Cooking update!

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by GQgeek, Sep 11, 2006.

  1. GQgeek

    GQgeek Senior member

    Messages:
    17,933
    Likes Received:
    80
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2002
    Location:
    Canuckistan
    Knives:

    I love ebay. I Just bought a NIB 7-Piece set of Kershaw Shun knives plus their bamboo cutting board for $280 shipped [​IMG] Can't wait till they get here. I'm taking a small risk in that I haven't held them but the reviews i've read all indicate that they're best suited for people with small thin hands, which I have, so I figured it would be worth a shot. Plus, they're gorgeous :p

    Cookware:

    I was reading through all of the Cook's Illustrated equipment reviews and All-Clad Stainless consistently won the top spot for all the various pots and pans. They never compared it to copper but it seems to do a fine job. I'm still waiting on my quote back from france for the Mauviel gear, but I found a super-cheap source for All-Clad so I'm considering going with that since I can get it at basically 50% off, although with minor cosmetic blemishes b/c they're factory seconds. The more I think about it I'll probably go with All-clad because I can get the 11 pieces (including a kickass roasting pan) I need to do everything I could imagine for half the price of 7-8 pieces of copper.

    Here's the link in case anyone else is shopping for cookware.

    Books:
    I bought Joy of Cooking and Mastering the Art of French Cooking a couple days ago, but I've been scouring cooking forums and based on recommendations I've just added two others that should tide me over for a while:

    Jacques Pepin's Complete Techniques (It's apparently more comprehensive than the Peterson equivalent)
    Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking (Hazan)-thanks esquire.

    The next couple of books might interest some of you that are already good cooks but wanting to get better:

    Sauces:Classical and Contemporary Sauce Making (James Peterson) is considered by chef's to be THE reference on this topic. I'm planning on getting it once I've gotten through my first couple of books.

    Amuse-Bouche seems quite interesting. I've always loved those things at restaurants so I figure I'll get the book. It's received very positive reviews although it's obviously not for everday cooking and requires advanced technique. For those of you that really enjoy cooking however, it might be an interesting challenge.

    Culinary Artistry is a book I was flipping through at the bookstore today and will also save for later on. It's got great info and tables on what flavors complement what and how to put together menus. It's more theoretical than practical but for someone that's a good cook and wanting to experiment or create their own recipes, it seems like a good reference. Also has tables of when various things are in season, which is helpful if like me you're completely clueless to that stuff.

    And kudos to whoever it was that originally recommended Penzey's Spices. I just ordered a bunch of stuff and I'm looking forward to cooking with them.
     


  2. DocHolliday

    DocHolliday Senior member Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    16,118
    Likes Received:
    1,088
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2005
    Location:
    Tombstone
    Have you bought Pepin, or just considering it? Have you seen it in person?
     


  3. Stax

    Stax Senior member

    Messages:
    858
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    May 31, 2006
    Location:
    Bay Area
    I've seen the Pepin book. It's good. For technique, I prefer the Peterson book because it has more pictures, all in color. Pepin does cover more topics, but they are not core topics (e.g., bread making, pastry making). Compared to Peterson, the Pepin book has more recipes, but I am not looking for those in a book about technique. If it had more and better quality photos, I might rank it over Peterson. A good purchase, nonetheless.
     


