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~ Culinary Q&A & Kitchen Therapy Too (4/8/11) ~

Culinary Q & A #2 April showers bring May flowers?  I sure do hope so, because April has been nothing but showers so far here in Central Pennsylvania.  Both the clock and the calendar tell me it is Spring, but because of all of the cold and damp weather, Kitchen Encounters is still working on recipes that take the chill out of the air.  During this first week of April I posted the lasagna recipe that Terrance requested at our last Culinary Q&A along with:    


~ Jesse's E-Z Spatini Lasagna ~, found in Categories 3, 14, 19, 20 & 22

~ Provencal Seafood Stew w/Lemon Rice ~, found in Categories 2, 11, 14 & 21

~ Nana's Applesauce-Oatmeal-Raisin-Walnut Cake ~, found in Category 6

~ Homemade Boursin w/Parm 'n Pepper Pita Chips ~, found in Categories 1, 11 & 20

To view a short video/slideshow of each one:

Download Jesse's E-Z Spatini Lasagna-Medium

Download Provencal Seafood Stew w_Lemon Rice-Medium_3

Download Nana's Applesauce, Oatmeal, Raisin & Walnut Cake-Medium

Download Homemade Boursin w_Parm 'n Pepper Pita Chips-Medium

Kitchen Encounters also received one great question from another one of my Facebook followers, regarding a piece of cookware that I use:

Q.  Chealsea comments and asks:  Melanie, I've noticed that in a lot of your recipes, you say to use a "14-inch chef's pan w/straight, deep sides & lid".  Sometimes you say that if you don't have one, we can substitute an 8-quart stockpot in its place.  What is the difference between the two?  Why do you use the chef's pan?  Where can I get a 14" chef's pan?

A.  Kitchen Encounters:  Chealsea, this is a loaded question!  Before we get into the chef's pan, let me start by saying I am not a proponent of buying any one particular, prepackaged set of pots and pans, unless it is a small starter set for someone who has no pots and pans to begin with. With authority, I can confidently comment on pots and pans in general because Melanie's Kitchen contains:  All-Clad, Anolon, Calphalon, Chantal, Cuisinart, Farberware, Le Creuset, Lodge Cast-Iron, an assortment of various brands of copper cookware, and a few pieces of Meyer anodized aluminum restaurant-sized pots and rondeaus.

PICT1223 The 14" chef's pan that I use so much and you see used in food pictures on my blog is at least 16-years old, was made by Calphalon, and I have two of them.  This pan has a helper  handle on one side and a long, extended handle on the other.  About a year ago I tried to buy two more, only to find out it was discontinued.  After a brief search, I found it had been replaced by what they now call a "Sauteuse" pan:

PICT1227 The 7-quart, 14", Calphalon Infused Sauteuse Pan can be found on for $129.00, but I found mine at chef' for $99.00 (regularly priced at $250.00).  It is slightly smaller than the original (pictured above), but it is every bit the same workhorse of my kitchen.  I bought 4 of them for myself, 1 for my son Jess and 1 for my assistant Jeanne!  

It has two helper-handles (which they refer to as loop-handles), but the same large 14"-round base, which is exactly the reason I adore this pan.  The sauteuse's large capacity and straight, deep sides, make is the perfect vessel for sauteing, braising, poaching, simmering and easy stirring.

In some instances I do say that you can substitute an 8-quart stockpot.  For instance, while I like to make both my chili and marinara sauce in my chef's pan, an 8-quart stockpot would be a suitable alternative for them because it has the necessary total capacity to accomodate all of the ingredients. However, if you want to pan-fry 6-8 pieces of chicken or 6-8 pork chops, an 8-quart stockpot does not have a wide enough base to handle more than 3-4 pieces at a time, so it would not be a suitable alternative.

Note:  The following is a picture of mine, in which I have 8, 1 1/2" veal chops browning in my Calphalon 14" chef's pan.  I am in the process of turning them over to brown on the second side, after which I will add my homemade marinara sauce, cover the pan and braise them on the stovetop for about two hours.

Braised Veal Chops #4 (Turning Chops Oven in Progress) This pan is wonderful for sauteing large quantities of vegetables, braising shanks or chops, pan-frying chicken or meatballs, poaching salmon or seafood, simmering spaghetti sauce or chili, or, stirring a large batch of polenta or risotto.  It weighs about 9 1/2 pounds and should only be hand-washed, as the dishwasher will slowly ruin the non-stick surface. Let me finish by saying: hand-washing is a small price to pay for such a great, multi-use piece of equipment!

Enjoy your weekend everyone, and once again:  To leave a comment or ask a question, simply click on the blue title of any post, scroll to the end of it and type away!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Photos, Commentary and Video/Slideshows courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2011)


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