Archive for the ‘cooking’ Category

Choose the best bakeware for your recipe

December 1, 2011

If last year’s holiday breads and cookies didn’t turn out exactly as you hoped, don’t blame it on your oven — at least not yet.

The type of bakeware material you choose affects cooking results; some are better for browning and crisping than others, for instance.

Consult this handy guide of bakeware recommendations from Whirlpool so you know what to expect when using different pans and sheets.

Light-colored aluminum:

Light golden crusts and even browning. Use temperature and time recommended in recipe.

Dark aluminum and other bakeware with dark, dull and/or nonstick finish:

Brown, crisp crusts. May need to reduce baking temperatures 25°F (15°C). Use suggested baking time. For pies, breads and casseroles, use temperature recommended in recipe. Place rack in the center of the oven.

Insulated cookie sheets or baking pans:

Little or no bottom browning. Place in the bottom third of the oven. May need to increase baking time.

Stainless steel:

Light, golden crusts, uneven browning. May need to increase baking time.

Stoneware:

Crisp crusts. Follow manufacturer’s instructions.

Ovenproof glassware, ceramic glass or ceramic:

Brown, crisp crusts. May need to reduce baking temperatures 25°F (15°C).

Today is the last day to safely eat Thanksgiving leftovers

November 28, 2011

Because leftovers only remain safe to eat for four days, you’re going to want to eat up all your turkey, stuffing and gravy by Monday.

(The importance of Thanksgiving leftovers as immortalized in pop culture by  Friends Moistmaker episode)

Ideally, you should freeze all leftovers as soon as possible, but if you throw the rest in freezer-safe bags or containers, it will be good to eat for another six months.

Actually, food technically remains safe to eat forever if it’s frozen, it just loses flavor and moisture.

The USDA wrote these guidelines for safely reheating stored leftovers:

  • When reheating leftovers, be sure they reach 165° F. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of the food. Reheat sauces, soups and gravies by bringing them to a rolling boil. Cover leftovers to reheat. This retains moisture and ensures that food will heat all the way through.
  • Thaw frozen leftovers safely in the refrigerator, cold water or the microwave oven. When thawing leftovers in a microwave, continue to heat it until it reaches 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer.
  • Any leftover “leftovers” thawed by the cold water method or in the microwave should be reheated to 165 °F before refreezing.
  • In a real hurry? It is safe to reheat frozen leftovers without thawing, either in a saucepan or microwave (in the case of a soup or stew) or in the oven or microwave (for example, casseroles and combination meals). Reheating will take longer than if the food is thawed first, but it is safe to do when time is short.

I don’t know about you, but I certainly never knew to reheat my sauces to a full boil…oops.
Make sure to occasionally stir foods when microwaving them, because foods won’t heat evenly (especially if you don’t have a turntable) and cold spots will develop in which bacteria hasn’t been properly killed.

If your stove dies on Thanksgiving

November 23, 2011

Many stoves choose to end their life right around the time you’ve finally finished thawing, brining, trussing and stuffing that huge bird on Thanksgiving morning.

Now your oven very well might be dead, but sometimes you just need to give it the ol’ Fonzie treatment.

Now, I’m not actually suggesting you punch your juke, er…range; but try shutting off your circuit or unplugging your appliance for 20 minutes. It’s always the first advice I give customers before we attempt service — and it’s worked before! Best case scenario, you’re back in business once you plug it back in or reset the circuit.

If you have a gas range and the cooktop is working but the oven isn’t, flip the regulator switch (which automatically cuts off the flow of gas at a certain pressure).

If you’re still getting an error code or the unit is still dead, you’re probably going to need service. You can call us on Friday at 651-222-0011 (opt. 4).

But at least you tried. In a pinch, fire up the grill.

DCS 36 gas cooktop

November 3, 2011
DCS gas cooktop

DCS gas cooktop

DCS Appliances is trying hard to be the go-to brand for people who cook. (You might have seen them in action on America’s Test Kitchen.)

DCS was purchased by the (probably better-known) New Zealand brand, Fisher & Paykel but inherited its focus on performance from the commercial DCS products, so “home chefs” are likely to be pleased.

Especially with the DCS gas cooktops.