  4. Stax

    Stax Senior member

    Messages:
    858
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    May 31, 2006
    Location:
    Bay Area
    Knives: I love ebay. I Just bought a NIB 7-Piece set of Kershaw Shun knives plus their bamboo cutting board for $280 shipped [​IMG] Can't wait till they get here. I'm taking a small risk in that I haven't held them but the reviews i've read all indicate that they're best suited for people with small thin hands, which I have, so I figured it would be worth a shot. Plus, they're gorgeous :p Cookware: I was reading through all of the Cook's Illustrated equipment reviews and All-Clad Stainless consistently won the top spot for all the various pots and pans. They never compared it to copper but it seems to do a fine job. I'm still waiting on my quote back from france for the Mauviel gear, but I found a super-cheap source for All-Clad so I'm considering going with that since I can get it at basically 50% off, although with minor cosmetic blemishes b/c they're factory seconds. The more I think about it I'll probably go with All-clad because I can get the 11 pieces (including a kickass roasting pan) I need to do everything I could imagine for half the price of 7-8 pieces of copper. Here's the link in case anyone else is shopping for cookware. Books: I bought Joy of Cooking and Mastering the Art of French Cooking a couple days ago, but I've been scouring cooking forums and based on recommendations I've just added two others that should tide me over for a while: Jacques Pepin's Complete Techniques (It's apparently more comprehensive than the Peterson equivalent) Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking (Hazan)-thanks esquire. The next couple of books might interest some of you that are already good cooks but wanting to get better: Sauces:Classical and Contemporary Sauce Making (James Peterson) is considered by chef's to be THE reference on this topic. I'm planning on getting it once I've gotten through my first couple of books. Amuse-Bouche seems quite interesting. I've always loved those things at restaurants so I figure I'll get the book. It's received very positive reviews although it's obviously not for everday cooking and requires advanced technique. For those of you that really enjoy cooking however, it might be an interesting challenge. Culinary Artistry is a book I was flipping through at the bookstore today and will also save for later on. It's got great info and tables on what flavors complement what and how to put together menus. It's more theoretical than practical but for someone that's a good cook and wanting to experiment or create their own recipes, it seems like a good reference. Also has tables of when various things are in season, which is helpful if like me you're completely clueless to that stuff. And kudos to whoever it was that originally recommended Penzey's Spices. I just ordered a bunch of stuff and I'm looking forward to cooking with them.
    good stuff, gqgeek. you can't go wrong with all-clad. I have an all-clad saute pan and 8" frying pan. they are great. despite what you may hear, do not fear putting them in a dish washer. they will be fine. if they discolor at all, simply wipe them down with Bar Keeper's Friend. I use the liquid version and it is great. http://www.barkeepersfriend.com/products.htm I'll have to check out the all-clad seconds link you posted. it sounds very promising. thanks. Also, I didn't know about the Peterson sauce book. I need to grab that. If you are interseted in a great cooking forum, check out www.egullet.com. they are kind of priggish about who they let post there (you actually have to submit a rather lenghty questionaire that i can't be bothered with), but it is a great place to lurk. quite a few top chefs post there and it is an excellent source for cooking info.
     


  5. Ivan Kipling

    Ivan Kipling Senior member

    Messages:
    2,114
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2006
    [​IMG]

    I like this book, very much. Bought it on sale, via Bas Bleue. The book can be slightly pedantic, but overall the advice is on the mark. The recipes I've tried, all have been most satisfactory.
     


  6. DocHolliday

    DocHolliday Senior member Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    16,118
    Likes Received:
    1,088
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2005
    Location:
    Tombstone
    I've seen the Pepin book. It's good. For technique, I prefer the Peterson book because it has more pictures, all in color. Pepin does cover more topics, but they are not core topics (e.g., bread making, pastry making). Compared to Peterson, the Pepin book has more recipes, but I am not looking for those in a book about technique. If it had more and better quality photos, I might rank it over Peterson. A good purchase, nonetheless.

    That's where I was going with my question too. Pepin is a good resource, but I really think it's been surpassed. The black-and-white pictures are too small and grainy, and I don't care for how the book is organized. And, as you said, there's too much emphasis on "make this recipe" rather than the big principles behind it all.

    Have you seen Anne Willan's "La Varenne Pratique"? If so, how does it compare to Peterson?
     


  7. Thomas

    Thomas Senior member

    Messages:
    29,119
    Likes Received:
    1,303
    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2006
    Location:
    Texas
    [​IMG]

    I like this book, very much. Bought it on sale, via Bas Bleue. The book can be slightly pedantic, but overall the advice is on the mark. The recipes I've tried, all have been most satisfactory.


    Ivan,

    Many of the rest of the books in the series are also well worth your time. Curiously enough, multiple books will have similar recipes, and while all are good, one will hit the mark. For instance, pancakes - Best Recipe has them, as does Baking Illustrated, as does the ATK Family Cookbook. Family cookbook has the best recipe, with less background story.

