3 Kitchen Tools I Love!
They’re Expensive. And They’re Worth It.

Sometimes when I have a bit of a mental block I consult the fella.  He’s usually pretty good at working me through it.  And he’s always very serious and sincere in his offer to help me.

Take this example.  For today’s post I knew I was writing about some of the kitchen tools that I LOVE.  Things that I use pretty much on a regular basis that I couldn’t live without and think all of you should invest in.  They’re that good.    I got kitchen tool block after #3 so I looked up at him and asked him if he could remember what some of the kitchen things I rave about are.  The fella’s answer, verbatim, is as follows:

“Well you like that big hot thing in the corner you’re always standing in front of.    You know …  it stands next to the big standy up cold thing.  On the other side is the big wet hole.   You seem to like all of those.  Was that of any help?  

OH!  And sprinkles.  You really like sprinkles.”

O.K.  A) I have never used a sprinkle in my life, unless he’s referring to salt.  Which he might be.  B) He said all of this without once diverting his eyes from what is apparently the most riveting show on television.  A show about real guys standing around in a real prison glaring at each other.  For an hour.

I was about to ask him a few follow up questions, but someone’s glare turned into a “disrespect” and I lost his attention entirely.

What I’m trying to get at here is you’re only getting 3 of my current favourite kitchen tools. These are things that cost a lot but are worth every penny and I love each of them with all of my heart.

If you were to try and steal them from me I’d set your nasal hairs on fire.  By rubbing 2 sharp sticks together in your nostril.  I think that should give you a good sense of how strongly I feel about these things.

The number one workhorse in my kitchen is my Cuisinox “Elite” saute pan.  It’s around $100.  It’s hard to describe why it’s so much better than other stainless pans, but I’ll try.  It cooks evenly and quickly adjusts itself to temperature. Unlike my other favourite pan, the cast iron pan, the stainless pan reacts better when you have to turn down the heat.  If you’re cooking onions for instance and you suddenly realize they’re going to brown when you don’t want them to, if you turn the heat down the pan loses heat more quickly than a cast iron pan.  Some might not see this as a positive, but for certain purposes, I do.  It cleans easily and because of the metal handle can go from stove to oven.  Food sticks enough to it to get a good sear, but it doesn’t stay stuck there forever.  It’s like a perfect combination between a non stick pan and a too much stick pan.  If you don’t have a good stainless pan, as soon as you can afford one … buy one.

Pan

 

 

I first heard about Maldon salt several years ago from my friend Michelle.  It was harder to find them, but I sussed out a box at a local specialty food store.  A box about the size of a deck of cards was $10.  For salt.

Salt 2

 

I’m gonna be honest with you now.  I love my $10 salt.  I’m going to be even more honest with you.  I’m really not sure I can taste the difference between it and a regular container of sea salt, but much like my Chanel lipstick, it makes me feel good when I use it.  Makes me feel special.  How big of a loser do you have to be for SALT to make you feel special?  I wonder if I’m not getting enough attention at home.

It’s a beautiful, crystal flaked sea salt that you can crush up and sprinkle with your fingers.  Since it really isn’t THAT expensive, I probably wouldn’t do you bodily harm if you stole it from me.  I’m probably more likely to go the mental torture route with this one.  You know.  Fake spiders in your bed, wedgies, repeating everything you say and do RIGHT after you say and do it.  That sort of thing.

Salt

Easily my most favourite thing on any given day in my kitchen is my stone baking sheet.  Now, I’ve owned pizza stones, and other stone cooking pieces, but none of them impressed me.  So when I opened this from my mother for Christmas one year I think I might have said “What did you get me this stupid thing for?  These things don’t work.  I hate them.  I wanted a pasta maker! You’re the worst mother ever.”

Stone

Turns out the thing is great.  Love it.  It’s a “Pampered Chef” item.  Apparently Pampered Chef stuff is only sold at  home parties.  How good is this stoneware stuff from Pampered Chef?  I’d actually genuinely look forward to going to a home party if it was there.  I mean, I’d probably still back out at the last minute citing a raging case of the Black Plague or something but … for a moment I’d really look forward to the home party.  Which is quite something.

