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I Never Liked Nonstick Pans, Until I Found This One

I Never Liked Nonstick Pans, Until I Found This One

My go-to pan has always been cast iron, but a new ceramic pan by GreenPan may have changed that.

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The very first meal I ever cooked for the woman who became my wife was a disaster. I invited her over and elected to make blackened fish and curried zucchini.

That was it, by the way—no wine, no rice, nothing. Just fish and little coins of roasted zucchini with curry powder sprinkled on them.

Eating healthy should still be delicious.

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I don't think I used a recipe. I don't know if I even knew what a recipe was.

But I had Googled "blackened fish" and printed off some instructions (this was years before Pinterest), so I knew the pan had to be piping hot, and the fish had to spend very little time in it, just basically getting seared on the outside, so it didn't cook too long and get tough.

This is what I didn't know about making blackened fish: You shouldn't start with frozen fish. When it was "done" it was still raw on the inside. Actually, parts were still frozen on the inside. My future wife gamely ate it anyway (and that, dear reader, is how I knew we were meant for each other).

Another thing I didn't know: You shouldn't use a teflon-coated pan. The fish did technically turn out blackened, but much of that was actual bits of teflon that had flaked off and stuck to the fish. The zucchini turned out pretty well, by the way.

The pan, of course, was completely ruined. I threw it out and took to heart how delicate and unuseful a nonstick pan can be.

Sure, it's easier to cook eggs on one, but they are temperamental and easily damaged. There are all kinds of things you can't do if you want them to last: You can't put them in the dishwasher. You can't use metal utensils. You can't use them over extreme heats or put them in the oven. And even if you are careful, you often have to replace them every few years.

This is why I have preferred workhorse pans, like steel or (my personal favorite), cast-iron. Cast-iron pans are incredibly resilient.

Sure, they need to be hand washed, but even if one ends up in the dishwasher, it's not that much trouble to simply re-season it. I've got three—two of which are nearly 100 years old—and I know I'll be able to give them to my grandkids one day.

Over the years I've heard about (and tried cooking with) a few innovations in nonstick technology—but nothing has convinced me to bring one into my kitchen again.

One of the more recent innovations has been ceramic-coated pans—they're billed as eco-friendly. The first iterations of these were every bit as finicky as teflon—they needed to be protected when stored, couldn't be heated too high, etc. I took a look, talked to some friends who owned them, and gave it a pass.

However, one of the pan makers, GreenPan, now sells a product called "GreenPan Diamond Clad" (It's sold exclusively, for now, at Sur La Table). GreenPan bills this as a "diamond reinforced coating" and sells it as not only dishwasher safe, but also fine for metal utensils, oven-ready, and capable of being heated to 600 degrees Fahrenheit.

This sounded enough like a workhorse pan that I wanted to give it a try. So I reached out, and they sent me one to test.

I promptly began trying to ruin it.

The first thing I did was make some fried eggs and an omelet, just to get a baseline. Sure enough, as a brand-new nonstick pan, it worked like a charm—much better than my cast iron. I needed hardly any oil at all, and the eggs slid right off onto the plate when they were done.

Next, I began to abuse it. I seared some steaks at super high temperatures (an update on the blackened fish test), with hardly any oil. I made scrambled eggs, using my favorite metal spatula to scrape them around the pan (and I put my shoulder into the scraping, just to see).

I sautéed Brussels sprouts. I roasted a whole chicken in the oven (465, for an hour) with some potatoes.

The chicken came out perfect, and I used about half the oil I usually drizzle over the potatoes.

I basically used it exactly as I use my cast-iron pans—with the single exception that after every single meal I tossed it directly into the dishwasher. I will note that putting it in the dishwasher seemed like overkill. Most of the time, a couple swipes with a soapy sponge was enough to get it clean. But I was on a mission.

After two weeks, I gave the thing a close inspection. The result? Well, it wasn't perfect: There's a small nick where I clearly got a little too enthusiastic, most likely while deglazing for a sauce.

As a final test, yesterday morning, I made pancakes. I mixed up the batter, and then began frying them up. At first I used a touch of oil, but I quickly realized I didn't need any oil at all.

The pancakes came out perfectly: As soon as one browned, it released from the pan, and I was able to slide a (metal) spatula under and flip it over to cook on the other side.

It's still too soon, obviously, to say how long the pan will hold up, but you can color me impressed. I don't know if I will be able to gift it to my grandkids, but given the workout I put it through, I'm willing to bet it will last 5-10 years if well cared-for.

Given that a 12" pan with lid currently runs about $99, that works out to between $10 and $20 per year. Not a bad price for a pan that significantly cuts down on the need for cooking oil.

The bottom line: I won't be giving away my cast-iron just yet. But this is the sturdiest nonstick pan I've ever seen, and it's quickly found a regular place in my kitchen.


The nonstick one always gives me the most grief.

In fact, I don&rsquot even know why I&rsquom keeping it.

This is why I generally don&rsquot like nonstick pans. You have to be sooo careful not scratch them, and despite all that gentle care, their nonstick performance goes kaput in a disgustingly short amount of time.

