KitchenAid® and the Joys of Cast Iron Casserole Cookery

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Ever since I started using a KitchenAid® mixer for my research and development work at my family bakeshop in Cebu, Sally’s Home Bake Ship, in the late 1970s, I was “addicted” to it. Meaning, I couldn’t live without it. Fast-forward to the early 1990s in San Francisco, California. I had asked my younger sister, Myrna, to give me a KitchenAid® mixer as a wedding present. And so she did.

There are many lovely memories associated with my KitchenAid® mixer. I made my mother-in-law’s secret recipe for cheesecake and paté, for example. I also experimented on my prize-winning Sylvannas.

When my husband passed away last year, I didn’t give away my mixer. I said “good-bye” to the rest of my kitchen equipment and utensils BUT not my KitchenAid® mixer. Instead, I placed it in my small storage space in Illinois. It is still there, waiting for me.

A month ago, I was given an opportunity to review another KitchenAid® product here in California. Correction, products. Two packages came in one huge box. Wow!

Here’s what arrived:

KitchenAid® Professional Cast Iron 4-Quart Casserole (maroon color), with Lid-as-a-Grill
KitchenAid® Streamline Cast Iron 3-Quart Casserole (blue color)

KitchenAid® Professional Cast Iron 4-Quart Casserole (maroon color)
KitchenAid® Professional Cast Iron 4-Quart Casserole (maroon color)
KitchenAid® Streamline Cast Iron 3-Quart Casserole (blue color)
KitchenAid® Streamline Cast Iron 3-Quart Casserole (blue color)

It seems ironic that I am reviewing cast iron cookware. My history with cast iron cookery goes way back to the early 1990s when I was very anemic — and my doctor prescribed iron pills and cast iron skillets. Although cast iron skillets meant doing a lot of seasoning (cleaning it with oil) and I had to be careful about not adding any “acid” type of products such as vinegar and tomatoes since these ingredients promoted rust, I really loved cooking steaks, burgers, and omelets in it. If you have a way to explain “vibrance” in the taste of the food I cooked, please let me know. PLUS, I enjoyed having the added iron for my healthy body, too!

I thoughtfully eyed the well-wrapped cast iron cookware, happy that I could cook to my heart’s delight — and decide if I would recommend it to my family and friends.

LET’S START WITH THE ACTUAL PRODUCTS.

First of all, the over-all look reminded me of French casserole dishes. That is a good thing! What it means to me is that the cookware epitomizes AFFORDABLE ELEGANCE.

KitchenAid® Cast Iron Casserole  Cookware
KitchenAid® Cast Iron Casserole Cookware

The design, texture, and glossy exterior were a pleasurable experience for my fingertips. When I lifted the casserole cookware, I made a mental note that I would never allow a child or a frail senior to lift them off the stove-top or from the oven. The cookware’s interior seemed quite fine-textured — compared to the slightly rough surface of new, traditional cast iron skillets.

I read the contents of the thin brochure that came with my new KitchenAid®. I am writing down what you need to remember because this is no ordinary cast iron cookware!

PARTS AND FEATURES:
– Warms evenly and holds heat
– Interior porcelain enamel does not need seasoning

FEATURES:
– Dark-colored interior provides better browning and resists staining
– Streamline and Traditional Cast Iron Cookware: Basting dots on lid interior keep food moist
– Professional Cast Iron Cookware: Professional cast iron lid doubles as a grill (for the maroon-colored cookware)
– Oven-safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit

kitchen aid casserole 4 quarts

COOKING:
– No seasoning is required before use. The cast iron cookware has a porcelain enamel coating that does not require seasoning.
– Before use, hand wash with hot soapy water, rinse, and dry thoroughly. No further preparation is needed.
– Ideal for use on all types of cooktop surfaces, including induction and outdoor grilling.
– Always lift the cast iron cookware when moving it from any type of cooktop surface. Sliding the cookware may damage the cooktop or base of the pan.
– For best results, use low to medium heat on cooktop or outdoor grill. Allow the pan to heat gradually for even and efficient cooking. Use a high temperature when searing or boiling.
– Cast iron cookware is not ideal for dry cooking. Before heating, select a liquid, oil, fat, or butter to cover at a minimum the base of the pan.
– Match the pan base size with the cooktop burner for cooking efficiency. Do not allow gas flame to extend up the side of the pan.
– Cast iron cookware is oven-safe to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. And is broiler safe.
– Use potholders or oven mitts when handling hot cookware.
– Do not submerge a hot cast iron pan into cold water or place a cold pan onto a hot burner. This may cause thermal shock, resulting in cracking or loss of enamel.
– When cooking, use wood, plastic, or heat-resistant nylon tools to avoid scratching the porcelain enamel coating. Do not cut inside the cast iron cookware. (NOTE: This means “no knives or other sharp utensils”.)
– Use a hot pad or trivet before placing the hot cast iron cookware on an unprotected surface.

