Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Vegetable Fried Rice

Here's a delicious and very easy recipe for vegetable fried rice that I made for supper last evening. Why eat out when you can make this tasty dish at home? Cooking at home has several advantages. First, it costs less than eating out. Second, it allows you to control the amount of sodium and fat in your food, and your portion size. Third, sometimes you have leftovers for another meal, which further extends the economical benefits. In the case of this recipe, it makes only enough for two, but you can double to recipe to serve four or to have leftovers. 

I substituted organic tamari sauce for the soy sauce to make it gluten free. If you are limiting your sodium intake, use low-sodium tamari or soy sauce. I also used a lovely ginger rice vinegar, which complements the dish perfectly, but you can use plain rice vinegar if that's what you have on hand. When a recipe calls for vegetable oil, I use avocado oil, which has some health benefits you can read about here and here. Give this tasty recipe a try and let me know what you think!

Vegetable Fried Rice

2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce (use tamari labeled "gluten-free" if you have a wheat sensitivity)
2 tablespoons ginger-rice vinegar or regular rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
4 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 large carrot or 2 small carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1-1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced (don't skip this ingredient – it makes the dish)
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 cups cooked white rice, cold (note: I cooked the rice about 40 minutes prior, so it was at room temperature, not cold)
2 cups baby spinach

1) In a small bowl, stir together tamari (or soy) sauce, vinegar and sugar until sugar is dissolved. 

2) In a large, nonstick skillet, heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium-high heat. Add egg and let cook until set. Transfer to a cutting board. Dice or cut egg into strips and set aside.

3) Add remaining oil to skillet, then add carrot and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add scallions, ginger and garlic; cook, stirring, until scallion is soft, about 2 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Add spinach and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes. Add the tamari or soy sauce mixture and cook, stirring, until liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Stir in egg and serve.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Happy Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day, friends. Let's take some time today to remember those who have fought for our freedom – the brave men and women who loved our country so much that they were willing to give their lives to protect it. What a sacrifice! Last year I posted six ways to honor Memorial Day. You can read the post here.

Today I wanted to share some garden updates. On the front porch we have two ferns, a palm, a fatsia japonica, and some impatiens and coleus in the planter (which isn't looking pretty enough to photograph). This year I bought ferns at a different nursery – the one where we bought our new maple tree – and I think they're the best ever. Very full and healthy.

And here is the first dahlia bud of the year. It's going to be a beauty. The dahlia garden is looking so happy and healthy! My husband planted several new ones this year which we're excited to see. I shared on Instagram two photos of the dahlia garden taken several weeks apart to show its fast progress. You can find me on Instagram: @claudiabungalow.

Our hydrangea is blooming. One of my husband's coworkers, who has since passed away, gave him this plant from his garden. Even though I never met the gentleman, I often think of him when I enjoy this hydrangea he gave us. 

The astilbe 'Fanal' my husband planted in May of 2016 is doing beautifully this year. A year or two ago it was looking awful and we almost removed it and another astilbe from the garden. They looked like they were dead. But good thing we didn't because this year they are both thriving. 

The Sun Valley maple Paul planted is settling in nicely, as is the arborvitae in the corner. The hosta on the right is getting huge, and putting out some pretty flowers (above). All the plants are enjoying the little bit of shade the maple is already providing. When a tree in the yard behind us came down last year, we lost all the shade it provided. Our back yard became full sun for much of the day. We planted this maple to provide both shade and privacy. It should grow quickly, and I look forward to seeing its color this fall.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Banana-Oat-Raisin Bread

Banana bread is one of my favorite things to bake. I love bananas and always have them on hand. If they ripen too quickly, I either freeze them for smoothies or use them to make a loaf of bread. This past weekend, I was looking for a banana bread recipe and pulled out the little recipe box my dad gave me when I was a teenager, which is when my interest in baking started. 

As I flipped through clippings and hand-written recipe cards, I found one for banana-oat-raisin bread. I can't recall the source, but it's a recipe I've made several times over the years. This time, I substituted gluten-free flour for wheat flour, and changed up the spices, increasing the amount of cinnamon and adding ginger, which I think improved upon an already great recipe. The use of oats and raisins give this bread a hearty texture that's perfect for breakfast. Give it a try using regular flour or gluten-free flour! My preference for gluten-free is Cup4Cup brand.