It’s completely non stick, but things still brown on it.  This is the go-to pan for my Sweet Potato Fries and pretty much anything I want to get crispy, but be able to remove from the pan without a bout of swearing and a reciprocating saw.  You wash it with just hot water and the oils from your cooking soak into the stone over time creating a beautiful non stick surface.  Plus it gets all mottled looking, as you can see, which I happen to like.

Oh!  And I just checked.  Turns out I was fibbing.  Turns out you CAN buy Pampered Chef stuff on-line.  A baking tray like mine costs $45. You can look at it here.

You now have two options if you want to continue to be on my “good list”.  You can either go buy all of this stuff RIGHT NOW.  (no I’m not being paid or getting a cut of profits or anything)  Orrrrrr … you can put it on your Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanza/Valentine’s/Ground Hog’s Day list immediately.

A word of caution.  If your mother is like mine, you might consider telling her the only thing you want is a “pasta maker”.  You know.  Just to make sure you end up with the stone pan.

 


 

97 Comments

  1. Kristina says:

    Karen, if you have a second, or forty, can you enlighten me on when you would use a stainless steel pan and when you would use a nonstick? I grew up with nonstick, bought a stainless because of the teflon fears, and I hate the stainless. Too much stickiness, or too much oil. And I still am ambivalent about my cast iron.

    Is the pan you love the answer to my pan issues?

    • Karen says:

      Kristina – #1. Teflon isn’t toxic. There’s really nothing wrong with teflon. If your pan gets flaky and you happen to eat it, your body doesn’t absorb it, it just poops it out. No problem. So don’t you worry about teflon. #2. There are times when you’re cooking that you need something to sear and stick to the pan. For instance, if you’re making beef stew, you need to sear your beef cubes on all sides. This will create dark bits of guck (fond) in the bottom of the pan as you cook where the meat sticks. Once your meat is cooked, that guck that has stuck to the bottom of your pan is GOLD. You deglaze your pan by pouring a 1/4 cup – 1/2 cup of water into the hot pan and you stir up the dark stuck bits. That’s how you make a delicious gravy or sauce. You can’t do that with a non stick pan. Also if you want to pan sear vegetables or roast them in a pan in the oven, stainless or cast iron is a must. That’s a quick lesson. Hope it helps a bit. ~ karen!

      • Kristina says:

        Wow, yes, that was super helpful! Thanks for taking time to reply, Karen! I really appreciate it. Now, to go add this pan to my birthday list…

      • Lance says:

        I have a 7-inch stainless skillet whose theft I’d break kneecaps to avenge. Nobody touches it but me, ever!

        I can no longer read the manufacturer’s name (something like Tel-O-Matic), but here’s the deal — this is the kind of pan one needs to make fluffy omelets (like those found at Village Inn) as opposed to scrambled-eggs-with-stuff-in-them like you get anywhere else. The critical thing is that initially, the whipped eggs stick to the pan, cooking the outside layer, then you shake it just so, and the whole thing comes unstuck, slides around, and allows the educated wrist to flip cooked egg to the inside, and roll the mass into a neat, delicious loaf of fluffy, eggy goodness.

        Lance ==)————–

        P.S. Does anyone else have the urge to get out some eggs?

        • deanna says:

          I’ve had my ‘egg pan’ as I call it, for years. Loved it. Cherished it. When we moved last year, my husband decided to destroy my skillet by a 1/2 combo punch of using the pan for some foreign substance and then sticking it in the dishwasher before I found out.
          Now, it has lost it’s smoothness and every little thing sticks to it. I have been mourning this loss for some time now. Before I decide what to do with this – is there any hope of reviving mine??? Anybody??

          • Lance says:

            He ought to be able to restore it with some elbow grease — there are no short cuts. Have him meditate on Mr. Miyagi as he makes restitution (noun: the act of restoring something to its original state).

            Use an SOS pad to remove anything you can feel stuck to the pan; when there is nothing but that awful glaze, scrubbing with a plastic scrubbing pad and a stainless cleaner such as Calumet or Cameo will bring it back.

            Madison Avenue has done an amazing job with the “dishwasher”; even my wife, who taught me most of what I know about home economics, doesn’t understand that it is properly called an “automated dish rinser and sterilizer”. It rarely washes, and certainly never cleans.

