HOW TO CHOOSE DISHES FOR YOUR HOME: A DETAILED GUIDE
HOW TO CHOOSE DISHES FOR YOUR HOME: A DETAILED GUIDE
What dishes are you needed?
It depends on what and how you cook, whether you have an oven, how much space in the kitchen and how many people in the family.
The basic set for 1-2 people looks like this:
- 2 frying pans — small (for breakfast) and medium (for other dishes);
- 2 saucepans — 1 small ladle (porridge, eggs, 1-2 servings of cereals), 1 medium saucepan for soup and pasta;
- 1 medium rectangular shape — to bake meat, poultry or fish.
Average set for a family of 3-4 people, with children:
- 3-4 frying pans — add a large and deep one (for stew, pilaf or solyanka) and a small flat one (for pancakes and pancakes for breakfast);
- 3 pans-add 1 large one for soups and broths;
- 2-4 baking and baking pans-add a large form (for turkey, roast beef, baked vegetables), a form for cupcakes, a round form for a pie. To cook for children, a steamer is useful.
For advanced cooks:
- add paella pans, woks, and grilling pans;
- add spaghetti pans and roasters — low and wide pans with thick walls, in which you can cook, stew, fry and bake;
- add tagines and ramekins, shapes for tarts and quiches, muffins and cakes of different sizes.
Set or separately?
For housewarming or birthday parties, they give sets of pots and pans. It seems to be practical, but some of it then gets dusty in the kitchen cabinet. If you buy it yourself, first figure out what you will definitely need. Sets of dishes are good because you will save up to 20% more than if you bought them all separately. But only if all of the set is useful to you. Therefore, if you cook a little, take a set of 2-4 items: a pair of pots, a ladle, a frying pan or a saucepan. It is worth taking large sets in the case when you want everything in one style. This is important if a designer has worked on your interior, and every detail is not chosen by chance. There are brands that make dishes in the Baroque, Provence, high-tech or vintage style.
Another advantage of the sets is that the dishes fit one into another, and it is convenient to store them. Sometimes pots and pans also have folding handles, so they do not take up much space on the shelves. If you like experiments, look for sets for certain dishes. For example, for wok or fondue. There can be not only dishes, but also accessories-so you can arrange a themed party. Such sets are also good as a gift. If you buy dishes separately, check the previous section. Sometimes it's easier to start with 2-3 of the most necessary pots and pans, and only then buy something for yourself. For example, grill pans or woks. It seems that buying separately is not as profitable as a set, but you will not gain too much. As for the style, you can choose individual items from the same collection.
How to choose a pot
By size: at the rate of 0.7 liters per serving. If you cook for 1-2 people, 1-1. 5 liters will be enough, for three you need a pan for 2-3 liters, and so on.
According to the form. For spaghetti, you need a pan of small diameter, but with high walls. Stew or meat is best stewed in a wide saucepan with low sides (saucepan). Finally, for the first courses and side dishes, a pan of medium height and diameter is suitable.
By the material. The most popular are pans made of 18/10 steel: this is a medical steel that is not afraid of shocks and high temperatures, does not rust for a long time and does not oxidize. In a steel pot, you can cook on any stove — including induction and glass-ceramic. It serves for a long time, heats up quickly, tolerates temperature changes well: you can reheat yesterday's soup or stew — on the stove, in the oven or microwave. In the care of steel is unpretentious, but it is better not to wash it with powders and metal sponges. Of the minuses — not the fastest and most uniform heating, it cools down quickly, it is better not to store ready meals in such a pan — the taste may suffer.
Aluminum heats up the fastest, weighs the lightest, and doesn't rust. If this is a pan made of thin stamped aluminum, then it is good to heat up food, cook eggs, cook pasta and cereals. The disadvantages of such dishes are that they quickly deform and oxidize, the food is prepared unevenly and burns. Cast aluminum is thicker and stronger, often with additional layers of marble chips, titanium, and composite. Such pans are heated evenly and better retains heat, dishes in it do not burn. They are not suitable for induction cookers, they need to be washed carefully: without powders and hard sponges. It is better not to store ready-made food in aluminum pans.