Banana-Oat-Raisin Bread

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup unsifted flour, or gluten-free flour such as Cup4Cup or King Arthur Measure for Measure (both contain xanthan gum)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1-1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 large bananas)
1/4 cup milk (I used 1% milk)
1 cup oats (if following a strict gluten-free diet, use gluten-free oats)
1/2 cup raisins

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan with butter and set aside.

2) In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger; set aside. In another bowl, combine mashed banana and milk; set aside.

3) In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter for about 2 minutes. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes (at this stage, you cannot overbeat the butter and sugar mixture). Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

3) To the creamed butter and sugar, add the dry ingredients alternately with the banana-milk mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix just until combined. Gently stir in the oats and raisins.

4) Transfer batter to prepared loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour. Ovens vary, so check the bread about 10 minutes before the timer goes off; mine was done after 50 minutes, and, as you can see, was quite browned. Remove pan from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Turn bread out onto rack to cool completely.

Other banana bread recipes I've shared include banana-nut bread and an amazing chocolate banana bread. What do you add to your banana bread to make it extra special?

Friday, May 10, 2019

Cocktails to Celebrate Spring & Summer

Hello! How in the world did it get to be May 10th already!? Time is going by so quickly that I'm afraid I'll blink and summer will be over. Summer is my favorite season. When I first moved south (back in my 20s), I didn't dream I'd ever say that. As a New Yorker, I found the summers here quite oppressive for a long time. But over the years I've grown to love summer, heat and all. The worst part? The mosquitoes. See this post for our reliable method of keeping these pests at bay.

Summer is also synonymous with cocktail-making. On a summer evening after work, I like making a refreshing cocktail. Here are a couple of easy recipes that will inspire you to kick back and relax.

The first is a familiar favorite – the Paloma – and the second is a "Claudia original," which I am calling an orange-peach blossom, for lack of a better name. Cheers!


2 ounces good tequila, such as 1800 Silver
One 6.7 oz. bottle Q Grapefruit 
Kosher salt for rim of glass
Grapefruit, lime or lemon slice, for garnish
  • Put salt in a shallow bowl 
  • Run a slice of citrus around a portion of (or entire) rim of a highball glass  
  • Dip the rim in the salt to coat
  • Fill the glass with ice
  • Pour in the tequila and the bottle of Q Grapefruit
  • Stir gently and garnish with citrus slice

Orange-Peach Blossom

1 ounce vodka
1 ounce white peach liqueur, such as Pallini Peachcello
4 or 5 ounces orange juice
Orange wedge, for garnish
  • Fill a cocktail shaker with ice
  • Add the liquors and orange juice
  • Shake well and strain into a glass filled with ice
  • Garnish with orange wedge 

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

A Garden Update

Welcome! Let me show you what's new in our garden. Two weeks ago we visited a nursery and purchased several plants, including two Boston ferns for the front porch, a hibiscus for the garden, an Emerald Green arborvitae, a dwarf cryptomeria and a 15-gallon Sun Valley maple tree for our very bare and sunny back yard. The nursery was very backed up due to the Easter holiday, so the maple and two evergreens were just delivered yesterday.

We bought more plants this past weekend at my favorite little garden shop where each spring I purchase a few plants for the front porch planter. This year I kept it simple with two kinds of coleus and some bright pink impatiens. The asparagus ferns at the shop this year were very small, so I will look for a larger one someplace else. Photos of the porch planter to come!

We also bought a beautiful evergreen foliage plant called fatsia japonica. It looks stunning in the cobalt blue planter. Once fall comes, we may put it in the ground, as it is a plant that can grow quite large.

We bought a new green planter for the back yard, and my husband chose a foxtail fern for it. I added the pink calibrachoa, which looks like a mini petunia, but I read they are not related. It is supposed to mound and trail. We'll see how it does next to the fern, which is a relative of the asparagus fern.

Foxtail fern and pink calibrachoa in a new planter

Emerald Green arborvitae; similar to Leyland cypress but smaller. It will fill in this corner, covering the telephone pole and odd fence post of our neighbor's.