Of course faster boil times are great, but you don’t want to screw up delicate sauces when you’re trying to simmer. Sealed Dual Flow Burners, unique to DCS appliances, provide the control you need.

DCS 36 gas cooktop

On the 36 inch gas cooktop (CDU-365), the powerful center burner can roar at 17,500 BTUs on the 36 inch gas cooktop.

This 5 burner gas cooktop can hover at a gentle 140 degree simmer on ANY burner — so you won’t scorch your five pots of chocolate. (Hey, you never know, right?)

Sealed burners and a sleek design mean no more hard-to-reach spills. And heavy duty grates cover the entire stainless steel cooking surface to make sliding larger pots and pans easy (hello, canners!).

Big, distinctive knobs are easy to use and offer visible confirmation of cooktop temperatures.

There’s also a 4 burner 30 inch gas cooktop, which like the 36 inch cooktop can drop into any kitchen counter. And a one-touch downdraft vent can be added to both the 30 in and 36 in models.

Capital Range: Capital Culinarian

September 23, 2011

If you’re not much of a cook, you should probably just stop reading now. Capital range got an earful about how crappy the burners are on a standard range. In response, the appliance-maker built the Capital Culinarian.

Some cooks just want a commercial-looking range but need the safety of a sealed-burner system (several flames rising around a burner cap). The Culinarian sharply departs into both a commercial fit and finish AND the power and performance as an open burner range that’s closer to that of a restaurant kitchen.

The flame rises from each part of the burner ports to provide the most even heat distribution and best cooking results. Sure, some ranges offer BTUs in the upper teens and maybe even 20s, but that’s generally one burner — and you’d have to move your cookware to a different burner when it’s time to simmer.

Capital wisely gave each burner 23,000 BTUs of power AND the ability to simmer at an incredibly low 140 degrees F.

But it’s the way the temperature interacts with the cookware and food that makes the difference.

Would you rather trust your sauce to 94 evenly spaced flames or one or two circles of flame with large separations? And imagine how fast your water will boil when you’re heating the entire pot rather than just a couple rings of heat.

Plus, the open burner system targets the center of a wok cooking and distributes heat evenly.

Positioning the top oven rack 3 inches from the broiler achieves the best, most-efficient broil, though strangely, competitive products add an extra3 inches. Obviously, those who love to cook appreciate these differences.

And those that love to griddle or grill can go single (12 inch at 18,000 BTUs) or double (24 inch at 30,000 BTUs) on either option.

Or stretch your burners all the way across your new favorite toy, which comes in 36″, 48″ and 60″.

Is it safe to microwave foods?

September 12, 2011

Nobunny should ever put metal in the microwave!

Despite the sensational headline, yes, it is safe to microwave foods.

But some methods of microwave cooking and reheating can be harmful or downright dangerous.

This becomes especially important knowledge for college students now away from the watchful eye that kept them from blowing up the house for 18 years. I stopped flammables from going in a microwave more than once as an undergrad.

For the rest of you, here are some basic DOs or DON’Ts (adapted from the USDA and Food Network) :

DON’T put metal in a microwave…ever. You will cause sparking and potential damage. This includes aluminum foil and those portable coffee mugs.

DO microwave by number. Avoid plastics No. 3, No. 6 and No. 7, as these could leach chemicals into your foods. Plastic wrap and Styrofoam can also melt. Transfer to a different container and use a glass lid to cover the food.

DON’T heat acidic foods, like tomato sauce, in plastic containers.

DO choose containers made of glass or ceramic or plastic that’s made for microwaving.

DON’T cook large cuts of meat on full power. Instead, use medium power (50%) for longer periods to ensure heat reaches the center without overcooking outer areas.

DO stir or rotate food halfway to eliminate cold spots where harmful bacteria can survive.

 

Any others I missed?

Limited spots available for our upcoming canning class

September 6, 2011

Coming to a pantry near you. Actually, it could be your pantry, which is really nearby.

Warners’ Stellian Appliance has jumped on the homemaker-trend bandwagon by offering our very own canning class.

