Building my cookware...
I'm getting married in November and my girlfriend has absolutely nothing (worth keeping). I'm trying to build a set of essential cookware and I'll definately be the primary cook. My plan is to either go for significantly high end quality or low end value. Here's what I'm thinking right now:
Shun 8" Chef's Knife
Shun 6" Utility Knife
Shun 3.5" Paring Knife
Shun 9" Serrated Bread Knife
Wustoff set of 8 Steak Knives ($99 at Crate and Barrel... in our registry)
All Clad Stainless 10" Fry Pan
All Clad Stainless 2 Qt. Saucier w/ Lid
All Clad Stainless 3 Qt. Sauce Pan w/ Lid
All Clad Stainless 3 Qt. Saute Pan w/ Lid
Calphalon Contemporary Nonstick 8" and 10" Fry Pan Set (the $39.99 one)
Need a 5 or 6 Qt or so Dutch Oven of some sort... no idea what to do here.
Need a Stock Pot of some sort ... probably 8 Qt. Chefmate from Target i think
Pair Jellyroll pans from Marshalls
9x9 sqare cake pan from Marshalls
Pair of 9 inch round pans from Marshalls
Some sort of pyrex bakeware... the long rectangular pan.
A pie pan of some sort.
Am I missing anything glaring?
I bought the Shun Knives already on Ebay... $270 for the 7 piece block set delivered with the block, shears and sharpening steel. Way less than the $640 retail price.
I am likely to buy the 4 pieces of Allclad from Cookware & More for about $335, which is also way less than retail.
Any thoughts? Should I splurge for a Le Creuset Dutch Oven? Are pricey bakewares worth it? I have 2 Marshall's within 3 miles of my house and they always have tons of bakeware.
Any input at all would be appreciated. Thanks, Mario.
I use my all clad stock pot often. I don't have a dutch oven but it does almost the same things and I bake in it w/ stews, etc. If you're only planning on making stock, you could go w/ a less expensive one but with how often I use mine, I'm glad it's heavy duty. I also have an extra large stock pot that has two steamer baskets in it. It was a gift, probably something I wouldn't buy myself, but I find I use it all the time. But, it's mostly for frozen chinese food that my MIL gives me, like dumplings, shu mai, har gow, buns, dimsum.
I really like having the All Clad Braiser for things that start on the stove and move to the oven. You could do that with the saute pan, but the handle makes it hard to impossible to center in the oven.
I do think the Le Creuset dutch oven is worth the money.
If you do any asian cooking, consider a wok.
I did plan on using the Saute Pan for that purpose.
I think I could get one more nice item on my budget.
All Clad has a 12 Qt stock pot that comes w/ pasta and steamer inserts. This is a cheaper pot ($99) which is made in China, not the USA and has an aluminum disk at the bottom... the cladding doesn't go all the way up the sides. The real All Clad stock pots are really expensive ($300+). I think i can live w/ a cheaper version for a bit.
I could probably squeeze in a 5.5 qt Le Creuset oven from ebay for about $140.
We recently received this A/C "Multi-pot" for a wedding gift and it's going straight back to the store. As a straight pasta pot it would be fine, it has a nice thick aluminum disc on the bottom. The fit of the pasta insert and steamer basket are awful, though. Tons of rattling around even without steam coming up from under it. For $100 from All-Clad I guess you get what you pay for, but I was hoping for a little more.
I also have the 1-qt saucier, though, and can attest that it is absolutely stable with liquid in it. I had my reservations at the store, as it wobbles around a bit. Put it on a burner with water, soup or sauce in it and it's a dream. No issues at all and the handle doesn't even get very hot.
I'm going to chime in with the other posters who have recommended restaurant supply houses. It's a great place to get high-quality (Lincoln Wear-ever) nonstick gear, and the only place, in my opinion, to get half-sheet pans and the like. You'll never pay more than $7 for a baking sheet again.
I just gave my wok away to Goodwill - couldn't even sell it at the yard sale. A saute pan works fine for that.
If you're planning on doing much baking, I'd probably add a nice 9" springform pan and a bundt cake pan.
I might also add another small All Clad saucier - a 1 or a 1.5 qt with lid. I find that since I cook for two a lot, I use my 2 qt. and my 1.5 qt. for almost every dinner, and use my 3 qts. for when I'm cooking for more folks.
I have read that the 1 qt Saucier is somewhat unstable... the handle is heavy when compared to the pot and it has a tendency to tip if you aren't careful. I was at Crate and Barrel this weekend and this seemed to be the case from a quick inspection
My parents have a 1 qt sauce pan that they got for very cheap at Williams sonoma a few years ago in some sort of promo w/ the 7.5" fry pan. I use those a lot for small items when i'm cooking over at their place.
I just realized that I don't have a Roasting pan on the list.
hmmm.. mine's older, but I've had my All Clad SS 1 qt. saucier for about 10 years now and it's not the least bit unstable. Very well-balanced pot, actually. Maybe it's changed since I got mine, though.
Definitely you'll need a good roasting pan. I wouldn't bother with a non-stick one, though.