Helpful Hints from My Cottage Kitchen 2

January 21st, 2012

I started writing a periodic blog post called “Helpful Hints from my Cottage Kitchen” back in April of last year.  Here is the post where I wrote about one of my favorite pans.  Since that time, I have neglected the project but haven’t forgotten about it.  While we were in Charleston for the New Years Holiday, we girls spent one day shopping in the historic downtown area.  Across the street from the place we had lunch ( High Cotton) was a wonderful cooking store called Charleston Cooks!   They had so many unique gadgets that we all came home with something.  Jackie got a butter keeper.  It keeps butter at room temperature in a sealed container on your counter.  I have one and it is so nice to always have room temperature butter to spread on toast or bread.  Barbara got a salt pig.  Again something I already have.  Kosher salt in a protected porcelain “thingy” right at your fingertips.   This is what I got.

Sometimes when I prebake a pie crust before I add the filling, the fluted edges get too brown when the pie goes back into the oven with the filling.  All of the self-help cooking manuals tell you to cover the crust with pieces of aluminum foil.  I’m sorry, but that just doesn’t work for me. It is too clumsy and hard to get the aluminum foil around the edges of the dish.  These silicone pie shields are genius!  They fit just right, even over highly fluted edges.  The package includes 5 pieces.  I only needed 4 for a standard 9″ pie, but if you have a 12″ pie dish you are covered.  This was worth the $8.00 I had to pay for it.

The pie shields are great.  I made this quiche recently and realized that the edges were browning too quickly.  I plopped the silicone shields on it and all was well.  Here is the source for them from Charleston Cooks!  But I am sure you could also find them on Amazon.  I hope you find this helpful.  I know it has made me very happy.  But then it doesn’t take much to make me happy.  My husband is grateful.  

Helpful Hints from My Cottage Kitchen

April 17th, 2011
Because I spend so much time cooking, thinking about food, and reading about food, I have decided to do a periodic blog post about things I’ve learned and some tricks I have found along the way.  I think one of the most important aspects of the cooking process is having good quality equipment.  Over the years I have gathered a rather large arsenal of pots and pans.  I have heavy tin-lined copper pots from France, heavy duty cast iron skillets, a charlotte mold and tart pans in many different sizes.   But this is my favorite pot.
It is a Le Creuset 3 1/2 quart braiser.  It isn’t fancy like the bright enameled Le Creuset pots.  Both the inside and the outside are done in a satin black enamel finish over the cast iron core.  I have nothing against the bright pots.  I have a large blue casserole that I have had for over 25 years.  But this pot is just the right size for so many things.  It is the perfect size to braise a half turkey breast for instance.
This is a meal that I do quite often.  Our supermarket has half turkey breasts for about $4.00 to $5.00.  When it is just the two of us, this makes enough for two dinners and one lunch.  I can brown the turkey breast in the braiser, add onions to cook down and then some chicken broth or white wine and seasonings.  Put the lid on and roast in the oven for 40 minutes to 1 hour.  Because of the heavy cast iron core and the weight of the lid, the moisture is retained inside the pot and the turkey breast comes out juicy every time.  I do this with pork loin roasts also.  There is nary a dry piece of meat.

I love this braiser so much, I am looking for another one.  If I recall, I found mine originally at TJ Maxx for a substantial savings.  Keep your eyes open.  You may find one too.

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.