I&rsquom gonna have to go buy me a second plain old muffin tin, I think. I&rsquove got a little bit of birthday money left over after my pot purchase, so&hellip.

(Not an affiliate link. It&rsquos just the place I bought my muffin tin. With birthday money. Readers, are we noticing a pattern here? Birthdays = kitchen gear for me.)

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Friday 16th of March 2018

just use a cooking spray on it before each use. My non-stick pans only remained fully non-stick for a few uses, then I found I needed to use cooking spray every time.

Sunday 4th of February 2018

Oh my gosh Ladies! Wms & Sonoma Gold Touch Bakeware is marvellous IF you simply follow the instructions. You're not supposed to grease them!!

Don't EVER grease or spray them and they will serve the purpose from day one. The minute you grease them up, the spray coats the protective ceramic and over time, everything you put into them will stick.

Have you ever noticed that brown coating that just doesn't wash off?? Thaat's baked on goop. Ugh .

How do you get rid of pans? I thought of this the other day in reference to your new pot as well. I have a couple old pans in bad enough shape that I don't think anyone would want them. But I feel guilty just throwing them away. It seems like there should be a better way to dispose of them.

Saturday 21st of June 2014

Well, I gave my old stock pot away on freecycle, so hopefully someone else is getting some use out of it now.

I also sometimes manage to find other uses for old kitchen equipment. as I mentioned in this post: https://www.thefrugalgirl.com/2013/03/repurposing-old-kitchen-items/, Mr. FG's old nonstick bachelor Dutch oven now holds our magnetic building toys.

I make a lot of muffins to freeze for easy breakfasts, and getting them out of the pan has always been an issue for me. I just bought a silicon muffin tin and I'm very excited to try it out!

I make these almost every weekend they're so good.

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Welcome! I&rsquom Kristen, and I&rsquom here to help you learn to cheerfully live on less. I&rsquom so glad you stopped by! Click here to read more about me.


Recipe Summary

  • 2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • ½ (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 7 cups bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons poppy seeds (Optional)

In large bowl, sprinkle yeast over warm water to soften stir to dissolve. Add 2 tablespoons sugar, oil, 6 cups of flour, and salt. Mix thoroughly until the dough forms up and leaves the sides of the bowl. Turn dough out on floured board and knead, adding small amounts of flour as necessary. Bagel dough should be pretty stiff. Work in as much extra flour as you can comfortably knead. Knead until smooth and elastic, 12-15 minutes.

Roll the dough into a ball, place it in a large oiled bowl, and turn to coat. Cover and let fully rise until an impression made with your finger remains and does not sink into the dough (about an hour).

Punch down and cut into thirds, and roll each piece between your palms into a rope. Cut each rope into 4 equal pieces and shape into balls. Roll the first ball into another rope that is about 2" longer than the width of your hand. Make a ring with the dough, overlapping ends about 1/2" and sealing the ends by rolling with your palm on the board. If the dough resists rolling, dab on a drop of water with your finger. Evenly place the bagels on 2 nonstick baking pans or very lightly oiled baking sheets. Cover and let stand until puffy, about 20 minutes.

While bagels are proofing, fill a 4 quart saucepan 2/3 full with cold water add 1 tablespoon sugar and bring to a boil. When ready to cook, drop 2 or 3 bagels at a time into the boiling water and wait until they rise to the top. Cook for a total of 1 minute, turning once.

Carefully lift each bagel out with a slotted spoon or skimmer. Drain momentarily. Turn into a dish with topping, if desired. Evenly space bagels on 2 nonstick baking pans or very lightly oiled baking sheets.

Bake with steam in a preheated 500 degree F (260 degrees C) oven until well-browned, about 20 minutes. Turn bagels over when the tops begin to brown, and continue baking until done.


Advantages of Whoopie Pie Pans vs. Regular Baking Sheets or Cookie Sheets

The traditional way to make whoopie pies is to bake the cake shells on a flat baking sheet or cookie sheet, which creates the iconic domed shape. So why should you consider buying a special pan instead? Because it helps you make these delicious treats that are more attractive, better-tasting, and easier to eat.

  • Nicer-Looking Cakes: Baking the pie cake shells on flat baking sheets gives them that authentic, domed shell shape. But I&aposm an experienced baker and I&aposve found it very difficult to get small, round cakes of uniform size and shape by dropping or spreading the cake batter on flat cookie sheets. If you prefer to go this route, using one of the scoops I&aposve recommended below to portion and shape the dough will give you the best results.
  • Uniform Cakes: Alternatively, using whoopie pie pans makes it easy to get all the cakes the same size, shape, and depth. And while they don&apost create the traditional domed shells, I think having them all neat and in perfectly uniform, well-matched shapes and sizes is more attractive than having mismatched and/or misshapen domes.
  • Evenly Moist and Tender Cakes (No Thin, Dried-Out Edges): The cake shells I used to bake on flat cookie sheets tended to have thin, dry edges. When the batter is baked on a flat cookie sheet or baking sheet, it spreads out as is bakes, making the edges of the cakes much thinner than the centers, so they dry out by the time the thicker centers are done. Batter baked in whoopie pie pans bakes much more evenly because the cavities in the pan prevent the batter from spreading out at the edges and becoming too thin, allowing the cakes to bake up evenly moist and tender.
  • Easier-to-Eat Pies: While it&aposs true that even mismatched cakes can be used to create yummy-tasting whoopie pies sandwiched together in pairs with gooey marshmallow creme-based filling, the resulting pies are less attractive and harder to eat than ones made with well-matched, symmetrical cake shells. It&aposs hard to keep the filling sandwiched between mismatched cakes, and it&aposs harder to hold a whoopie pie whose top is larger than its bottom (or vice versa).