Cryptomeria japonica "Dragon Prince" will only grow 2 to 3 feet high

Last but not least, this pretty Sun Valley maple

I'm in love with this tree already! Isn't it lovely? I'm looking forward to the shade and privacy this maple will provide in several years, and I'm excited to see the leaf color come fall.

I can't believe how big the dark green hosta on the right has gotten! Click here to see it in May 2016 when my husband planted these hostas. We lost a few plants from this area of the garden since then, including a painted fern, two coral bells, and a hosta, all of which succumbed to the summer sun after a huge tree in the yard behind us was removed.

What's new in your garden? 

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

New Bedroom Rug

I bought another rug. This time for our bedroom. Yes, I realize it seems like I have a rug fetish, but I don't. Really. 

I've been wanting a large rug for our bedroom for quite some time. Then I received a Pottery Barn catalog and noticed a collection of indoor-outdoor rugs that looked nothing like typical indoor-outdoor rugs.

After reviewing the options, we settled on the Lucca rug. Hand woven of 100% polyester, it is very soft underfoot, something we're not used to. Our floors are hardwood and tile, and our rugs are either natural sisal or wool, or tightly woven indoor-outdoor rugs that mimic sisal. Nothing soft, until now.

The Lucca rug is plush and feels so luxurious – perfect for the bedroom. It makes the room look larger and more finished. It covers the wood floor scratches and softens the sound of their creaky boards. Best yet, it is super affordable. I paid less than $280 for the 8' x 10' size. Even though it is washable – a trademark of indoor-outdoor rugs – I'm fearful one of our dogs will throw up or have an accident on it. The rug is large and goes under the bed, so it isn't easy to take outdoors and hose off, like our other rugs. Fingers crossed, there will be no accidents! 

Here is another PB indoor-outdoor rug with a nice pattern:

Bartlett synthetic rug in neutral

This is not a sponsored post.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Happy Easter!

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
– John 3:16

Happy Easter to you and your family.

Thursday, April 11, 2019


Hello there! I wanted to share with you this photo I took last weekend of our sweet boy, Henry. The photo was taken in our studio (third bedroom) – the darkest room in our house – around 6:00 in the evening. The red in the background is an exercise ball, which provides a dramatic backdrop. 

At the time, I was fairly certain it was too dark in the room to get a good photo. But I was wrong. The lighting looks perfect, thanks to my iPhone. They take such good-quality photos.

I love the pensive expression on Henry's face. He looks deep in thought, doesn't he? He's such a wonderful dog. He has the most gentle, easy-going personality. We're so lucky to have him in our family.

Do you have a special dog in your life? Leave a comment below. I'd love to hear about him or her.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Blueberry-Chia-Walnut Overnight Oats

This recipe for overnight oats is adapted from one I found on a container of Siggi's yogurt, or skyr, actually – a thick, Icelandic-style yogurt. Siggi's is one of my favorite brands of yogurt. It is high in protein and low in sugar – at least 25% less than leading flavored yogurts, according to their website. The milk they use is sourced from family farms who don't use growth hormones. Their products do not contain high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, sucralose, gelatin, preservatives or artificial colors. I buy the large, 24-ounce container of vanilla-flavored Siggi's to use in my morning smoothies. It's a bit more expensive than some other brands, but I think the quality is worth it.

Visit their recipes page for more than 230 delicious-looking recipes – everything from pear and oat muffins to cauliflower soup to chocolate pot de creme.

Blueberry-Chia-Walnut Overnight Oats

1/3 cup old-fashioned oats

1/3 cup low-fat 1% milk
1/2 cup vanilla-flavored Siggi's yogurt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1-1/2 teaspoons chia seeds
frozen or fresh blueberries
walnut pieces
[I didn't measure the blueberries or walnuts, but used a small handful of each; just eyeball the amounts to be proportionate to the oat mixture.] 

Combine all ingredients in a container that has a lid, and mix well. Cover with the lid and refrigerate 4 hours to overnight. Drizzle with maple syrup, if desired. May be served cold or warm.

I really like these Weck canning jars for storage, and they are perfect for making overnight oats. I have them in various sizes, include a beverage jar. Below is what the overnight oats mixture looks like before refrigerating for several hours.