KitchenAid® Cast Iron Casserole Cookware with Lid-as-a-Grill
KitchenAid® Cast Iron Casserole Cookware with Lid-as-a-Grill

PROFESSIONAL CAST IRON COOKWARE ONLY:

– The lid of the Professional Cast Iron Cookware also serves as a separate grill pan and is ideal for indoor and outdoor cooking. (Maroon-colored cookware)
– The same “Cooking” instructions apply when using the professional grill pan separately.
– Before each use, clean both sides with hot, soapy water, rinse, and dry thoroughly to ensure any residue is removed.
– The porcelain enamel coating on the grill pan can chip or crack if dropped or banged on a hard surface.
– Allow the cooking surface of the grill pan to reach a hot temperature before grilling or searing. Sear lines from the ribbed grill will not be produced if the pan surface is too cool, or if the food is too wet.
– Add oil, fat, or butter after heating the grill pan to avoid overheating and smoking.

kitchen aid casserole cookware

CLEANING COOKWARE:
– Cast iron cookware is dishwasher-durable and the colorfast finish resists fading and discoloring. However, to extend the life of your cast iron cookware, hand washing is recommended.
– Allow cast iron cookware to cool before washing.
– Use a sponge, nylon pad, or dishcloth when cleaning cast iron cookware; do not use oven cleaners, steel wool, harsh detergents, or chlorine bleach.
– Food residues can be removed by soaking with warm water for 15 to 20 minutes before washing. A soft brush or nylon pad can be used to remove food deposits or clean between the ribs on the professional cast iron grill pan. Wash, rinse, and dry thoroughly.
– Thoroughly dry cookware before storage. Store cast iron cookware in a dry cupboard.

THE COOKING EXPERIMENTS:

I just love making casseroles. Perfect for a busy cook! I also have these twin nephews in an American household who prefer written instructions when it comes to cooking lessons with their “Tita Lorna” or “Auntie Lorna”. Across the Pacific Ocean in the Philippines, my sister, Noemi Lardizabal Dado, likes it when I insist on low-fat, low-sodium meals — and that I actually take the time to guide her assistants, especially the all-knowing cook, on how to prepare food my way. OK, so I’m finicky when it comes to nutritional values. Go ahead, Emmanuel and Christian, you’ll be cooking these casserole dishes for your girlfriends or wives at some point. 🙂

My first experiment was not meant for me to take pictures. This is because the result was quite good that I forgot to bring out my iPhone. However, the second dish that I cooked, Spicy Adobo, looks remarkably like the first casserole — minus the coconut milk. For those of you who like Indonesian ingredients, here is what I used.

Kara Coconut Powder & Asian Home Gourmet Spice Paste for Nasi Goreng
Kara Coconut Powder & Asian Home Gourmet Spice Paste for Nasi Goreng

EASY CHICKEN CASSEROLE WITH COCONUT GRAVY
(Maroon Cast Iron Cookware)

1 package of KARA coconut cream powder, 1.76 oz./50 gms.
1-1/2 cups cold water
1 heaping tablespoon of minced garlic, fresh or bottled
3-1/4 lbs. or 1-1/2 kilos chicken wings & drummettes, defrosted and rinsed
1 package of ASIAN HOME GOURMET Spice Paste for Indonesian Nasi Goreng, 1.75 oz./50 gms.
4 small pieces of lemon verbana leaves, optional
2 teaspoons of ground black pepper

1. Mix 1 package of KARA coconut cream powder with 1-1/2 cups of cold water in the cast iron cookware until the lumps of powder disappear.

2. Add the following:
1 package of ASIAN HOME GOURMET Spice Paste for Indonesian Nasi Goreng.
1 heaping tablespoon of minced garlic, fresh or bottled
4 small pieces of lemon verbana leaves, optional
Mix well.