            Lance ==)————-

      • Larry says:

        Not true about the Teflon. Though no link has been found in human, it had been shown to cause cancer in rats. Here’s a good guide on cookware safety http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/prod/cook-cuisinier-eng.php

  2. Drat – I’m on your bad list.

    Hmmm – I’ll have to consider if I can put these on my Groundhog day list – my kitchen is the size of a thimble, so I’d probably have to get rid of something. Maybe that big white thing that can get hot, but I very rarely stand in front of . . . 😉

  3. Shannon V. says:

    Karen, I used to sell Pampered Chef and got the bar pan in my demo kit. I loved that thing. It was dark brown, it had been used sooooooo much (works great for cooking chicken fingers, nuggets, and fries–> can you tell I got it when my kids were little…thank goodness we’ve graduated beyond that!)One night I had it in the oven cooking dinner when I hear d a VERY loud crack. When I looked in, my bar pan was in several pieces. I cried…..as I didn’t actually own a cookie sheet and I no longer sold PC. Thankfully I mentioned something to my Mom about it and she said that she had one downstairs from when I had sold it (about 7 years prior) and only used it once. If I wanted it, it was mine! This time it was tears of joy! It is already a much darker brown than when I got it.

    Thanks for the recommendation on the stainless sauté pan…going to start saving my pennies!

    • Lady M says:

      Shannon, when I sold PC a million years ago they had a replacement policy for the stoneware. If it broke, you could send the pieces back and get a free replacement (but you had to pay the shipping).

    • Jacqueline says:

      Not a Pampered Chef rep or anything, but if they break like that often a PC rep will replace it for you. We’ve had one crack and our rep replaced it lickity split, which is the reason I’ll spend more on Pampered Chef stoneware than other types of stoneware.

      • Shannon V. says:

        Thanks Lady M and Jacquieline but unfortunately there is only a 3 year manufactures warranty on the stoneware and the year of manufacture is on the bottom of the stone. I did look into that. I had had mine since they were first released waaaaaaaay back when.

        • Jacqueline says:

          It must just be my consultant then. She’s replaced a few five- and six-year-old pans/stoneware pieces when they’ve broken. I’ll have to make a point of thanking her for being so awesome!

          • sera says:

            I had one that cracked in half and they replaced it right away. However, I think it was user error. It turns out that if it’s even slightly damp it is more likely to crack. So now when I use my replacement pan, I just make sure it’s bone dry. I love it sooo much I just bought one for both my sister-in-law and mom-in-law for christmas. I also have this rectangle and a smaller round one which is great for smaller amounts of things.

  4. Pati says:

    I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE my stone pan !!!! So since I already have one,I will now be on the look out for the salt and elite pan since I don’t look forward to a shunning… ;o)

  5. Carol mcclure says:

    I’ve been buying Maldon salt for years…love it…I get mine from Saltworks…they have all these wonderful flavored salts which I give my kids for Christmas…i have half a bucket of Maldon in my pantry at this moment…yes, a bucket – 1.5 kg….I don’t remember it as being outrageously expensive…want me to send you some?

  6. Marti says:

    Salt. How many $10 packs of salt did it take to fill that precious little canister?

    I was about to invest in some Pink Himalayan salt, but maybe I need some Maldon, too?

  7. teresa ivey says:

    Exactly how will our relationship change if you shun me? Just weighin the pros n cons.

    How do you “suss” out a box of salt. Just curious.

    You sold me on the Pampered Chef pan! Good job….n thanks!

  8. Diane says:

    stone baking sheet. give one to me. next contest? please? no funnies. i need to wine, oops win something.

  9. Judy D. says:

    Hi Karen ~ Like Shannon V., I, too, sold Pampered Chef and love, love, love their stoneware. I have several pieces in different sizes and shapes. Now that I live alone and cook in small portions, I find my go-to stoneware is the “small bar pan” and it fits perfectly in my toaster oven. PC’s stoneware has a 3-yr. warranty. If it breaks (for any reason), just save a small piece (palm size) and follow the instructions for replacement on the back of the sales slips. I used to tell all my customers to keep their sales slips in one place…my suggestion was under the flatware tray in a kitchen drawer. Thank you, Karen, for such an informative and entertaining blog!!

