Cooking Tips For Food Lovers

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Season Your Pans for Non Stick Cooking

Chef Richard shows you how to 'cure' pans so that you'll never have a problem with stickiness again:

Nothing is more frustrating than trying to cook a delicious meal and having it stick to the bottom of the pan. A well seasoned or cured pan will make cooking more fun, pans easier to clean, and will create better tasting food. There is a saying in the restaurant business: hot pan cold oil. Meaning never put the oil in a cold pan and then heat it up. By heating the pan first and then adding the oil, followed immediately by the food, you'll have much less sticking. Furthermore, if you season the pan when you first purchase it, you will have even better results.

Curing By Metal Types

1. Stainless Steel
Unfortunately stainless steel cannot be seasoned because of the hardness of the metal. A matter of fact I don't know of a single restaurant which uses stainless steel pans. They are great for storing food because the food won't react with the metal, but horrible for cooking. My advice is to just stay away from them altogether.

2. Aluminum
First wash the pan with soap and water using a sponge or cloth (no steel sponge). Rinse and dry thoroughly. Heat the pan until hot, then add two ounces of oil to the pan. Carefully swirl the pan so the oil coats every part of the pan. Let the pan cool. Remove the oil and repeat the process one more time. From this point on, never use soap again. Wash with warm water and dry with a paper towel. If some food does stick, use a little salt with oil and a paper towel to remove it.

3. Teflon and other non-stick surfaces
Non-stick technology has come a long way over the years and there are dozens of infomercials to prove it. But the truth is that even non-stick pans will eventually stick. Follow the steps for seasoning aluminum pans and your non-stick pans will last longer and perform better. Remember, after the first time, never wash with soap again.

4. Cast iron pans and woks
For cast iron pans and woks the process is similar, but because of the nature of the metal you'll heat the pans to a much higher temperature. First wash the pan with soap and water then dry thoroughly. Heat the pan until it is very hot. Add two ounces of oil and swirl to coat all sides. Let it cool and remove excess oil. Heat the pan again until it begins to smoke. Add more oil and repeat the process until you've done this three times. Never wash the pan again and always store your pans at an angle or hang them so they won't rust.

By taking the time to properly season your pans, you will enjoy cooking much more and increase the life of your investment. I recommend spending a little extra money and buying good quality pans. Take care of them; in the long run you'll be much happier.

Another tip is to never buy pans with plastic or wooden handles because you can't place them in the oven. As you increase your cooking skills you'll find many recipes start on the burner then move to the oven. By having an all-metal pan this transition is flawless.

About the Author
Chef Richard has worked for some of the top fine dining restaurants in Washington State and is the author of the e-book "Chef's Special". You can find free recipes, informative articles and order the e-book at
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