Using special pans with uniform cavities lets you create nice, round cakes of even sizes, shapes, and thickness, which makes a big difference in the appearance, taste, and ease of eating of these filled cake sandwiches.


Non-stick Pans are Linked to Serious Pregnancy Problems

Exposure to PFCs in pregnancy has been linked to:

  • Higher risk for having a low birthweight baby
  • Impaired bone and organ development, resulting in smaller abdominal circumference, birth length, and head circumference
  • Higher rates of preeclampsia
  • Elevated markers of inflammation in pregnant women
  • Depressed thyroid function—in both mother and baby. Note that impaired thyroid health can interfere with baby’s brain development.
  • Endocrine disruption, including changes in levels of reproductive hormones
  • Higher risk of atopic dermatitis (eczema) in childhood
  • Higher incidence of bronchitis/pneumonia, throat infection, pseudocroup), ear infection and gastric flu/diarrhea in infants
  • Higher risk of hyperactivity, particularly in female infants
  • Lower childhood visual motor abilities

If this sounds frightening that’s because it is.

The harmful effects of PFCs are not just limited to pregnant women and their infants.

The C8 Health Project, which was a massive medical monitoring effort in response to drinking water contamination with perfluorooctanoic acid (C8) in West Virginia and Ohio (from wastewater disposal from Teflon manufacturing), is the largest study on the health effects of PFCs to date.

The C8 Health Project started in 2005 and published results in 2012, which consisted of a health survey ( n = 69,030), blood testing for 10 PFCs, and 50+ lab tests ( n = 66,899).

Collectively, the C8 Health Project found that PFCs are linked to:

  • Testicular cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Thyroid disease
  • Preeclampsia
  • High cholesterol

Since these results were published, hundreds of additional studies have confirmed these findings, even when the study population lives on the other side of the globe. For example, a study in Swedish women found a link between early pregnancy PFOA serum levels and preeclampsia (quote below). Similar results were shown in a study from China.

The study from Sweden found higher PFOA concentrations significantly increased the risk of preeclampsia:

“A doubling of PFOS and PFNA exposure, corresponding to an inter-quartile increase, was associated with an increased risk for preeclampsia of about 38–53% respectively.” (Scientific Reports, 2019)


Which Type of Nonstick Pan Is Best?

You may think ceramic nonstick is a no-brainer. It's a tougher material than PTFE, it has a higher decomposition temperature (800F vs

500F), and, unlike PTFE, it contains fewer toxic chemicals, and possibly none at all.

But not so fast: because PTFE is, by most accounts, the superior product.

PTFE is fragile and has a short life span. Yet ceramic nonstick has, by most accounts, an even shorter lifespan some people say their pans lost their nonstick properties after just a few uses (although at this extreme, you have to wonder if they abused their pan).

Ceramic is great while it lasts, but that may not be for very long.

And while ceramic is harder, it's also brittle, which means it chips more easily than PTFE.

In fact, if you want to buy high-end nonstick cookware, there are a huge number of PTFE options on the market, including the major brands (All-Clad, Calphalon, T-fal, Cuisinart, etc--all are PTFE). There are only a few high quality options for ceramic nonstick (the aforementioned Spirit line by Zwilling J.A. Henckels, for example).

This might be because PTFE is just better, or it might be because cookware giants have invested all their eggs in the PTFE basket. But the fact remains that most high-end nonstick cookware is PTFE. ("High-end" meaning that the cookware has excellent heating properties, durable handles and lids, etc.)

Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of top quality titanium-reinforced ceramic pans on the market. There are several brands out there, like Gotham Steel and Michelangelo , but the quality isn't great, so TRK can't recommend them. And while it's smart to buy on the low end of the market when it comes to nonstick cookware, poorly made pans are going to be awful to use, and will not contribute to your quality of life or your pleasure in the kitchen.

So even though you may not get longer nonstick lifespan, you nevertheless ought to be willing to pay a little more for pans that won't warp, have better heating properties, better handles, and the little extras that make cookware a joy to use.

The few dollars more you'll spend for a quality brand is money well spent. (And in most cases, it really isn't that much more.)

Whether there's a lack of titanium-reinforced ceramic options is because the market is so new, because titanium doesn't add a lot to ceramic pans, or because the big manufacturers simply haven't yet gotten into ceramic cookware marketing, we don't know. But if you want ceramic nonstick, your best bet is to stick to the Spirit. Healthy Legend. or Green pan, all of which are high quality.

