Thursday, September 21, 2006

Home, Home Is My Range

My new oven is finally here! Its nothing fancy but it works like a charm. I already baked a batch of scones in it. I went with a fairly basic model, not a ceramic top. The reason for this was not price, although the ceramic top ranges sure are pricey. My reason is actually because the majority of my pots and pans are cast iron and cast iron is not generally recommended for use on ceramic tops.

The main reasons seem to be that cookware used on a cermic top needs to be smooth on the bottom and cast iron cookware is commonly ridged and cast iron tends to scratch the ceramic burner surface. Here some links that discuss the pros and cons of using cast iron cookware on a ceramic cooktop:

http://whatscookingamerica.net/Information/CeramicTopRange.htm
http://www.ellenskitchen.com/forum/messages/2344.html

I made an interesting observation a while back when I cleaned my old oven. It looked like it was going to be an awful job but it actually wiped clean with a wet cloth. It occured to me that because we are vegan, nothing ever really spatters around the oven the way a turkey or roast would. Its the burnt on grease that makes an oven horrible to clean. Knowing this, I almost went with an oven that didn't have a self cleaning feature.

In the end, it was my cast iron cookware that made me decide to go with a self cleaning oven. The reason is simple, a horribly cruddy cast iron piece that you find at a tag sale can be rehabilitated by running it through your oven on the self cleaning cycle and then reseasoning it. Since I have several pieces that were rehabilitated this way, I had to go with the self cleaning model.

5 comments:

Barbara said...

Congratulations on the new oven! Sounds very nice. Sounds like it's electric. I prefer gas, but stuck with electric here in my apt. Gas is just easier to control the temperature, I believe.

Barbara

margaret said...

Hi Katie.

I love your blog. Congrats on the oven. I have been enjoying your archives and wanted to ask you what kind of nutritional yeast you use. I have been vegan for only a few months. Thanks

Margaret

rachel said...

hi margaret, if i may chime in here, i use red star nutritional yeast. i use that brand because it is kosher. i buy it in bulk at my local natural foods store. (how lovely to have a TRUE local one and not have to go to whole foods!) it is packaged by the store, but says "red star" on the bulk label.

Soledad said...

Hey Katie, it's me again. I grew up with only cast iron (Mexican family)but after my grandma died all of her stuff when to the Aunties, and they ain't giving it up. How do I go about reseasoning anything I may pick up at a garage sale or at a thrift store? I really miss the way they cook and even how they look in the kitchen.
-Soledad

Katie said...

Thanks Barbara,
This stove is electric but I grew up with gas (a gas stove, that is!) Our stove was perpetually on the fritz and would periodically blow the oven door open when it lit. As a result, I'm a bit of a coward about gas appliances. I think you're probably right about the temperature control though. Don't all the cooking shows use gas?

Thanks Margaret,
Like Rachel we use Red Star Nutritional Yeast but if you're counting on it for a source of B12 make sure it says Vegetarian Support Formula.

Soledad,
Its simple. I usually wash the piece to get off any crud that I can, which tends to be minimal. Then put it into your oven and put the oven on self cleaning mode. The temperature of the self cleaning mode is high enough to get the gunk off.

Once the cycle is complete the pan needs to be reseasoned. I usually coat the pan, inside and out, with vegetable oil and put it back in the oven at 300 degrees for an hour. Then I turn the oven off and let it cool down. After that its ready to use. You may need to reseason it a few times to get the non-stick surface that cast iron is known for.

There are other tricks to get stuck on gunk off, like vinegar and salt but the self cleaning oven is the best.