  10. Suzan says:

    I love my stone slab thingy from PC…so much that I bought the baking bowl, square pan and a round pan that works with the baking bowl to make a clay roaster. The slab is my “go to” when I bake anything. I have a stainless skillet that has some sort of aluminum clad bottom. I don’t know exactly how that works but supposedly the aluminum disperses the heat evenly over the bottom of the pan. It browns meat like nobody’s business. I got mine in TJ Max and still paid $75 for it. I have to admit that I have never given much thought to salt. I only use chunky kosher in my salt grinder and a little finer grain kosher in the little pot I keep at the back of my stove. I will look for the Maldon salt the next time I am shopping in a “nice” shop just so I can tell at least one person I spent $10 for salt!

  11. Gayla T says:

    My Pampered Chef stone is the round one and is now a deep chocolate color and like you, I love it. My daughter gave it to me. My stainless cookware is Farberware and it’s got to be about 30 year old now and just looks and cooks like it was new. Not expensive compared to all the teflon I went through before I got it. There used to be just one grade of Farberware so get the 18/10 as the other newer grade is junk. It’s way too thinn to cook well. The good stuff is marked on the bottom if you flip the pan over. If you go to the Teflon website it tells you all about “Teflon Flu” because it makes you sick, not by eating it but by breathing the fumes from it at high (frying) temps. They do not deny it but try to get you to use it correctly. In the teaching old dogs new tricks dept. I recently read to start your stainless steel or cast iron pans over high heat DRY. The molecules expand and tighten the cooking surface making it smoother. Then you add the old and have an almost stick proof surface. I do it now and it makes a ton of difference. I would reccomend that you not get it red hot for fear of your oil exploding so heat it within reason. I use the cheap salt because I have had more football, baseball and golf seasons under my belt than you do so I’m used to being ignored. Believe me, you will get to that point and then you can go back to Mortons. LOL The thing that has made my life great is my KitchenAid. I wanted one most of my life but there were the new football cleats or the gymnastic warm up suit or a prom dress or tux as the case may have been and I just never got around to buying one until I started making celiac bread and the kneading was killing my fibromyalgia stricken body. I’m so sorry I didn’t make my sons play ball in there stocking feet. It’s just so wonderful. Everyone should have one. I got the Pro model as I heard you can over heat the smaller ones when you let it knead for a long time and it has the power. My latest purchase is a Black and Decker jar opener. I found it for cheap at the thrift store and it had never been out of the box. If I would have had it way back when, my hands wouldn’t be such a mess now. Take my advice and baby your hands while you are young. Well, all those years using them as a florist didn’t do them any good either so it isn’t all from opening jars. But really, baby yourself because chances are no one else is going to.

    • Karen says:

      Gayla – That’s true. You can’t heat teflon up to high temps. Should have mentioned that. ~ k!

    • Kate says:

      Gayla T, I learned so much from reading your post!I can’t choose which tip was the most helpful:-) preheat my cast iron…I wondered why sometimes it would work ok and sometimes not!(because I knew not to overheat teflon ( I have birds) I think I just followed suit with cast iron..unless I got sidetracked ( happens a lot) on Teflon..I thought it only pertained to birds ( as was the claim way back then..however, you kinda hve to think it would also affect us too (canaries in the coal mine theory)and the gage of steel on faberware ( I always forget) and I have Lupus and have been thinking I would like a Cuisinart..and your right, I guess I feel guilty for spending so much for a kitchen tool..I’d like to think I’m worth it! thanks again

  12. Keith says:

    I agree with you that nonstick coatings are reasonably safe. However there may be some level of concern. One of the primary concerns is the usage of PFOA, a fluorinated chemical, used in the process of creating nonstick coatings for cookware, but may or may not have minute traces of it in the final product.

    PFOA is a toxic chemical, and Dupont had to quietly settle a 2004 lawsuit with a town in West Virginia (US) over contamination in its production. Teflon is just Dupont’s brand name of the nonstick coating.