This is not a sponsored post.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Baked Manicotti (Gluten-free)

One of my favorite dishes to make is manicotti. My husband loves it, too. Because I have to follow a gluten-free diet, I use a brown rice manicotti pasta by Jovial, which is an excellent brand of gluten-free pasta. They also make einkorn pasta. Don't know what einkorn is? Read about it here. And check out the great recipes on their website, too. 

If your local grocery doesn't carry Jovial products, you can buy them from their website. I prefer to purchase in store to ensure the shells are not broken. My "test" is to gently tilt the box one way, then the other and listen for any shards moving around. A few times I've bought these manacotti shells, there have been two or three broken ones. I still cook them up and do a bit of a patch job once I've stuffed them. You can't even tell after they are baked.

Baked Manicotti (Gluten-free)

7-ounce box Jovial gluten-free manicotti
24 ounces prepared pasta sauce (my go-to brands: Classico organic, Prego Farmers' Market and Whole Foods 365)
16 ounces part skim or whole milk ricotta cheese (I use Galbani brand)
1 large egg
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
Freshly ground pepper
Fresh parsley, chopped (I don't measure, but about a tablespoon should do)
4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot (4 quarts) of water to a boil. Cook noodles 4 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

2) In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, egg, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and parsley. Stir well to combine.

3) Fill the manicotti shells with the cheese mixture. You can use a pastry bag (the kind used for cake decorating) or make one by snipping the corner of a plastic bag. I prefer to use a small spoon to stuff the shells. My technique involves gently shaking them to get the cheese to the other end of the tube, blocking the opening with a finger or two. This method may take a little longer, but I have good success with it. I also don't like to waste any of the cheese, which would happen if using a pastry or plastic bag. I find there is barely enough cheese to fill the manicotti shells, without any excess left over.

4) Coat the bottom of a 13" x 9" baking pan with about 1/3 of the pasta sauce. Place the filled shells on top of the sauce in a single layer. Top with the remaining pasta sauce. Sprinkle the mozzarella over the top. Cover the pan with foil. Bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake another 5 minutes or until the cheese is lightly browned.

This is not a sponsored post.     

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Spring Blossoms

Just a quick post to share some photos I took today on my walk through the neighborhood with my pal, Henry. The weather today is perfect: sunny, breezy and 60 degrees. I hope you're enjoying spring's pretty blossoms and warmer temperatures where you live.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Container Planting Tips

Friends, I am so ready for spring! If you live in a cold climate, I'm sure you are, too. When the weather starts teasing us with temperatures in the 60's, I start daydreaming about how to fill my front porch planter and what plants to add to the back yard garden. My husband just planted more tubers in the dahlia garden. I'm so happy and can't wait to "meet" them! Dahlias are my favorite flowers. We leave the tubers in the ground through winter, rather than digging them up (like we should). Year after year, we've had fairly good success doing this. However, last year several plants didn't come up from the previous year, and they were pretty spectacular ones, too. I'm guessing this year's wet, cold winter may have taken a toll on more of tubers. We'll hope for the best.

I came across an informative article on Houzz about container gardening and how to choose the right containers for your plants. I wanted to share some of their lovely photos with you. I adore the first planter, with that single pink blossom balanced by the spiky, soft pink flowers and the dainty trailing white flowers. Perfection. I may try to replicate this.

The containers below are just my style. I love their shape, and how the rust and bronze colors look together. Succulents are some of my favorite plants. They look really good in this type of container. However, this photo example goes against the advice in the article, which states that succulents prefer shallow soil, less than 6 inches deep. I'm sure there are ways to fill the bottom half to two-thirds of a planter like this with filler such as plastic bottles or wine corks or something, then line the top with some material that allows for drainage and add soil on top of that. It would certainly save on soil and make the planter less heavy. Let me know if you have any tips or advice that has worked for you.

The next photo shows how annuals look toward the end of the season, which is normal and does not mean the plants need to be repotted. Annuals can simply be removed and disposed of at the end of the season, while flowering perennials can be cut back. Root-bound perennials can be divided and replanted in other containers or in the garden bed, where they'll come back next year.

