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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Indianapolis, Indiana
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    Calling all cooks :)

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    It feels like I only started to learn how to really cook in August...at least that is when I became brave enough to actually COOK, rather than to just toss frozen chicken breasts in the oven and veggies in the steamer.

    Anyway - I roast a lot. I love roast pork, roast chicken, and now I've access to good quality grass-fed beef from a local farmer, some of the cuts are quite large. I do a lot of braising as these are all lower-quality cuts, and braising does wonderful things to these cuts of meat. Right now I've two arm roasts in my freezer that are just too large for the large baking dish that I tend to use as a roaster/braiser and it is time to add to my kitchen implements.

    With all of the holiday sales, I've noted that I can get a decent dedicated electric roaster/cooker for the same price as a decent oven roaster. Is there an advantage to having a dedicated roaster rather than getting an oven roaster? I've the idea the electric roaster is more versatile but I may be mistaken. If you have one, do you use it or does it wind up collecting dust because of <insert reason here>?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    106
    I cook quite a bit. I'm a fan of Alton Brown's theory of kitchen appliances in avoiding "one trick ponies" whenever possible. I have only an oven roaster-I don't roast terribly often, being in South Florida I hate heating up the kitchen for long periods of time. An electric roaster would certainly eliminate that issue, but to me it just takes up space. For what it's worth, I would get a nice quality slow cooker (if you don't have one) and an oven roaster. I find a slow cooker extraordinarily versatile and easy, and it would be great for those cuts of meat.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana
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    10,957
    Quote Originally Posted by e3rdpower View Post
    I cook quite a bit. I'm a fan of Alton Brown's theory of kitchen appliances in avoiding "one trick ponies" whenever possible. I have only an oven roaster-I don't roast terribly often, being in South Florida I hate heating up the kitchen for long periods of time. An electric roaster would certainly eliminate that issue, but to me it just takes up space. For what it's worth, I would get a nice quality slow cooker (if you don't have one) and an oven roaster. I find a slow cooker extraordinarily versatile and easy, and it would be great for those cuts of meat.
    I have a slow cooker - but it doesn't cook "slow" enough. It's lowest temperature is too high and it is too small for these cuts of meat... It is a quite nice one, and it wasn't inexpensive when I got it a 2 years ago, but it's low temperature is too blasted high

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
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    14,645
    I'd invest in a nice enameled cast iron oven that you could use both stovetop and in the oven. Like a 5-1/2 qt round Le Creuset, you can use that for stews, soups, steaming with a foldable rack, as well as braising. They're not cheap, but they do go on sale periodically, and it'll last a couple-three lifetimes.

    There are some "other" brands available now. I don't know anything about the quality. I did have the enamel fail on one Le Creuset item and they replaced it no questions asked. Another one was a wedding gift to me and my first husband in 1983 (yikes ) and while it's got some staining, it's really not worn otherwise.


    Another possible investment would be (whenever your current microwave fails, as they seem to way too often ), to get a combination convection oven/microwave. Another thing that isn't cheap, but will save you on both counter space and on not having to heat up the big oven when you're just cooking for yourself. I'm really liking the one we got last year.
    Last edited by OakLeaf; 12-06-2012 at 08:06 AM.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana
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    Good idea Oakleaf. I've been noting sales on large enameled cast iron ovens/pans, though I don't know what the quality actually was. I am a renter so I've no say in the replacement of my microwave/etc. The nice thing is I don't have to at least pay for it when it breaks

    I was at Meijers the other day and they had some large enamel roasters, but I do like the idea of something I can use for both oven and stovetop. The attraction of the dedicated roaster was the ability to also use it for other things. We will see what I can find, at least this is a good time of the year for sales! Right now I am simply considering my options and needs.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,132
    I had a response to add to this thread that I didn't have time to post that basically echoes Oak's suggestion about enameled cast iron. Until a few years ago, I didn't do much cooking. Now I cook all the time, and my enamel dutch ovens are my most loved and most used pieces of cookware. They provide even cooking, are non-reactive when cooking with acids, go from stovetop to oven, and are easy to clean. The main thing that I don't use them for is roast chicken. For that, I used a heavy stainless roasting pan with a rack.

    I don't have any Le Creuset because of their cost. I have two from Lodge and another from Tramontina, which Walmart sells (I normally avoid Walmart like the plague, but Cook's Illustrated gave it a good review so I beg for mercy). So far, they've all held up well.