If you go the ceramic route, your best bet is Zwilling Spirit, Healthy Legend, or GreenPan. (Read more about them in the review section.)


  • 1/4 c. dill
  • 1/4 c. chives
  • 1 lb. (2 8-oz. packages) softened cream cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons Hellman&aposs or BestFoods mayonnaise - do not use Miracle Whip
  • 1/2 teaspoon milk if needed
  • 2 large loaves rustic style multi-grain unsliced bread
  • 4 -5 dozen organic fresh pansy flowers*
  • Herb leaves**
  1. In a mixing bowl, add the dill, chives and 3 tablespoons of mayo to the cream cheese and mix until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add a little milk a 1/2 teaspoon at a time, until the desired consistency.
  2. Trim the crusts off the bread and cut it into slices 1/3 inch thick whole grain crackers may be substituted.
  3. Cut the slices into large squares or rectangle fingers about 3"x3" for the squares and for the finger rectangles about 2"x 4" inches. (Just divide & cut each slice of bread into equal pieces the width of the bread.)
  4. Spread the cream cheese mixture on the bread, approximately 1 tablespoon per square, and arrange the squares on cookie sheets.
  5. Cover them lightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to decorate.
  6. Carefully wash the flowers and herbs and gently pat them dry on paper towels. Lay them out on damp paper towels and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to use, but not for more than a few hours or they will wilt.
  7. Decorate each canapès square with a pansy another edible flower or two and an herb leaf or two.
  8. Re-cover the canapès lightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving time. Do not prepare more than 2 hours ahead or the flowers will wilt and the bread will get soggy.
  9. Put a paper doily on decorative trays, place canapès on the tray. Place edible flowers around the canapès for a festive look and serve.
  10. Notes:
  11. * Other edible flowers may be combined such as chive blossoms, nasturtium, viola, Johnny-jump-up, borage, broccoli, rose petals, scarlet runner bean, sage flowers, and dill and fennel florets
  12. ** Herb Leaves such as parsley, any variety of mint, dill, fennel, any variety of basil, marjoram, oregano, tarragon, thyme, and any variety of sage leaves.


Stainless vs. Non-Stick

OK. Let me have it. Which do you prefer and why? Particular brands that aren't hugely expensive would help.

I think SS is more useful in the kitchen than NS. About the only thing I'd CHOOSE NS for (IF I didn't have my LC skillet handy) is cooking eggs (I have a double burner NS griddle that I break out only when the DH's family comes for brunch). You have to be really nice to NS, don't machine wash it, don't use sharp or metal utensils in it, and don't overheat it or you've killed your pan. SS you can treat badly and it'll hold up. Also, imo it is superior to NS for browning meats, and creating the fond you need for gravies, sauces, etc., (although I hear Scanpan is up to the task, but have never used one). In several forums I have heard people sing the praises of Costco's SS and NS lines, and they are not "hugely expensive--maybe look into those?

Clicking the will recommend this comment to others.

I have one and only one non-stick pan, a shallow skillet for cooking eggs. Non-stick cannot handle high temperatures, most sorts of strong cleansers or anything abrasive. It will eventually flake off the pan no matter how gently you treat it, and it will flake into whatever you're cooking.

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I thought that too until I bought a Swiss Diamond brand nonstick pan. It handles high heat fine, browns beautifully, and is over safe to 500 degrees. It says its safe for metal utensils but I've stuck to non-metal just to maximize longevity-- although it has a lifetime garauntee. After 6 months of use the pans still look practically brand new. I bought the 12.5 frying pan, which comes with a glass domed lid. The lid's knob has a slider that allows you to control how much steam to let out so it can be used for baising as well. I liked this pan so much that I also bought a 10" pan for eggs and such. I find myself using these two pans for 90% of my cooking these days. My 11" All-Clad copper core and Mauveil saute pan rarely leave the drawer now. The Swiss Diamond pans cost way less than these other two pans. I bought the 12.5" pan for around $80 during a storewide 10% of sale at a local cookware store. Best of all, since the pan uses diamond crystals for its non-stick properties, it doesn't have the health concerns of Teflon-- not to mention blistering and peeling issues.

"Best of all, since the pan uses diamond crystals for its non-stick properties, it doesn't have the health concerns of Teflon-- not to mention blistering and peeling issues."

Swiss diamond uses PTFE - teflon - just like every single other "non-stick" pan. You can't use the term "non-stick" without using PTFE. . not saying that SD isn't a great pan - just that if you have canaries, don't heat the pan up to 500F.

From their site: "The secret behind this advanced cookware technology is the result of combining diamond crystals - the hardest material known to man - with a non-stick nano composite to form a virtually indestructible non-stick cooking surface."

See A Cook's Ware site for further info (also great page for the op or anyone else to compare all pans):
http://www.cookswares.com/discussions.