    Although the cookware has to get fairly hot to cause any residue to be released, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the States, has begun a phase out of PFOA with elimination by 2015 in the U.S.

    If there was any concern, I’d be more concerned about older, lower quality nonstick cookware.

    http://www.epa.gov/oppt/pfoa/
    http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/manufacturing/2004-09-09-dupont-teflon-settlement_x.htm

  13. Deborah says:

    alrighty…that salt seems dang expensive to me, how much is in the container? x $$/lb…could be worth more than gold at the going rate 😛 I do have a stainless saute pan – love to itsy,bitsy,burned bitsies. I have never owned anything PC and may well have to buy something just to quell the motivation (WANT) you instilled. Thanks for the lowdown of your fav things in the kitchen, mine without a doubt would have to be my Black & Decker Bread maker (use it once a week), Black Beauty aka my Kitchen-aid…of which I would DEARLY love a pasta attachment for and my gas GE Profile range/oven… I could not live without these items and dear hubby knows it!

  14. I feel the same way about salt. I love my Diamond Crystal Kosher salt for baking and my Maldon for cooking.
    The nonstick stone pan sounds wonderful…I have a birthday coming up and will put it on the list. I tried to make your sweet potato fries and they didn’t get crispy. I really want them to work. I’ll get a stone for them and lots of other things.
    Thanks
    PS Were you born with those great abs in the photo with the fish? If not, I want your secret!!

    • Karen says:

      Deborah – I’m afraid it’s fairly genetic. That and the fact that I do everything myself. (build chicken coops, rip up lawns, rip down walls …. ) ~ karen!

      • Joanne says:

        I tried your sweet potato fries as well, but they were soggy and tore apart as I tried to unstick them from the baking pan. This doesn’t happen with the PC stone pan? I’m in!

        • Karen says:

          Joanne – Part of it is your pan. Also, your temp. might not be high enough, and you can use more oil. And … you can’t crowd the pan. Like with meat in a pan, if you crowd it, it doesn’t sear properly, it just steams itself. That’s what happens to fries when you crowd them too. 75% of people get the fries right the first time. 25% have to try, try again.

      • Deborah says:

        I agree about the abs as well! I am soooooo jealous of them…the fish? not so much 😛 Not into pike/muskie fishing, much prefer their tastier cousin the Pickerel 😀

  15. magali says:

    antojitos don’t stick to a stone pan? because I have a very hard time with my antojitos and sticking. And with getting them crispy. Especially when they are from the freezer.

    I think I will put it on my birthday list. However I got most things off my last xmas list except the french rolling pin. Apparently everyone thought 50$ was too much for a rolling pin. I may have to get both these items myself.

    • Karen says:

      Magali – We normally only use “brown” foods. Whole wheat pasta, bread, etc. etc. But for antojitos, white tortillas are the only ones I can get crispy. And no they don’t stick to the pan. It’s great. However, to help with the crispiness, just brush the uncooked antojito with vegetable oil before cooking. It’ll help a bit. ~ karen

  16. Celine says:

    Stone pan, interesting! Didn’t know about it!! I’ll put it on my “get myself” list! I figured that out a long time ago…. list don’t work with my family!! The best gifts are from me to me! 🙂

    My best of best kitchen item is my Creuset collection, love love love!

    Now off to the Pampered Chef website for a few hours….

  17. Magpiebird says:

    I was given a Pampered Chef pizza stone, and it works just as you say — perfectly cooked crispy-edged soft middled non-stick magic. I even use it for cookies.
    Years later an aunt gave me another pizza stone. I don’t remember the brand, but to be honest it’s useles. Completely different animal.

  18. Melody Madden says:

    sigh….I only own one of these items and it’s the Pampered Chef pan although mine is the pizza stone. I had two and loved them as I make my own pizza but a year ago my mother in law broke one of them..errrrgg. I love her but every time she comes here she breaks something…the list is too long to mention. Good to know you can order from Pampered Chef online and not do the party thing…

  19. Mary Werner says:

    I heard it was the fumes from Teflon when heated beyond medium that were the danger. The instructions tell you not to heat on high heat but who ever reads pan instructions! I use a salt and paper towel rub to clean my iron fry pan = would that work on the stone one? Do you have to cook in the oven or can it go on top of the hot box? Do you have gas or electric hot box?

