Hello my Foodie Friends!
First let me thank all of you that have stopped in personally to let me know that you enjoy this column. Your kind words and well wishes have inspired me to keep coming back each week with new stories from the kitchen. I recall a recent visit from a young lady who come in and asked me for help buying cookware. It seems that there is something called “The Engagement Meal.” This works by cooking your significant other a great meal so they will finally propose. The young man in question had been taking a long time to pop the question. There is a lot of great karma in this strategy. As I discussed options for cookware, it brought me back to the first time my wife cooked for me.
I still remember the candles and the gleam in her eyes. It was chicken and fried dough that we had picked up at a local farmers market. There were green beans and potatoes too. I called my mom and she said eat everything on your plate because it will mean a lot to her. Yes, I was a lucky young man at least that is what the emergency room doctor told me the next day. It seems I had salmonella poisoning but that is when I knew she was the one for me. She tried her best and I remember the love she put into it and how she held my hand as they loaded me in the ambulance. Although the dinner was a learning curve for her, today she is an awesome cook. So ladies or gentlemen it is the thought and trying that matters. A cooking vessel that may have helped with my special dinner would have been the Chinese Wok – a must have for your kitchen.
A wok is a wide bowl shaped cooking vessel with handles used commonly in Chinese and Asian cooking. The types of foods generally cooked in woks are stir frying, stewing, boiling, braising and steaming. Compliments to the Chef carry a large assortment of high quality woks and Stir Fry’s that suit the needs of the Asian cooking enthusiast. Some of the best companies carry this cookware Joyce Chen, Helen Chen (her daughter), All-Clad, Lodge just to name a few. Carbon Steel or Cast Iron are my favorites. They both spread heat evenly and are easy to clean up. Though Cast Iron woks are superior to carbon steel woks in heat retention and uniform heat distribution and also allow forming a more stable layer of seasoning which makes it less prone to food sticking on the pan. Carbon Steel woks are a little less expensive and still perform very well. Although there are several sizes my customers usually prefer the 12” or 14” woks. It allows for big and small cooking. The handles are designed to stay cool on the stovetop, so you can easily remove the pan from the burner without using potholders. Its curved sides diffuse heat and extend the cooking surface, which helps with tossing and stirring. The great depth allows ample room to cook a whole fish, if so desired. Simmering, deep frying, or steaming, are just a few of its multiple uses. Season them with vegetable oil before use and after cleaning. Where ever your tastes take you this pan can deliver.
Call us at Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store for those cool tools to help you with your special dinner. We’re open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday on an appointment basis and knocking at the door. We only let one person in at a time and practice social distancing. Also knife sharpening is still available!
Oh and when you’re looking into each other’s eyes from across the table remember my Foodie Friends; “Life Happens in the Kitchen.”
John & Paula