Cast iron — the heaviest, but strong and durable. It distributes heat perfectly, warms up to the maximum temperature, is suitable for ovens and open fires, and dishes in cast iron stay warm for a long time. In a cast-iron pan, you can fry and stew, the dishes remain juicy and do not burn — even if you cook for a long time or without oil and at maximum heat. Pure cast iron without coating rusts, so it is better to choose enameled pans. Cast iron heats up more slowly than others, so it is inconvenient to heat food in it. It is not recommended for glass ceramics and induction cookers.
Copper pots are expensive, but they are loved by professional chefs. Copper heats up very quickly and evenly, does not rust, is suitable even for delicate dishes, acidic foods and sugar. Therefore, it is convenient to cook jams and delicate sauces in it: nothing burns and does not curdle. Copper is a heavy metal that oxidizes when it comes in contact with food. To prevent it from getting into the food, the pans are covered with tinned tin or steel from the inside. Copper dishes look very nice — you can serve dishes to the festive table. Not suitable for induction cookers. It is better to clean with special means.
By coating: enamel, ceramic, synthetic. Vitreous enamel is the most durable: it is melted to the base, it is suitable even for baking at 200 degrees, does not rust and is easily washed. Can be washed in the dishwasher.
Ceramics — the most eco-friendly, does not spoil the taste of dishes, better preserves all the juices and vitamins. In such a pot, you can store ready-made dishes and serve them to the table.
The synthetic coating allows you to fry without oil, even caramel and scrambled eggs do not stick to it, but it is the most fragile of all. You can cook only with a plastic or silicone spatula, wash with a soft sponge and a gentle remedy, heat up to 200 degrees and only on the stove.
- If the bottom of the pan is multi-layered, and the handles are metal, then you can cook, fry, stew and bake in the pan. It is better if the composition is cast aluminum, steel, stone chips. This bottom perfectly distributes heat: you can fry steaks without oil on maximum heat, and nothing will burn.
- If you cook on an induction cooker or glass ceramic, take a pot with a perfectly flat and stable bottom. For copper or aluminum pans, there are special steel discs for the bottom to cook on induction cookers.
- When choosing several different pans, it is good that they fit in each other — so they are more convenient to store.
- If you often cook and warm up food for your child, take a saucepan or a small ladle with a handle. You can even handle it with one hand, and you can hold the baby with the other.
- The transparent lid will help you keep track of the dish: you do not need to lift it every 5 minutes. But the glass must be very strong, withstand shocks and high temperatures.
- The handles at the lid and the pan itself are best made of steel: they do not melt and are not afraid of high temperatures, with them you can warm up the dish in the oven.
- Removable handles — also very convenient: pans take up less space, you can put them in the oven.
How to choose a frying pan
By size. If we count the volume for a pot, then for a frying pan — the diameter in centimeters. The diameter is not specified for the bottom, but for the upper circle. To prepare breakfast for 1-2 people or to warm up a portion, a frying pan of 16-18 cm is enough. For lunch or dinner for a family of 3 people — 22-24 cm. The largest pans — 26-28 cm-are needed to cook more than 2-3 servings, as well as to put out a stew or risotto. Woks also have this diameter, although their bottom is very small.
In addition to the diameter, pay attention to the height of the walls. Pans with walls of 1-2 cm are needed for pancakes and pancakes, 3-5 cm-to fry meat or cutlets, from 6 cm and more - to stew, cook pilaf or large pieces of meat and game.
By type and form. In the kitchen, most often you need a standard frying pan, with straight or slightly expanding walls. In this case, it is convenient to stir and turn the food with a spatula. There are others that are used for certain dishes. For example, a grill pan with a ribbed surface. Its shape can be round, oval, rectangular or square. Be guided by the size of the portions and the burner at the stove. In a round or square pan, you can fry only on one burner, and in a rectangular or oval pan — on two at once.