  20. blake says:

    I have a tiny little hand made bowl full of course rock salt at my stove area and I too get all “I’ rock! I am so special in the cooking department” when I grab a little pinch and season whatever I am cooking with it. It is just better and special and all gourmet and stuff.

  21. Jules says:

    ha! I have one of these pamperd chef stones in my basement..pretty much had the same reaction when I rec’d it as a gift..have never used it..but now im inspired to try! I have a small issue with my nostril hairs and could use a trim, so I may be by to grab that pan from ya..

  22. Emie says:

    Another vote for the Pampered Chef stoneware… I have about 4or 5 pieces in different sizes and they’re definitely a go to item!!!!

  23. Langela says:

    I never could get past the stickiness of my Pampered Chef stone and finally gave it away to my brother. Is there something I should have done to season it and have it not be sticky (like something with grease on it)?

    • Karen says:

      Langela – Yes, you absolutely have to season the stone when you first get it. Cook something really greasy on it like those roll up Pillsbury croissants or … anything like that. My stone isn’t sticky at all, and I don’t remember it ever being sticky. Hmm. ~ karen

      • Patricia says:

        Your stone will get sticky iof you use a non-stick spray on them. Just use oil/butter/margarine until you develop a nice non-stick coating and you’ll be fiine. You can “bring back” a sticky stone with a good scrubbie, dishsoap and lots of elbow grease!
        I use my PC stoneware a lot…but I do wash it with soap, a big no-no, but I live on the edge :).

  24. Barbie says:

    Interesting….I’m a salt lover….I eat WAY to much salt and I have never heard of your Maldon salt…gonna try that! Also, that stone baking sheet….never seen one….but I kinda want to try that…..I will go look online. If I buy it and hate it …I’m sending it to you. LOL

  25. dmarie says:

    I agree on the stainless steel, which I almost always cook on now and I also agree on the stone pan which I have had for years and LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!!!!! In reply to Kristina, your first commenter, when cooking with stainless, it is very important that you get the pan good and hot before putting anything in it and be sure to let the meat or whatever you are cooking, cook long enough that it releases itself off of the surface…and you have to use a tad more oil with stainless.

  26. Amy Schmucker says:

    Former PC seller here. LOVE the Barpan stone. Also so love the covered baker, pizza stones and the new ridged baker.

    Now I have to go hunt down that flaked salt. I also want the stone crock you have for the salt. I just want it, not really a need.. wait, yes it is. I need flake salt to make my life more balanced. Yes, thank you Princess Karen. yOu are a princess are you not?

    Amy in Florida

  27. Debbie B says:

    I love my Pandora pans, so not sure I will switch, I do have stoneware baking sheets and love them, and have never heard of that salt, will keep an eye out for it, next time I am in town will see if the natural food store here carries it. So am I kicked out of the club or can I stay on the fringe??

  28. Heather-Mae says:

    The only one of the three magic kitchen must-haves that I have is the PC stone bar pan and I agree that it’s terrific! We always stick it in the oven empty as the oven is pre-heating so it’s hot when we add whatever we’re cooking and the bottom of our fish/sweet potato fries/chicken fingers are guaranteed to get nice and crispy. I’ve actually been thinking of adding a second stone pan to my collection and it will probably be another bar pan!

    • Shannon V. says:

      Heather….just be careful preheating your stone like that, especially if you are putting something frozen on it. It can cause thermal shock, which can then cause your pan to break

  29. pat says:

    I am so with you on the Maldon salt. And you didn’t even mention the smoked variety. True indulgence! I live like a rich person and cook like a Michelin chef with my $10 box of smoked salt. I live with the ultimate extravagance – I have both on my counter.

  30. Pat says:

    I have the large stoneware pan and a smaller one that fits in my toaster oven and microwave. Love em. My husband has done some cooking courses and the chef uses the same pan and highly recommends them. Recently my friend had hers crack, much to her disappointment, although she owns another one. She was under the impression they are under “lifetime” warranties and called the company. They want to know exactly when she bought it…receipt and all. Hmmm….bit disappointing in that department but needless to say, still loves the product.