Here's a quote from them:
Swiss Diamond Pans are produced similarly except they are diamond-reinforced. Actual diamond particles and fused to the pan and PTFE applied. The result is that Swiss Diamond Nonstick pans are virtually indestructible. In addition, diamond conducts heat more efficiently than any other medium, even copper. So it will always render optimum heat transfer.

I suggest a stainless set- it's so much easier to care for & clean, and it's so durable! Even with a saute pan, if you heat it well first, you shouldn't have a problem with sticking. Just add a 12" nonstick skillet to the set.

Foodstorm is right in that you can't really do one OR the other. NS is unbeatable for eggs and delicate foods, but it's useless at searing meats or stirfry. Buy yourself a nice clad stainless pan - Calphalon's tri-ply is decent if you don't want to pay for All-Clad - and grab a 10 or 12" heavy aluminum NS pan at a restaurant supply store. I got mine in NYC for $22. No matter the manufacturer's claims, the NS coating wears off after awhile. At $22, I could replace it annually if need be.

I've never used SS and have gone thru a few NS pans. all have flaked off and lost their non-stickiness. And here I am considering SS. Then I remember I've found a great not expensive frypan. with my cast iron skillet. It gets real hot, always releases and cleans up nice. I like to keep things simple.

SS is best for sauce and dutch oven pots, easy to clean and take the heat. I have all clad, just look for a heavy aluminum core all the way up the side and ss inside and out, I have a Anolon saucier like that that is terrific and costs much less than all clad. NS is necessary in the omelet skillet and it gets alot of use, currently, for my family, the most imprtant is 12", but we also have 10 and 8 NS skillets. Heavy anodized aluminum has its place as well, Calphalon is the best known, I have their flat bottom wok and the roasting pan, read their literature, the carmelizing and durabilty are terrific features. Incidentally I didn't think I would like glass lids but find them to be very good. The 3 and 4 qt straight side saute pans are a tossup, either NS or SS, I have both and would have trouble doing without both.

Stainless. I have a bunch. Treat it right and it'll outlast you - and it's *not* prima donna cookware. TJ Maxx, lotsa Farberware. Since it's so popular, you can sometimes pick up Farberware in excellent condition at thrift shops. Get at least one covered pot with a really thick bottom.

Afte the Jfoods redid kitchen several years ago i spent a fair amount of time on ebay and all the internet store looking for bargains on Calphalon. I never paid more than 35% of retail on any p&p. Took about 14 months but I have not purchased any in 5 years since. I have NS and anonized and each has a place in my routine. Of course the easy one is NS for eggs. I have a single burner NS Calph skillet for little jfood b'fasts, great for 2 over easy, ham and toast. Other end of the spectrum is my 7.5 Calph anonized dutch oven. Paid $39 (close to $200 retail) and it is my answer to La Creuset (way too heavy and pricey). My go-to pans are 2 10" NS sarteusse (sic) pans. I have one with two "U" handles and one with a real handle. I like the latter much better, not crazy about the two "U"s. For my new favorite method for fish (sear and bake) I use an Calph NS oblong pan, fits a fish filet nicely and it can go right into the oven for step 2. And yes I do sear in NS, in spite of all the posts stating otherwise. For sauteing I use 10" Calph NS and love it.

OTOH, for boiling water for pasta I use my 20 year old farberware. It heats up waaaay quicker than the Calph. And lastly for hard boiled eggs, I have a white pot, and only white pots are good for boiling eggs. Others may disagree and that's OK for them but I find boiling eggs in non-whites give a tinning taste to the eggs.


Popovers

If eggs and milk are cold, before combining, submerge whole eggs in warm water 10 minutes and heat milk until just warm. Preheat oven to 450 degrees with a nonstick popover pan on rack in lowest position.

After you have combined eggs and milk in a large bowl, whisk together until very frothy. This should only take about 1 minute. Have the flour and salt measured out and ready to go.

Add flour and salt to egg mixture. We tested out a blender and an electric stand mixer when making the batter, but concluded that whisking by hand produces the most tender, airy popovers.

Whisk flour and salt into egg mixture just until batter is the consistency of heavy cream with some small lumps remaining. See those air bubbles? They are what will cause the popovers to rise.

Remove popover pan from oven and coat with cooking spray. If you prefer a standard muffin tin, only coat (and fill) the outer cups they get better circulation in the oven. (Also, reduce baking time by 5 minutes.)

Fill popover cups about three-quarters full with batter. Bake 20 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Continue to bake until golden brown and dry to the touch, about 20 minutes more.

Popovers lose their crunch if they linger in the pan, so turn them out on a wire rack immediately and poke a small opening in the side of each with a paring knife to let the steam escape. Serve right away.


I Never Liked Nonstick Pans, Until I Found This One - Recipes

I will edit this as I go, and link to it in the sidebar. OK? OK.

Veggies should be very soft. Yes, some people do cook carrots for four hours. In my experience, that hasn't been necessary. I boil large quantities of baby carrots usually for an hour, 90 minutes tops. I check them with a butter knife. If I can easily slice one with a butter knife while it's floating in the boiling water, they're done.