    As for electric roasters, they are a versatile tool. Just be warned that they are not good for browning. So, if you like crispy skin on your turkey or chicken, you might not be happy with the results.
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana
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    Indy - thanks for the comment about the Tramontina, I think that might have been what I saw at Meijers the other day but I could be mistaken. I will consider this along with my other options. I've never used enameled cookware so really hadn't considered it but it sounds like there is a lot in their favor. Thanks!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
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    6,132
    Quote Originally Posted by Catrin View Post
    Indy - thanks for the comment about the Tramontina, I think that might have been what I saw at Meijers the other day but I could be mistaken. I will consider this along with my other options. I've never used enameled cookware so really hadn't considered it but it sounds like there is a lot in their favor. Thanks!
    I don't think Meier carries Tramontina, but there are a number of other brands out there so you may have seen something similar. Again, I'm no Walmart fan, but their prices on it are pretty good. I've gotten some good deals on Lodge at Amazon, too. Cooking.com often runs email specials, if you sign up for them. In any event, given what you've shared about what you're looking for, I'd look for 6.5-7.5 quart models. Perhaps they'll be big enough for your needs.
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    4,713
    Agreed on the enameled cast iron. Mom got a Le Creuset set as a wedding present and only recently dug them out. Some of the pieces are too heavy for her to lift, but there are smaller ones she uses all the time.

    It's expensive, but they do go on sale every so often, and if you can find a Le Creuset outlet near you, you could always check them out. (I know there's one near Dayton/Cincy, but that's quite a drive.)
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    2,738
    Check Marshalls/TJ Maxx/Home Goods too. I often find Le Creuset and other enameled cast iron pieces there.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Between the Blue Ridge and the Chesapeake Bay
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    5,226
    Quote Originally Posted by OakLeaf View Post
    I'd invest in a nice enameled cast iron oven that you could use both stovetop and in the oven. Like a 5-1/2 qt round Le Creuset, you can use that for stews, soups, steaming with a foldable rack, as well as braising. They're not cheap, but they do go on sale periodically, and it'll last a couple-three lifetimes.

    There are some "other" brands available now. I don't know anything about the quality. I did have the enamel fail on one Le Creuset item and they replaced it no questions asked. Another one was a wedding gift to me and my first husband in 1983 (yikes ) and while it's got some staining, it's really not worn otherwise.


    Another possible investment would be (whenever your current microwave fails, as they seem to way too often ), to get a combination convection oven/microwave. Another thing that isn't cheap, but will save you on both counter space and on not having to heat up the big oven when you're just cooking for yourself. I'm really liking the one we got last year.
    I love my Le Creuset Dutch oven. I've had it for about 20 years and it's not going anywhere. Thanks for the tip about the microwave/convection oven combo. I actually HAVE one, but I always forget about the convection oven and turn on my big oven. I prefer my big oven because it's gas, but I really don't need to use it to heat up small things or bake sweet potatoes. I'll have to remember to use it!

    My one-trick ponies in the kitchen are my rice cooker, which I used extensively when I was eating rice, and a slow cooker, which I also have rather forgotten about since it's tucked away. It's great for winter stews, time to break it out again!

    Oh, and I have a pannini maker that I bought when my kitchen renovation was going on. I rarely use it now, but it was handy when I didn't have a kitchen. (it's actually great for grilling asparagus).
    Last edited by tulip; 12-06-2012 at 01:44 PM.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    the dry side
    Posts
    4,403

    Calling all cooks :)

    Macy's has the Martha Stewart enameled cast iron 60% off Saturday, online also. Items my also be eligible for the extra savings pass- not sure about that.
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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Posts
    10,957
    I want to thank all of you for your comments and suggestions. I saved TJ Max for last - I've not been to one in years and I see I've been shorting myself by not going! They did have several Le Creuset Dutch ovens - still very expensive even if they were $100 off retail They weren't really quite large enough outside of one slightly damaged (chipped) model - but even that was well over the limit I had set for myself. After some thought I brought home a 7 qt Cuisinart dutch oven. It is quite nice, and while it may well have come out of the same factory as the cheaper version at Meijers, it wasn't in the box so I could see that the lid fits well and no chips. No roaster with rack, but that can come at a later time.
    Last edited by Catrin; 12-08-2012 at 08:18 AM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    Sur la Table 5-qt and 8-qt enameled cast iron ovens $79 http://www.surlatable.com/category/c...8v0QMZB&ch=eml
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Posts
    10,957
    Very nice Oakleaf! I think my next kitchen purchase will be an oven-safe enamel skillet. I love my new dutch oven but it is a bit large for smaller tasks like fritatas.

 

 

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