  31. Susan Sutherland says:

    I love my Paderno pots and pans, originally made in Prince Edward Island but who knows where they are made now. Mine are over 30 years old and look like new. They are stainless steel and aluminium and the frypan is great for searing food. I’m definitely putting the PC stoneware on my birthday list. I always shied away from those home parties as I usually ended up buying stuff I never use. Thanks for the tip. I get flaked salt from friends in Australia that I love altho I don’t use much salt in cooking. Friends are always salting their food when they come to dinner. That’s a clue I guess.

  32. Victoria says:

    Hi, this is for Kristina regarding cast iron pans! I LOVE them and I’ll tell you why. When you cook in them you actually fortify your food wich iron.. every time, and I think that is great. And the tip to get your cast iron pan in shape is to never wash it with dish soap. Just rinse it off and clean with water. It may sound gross but it’s not! You may want to have a separate one for fish though, but seriously don’t wash it with soap, it takes a way all the layers of cooked in grease….

    • Amy says:

      For cast iron pan cleaning; if the plain hot water didn’t do it, you can use the Pan Scraper that comes with all Pampered Chef stoneware. Pan Scrapers work for everything from removing stuck on food to scraping stickers off your kid’s bedroom door. They can also be purchased seperately. If the Pan Sraper wasn’t enough to clean your cast iron,you can also “scrub” it with salt (I’m talking cheap stuff here) or baking soda. The scrubbing works well if you cooked something really sticky.

  33. jenny says:

    We had a PC pizza stone gifted to us by my husband’s sister because she got two as wedding presents. My husband was absolutely in love with it and spend much time gloating over the nice patina we were achieving. Then he put it under the broiler while I was out of town and cracked that sucker right in half. We have a new replacement pizza stone from Target buuuuut…I’m afraid it’s going to fall in the “absolutely worthless” pizza stone category. 😛 We may have to suck it up and buy a new PC stone online. I loved using ours for bread!

  34. Lady M says:

    Thanks for the tips. Can’t wait to try the salt! I have 6 PC stoneware pans/stones that are a pretty dark brown and slick as…well something not very appetizing. 😉 Wouldn’t give them up for anything. They’re definitely worth the money and are much better quality than any others I’ve used.

    I had a ss skillet when I was first married. It hated me and we parted ways. 20+ years later, I’m in love with my cast iron skillets and ss pots. My MIL gave us the set of ss pots with ss handles, that can go in the oven, as a wedding present. They’re the best things ever and still look great!

  35. Tess says:

    I too have a couple PC bar pans. Because of my OCD, I have a hard time not washing them before I put them away. Also, they have an odd, chalkboard feel to them which makes my teeth itch. Despite all this, I do like them.

  36. Leah says:

    I have a $75 dollar gift certificate from pampered chef that I got as a wedding gift… over a year ago… ahem. Clearly, I’ll be getting a pizza stone, but I’ve got some money left over. Any other suggestions?

  37. Shannon V. says:

    Karen….on a bit of a side note….have you tried the Pampered Chef 12 cup muffin pan (http://www.pamperedchef.ca/ordering/prod_details.tpc?prodId=3932&catId=9&parentCatId=9&outletSubCat=) for Yorksire. I usually get a great rise out of mine and really want to try the Martha Stewart Yorkshire in it next time I make some.

  38. Clare says:

    So, we have …

    Stainless steel frying pan [tick]
    Malden sea salt [tick]
    Baking stone thingy [tick]

    Polishing my culinary halo here. Or rather my hubbies culinary halo. He does 99% of our cooking. And I am one lucky woman. 🙂

  39. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    We have two Pampered Chef pizza stones and love them..They are used for much more than pizza..I would love to have the baking sheet that you have Karen..I don’t have stainless but do have cast iron which makes the best fried potatoes..We are all salt restricted but I would try the Maldon for the little that we do use..and because those flakes looks so pretty in that little crock..