3. Add the rinsed chicken wings and drummettes into the cookware.

4. Put on the cookware’s lid.

5. Cook on medium high heat for 10 minutes, then increase to high heat for another 10 minutes. Lower the heat to medium-low for another 20 to 25 minutes until tender and done.

6. During the cooking process, stir the mixture once every 10 minutes.

7. Add the black pepper during the last 10 minutes.

8. Serve hot.

OBSERVATIONS:
– The chicken pieces covered just slightly half of the pot. I can safely say that you can comfortably cook 4 lbs. or 4-1/2 lbs. of meat as a casserole dish.
– The liquid in the cookware started boiling within 15 minutes. That was fast!
– I am used to cooking this chicken recipe for about 55 minutes to an hour. I would say that I shaved off 5 to 10 minutes’ cooking time.
– The cookware retained its heat for more than an hour after cooking. This is especially beneficial during cold weather or when you are bringing your casserole dish for a potluck event.
– The cooked chicken pieces were moist — and stayed moist. My nephews loved the coconut milk gravy with the Indonesian spice paste. The gravy did not taste “oily” at all.
– The best part about this cookware is that it is a classic “from kitchen to table” cooking.

kitchen aid lid

ABOUT THE “GRILL ON THE LID”:
I made my classic GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH on the lid-turned-grill-pan. I was careful to slowly bring up the heat to medium. I slathered butter on the exterior of the two bread slices and placed provolone cheese as my filling. The sandwich had the grill marks. However, I was half-expecting a toasted sandwich. Wrong! It was a nice, moist grilled cheese sandwich — something I thoroughly enjoyed!

SPICY CHICKEN ADOBO
(Maroon Cast Iron Cookware)

KitchenAid® Professional Cast Iron 4-Quart Casserole (maroon color)
KitchenAid® Professional Cast Iron 4-Quart Casserole (maroon color)

Add the following ingredients to the cast iron cookware:
1 heaping tablespoon of minced garlic, fresh or bottled
1/2 cup of DATU PUTI Sukang Sinamak (Spiced Cane Vinegar)
3/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
3-1/4 lbs. or 1-1/2 kilos chicken wings & drummettes, defrosted and rinsed
2 pieces of bay leaves
6 small pieces of lemon verbana leaves, optional

Add the following during the last 10 minutes of cooking:
2 teaspoons of ground black pepper
1 heaping tablespoon of brown sugar
Salt to taste (I use Himalayan pink salt for the minerals)

1. Put on the cookware’s lid.

2. Cook on medium high heat for 10 minutes, then increase to high heat for another 10 minutes. Lower the heat to medium-low for another 20 to 25 minutes until tender and done.

3. During the cooking process, stir the mixture once every 10 minutes.

4. Add the black pepper during the last 10 minutes.

5. Serve hot.

Spicy Chicken Adobo with KitchenAid® Professional Cast Iron 4-Quart Casserole (maroon color)
Spicy Chicken Adobo with KitchenAid® Professional Cast Iron 4-Quart Casserole (maroon color)

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MY REVIEW: KitchenAid® cast iron cookware is a “must have!” You will never go wrong with buying KitchenAid® for yourself or for your family and friends.

MORE RECIPES TO FOLLOW! I still have to use the KitchenAid® Streamline Cast Iron 3-Quart Casserole (blue color) cookware. Stay tuned for updates!

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About the Blogger, Lorna Lardizabal Dietz: A certified foodie and chocolate aficionado, Lorna Lardizabal Dietz started her “work” life in the baking industry at the family-owned business, Sally’s Home Bake Shop, in Cebu City, Philippines when she was 10 years old. Although Lorna believes that she is a “domestic goddess of baking”, her adventures in cooking started much later with her first University of the Philippines’ college teacher in “Principles of Food Preparation”, the late Matilde Guzman (who also taught the likes of students such as Noemi Lardizabal Dado, Sylvia Reynoso Gala, and Nora Daza). Lorna has been doing recipe research and development since she was 15 years old, when she baked her first commercial products for the family business. Lorna has a B.S. degree in Hotel and Restaurant Administration. Noemi, her foodie-blogger-sister, and she spend a lot of time comparing notes on their recipes aside from their foodie and advocacy experiences. Lorna also has a blog, http://DiabetesLifeNotes.blogspot.com, which she says needs some updating so her musings and research will keep her attentive to the needs of persons with Diabetes, Type 2.

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