What and pots and pans do you recommend?

This is another question that I’m often asked.  It really depends on your needs and budget.

If you are serious about cooking, you’ll want some good pans and some of the best ones are not that expensive – however, some of the greatest pieces of cookware can be very pricey.

stainless pot - little house

Telflon and Other Coatings

I really really really despise Teflon.  I have yet to see a pan that was cook in for several years that didn’t part with some of its surface.  Where did that material go to?  To your gut, that’s where.  It just can’t be good for you.

Cast Iron

Uncoated cast iron is one of the best deals in cookware.  For under $30, you can still get a MADE IN THE USA Lodge Cast Iron Skillet.  I’m not talking about some fancy dancy enameled outfit.  Bare cast iron – its what you want.  You can sear the perfect steak, back the best cornbread, and fry the best chick or fish all in an old frying pan made Griswold, Wagner, or one hundreds of other manufacturers that used to make great quality stuff back in the day.  Or just keep it simple and buy a new pre-seasoned lodge.  I like #10s and 12s.  Bigger is better when it comes to cast iron.  Alternatively, you can check out some carbon steel versions imported from France – they are a bit lighter if you don’t like the weight but they aren’t nearly as versatile.

Stainless Steel.  Plan stainless sucks. It does not transfer heat very well. Some of the better manufacturers such a All Clad, sandwhich various thickness of copper (great heat transfer) or aluminum (cheaper but fair to middle heat transfer) in between stainless linings.  This is referered as a clad cookware.  You need some of these.  Sauce Pans and a big deep frying pan for acidic foods such a spaghetti sauce- get one with an extra helper handle – should be the back bone of your kitchen.  These range in price from decently priced Chinese made to expensive US, German, and French manufactured.  Make sure they have thick bottoms – the more copper the better.

Copper

Copper is THE best cookware that you can purchase and is something that is often passed down from Mother to Daughter.  Traditionally line with tin, these pots, pans, and skillets conduct heat like there is no tomorrow.  Make sure you get the thicker varieties and these days, its also available with stainless liners. Lynneskitchen.com has a really good primer on copper cookware.   You should check it out prior to making any purchase decision.

There are few other forms of cookware that I didn’t cover in this post and I’ll follow up with some more advice in the next couple of weeks.

Go Crimson

Jack

What’s Southern Cuisine?

I’m often asked “What is Southern cuisine? What is Southern food?”  The answer is can be about as ambiguous as the question.  There is really no “one” type of Southern food.  Although connotations such as deep fat fried chicken, various greens, and pork products make up the typical stereotype, this can be far from the truth.  Really the question can only be correctly answered by diving in the area of to which the question refers and in some instances, even into the micro-regions – the specific counties and towns.

Since many different immigrant groups arrived into the United States at different times, the food traditions that they brought with them from their home countries varied significantly. The second major impact, especially relevant if the group arrived prior to mechanization of commerce, is the raw ingredients that they were able to obtain locally. This is especially true if they settled in very remote areas. The third factor in determining local tastes involved the mixings and clashing of various cultural groups as communities formed and new arrivals brought their culinary skills with them.

While the pig reigns supreme along much of the south, beef was the meal of choice in Texas. While Cajuns dined on all sorts of crustaceans with a little bit of French flair added to the menu, about the closest thing a small land owner in the Arkansas Ozarks came to seafood was snapping turtle and a few species of fresh water fish.

Blood Sausage and other a little more “robust” traditional German foods may do well in Fredricksburg, TX but may not be the ideal lunch from the point of view of those from Tennessee.

A huge but often overlooked influence on food in the south was an effect from Slavery. Africans brought many of the customs and traditions with them when they were forcibly transported to the New World. The bluegrass banjo pickers that we all love to hear owe their instrument to this very mixing of cultural identities – the Banjo was originally and African instrument.

However, the regional cuisines were also heavily influenced by this blending – okra, sorghum molasses, various fritters, deep fat frying, and many other cooking techniques were introduced to the South from Africa.

Here in Mobile, were heavily influenced by what the sea could provide and we also have a good blend of all of the elements of the south.  This is a traditional that we like to keep alive at Little House Midtown.

bon appétit

Jack

 

 

Blackened Grouper Sandwich

TODAY AT LITTLE HOUSE……Yukon Potato, Manchego, & Scallion Soup , also Blackened Grouper Sandwich today with Sweet Chili Aioli, Roma Tomato, Crunchy Lettuce, Shaved Red Onion on Bollio Roll! COME JOIN US ON THIS BEAUTIFUL DAY! CHEF & STAFF

Lunch Special – Grilled chicken with sugar snaps

Today at little house… SOUP- Potato, Reggiano & Bacon w/ Scallion- My dinner was so Delish last night I figured I’d share it as a lunch special… Grilled chicken with sugar snaps, sweet peppers, cherry tomato, almonds, goat cheese and minimal pasta dressed in extra virgin & balsamic- very healthy and tasty -Chef

Grilled chicken with sugar snaps