About two years ago, I set out to do most of my cooking at home, to improve my health through a more balanced diet--difficult when I ate out so much. Without formal dieting or exercise, I lost 45 pounds over the first year, and enjoyed my eating more. Here's how I reconstructed my kitchen--hobs, ovens, and cookware.
I did this partly as an experiment, to test out concepts of energy use in the world of the empty nester: I'd gone from about 3500 sq. ft. to about 600 sq. ft., and a major island style kitchen next to a formal dining room, to a galley/breakfast nook so small, I could cook from a central location in the kitchen, like an octopus:
Before the experiment, I relied on my microwave. As soon as I started, I added a two hob hotplate and an Oster toaster, transitioning to induction and convection. I now have two Vollrath commercial induction units, the Mirage Cadet and Pro, my electric hobs, and two small Oster convection ovens: a smaller "toaster" and a larger "roaster." My costs have been moderate.
I immediately focused on lower temperature cooking, with only a few fry pans. For eggs, scrambled, or omelets, I used Teflon coatings and almost no cooking oil in my All Clad d5. I also use a Demeyere poacher to steam my eggs, and a W-S Thermo-clad sauce pan to soft boil. I sauteed vegetables in my SS All Clad d5 fry pan, with a lid and minimal oil. For Swedish pancakes and other higher temperature applications, I purchased an 11" Staub enamel cast iron Crepe pan. I steam vegetables in a converted rice cooker, an insert in my 5.5 qt. Dutch Oven, and a shelf in my Staub "perfect pan." I use sauce pans and a saucier to make different kinds of pasta, rice, and soups.
When I braise, I often choose poultry, rarely beef or pork, then use some of the drippings as foundations for one pot meals, made in one of my many specialized Dutch Oven cocottes, simmering for a long time at low temperatures. I often bake potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, and other vegetables in my convection ovens--serve them with pan braised or oven grilled fish--often salmon or halibut.
I rely on restaurants for most high temperature dishes: pizza, chicken Tikka, ribs. I purchase all my breads. Baking brings too much temptation.
Everything I'm doing is a work in progress--and I'm ready to try new things. What would you suggest?
What cookware have you purchased for healthy eating? How has it worked out?
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