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Cuisinart Multiclad Pro Tri-Ply Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set
There are certain, uh, sticky situations—like whipping up an omelet, pancakes or a skin-on fish filet—where it makes sense to reach for your trusty nonstick skillet. For everything else, there’s stainless steel cookware, a step-up option that both looks and cooks like professional-grade equipment.
This 12-piece set features skillets, saucepans and saute pans (plus matching lids) made from a core of aluminum clad in stainless steel, which allows for more even heat distribution, and better browning of your food, than teflon-coated cookware. The multi-clad set is also ideal for making sauces and gravies and can go from stovetop to the oven without getting damaged (you can’t do that with a nonstick pan). Despite the name, not much adheres to stainless either, which is why you can use it for 99 percent of dishes you can ever imagine cooking.
Lodge 12-Inch Cast Iron Skillet
Now this is a real man’s pan: Despite the fact that cast iron is on the heavier side (you can handle the weight, can’t you?), the Lodge skillet is a no-nonsense piece of cookware that will set you back a Jackson and will literally last forever.
Since it already comes pre-seasoned (treated with fat and oil to make the surface less sticky), you can use it right out of the box to make big breakfasts and hearty dinners. Cast iron is an insane conductor, distributor and retainer of heat; this means the surface can get hot enough to put an incredible sear/crust on your steaks, locking in the juices and fats that make meat taste so damn good.
Calphalon Contemporary Stainless Roasting Pan with Rack
Want to seriously impress a date without working very hard? We taking a crack at cooking her a whole chicken. Trust us, it’s one of the easiest things in the world to make—just season the bird with salt and pepper, massage some oil or butter onto the skin and cook it breast side down a roasting rack—like this option from Caphalon—for a half hour before finishing it off breast side up.
The pan, which can withstand temperatures of up to 700 degrees F, is an excellent conductor of heat; the V-shape of the rack holds the bird above its drippings, which collect to form the early makings of gravy.
After a practice run or two, we know you’ll find the roasting technique easy to master—which leaves you free to focus on how you’ll seal the deal with your date.
Mario Batali 11-inch Enameled Cast Iron Square Grill Pan
Just because the mercury has plunged and your back porch looks like a frozen wasteland doesn’t mean you have to give up on grilling for the winter (or due to any precipitous precipitation).
By investing in an enamel-clad cast iron grill pan (like this from Mario Batali’s line created by Dansk), you can treat your meat to the same kind of high-temperature preparation as you would when grilling it outdoors—and lock in those oh-so-important char marks on your burgers and steaks. What’s nice is that you can pop the whole pan in the dishwasher when you’re done—something we can’t say for your outdoor grill.
Calphalon Unison Nonstick 13-in. Wok with Cover
News flash: Ordering a big ol’ container of General Tso’s chicken with a side of dumplings isn’t going to help you reach your goal of getting a summer six pack. But rather than swearing off Chinese food, you should start making your own healthier version in domed wok, like this flat-bottomed model from Caphalon.
Sautéing your own thinly sliced chicken, beef, veggies—along with brown rice or whole-wheat noodles—couldn’t be faster, or simpler, and because the bottom is nonstick, you can cook with a very minimal amount of fat. We recommend waiting ’til the last minute, then tossing in a few tablespoons of your favorite Asian-style sauce. You won’t need as much, and you’ll get maximum flavor.
It’s totally cool to order up a few pies when you have the guys coming over to watch the game. But if you really want to blow your taste buds away with bubbling, melted cheese and a perfectly crisp, golden brown crust—then you have to make the pizza yourself.
Fortunately, a brand-new product that came to life with the help of civilian investors on Kickstarter.com is now available to the masses. In a nutshell, this 1/4-inch thick, 15 pound piece of food grade steel is capable of turning your regular household oven into the kind that can produce gourmet-level Italian and American-style pizza.
That’s because steel is able to hold onto and impart a ton of heat, resulting in that light, air-filled, slightly-burnt crust that tastes unlike anything you’ll get from a mass-produced chain. Once you get the hang of it (literally: Just turn up your oven full blast, slap your dough down and bake it) you may just feel confident enough to serve it up to the boys on their next visit to your place. Trust us: They’ll be way more impressed than with delivery.
Mario Batali by Dansk Classic 9-Inch Square Baker
Few cooking methods bring out the flavor in food quite like roasting, a technique that’s so incredibly easy, its (almost) dummy proof. Just slice up Brussels spouts, red potatoes, broccoli, eggplant, squash or any other root veggie, toss with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, and add the pieces to a shallow-bottomed baking dish (like this enamel coated cast-iron model from Mario Batali) making sure they line the entire bottom. Then place your pan in the oven set at 400 degrees F for about a half hour, removing it from the heat after the contents turn a golden brown. And that’s it: simple, super-tasty side dish.
Cookware Essentials for Guys
While a high-quality French Oven (also known as a Dutch Oven, depending upon the manufacturer) could qualify as an “extra credit” item due to its hefty price tag, once you invest, you’ll quickly begin to understand why we’ve labeled it an “essential.”
From soups to stews to sauces, chili to mac and cheese, roasts to ratatouille, there’s virtually nothing you can’t cook inside of this sucker—and it will all emerge tasting like it was slaved-over for hours by your grandmother.
While Le Creuset makes a slightly smaller French Oven—a five quart model— we strongly suggest bumping up to the 6 3/4 size, which is large enough to fit the ingredients required for most recipes.
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