Le Creuset must-haves?
I know that it sounds odd to talk about cookware than expensive in the "must-have" way, but my wife works at a retailer where she sells it and earns extra sales credit to receive their products free. So far we've gotten the 4 1/2 qt round Dutch Oven, the 9 1/2 qt oval Dutch Oven, and the 5 1/4 qt rectangular Roaster. After the New Year she'll be eligible for a couple of additional pieces so we're beginning to think about what we'd want. She's very familiar with the enameled cast iron (and she's not eligible to buy everything they make) but I thought some input from CHers would be helpful.
I'm not sure she can get them, but how are their 3-ply fry pans and non-stick pans? I know she wanted the black Zen teakettle last time but that color wasn't on her availability list.
Appeals for gifts must wait in line behind family and friends. :o)))
I have the 7.25, 5.5, and 4.5 qt. round ovens, and I use the 5.5 most often.
I have, and love, the 5.25 qt. roaster; it comes in a smaller size you might like (2.5 qt?) too. I use the big one for baking pasta dishes, roasting chicken on top of vegetables, apple crisps (really big apple crisps), mac & cheese. I roast potatoes and other veg, then add fish in the center when the vegs are 10 min away from being done. I'd like to get the smaller one.
I didn't know LC made anything nonstick. When you ask about the 3-ply frypans, you mean the SS, right?
re: Jay F
Yes, SS. I think what I was calling non-stick is really hard anodized aluminum(?) which, I assume, is like the outsides of the AllClad set we have???? Do they perform similarly to cast iron?? or just look like it?
I'm not sure my wife can get them in this situation anyway, but we could use some good quality pans. http://www.lecreuset.com/en-us/Produc...
OK, I'm only suggesting this because you already have the most necessary pieces, i.e., DOs and a roaster. This is a little esoteric, and despite the fact that I think that LC cast iron is overrated (and basically useless for stovetop use), I have two suggestions: (1) the long, narrow rectangular, lidded piece that I call a pate terrine; and (2) the fondue pot, burner and stand. I make these suggestions because the terrine is actually quite versatile (e.g., lasagna for 2, roast asparagus, meatloaf, crusty breads and brownies, etc., etc.), and the fondue pot makes an excellent tabletop chafing/hors'd dish--think dips and cocktail weenies for football games. The fondue also makes for a good in-oven tall pan for finishing soups (FOS!) and stews, and one can then keep them warm at table by moving them onto the stand. In both cases, these pieces take advantage of CI's only real cooking virtue, heat capacity. I find that I reach for--and use--these to pieces more often that the LC skillets, saucepans, rondeaux and grillpan. Weird but true.
I think the clad is just a joke.
You might also want to toss in a couple of the stainless steel knobs that LC sells separately.
maybe a braiser? i don't have one (but i want one!) I also really like the stoneware and use my 2.75 quart pretty often.
Depending upon how many you cook for, the square grill pan with the panini press is something I use quite a bit. It cleans up easier than my double size cast iron grill, which is still something hard to do, but I find things like chicken breasts and chops do nicely in that pan. I heat the press, rest it on a small cutting board, and then put it on top of the meat after it has been flipped to help press it and cook it thoroughly. I have even used it as a panini press. You just have to be careful to heat the sandwiches low and slow, because an overheated pan can burn the bread quickly. It does a decent job of grilling veggies too.
The trick to cleaning is not to be afraid to let it soak with some hot soapy water for about fifteen minutes. Make sure it is completely cooled before filling it with any kind of water to soak. The inside coating is not raw cast iron, so it does not rust. Just wash it out with a scrubber sponge or soft nylon brush, and I find I can keep it decently clean looking, whereas my cast iron grill, which I love too, is just a nightmare to keep clean.