I have mentioned before that I do not like using food as a reward. I think it sets a bad precedent because what can be used to reward can be used/withheld for punishment, and that is completely antithetical to my methodology for a healthy relationship with food. I am not above rewarding myself with stuff though, or asking for things that will help my weight loss as gifts. Just before my birthday I visited my little brother in Georgia and his family gave me a couple pans as gifts. I then used a gift certificate for another pan as a reward for my 1 year. These are my new beauties:
Bottom right is an anodized aluminum non stick pan. Non stick is great for low fat cooking because oil is a choice, not a necessity. This one is oven safe to 350, and not scratched, which is more than I can say for the non stick skillet I have been using for 6 years. The old one had lived a good life, but the even heat and versatility of this pan, even though it doesn't have a lid, is worth it.
The top pan is interesting. It is a 12 inch "everyday pan" by Calphalon. It is stainless tri-ply with an aluminum core. The pan is oven and broiler safe and the lid is good to 450. The shape is interesting. It is a cross between skillet, saucier, and omelet pan, but heats very evenly and sears like a dream. both of those pans were from the Baquets, and they have gotten good use, so thank you very much Peter, Ashley, Jude, and Julien.
The bottom left pan is also by Calphalon, with the same construction as the other pan. It is a 2.5 quart standard shallow sauce pan, but the shape makes it flexible enough to use as a smaller saute pan in a pinch. I look forward to some small batch soups and chilis from that baby.
One thing that I have discovered is that, although my Walmart pans have done me great service over the years, there were a few things they could never do, being cheap non-stick. One was go into the oven, and another was true searing. Searing is so important to me, because brown food tastes good, and proper searing means I have more flavor with less sauce or other fatty toppings. Oven safe allows me to sear and bake for even, tasty foods and only one pan to clean. One dish I have wanted to try for a while was frittata. Now I have the pan to do it, and here are the results.
Picture one is just before the trip into the oven, and picture two is the finished product. I caramelized some onions and threw in some frozen (and thawed) asparagus and peppers. I also shredded up a little left over chicken and topped with a variety of shredded cheeses I had little bits of left over from breakfasts. This thing cooks up so fast, is dirt cheap, and is stupid easy. It is an incredibly filling breakfast that is good for a week in the fridge, so you can expect this to become a staple in my kitchen. I don't like eggs very much, and I love this.