Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Chef Mama's Tips of the Day

While I may no longer be a Pampered Chef consultant, I am still passionate about food. Just ask any scale. Right now with two friends battling cancer, one in chemo and the other to start soon, I've been looking at healthy food for chemo patients. I'm just diving into this new area of food, so I'll try to share some tips as I find them.

Last week at our friends' house in Houston, where we stay when Kathy has doctor visits or chemo treatments, we discovered that our dear friend Mary, who loves to cook, has no Pampered Chef stones! Wow, I just heard a collective gasp from my readers (all 5 of you!). I decided it was time for me to start sharing some tips about PC stones.

It's late (as always) so I'm going to drop a few tips here, then will try to come back this week & add more. Here are some of the basics:
  • A great way to get your stones seasoned (if they have edges on them, such as the rectangular or deep dish baker) is to cook meat on them. Yes, "BAKING" stones are perfect for meat. You can put a pack of bacon on the stoneware bar pan, put in the oven at about 400F and cook for around 20 minutes (depending on how crisp you like your bacon temp & time can be altered). Roasts, chicken, and fish all cook nicely on the stones.
  • Worried about crossover tastes? We know that PC says NO SOAP on the stones. I know at least 2 reasons for this: It removes the oils that have built up to create the nice seasoned nearly non-stick surface. Also, it leaves a taste of soap on the stone. Since I no longer get a paycheck from PC I will share that I do sometimes use soap on my stones in small amounts after they are VERY well seasoned. However, I wouldn't do that on a normal basis. Unless you like the taste of soap. Then you have other issues I can't help you with. As far as taste goes, most foods don't leave a taste on the stone. IF you think something might, OR if you have excess grease (from aforementioned bacon in the oven, for example), put some baking soda liberally on your stone, add just enough water to make a paste, and scrub the stone with this. Note: this may also remove some of your seasoning, but it doesn't leave a funny taste behind like soap will.
  • Stones can go in the microwave! Did you know that? Often at shows I'd mention a recipe calling for the microwave and a stone. Inevitably I heard this little whisper of, "I didn't know you could put them in the microwave!" Before my diagnosis of Celiac Disease, one of my favorite ways to make cake was this: Mix 1 cake mix, 1 can of fruit pie filling or 16 oz. sour cream, and 3 eggs. Grease Fluted Stone ("Bundt" style pan) (I'll tell you a great thing to use for this is a minute). Pour in cake batter. Microwave on high for 12-14 minutes. Done!
  • Pan-Ease. At shows I would tell people to use Pan-Ease in their stones. There was often a giggle because, at least in Texas where we don't enunciate the way we should, this sounded like "Put some panties in your stone." Pan EASE is simply a mix of equal parts flour, oil, and shortening. You brush this in with a basting brush (I LOVE my PC silicone basting brush). The great things about this, unlike store bought can sprays, are no sticky residue and you can use the products most conducive to your diet. If you like lard, vegetable oil & white flour, go for it! If you prefer unhydrogenated coconut spread, EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) and a gluten free starch, that will work, too.
I'll try to get back this week with more stone tips. Thanks for stopping by!

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