pan that performs well distributes the heat evenly, from one side of the pan to the other. There should be no hot spots in the pan where food tends to burn or brown faster. If you’re looking for a non-stick surface in your high-performance cookware, that non-stick had better be top notch – metal utensil safe PFOA-free non-stick that is guaranteed to release foods for a lifetime. If the pans happen to be certified by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), well that’s an even better promise that your cookware is professional quality or commercial grade.
When it comes to durability, of course a lifetime warranty is a good sign that the manufacturer believes it will last through all your cooking years, but there are other signs that let you know you have a durable set of cookware. Look for riveted handles so you know the handles will never come loose and need tightening with a screw driver. Make sure the lids are either metal or glass with metal rims, and be sure that the fabrication of your cookware is of a durable material – hard anodized aluminum is a very hard surface and clad metals are incredibly durable.
That leaves us with beauty, and we all know that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder so I can only tell you what I find beautiful in cookware. I happen to love the professional look, but have to admit that adding a pop of color to that professional look really appeals.
So, you know what I’m going to tell you next… yes, the cookware that will be available on QVC on January 16th has all the great qualities I mentioned above. It is professional quality hard anodized cookware with guaranteed-for-life PFOA-free colored nonstick. It is certified by the NSF, the handles are riveted on, the oven safe glass lids have metal rims, and yes, I think it is beautiful although I can’t pick a favorite color out of the six to choose from. What more can I tell you? Well, I’ll just tell you two things: I’ll tell you how we tested the non-stick surface, and I’ll give you a sneak peak at just two special pieces I’ll be presenting on Wednesday.
I’m always amazed by the extreme testing that we put the Technique pans through but never really get to tell you when I’m presenting them on QVC. Dupont tested the nonstick over and over again in order to give it a lifetime warranty. They tested it by rubbing the non-stick surface with a green scrubby that is weighed down with a 10-pound weight. They pass the scrubbie over the surface of the pan 5,000 times. Then they heat the pan up, add NO oil and fry an egg. If the pan releases the egg, they do another 5,000 passes with the 10-pound green scrubby. Dupont did this OVER 1.2 million times before the non-stick on the pan failed. The test was run with three machines working for 10 hours a day, seven days a week and it took 45 days to finish! THAT is impressive, and that’s a non-stick I can stand behind. Now, having said that, remember that it is a beautiful colored non-stick and because of the color, can show scratches if you are rough with it (or rub it with a 10-pound green scrubby! ), but the non-stick is guaranteed to always perform like non-stick.
The set that we’re presenting on Wednesday is very cool. It has all the essential pieces AND it has BIG pieces, but I’m most excited about two NEW pieces. One is a 10-inch grill-sauté pan with a vented glass press. After some thought, I realized that there is no need to have both a sauté pan AND a grill pan. These two pans can easily morph into one pan and save you precious cabinet space.
A grill-sauté pan gives you a sauté pan with the ability to acquire more interesting browning marks and yet can still be used for braising, frying, oven-roasting and sautéing. Conversely, a grill-sauté pan gives you a grill pan with higher sides so that after grilling you can actually make a pan sauce if you want to. It’s a win-win!
The other NEW piece is a vented glass press. This is the first glass press of it’s kind. I’ve battled with glass presses in the past because while they help to brown foods and keep them flat in the pan, they also hold moisture in the pan and moisture is an inhibitor to browning. By venting the glass press with holes right through the glass, some of the moisture that wants to build up in the pan is allowed to escape and the result is even better browning. It also works really well as a splatter guard. (I cook turkey burgers for my sweet dog, Sadie, and use the press all the time to keep the burger flat and keep my stovetop clean!)
So, Wednesday’s offer is a high-end, high-performance hard anodized cookware set with great color and great nonstick. It has the essential pieces, it has big pieces and it has a couple of very cool new pieces. It’s high-performance, durable and … in my eyes at least… beautiful!
Make sure you tune in to check it out throughout the day, and don’t miss the full hour of Technique products at 10am ET. Set yourself up to succeed with your new kitchen resolutions!