On Pots And Pans

Every household  in Canada should have a cast iron frying pan. We would go into more detail about it, but we have already covered that and we don’t want to seem obsessed! But it’s true; once you fall in love with your cast iron pan you’ll never go back to aluminum, or PFOA coated non-stick pans which you should stay away from altogether. Ditto the crock pot, an indispensable piece of equipment that doesn’t get the respect it deserves. We have found two new cookbooks that will inspire you to embrace the crock pot and the cast iron pan.

Any serious chef will sing the praises of a good old cast iron pan, including Laura Calder, who, by the way, has a lovely website you should check out.

And just as the cast iron fry pan is the go-to pan for steaks, a “crock pot” or “slow cooker” is a must for cooking stews, pot roasts and other one-pot dinners on those cold winter days. Today we have a look at two new cookbooks that feature these must have kitchen essentials.


skillet cover


Cast Iron Skillet is the latest book by the mother-daughter team of  Sharon Kramis and Julie Kramis Hearne. Subtitled, “RECIPES for the BEST PAN in Your Kitchen”  the authors set about proving this claim by offering recipes for over one hundred dishes, savoury and sweet, from Rosemary-Crusted Rack of Lamb to Pecan Sticky Buns. The introduction includes a brief history of Cast Iron Pan cooking, as well as tips on how to season and care for your pan. Recipes are organized into chapters; Breakfast and Lunch, Appetizers, Entrees, Vegetables and sides, and desserts. There is even a chapter devoted to the joys of outdoor cookery and the secrets to Dutch Oven success, featuring meals that celebrate the Great Outdoors, whether you are beachin’ it  with Skillet-Roasted Clams with Garlic and Parsley or kicking back on the range, cooking up a big pot of Cast Iron Chili or baked beans.


cardamom apricot financier

cardamom apricot financier


Now while the Kramis’ are cooking up a feast with their favourite pan, Food Network Canada chef Ricardo Larivee makes a tempting case for the slow cooker, with RICARDO Slow CookerFavouritesChef Ricardo is also quite passionate about the versatility of the slow cooker, and determined to showcase a multitude of dishes.

“Does your slow cooker hark back to the days of Woodstock?’ asks Ricardo in his introduction. “Dust it off…it’ll be as good as new,” he encourages.



crockpot brownies


Recipes for dishes like Beef and Chickpea Soup, Pork Chili, Goulash and Chicken Cacciatore  seem what you might expect from a slow cooker,  but Ricardo also surprises with an awesome assortment of desserts, like Crème Brulee, Sticky Toffee Pudding, Cheesecake, and Brownies!

Ricardo is forthright in admitting that the Slow Cooker is not ideal for everything.

“Certain dishes simply do not turn out well when they’re slow cooked…” he writes, “…such as bread, cakes, risotto….I realized that the slow cooker is great for simmered dishes, for cooking with a sauce, for tenderizing tougher cuts of meat, and, surprisingly enough, for a number of desserts that are conventionally cooked in a double boiler, or in an even, moist heat, such as a crème caramel and pudding cakes.’




Chances are that somewhere in your kitchen, you have a cast iron pan or a slow cooker. The latter may in fact be in its original box. These two books will encourage you to rediscover the joy and fun of cooking with these classic pots, in surprisingly new and delightful ways.

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