The wok pan also has a special shape that allows you to cook over high heat, using the walls. A cauldron for pilaf (but it is larger in volume) and a pan for paella (its walls are straight, like a cone) look about the same.
By material and coating. Here everything is about the same as in the pots. We will only add that completely ceramic pans are not made — only with a ceramic coating, which is quite fragile. Fry steaks and stew stews best in a pan made of enameled cast iron, cast aluminum or steel, but with a multi-layer bottom. In cast iron, you can fry even on an open fire, if you take a frying pan to the country. To fry the eggs, take a frying pan with a synthetic coating — so they will definitely not stick. If you want to fry first and then bake in the oven, steel or cast iron is best. In this case, the handles must be fireproof or removable.
How to choose a baking dish
By type and form. There are forms for baking — sweet and unsweetened, and there are forms for baking dishes from meat, poultry, vegetables.
For baking, most often you need a round shape — detachable or regular. In the detachable one, it is convenient to prepare biscuits and souffles, which are difficult to remove without damaging. The all-in-one mold is suitable for yeast and shortbread pies. If you cook not only ordinary pies, but also French tarts or quiches-open pies made of shortbread dough, where there is a lot of filling — take a special form, with low sides and wavy edges.
Another useful variety is the molds for cupcakes, muffins and cupcakes. They can be 6 or 12 pieces — choose according to the size of the oven. There are also separate silicone molds that can be placed on the protven. For muffins, the shapes are usually deeper, for cupcakes — medium. Forms with low wavy sides are suitable for sand baskets or mini-tarts. If you bake large cupcakes, you can use rectangular shapes or round ones with a hole in the middle. In such cases, the pastry will be baked better, including the middle. For baking, the forms are rectangular, square, round, oval. Square ones are suitable for lasagna, round ones — for moussaka or ratatouille, in the rest you can bake meat, poultry and fish. Choose the size depending on the portions and pieces.
Finally, there are special forms in which certain dishes are prepared: tagines - for Moroccan tagines or ramekins - for French souffles and portioned casseroles.
By the material. Baking and baking pans are made of silicone, cast iron, ceramic and heat-resistant glass.
In cast-iron molds, it is good to cook large pieces of meat or poultry, especially if you bake for several hours. So you do not burn anything, and before baking, you can fry the dish in the same form — for example, roast beef.
In ceramics, it is good to bake layers, including delicate dishes. Suitable for potato casseroles, gratins, ratatouille, souffle. In glazed ceramics, you can serve dishes to the table: it looks beautiful and does not overheat from the outside. Silicone is suitable for baking small sizes: cupcakes, cookies, cakes. It does not distribute and retain heat so well, it is good to bake souffles or biscuits, but not shortbread dough. The main advantage of silicone molds is that they can not be greased, and the finished pastries are easy to remove. They are universal: you can bake, you can freeze, you can prepare mousses and jellies.
Silicone is the easiest to wash, including in the dishwasher, but it can not be rubbed with metal sponges. Dishes made of heat-resistant glass distribute heat worse than cast iron and ceramics, but better than silicone.
Metal molds heat up faster than others, but they distribute heat worse. Therefore, it is better to bake small pieces in them or bake something that is quickly prepared. For example, open pies with a thin base and a lot of filling. And more:
When choosing the shape, consider how well your oven distributes heat. Usually, this is better handled by electric ones, where there is a convection mode. Then you can take a large form, including one made of thin metal or silicone.
To sum up:
- When choosing what dishes and how much you need, consider: how many people in the family, whether there are small children, how often and what you cook.
- When choosing a pot, frying pan, or baking dish, pay attention to the shape, size, and material.
- Cast iron and cast aluminum distribute heat best, ceramic retains flavor and juices well, steel heats up faster and weighs lighter.
- Consider what kind of stove and oven you have. On an induction cooker, you can only cook in steel dishes, and in a gas oven, you should not bake in molds or silicone or thin metal.
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