    My go-to books include: Baking Illustrated, Gilling and Roasting, ATK Family Cookbook. If I had to whittle down to one - go with ATK Family since that covers a lot of ground. Love the magazines, too
     


  8. Stax

    Stax Senior member

    Messages:
    858
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    May 31, 2006
    Location:
    Bay Area
    That's where I was going with my question too. Pepin is a good resource, but I really think it's been surpassed. The black-and-white pictures are too small and grainy, and I don't care for how the book is organized. And, as you said, there's too much emphasis on "make this recipe" rather than the big principles behind it all.

    Have you seen Anne Willan's "La Varenne Pratique"? If so, how does it compare to Peterson?


    I have not seen the Willan book. Sorry.
     


  9. GQgeek

    GQgeek Senior member

    Messages:
    17,933
    Likes Received:
    80
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2002
    Location:
    Canuckistan
    Have you bought Pepin, or just considering it? Have you seen it in person?

    No, I ordered that one off of amazon based on some strong recommendations on cheftalk in which it was compared to the peterson book but was said to surpass it due to being more comprehensive. I figured it wasn't full-color due to the price, it was only 23 bucks, however that doesn't really bother me as long as I can understand what's going on.
     


  10. Ivan Kipling

    Ivan Kipling Senior member

    Messages:
    2,114
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2006
    Thanks, Thomas! I've got some of the books, you listed. I like the Barefoot Contessa books, too . . . not so much because of the recipes, but because they bring to mind one of my ALL time, favorite movies . . .
     


  11. Thomas

    Thomas Senior member

    Messages:
    29,119
    Likes Received:
    1,303
    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2006
    Location:
    Texas
    Thanks, Thomas! I've got some of the books, you listed. I like the Barefoot Contessa books, too . . . not so much because of the recipes, but because they bring to mind one of my ALL time, favorite movies . . .

    ...Butterfield 8???

    Kidding aside, I bought a Rachael Ray book (hold your sneers, please) for my folks since every time we visit them for lunch or dinner, they are just getting started on the meal, regardless of how we set our times. So with RR we can be reasonably sure that we'll be eating within an hour of our arrival.

    I mean, blood is thicker than water, but we're talking about food here!
     


  12. Kent Wang

    Kent Wang Affiliate Vendor Dubiously Honored Affiliate Vendor

    Messages:
    5,724
    Likes Received:
    1,226
    Joined:
    May 5, 2005
    Location:
    London
    Join us on the eGullet forum. I believe there are a handful of SFers that also post there.
     


  13. j

    j (stands for Jerk) Admin

    Messages:
    14,914
    Likes Received:
    93
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2002
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Join us on the eGullet forum. I believe there are a handful of SFers that also post there.
    Proselytize!
     


  14. Violinist

    Violinist Senior member

    Messages:
    1,907
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    May 12, 2006
    GQ, I know a few great chefs who have nothing but 2-3 pots at home. Unless you're always preparing a complex series of sauces, reductions and all manner of culinary faffery, I don't know if you'll need that many elements. Maybe you're more serious than you let on, but that many pieces might leave a few unused.
     


  15. GQgeek

    GQgeek Senior member

    Messages:
    17,933
    Likes Received:
    80
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2002
    Location:
    Canuckistan
    Well lids count as pieces, so that's not 11 pots. What I ended up ordering was a frying pan, saute pan with lid, 2 sauciers (1qt & 2 qt), 1 sauce pan (3.5qt), stock pot, small roasting pan with rack. I ended up going with the All-Clad Master Chef 2 instead of stainless because the aluminum is 2mm thicker.

    And my Kershaw Shun knives arrived yesterday and I have to say they are kickass. They're VERY sharp, beautiful to look at, and the handle fits perfectly in my hand. I almost cut myself on the bread knife. I couldn't be happier with them.

    I put through a big order from Penzey's spices too. I can't wait to make custard with their vanilla extract.
     


Share This Page

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by