CHICKEN SOUP (mostly from BTVC, EGG FREE)

Chicken legs and thighs, about 4 pounds or so
Ten peeled carrots or 1-2 pounds of baby carrots
1-2 onions
5-6 garlic cloves
4-5 stalks of celery

Get a big pot and fill it halfway with the chicken parts. Add peeled or baby carrots, chopped onion, garlic cloves, and celery. Fill pot with water until it almost covers the contents of the pot, but not quite as more water will cook out at the start.

Put a lid on it and simmer for 4 hours. You'll need to check it and add more water as it cooks. Take the meat off the bones, and throw away the onions, garlic, and celery on stage one because you can't eat it. On stage two you can leave the garlic in but you still have to throw away the other stuff.

After making the soup in this way, I added a teaspoon of sea salt and a teaspoon of sage. Next time I'll try adding the sage ahead of time, but spices sort of vanish when you cook something for four hours, so I'm not sure if it will make a difference. I ended up with a lot more chicken than necessary, so I separated out some of it to use for chicken salad later in the week.

SAFE MAYONNAISE WITH PASTEURIZED EGG WHITES

1/4 cup egg white (egg white ONLY in the carton)
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp vinegar
3/4 cup oil (approximate)
ear plugs (you can thank me later)

Dump the egg white, ground mustard, salt, and vinegar into your blender. Put your ear plugs on. Turn the blender on to HIGH and start adding the oil slowly. How slowly? Add it at a speed where you think you will possibly never ever be done with the mayo.

Keep adding it slowly, until the mixture starts to emulsify. If you look inside, at the beginning you will be able to see right to the bottom of the blender. Staring at the blade is kind of scary, so look away now and then.

You'll notice a difference in the sound as the mayo starts to glop together. Keep adding the oil slowly until it has glopped together to the point where you can't see the blade anymore - or if you can, it's intermittent.

Then stop the blender and you will have mayo! Safe mayo! Germ free mayo!

I have successfully doubled this recipe in the blender, and now that's the only way I'll make it.

Keeps for a week in the fridge, as long as you always dip into it with clean utensils. Safety first!
**************

1 1/2 cups well cooked baby carrots (water squeezed out, seriously)
4 eggs
1 tsp SCD legal vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon (you should test this as a food)
4 tsp honey (optional)
1/4 tsp sea salt

Mash up the carrots with the other ingredients until it's as smooth as you'd like, or you can puree it. Fry in a skillet with a small amount of oil.

2 cups pureed fruit or veggies (water squeezed out, seriously)
4 eggs
4 tsp oil (coconut was recommended I used olive)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
4 tsp honey (optional)
1/4 tsp sea salt

Mix together. Put in muffin tins with liners.

Bake at 400 for about 30 minutes. Makes 12.

BANANA PANCAKES (multiple sources)

2 cans wild salmon, drained
5 eggs
1 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar

Mix, fry. It's not the best recipe, but it's OK when you have nothing else on hand. :)


The Best Non-Toxic Nonstick Pans + How to Use Them Safely

As knowledge grows about PFOAS and other forever chemicals in cookware, I get asked what my favorite non-toxic non-stick pans are all the time.Working as a private chef and teaching in people’s homes is an on-going anthropological experience that never ceases to fascinate me.

I can’t tell you how many times a client will tell me that they only use organic produce and grass fed meats, but when I arrive to cook it, the only pan in their kitchen is a flimsy nonstick skillet that looks like it made contact with a very feral feline.

Most of us know by now that Teflon and other nonstick coatings made up of perfluorooctanoic (PFOA) or acidpolytetrafluoroetheylene (PTFE) are a big no-no for your health. According to the Environmental Working Group, chemicals in this family (PFC’s) can cause birth defects, abnormal thyroid levels, liver inflammation and weakened immune defenses, among other issues.

So if you’re going to spend money on organic vegetables and grass-fed meat, does it make sense to go home and cook it on something that is just as toxic as pesticides? Mmm…better not.

As awareness has grown about the carcinogenic effects of PFOA, it’s been removed from many nonstick products on the market. But as the demand for safer options grows, so too does the second danger: “green” products that are no better than their chemical cousins.

The subject of nonstick cookware has been a huge challenge for me as a chef. I try to use it as little as possible in my own kitchen. But the fact of the matter is that there are some things you just can’t do as well without that freakish water-resistant surface. After all, I have better things to do with my time than spend the afternoon scraping congealed egg off my cast iron skillet.

Unfortunately, as I feared, many of the new “eco” models out there just don’t function as well as some of their toxic predecessors (many of them manufactured by brands who have been making cookware, toxic or otherwise, for years). Cooks Illustrated did one of their amazing hyper-anal evaluations of these pans and found that many of the ones I’d seen raved over on wellness blogs did not perform. And the ones that did turned out to be not much cleaner than generic alternatives. (Sigh of exasperation emoji).

So as someone who spends more time than most in the kitchen, and cares a lot about the quality of what comes out of there, but also has an autoimmune disease that’s forced me to put the kibosh on unnecessary chemicals, I thought it was high time I gave you my healthy hedonist take on this clean kitchen conundrum.