Regarding container size, base it on the amount of room a plant's roots need and how large the plant is expected to grow. A plant in a container too small will not be able to grow to its full potential, its roots will become root-bound and the soil will dry out too quickly. If a small plant is put in a container that is too large, the plant's roots may not reach the bottom of the pot and will not get the moisture it needs. As a guide, annuals need a soil depth of 12 inches while perennials need 12 to 18 inches. If you plant shrubs in pots, allow 18 to 24 inches.

Edible plants such as herbs and vegetables need varying planter depths. Shallow-rooted crops like lettuces, radishes and strawberries can grow in 6 to 12 inches of soil and can be grown together in the same planter (make sure it's big in diameter). 

A tomato plant, below, needs plenty of soil depth, preferably 2 feet. It should be planted alone in order to get the healthiest plant and best crop. Read the plant label for guidance and base the container size on the maturity size of the plant. When you first pot the plant, it may look tiny in a very large, deep pot, but as the plant grows, it will quickly take up the space! I made this mistake last year by planting a cherry tomato plant in the same planter as parsley and some other herbs. The single tomato plant quickly took over and crowded out the herbs, except for the parsley – which amazingly survived over the winter and is looking beautiful!

Photo by Steve Masley Consulting and Design

I hope you have fun with your spring planting! I'm thinking of adding some succulents to my front porch planter this year, combined with the usual asparagus fern and a few flowers. That might make for an interesting combination. What do you have planned for your garden this year?

Friday, March 22, 2019

A New Indoor-Outdoor Runner

Howdy, friends! Sorry I have been delinquent with blog posts of late. I am on a new assignment at work and have been working longer hours, which leaves little brain power for creating posts. I am enjoying the new challenge, though, despite the longer hours. This week I strained my lower back and have been hobbling around in great pain. I'm on my second day of Prednisone which helps immensely after just the first day; I will take it only for only six days. I am hoping to feel much better this weekend so I can get a lot done around the house.

I wanted to share with you this new indoor-outdoor runner, 2.5 x 9-feet, that I purchased from Rejuvenation. It is called the Cleary rug and is made of recycled plastic, but doesn't look or feel like it. Indoor-outdoor rugs are essential with two senior dogs in our household. I love them because they are so practical and can be cleaned when one of the pups gets sick or, in the case of our elderly beagle, has a potty accident on it. The indoor-outdoor rugs we have don't stain after being cleaned, unlike many natural jute or seagrass rugs.

I put this photo on Instagram (@claudiabungalow) and one of my IG friends commented on our wood floors. I thought I'd mention they are nearly 100-year-old heart pine floors. We had the living and dining room floors refinished, but didn't do the three bedrooms at the time – that was a mistake, by the way. I wish we had just packed up all our furniture and had all the floors refinished. Oh well, maybe one day. Pine is soft wood and scratches easily. Our dogs, present and past, have made their mark on all our floors, but the living room and dining room still look really nice.

In this entry space, we are going to alternate this rug with a natural fiber runner to have some variety. We have had great luck with the natural fiber runner so far – it has been peed on three or four times, and each time my wonderful husband will haul the thing outside and scrub it clean with a disinfecting cleaner and hose it off. We hang it over the fence to dry in the sun and it ends up looking like new!

Are you a fan of indoor-outdoor rugs? The quality has come such a long way over the years with a wide variety of styles and textures. I love them!

This is not a sponsored post.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Peanut-Butter-Cup Oatmeal

If you like peanut butter and chocolate – particularly the two together – and you're a fan of oatmeal, you'll probably like this peanut-butter-cup oatmeal, my take on a recipe I saw online. I love the flavor of peanut butter in the morning (I frequently add it to my smoothies) so I substituted it for the almond butter called for in the recipe.

Oats contain soluble and insoluble fiber, which are both beneficial to health. Soluble fiber absorbs liquid, expands and moves bulk through the digestive tract. In short, it helps keep you regular. The bulk also helps prevent the absorption of cholesterol, which is why oatmeal is a good food source for reducing cholesterol. I'm fortunate I don't have cholesterol issues, but several years ago I was on an oatmeal kick, having it for breakfast nearly every morning for an extended period of time. My cholesterol numbers went from good to even better in a one-year period. Could be due to eating oatmeal, and I was exercising regularly at the time, which helps raise HDL (high-density lipoprotein), or "good" cholesterol. Check out this WebMD page to learn more about cholesterol.