  40. Amy Smith says:

    Oh, I have to say I am also in love with Pampered Chef stoneware! I love it and everything else from them so much that I became a PC consultant myself 2 years ago & love it!
    Usually when I cook on the stone, I don’t even stir or flip things over because it heats so evenly that the top gets done the same time as the bottom.
    If you have questions about the stones, or want more recipes & tips, you can find me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pamperedchefwithamysmith
    Some of your recipes, Karen, have made it on that page, too! 🙂

  41. Shauna says:

    I love my Pampered Chef stoneware. I love my own expensive stainless steel pan that does all the things yours does, but isn’t the same one. I’m hoping since it’s so similar and offers the same conveniences, I won’t be shunned.

    Finally, I do like fancy salt and once again have spent silly money on it at the farmer’s market, but it’s not the same as yours.

    Maybe just a partial shun since I didn’t have the list until after I had made similar purchases?

  42. Janey says:

    the Maldon salt is beautiful. apparently I too am a loser who finds joy in salt…

  43. Tamaira says:

    Okay note to self (again, I have given this note to myself before)….remember to NOT be drinking your tea when you read this blog!! I narrowly avoided not only spitting tea all over the laptop, but also narrowly avoided spilling it when I began laughing like a crazy women at this post (to the point that my rottie x came and put his head on my lap wondering if I had (once again) lost my mind! You are hilarious! Though I may not get to continue to enjoy your humour since I (full honesty here) had a small (like 5 inch round) PC pizza stone that I got rid of…okay wait PLEASE don’t ban me…it was too small (family of 4 here) and I couldn’t get it seasoned so everything stuck. AND it was several years ago when I was young and foolish. AND before I knew about the wonders of parchment paper to help if you have sticky pans! I do have ss pots and cast iron pans and I would be willing to get and use all three of your favs if I could afford them. Does that count? At least I am not looking to steal yours so I can feel confident that I will continue my day with nasal hairs and underwear in tact 🙂

  44. Caroline says:

    I love my PC baking sheet – it’s so brown and lovely after 10+ years of use! It’s one of my must haves as well as my Kitchen Aid Mixer. My kitchen indulgence is good quality olive oil and balsamic vinegars…now I have to try this salt and see if it makes the list 🙂
    Cheers

  45. Hey Karen,
    No matter how expensive your worth your salt.

  46. Karen says:

    I also used to own a pampered chef pan like yrs. but had too much trouble with breakage. I started using unglazed quarry tiles from home depot. They run about a dollar for a 12 x 12 or if I wanted to do something big I would fill the oven with 6 x6. The nice thing is they work the same, but if one breaks or gets too dirty u just replace it. Of course then my hubby surprised me with a full size pizza oven located near my chickens. But I still use the tiles iim the oven I doors for when I don’t want to fire up the other.

  47. Judy says:

    I also had a Pampered Chef stoneware pan. Loved it so much that it broke in two after 5 years.

  48. Carla Barnes says:

    I haven’t laughed that loud in FOREVER!
    “Well you like that big hot thing in the corner you’re always standing in front of. You know … it stands next to the big standy up cold thing. On the other side is the big wet hole. You seem to like all of those. Was that of any help?”
    I’m not sure I believe that the fella really said any of that, but SO SO FUNNY!

  49. Cynthia says:

    Excellent call on the Maldon salt. I love Maldon salt so much I give it as gifts and take little baggies of it with me when I go camping or away with friends. It is different. Is too.

  50. Doni says:

    I have a couple of great Cuisinart stainless pans that are really heavy and get that perfect sear, clean up nice too. I agree, I would much rather have a couple of nice expensive “go to” pans than a whole set of lesser quality. I have that PC stone and their pizza stone too. Haven’t used them as much as I should I guess. I never thought of using it for my roasted potatoes and veggies, as I have a baking sheet that is deeply seasoned (lol,black) from roasting veg. Now if you are ever in the market for a useful PC item just for fun, the Easy Accent Decorator is the one thing I have from them that I found to be much more useful than I imagined. I use it to fill deviled eggs, twice baked potatoes and get this! manicotti and stuffed shells. Just fill it up with that cheesy mixture and pump it into the pasta easy peasy. I do a no boil manicotti, just fill the hard shells and lay them in the baking dish, then top with sauce and add a 1/2 cup of water over the top, cover and bake.

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