Read on for the best non-toxic nonstick pans, what to look for when shopping for clean cookware, and most importantly, how to USE these products in the safest and most delicious ways once home.

From one healthy egg-scrambling hedonist, to another,

NON-TOXIC COOKWARE MATERIALS

First let’s establish the safest materials that you should feel good about purchasing for your kitchen:

Cast Iron
Stainless Steel
Ceramic (available as solid cookware, or as a nonstick coating)
Glass (used mostly for bakeware)
Silicone (seen in non-stick friendly utensils, and as a new “green” nonstick coating for pans)

This list goes for any cookware, not just high-heat non-stick skillets. Terracotta and clay are also great materials for baking and fit the general philosophy that any material that’s been used for centuries of culinary delights, before convenience took the wheel of our consumer culture, are probably a safe bet for today.

As for the baddies, let’s take them one-by-one:

PFOA: This is the most notorious ingredient that put Teflon on the wellness angry heat map. It’s carcinogenic when under the duress of high temperatures, which one might think would be problematic for using in, um, cookware. Due to mounting concerns, the main manufacturer agreed to phase out this chemical by 2015. But many others in the PFC family still exist, and can be found in water resistant outerwear, stain-resistant carpets (and cleaners), fast food wrappers, popcorn microwave bags, among other sneaky places.

PTFE: A cousin chemical to the above, and also used in Teflon and other nonstick coatings. According to EWG, the issue of this chemical flaking into your food is a secondary concern to what it does to the air around you. When placed over a high flame, the coating begins to breakdown and emit such toxic fumes that they’ve been known to kill pet birds in the vicinity (poor Polly!). Humans experience flu-like symptoms from exposure.

Aluminum: While the flecks themselves might be innocuous, tearing nonstick coating does create a secondary problem: the small matter of what lies beneath them. That material is often aluminum. Back in 1970, researchers found a connection between the aluminum in our diet (mostly from canned food) and the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Like any heavy metal, aluminum slowly builds in your body. So small daily doses do eventually add up. Outside the kitchen, I’ve begun limiting my exposure by switching to natural toothpaste and deodorant, since many contain aluminum.

In the kitchen, I buy aluminum-free baking powder and don’t drink bubbly water or soda out of a can (though, how this stacks up to plastic bottles in the grand scheme of things, I don’t know). To mitigate the issue for cookware, manufacturers have created a new process of “anodized aluminum” which is said to be nontoxic and heat resistant. But some aluminum does still leach into the food, even if it’s less.

I still use aluminum baking sheets, but I’ll always cover them in parchment paper rather than have the food in direct contact (as does my pal Pamela). This is also just plain easier for cleanup, and if I’m being honest, this practice began more from laziness than for my health. Aluminum foil tears easily, so it’s not great for lining pans that you don’t want to get messy. I still use it for a few things, like roasting beets, but otherwise, parchment all the way.

THE BEST NON TOXIC NON STICK COOKWARE BRANDS


When I was researching nonstick pans, I weighed the options across the following healthy hedonism criteria: functionality, affordability, and toxicity. Unfortunately, there’s always some give and take across the board in these areas. And at the end of the day, I’m not sure it’s worth throwing out all your old nonstick pans. It’s just a matter of using them in a safer way. Scroll to the end of the post for what regular nonstick items I’ve kept in my home, and how I’ve avoided the worst effects of them.

Pros: I won’t beat around the bush and make you read to the end of the article to give you my verdict. These multipurpose cast iron skillets (and Dutch ovens) are the best bang for your buck, and what I use for the majority of my stovetop operations. Salty Southern grandmothers have been using these products for generations. When cared for properly, they develop a seasoned patina that is naturally nonstick. And the good news is, they actually leach something good into your diet: iron! My favorite is the 15-inch for roasts, frittatas and searing protein. It also doubles as a casserole or paella pan. I keep a smaller one on hand for frying eggs, which requires a level of heat that I’m not comfortable using on any nonstick, no matter how green the claim.

Cons: Some people find these pans annoying to clean since you can’t use soap. But once you get used to the seasoning process, your food will taste so much better for it. Here’s a little how-to I wrote in the early days of the blog. People talk about how you shouldn’t use high acid ingredients like tomatoes on cast iron since it messes with the PH and will give you a metallic flavor. I’ve honestly have never had this problem and have cooked a variety of things from this to this using tomatoes.

Pros: These Le Creuset pans are the high end, spiffed up version of the above. (Think Carrie Underwood in 2005, versus Carrie Underwood now.) Not only is the bottom coated in their signature enamel (in a variety of colors) but the cast iron cooktop uses a coating that makes it dishwasher safe (i.e. you can use soap).

Cons: While I love my Dutch oven, as far as nonstick skillets are concerned, I’m not sure the enameled versions are worth the upsell. I’ve found that these pans are better maintained when you treat them like true cast iron (skip the dishwasher, and rub with oil after each use). But if you can afford it, you’ll be very pleased! Most traditional nonstick skillets have plastic handles and aren’t made to go in the oven. Lodge and Le Creuset items can do it all, and will last a lifetime.