Partly inspired by our beautiful, functional kitchen vignettes and partly motivated by my desire to pickle, I managed to wrangle master food preserver Liz McMann of Mississippi Markets Co-op and blog Food Snobbery Is My Hobbery into teaching a small group how to can their own Dill Pickled Green Beans.

You’ll walk away with plenty of know-how for your own food preservation efforts, and most importantly, your own jar of beans. Plus, it’s only $10 — we provide everything.

Canning class: Dill Pickled Green Beans
Saturday, Sept. 24
1-2:30(ish) p.m.
Warners’ Stellian-St. Paul, 1711 N. Snelling Ave. (more location details)

Want in? RSVP to me (Julie) at jawarner at warnersstellian.com. Hurry! Spots are limited to 10.

Canning classes help you preserve the season, just like mom did

August 12, 2011

When I was growing up, we went strawberry and raspberry picking every season to make a freezer full of jelly to enjoy and give as gifts all year long. To this day, I can’t eat store-bought jelly, because my mom has ruined me on anything that doesn’t taste as fruity and fresh as her own stock.

Since moving out, I’ve missed the annual preservation tradition and wanted to learn the science for myself. Apparently, I’m not the only one.

The Star Tribune featured canning's "comeback" last week.

Homesteading is like, super trendy right now, so canning has enjoyed quite the resurgence in the past couple years. Some people have taken it up to continue local, sustainable eating into the colder months; some out of a misguided attempt to save money (it ain’t cheaper). But many just want to make something absolutely delicious.

The Star Tribune published a list of upcoming canning classes, for both newbies and those looking to brush up their skills.

Warners’ Stellian is also planning to host a canning class at our St. Paul store in September, in cooperation with the Mississippi Market Co-op and one of my favorite bloggers and Master Food Preserver, Liz McMann, of Food Snobbery Is My Hobbery.

Stay tuned for details, or email me at jawarner at warnersstellian.com for more info. Feel free to let me know if there’s anything else you’d like us to do. Otherwise, I’ll just keep creating events to satisfy selfish curiosities :)

GE Cafe range: pro-style range at home cook price

August 8, 2011

I visited this summer with a homeowner on the upcoming AIA Homes By Architects Tour who loved to cook. Wolf Range makes the go-to cook’s range, but she hated the way it looked.

She loved the look of the GE Cafe dual fuel range, which also happens to be quite a bit more affordable, at $2799. It’s worth taking a look at, due to its professional styling and features:

  • Dual fuel means  combines the precise temperature control of gas on the stove top and even heating of electric in the oven
  • Convection system promises even air and heat circulation, plus it converts temperatures for you automatically.
  • Super big (5 cubic foot) oven cavity with meat probe, ideal for large roasts and — since it has convection — multiple racks of dishes
  • PowerBoil 18,000 BTU gas burner means water boils really quick, plus high heat for more professional-style cooking

Mini refrigerators and dorm microwaves for college cooking

August 5, 2011

Getting a decent meal on campus one of the biggest challenges students deal with. At least that was my experience.

But having a fridge helps keeping fresh food on hand both affordable and easy for the busiest college student. And having a microwave or oven means you don’t have to rely on the dining halls or takeout if you don’t want to.

Here are some affordable and functional options for your dorm or college apartment:

If you don’t need a freezer (and really, you might not) in your dorm or office, maximize your fridge space with this Danby 2.5 cu. ft. mini refrigerator (comes in white or black). The can dispenser makes beverages easy to grab and having space for a 2-liter or big wine bottle can be really handy and free up a lot of space on your shelves.

But sometimes you’ll want a freezer for pizza (or Jell-O shots). The Avanti 4.1 cu. ft. mini refrigerator comes in white or black and, best of all, has glass shelves to catch the inevitable spills and mitigate the damage.

This LG microwave has got to be my favorite. Who doesn’t want a pizza oven in her dorm room? But it’s not just for pizza; this stainless steel microwave can bake cookies and pretty much any other slim object you can dream up. I call it the best grad gift ever.


If you’re not so into pizza or if you have a tiny space, you’ll appreciate this 0.5 cu. ft. Whirlpool microwave, made specifically to fit into tight corners. Despite its compact footprint, pull the pocket handle on the door and you’ll find space for an 11-inch plate.


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