Natural, non-alkalized cocoa powder also has health benefits, including antioxidants. When alkalized, though, the antioxidant benefits are lost.

Peanut Butter Cup Oatmeal

1/3 cup quick cooking rolled oats (I use McCann's Quick Cooking Irish Oatmeal)
2/3 cup unsweetened original almond milk
pinch of coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon natural, no-sugar-added peanut butter

1) In a microwave safe bowl, combine the oats, almond milk and salt. Cook on high for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes. Remove from microwave.

2) Add the honey, cocoa powder and peanut butter. Stir to combine and enjoy!

This is not a sponsored post, but I encourage you to visit the McCann's website for more information about their products and some great sounding recipes.


Sunday, February 24, 2019

Mauviel Copper Cookware

I purchased my first piece of copper cookware last month – a Mauviel 10" copper and stainless frying pan. I'd been wanting to find an alternative to the two non-stick fry pans we use regularly. One is Calphalon, which is beginning to get some scratches, and the other, larger fry pan with a glass lid is by Le Creuset, a brand I like very much (I have two Le Creuset sauce pans and they are great quality).

I researched alternatives to non-stick cookware, from ceramic non-stick to GreenPan to stainless. The only issue with stainless is the potential for food to stick. My husband prefers non-stick pans for this reason, but I wanted to add a healthier option to our cookware – one without the chemicals that come with non-stick pans. So after doing a bit of research, I landed on a Mauviel copper and stainless frying pan. Mauviel is a French, family-owned company that has been making exceptional handcrafted cookware since 1830. Read more about them and meet the craftsmen here.

The craftsmanship is reflected in the price of Mauviel products. At Williams Sonoma, this pan retails for $179.95. I wouldn't spend that much on one piece of cookware, but I had a couple of incentives. First, there was a 20% off sale, which brought the price down to $143.96. Then I was able to use a $25 birthday certificate PLUS three $25 Williams Sonoma rewards certificates. So I ended up paying less than $44 (before tax) for this lovely pan!

My husband installed a hook above the stove so I can enjoy seeing it every day. I love the color it adds to the kitchen. It's too pretty to hide away in a cabinet!

Because I was a bit nervous about the food sticking issue, I asked a lot of questions before making the purchase. The sales associate at Williams Sonoma was super helpful. She recommended always using low heat (certainly no higher than medium). Since copper heats faster and more evenly than other metals, using heat that is too high isn't necessary and can actually damage the pan. Using oil or butter is important in preventing sticking. She also warned me never to use cooking spray on this pan, which leaves a permanent residue.

This morning I fried two eggs in my pretty new pan – my first experience cooking eggs in it and the true test. Before today, I'd only used it to make grilled cheese sandwiches and cook up some ground beef (for the dogs, not for me!).

I used a small amount of avocado oil and heated the pan on low (number 2), lowering it even more once I added the eggs. As they cooked on this low temperature, I used a plastic spatula under the edges periodically to prevent sticking. When it came time to flip them, they released easily, but there was a thin layer of egg that stayed on the surface of the pan. That made me a little nervous. Once I was done cooking, I followed the other piece of advice the sales associate gave me: I added hot tap water to the pan (enough to cover the residual egg) and returned it to the stove, letting it sit over the lowest heat setting while I ate. When I was ready to clean up, I used the spatula to scrape the bottom of the pan, and the bits of residual egg came right off. Then I just washed the pan with soap and water. Below is the pan, post eggs. Turned out great!

On a previous occasion when I cooked some ground beef with a small amount of oil, but on a higher heat setting (number 4), there were some marks that didn't come off after washing. I used a small amount of Bar Keepers Friend and a wet dish cloth and it shined up like new. I use Bar Keepers Friend on our stainless kitchen sink too; it's a great product.

Copper cookware does require a bit more maintenance than other types, especially if you prefer a shiny and bright finish. Mauviel recommends Copperbrite; see this page for steps on how to clean copper. I prefer a bit of patina on my copper, though, so I won't be cleaning my pan as often. The brass handle also gets a patina on it that I like, and has a large hole in the end for hanging. I'm so glad I made this purchase. It's a pretty and useful addition to my kitchen cookware – and it gives me the feeling of a professional French chef, even though I'm far from being one!

This is not a sponsored post.
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