Pros: Similar to the Le Creuset, Staub uses enameled cast iron that can withstand soap. It tends to be slightly cheaper than Le Creuset, but with similar quality. I own the white fry pan and the perfect pan, which I use a TON as a wok for stir fries.

Cons: Like the Le Creuset, I find that my Staub pans behave better when I oil them and don’t use soap, similar to traditional cast iron natural coatings.

Pros: This new player on the scene makes thoughtfully designed non stick sets using ceramic coating. The four pans on offer retail for $395 together, which is on the higher end, but a great deal for the value. The set comes with a magnetized rack for easy storage and a canvas lid case that can be hung on a wall or inside a cabinet door. I’ve been using these pans now for 6 months in a very small kitchen and have been impressed. Not only does nothing stick to them, but the pans are oven safe as well up to 600 degrees F. If you want a lighter pan than traditional cast iron that can still go in the oven, this would be my pick. Plus, the color palette is fun and chic! I have the set in sage.

Cons: Like some of the other non stick options below the coating sits atop aluminum, which is why it’s still not recommended to use metal utensils with these pans.

Pros: Another new comer on the scene, this woman-owned business makes incredibly chic ceramic cast iron that is the best of all worlds. They are truly comparable in quality to Staub and Le Creuset, but half the price. I love the thoughtful features that are a welcome update on the old classics: handles that are large enough to grip with oven mitts (see image below), brass hardware, and a matte finish that you won’t find anywhere else. I had been seeing these pans advertised on instagram for months and finally decided to try the braiser in broccoli green. It’s a perfect size and shape, and really feels substantial / long lasting. I will also say that I love the bakeware! It’s really hard to find non-aluminum baking sheets and trays that are heavy-duty and good quality.

Cons: The braiser is quite heavy (which I like), but I know that bothers some people.

Pros: These professional-grade pans are on the more affordable side and definitely chef-approved for their cooking quality. They are made in Italy and therefore subject to Europe’s more stringent toxicity standards. The coating is a patented mineral-ceramic mix. I bought this pan for my mother-in-law for Christmas and she loves it.

Cons: Though their website says you can use metal utensils, since it’s an aluminum base, it’s not recommended.

GreenPan $$

Pros: I used these pans extensively at one of my client’s homes, and found them to be fairly easy to clean at the beginning. They got more brittle as time went on, which was a lot more noticeable on the tan surface than it would have been on one of the darker pans. The coating is ceramic, with anodized aluminum base, so the fact that it scratched was a little more worrisome. So far I have found the Caraway models much more durable and easier to clean.

Cons: Overall, I would have to agree with the CI assessment: the pans were great for sautéing but didn’t radiate enough heat to properly sear fish or steak. For a small omelet pan though, the 8-inch would work just fine.

Carbon steel is a perfect hybrid of a cast iron skillet and a stainless steel frying pan. It has a cast iron’s heat retention, seasoning, and non-stick properties and stainless steel’s heat control, lightness and cooking speed. For those who find cast iron too heavy, this is a great option. For those who want true nonstick without the need for any maintenance, go with something like Xtrema Ceramic Cookware $$

Pros: This is the one pan that actually might be as green as it says it is. No coating necessary, the Xtrema cookware is 100 percent solid ceramic. I included this pan on my list mainly because Katie raved about it, and because it’s the highest on the clean scale. I think the best product is this 10-inch braiser. It would work like a skillet, baking pan, or Dutch oven.

Cons: Unfortunately, one virtual glance at these pans and I was skeptical. They don’t look at all like normal skillets. The sides are too straight, more resembling a saucepan than something that would be easy to use for sautéing. Also, as even Katie noted, they break and chip easily, like any glass or ceramic products. But I think the biggest knock is that they’re expensive. If I’m going to be dropping this type of cash (quiche), I’d much rather just invest in a LeCreuset.

I should also note that Scanpan rated the highest in functionality across the board by both CI and The Wall Street Journal. But considering it uses PTFE still, I don’t think it’s worth spending $140 just to go from two toxins to one.

Healthy Hedonist Final Word:

There is really only one task that a nonstick cast iron skillet can’t perform well: scrambling eggs, or the extended version of that, making omelets. A second, is homemade veggie burgers, which tend to be very fragile. I use my large and small cast iron skillets for anything else—searing delicate fish, making frittatas, and pretty much everything in between. For those pesky eggs, I use the Caraway small skillet.

A scratched pan that has been begging you to replace it for years is one thing. But I wouldn’t worry about replacing your whole nonstick arsenal overnight. If you want the convenience of nonstick cooking for certain foods, there’s no point in switching to an alternative that’s just marginally safer, and might not give you the convenience you were after in the first place. The key is to use these pans less, and use them right. For a low and slow scramble on weekends, you’ll probably be fine using whatever you have. Avoid high heat and metal utensils though at all costs.

What do you use in the kitchen? Do you care more about functionality or toxicity? How do you weigh both? Would love to hear from you in the comments!

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