Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cleanliness is Next to Godliness - Cleaning Your Vintage CorningWare

I think it's time for some useful information in the care and cleaning of vintage CorningWare.  Recipes are all fine and good; but once your done eating, it's time to do the dishes. :)

This post was actually spurred by one of my Salvation Army finds.  I was lucky enough to stumble upon 4 CorningWare French White 500ml Ramekins. (Item F-16-B)   For those of us who still think in Standard Measures, that is about 17 oz.  (Seriously, I always have to sit and contemplate what the equivalent standard measure is before I can visualize how much something holds)

This just happens to be the perfect size (as are Grab-It bowls) for making individual Pot Pies.  Woo hoo!   (Yes, that will be the next post - Pesto Chicken Pot Pie)  So, I ran them through the dishwasher, but lo' and behold, there were still "marks" on the bottoms.  Which, since they are about 20 years old, is to be expected, but I am a stickler for bright, shiny, uber clean looking CorningWare.  SO......

This is how to remove those stubborn grey marks on the bottom of your vintage CorningWare.

This particular type of sponge is your best friend when it comes to cleaning marks off of your pieces. I swear, it's like magic. It's made by O-Cel-O and does wonders for your glass cook top as well as your CorningWare.  It seems to be a nylon type fabric with little plastic bumps on it.  Very different from your normal scrubber sponge.

Simply dampen with water and add a little liquid dish soap.  Then, using the scrubber side, simply apply a slight amount of pressure and scrub.  The marks will simply disappear like magic.   

Don't worry, it doesn't scratch the CorningWare, and you will be surprised how easily the marks are removed.

Sometimes there are metal marks on the CorningWare... This happens when using metal tools because your PyroCeram cookware is actually tougher than the metal.  Thus the metal actually leaves deposits on your pieces.  When you have metal marks, I suggest using a glass cook top Cleaner/Polish (along with the O-Cel-O sponge) to keep your CorningWare looking and feeling it's best.  This is the particular brand that I use for both.  It works beautifully.  And remember, clean CorningWare is Godly CorningWare.  :)

Now I have sparkling clean CorningWare, gleaming in its snow white perfection.  So clean that looks like I just bought it in a Department Store instead of the Salvation Army for $ 3.96.  Yep, you read that right.  They were .99 cents each.  Total bargain. 

Now to make Chicken Pot Pie...

Where is your Corningware

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Chili Bourguignon - Buffalo Billy's Moose Drool Chili

Hello Vintage Corningware fans!

It's that time.  Time to showcase the wonder that is Corningware by cooking ON the stove as well as the oven.  I decided that I would make my favorite chili via the same method I use for Julie Child's Boeuf Bourguignon.  (Thus the title of the post) This is a recap of Buffalo Billy's Droolin Chili recipe from Culinary Alchemy, but utilizing the oven to simmer the chili instead of the stove top.  Don't worry, all the meat browning and the cooking of the onions will take place on the stove top.  You'll see.  It's awesome!

So let us begin.

Buffalo Billy's Moose Drool Chili à la Bourguignon 

2 TB Olive Oil
1 lb lean Beef Stew Meat
1 lb Ground Bison (You can use 90/10 ground Beef if you like)
2 Yellow Onions, chopped
optional 1 Green Pepper, chopped
24 oz Moose Drool (or other Nut Brown ale)
28 oz can diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes
4 TB Schmokin Chili Powder
1 TB Cumin Seeds, Ground
1 TB dried Oregano
1 tsp Freshly Ground Ginger
1 tsp Smoked Salt
1/4 tsp ground All-Spice
2 15 oz cans Black Beans, drained (or 15 oz Light and 15 oz Dark Kidney beans, drained AND rinsed)
6 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 TB Louisiana Hot Sauce

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Heat 1 TB of the oil in a big 5 quart CorningWare Pot over medium flame. (A-5-B was the number on the bottom)

When hot, sear the Stew Meat.

Move to a paper towel to drain.

Add the Ground Bison and saute until browned, breaking up the meat as much as possible.

Move the ground bison to the paper towel as well, then wipe out the pot and add a fresh 1 TB of olive oil.

Add the Onions and Green Peppers and sweat until soft.

Add the both meats back in and toss everything together.

Pour in the Moose Drool,

and the Fire Roasted Tomatoes....

as well as the Schmokin Chili Powder, Cumin, Oregano, Ginger, Smoked Salt and All-Spice.

Bring the whole thing to a simmer.

Then cover and move the whole thing into the oven for 1 1/2 hours.

Drain and rinse the Kidney Beans, or just drain the Black beans (whichever you are using)

Remove from the oven and stir in the beans.

Cover and return to the oven for 30 minutes if using black beans and 45-60 minutes for kidney beans.

Thick, rich and delicious Chili....  YUM!  I think even Juila would approve.  ;)

Enjoy! (in a CorningWare P-43-B petit dish if you like)

Where is your Corningware?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Cast Iron Gets Cast Aside - Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

The most incredible thing about Vintage CorningWare is it's ability to withstand temperature changes without shattering.

Thus you can use it on the stove.  Which just happens to be just as advantageous in the modern kitchen as it was in your mom's/grandmother's.  You see, the modern kitchen may be equipped with one of these......

A "glass" cook top.  In this case, a Vitro-Ceram/Pyro-Ceram/Ceramic Glass cook top. (basically it's the same material as Vintage CorningWare was made of) The problem with these cook tops is that the bottom of your pan needs to make 100% contact with the surface.  This is a problem for a lot of cast iron as even enameled versions can have a raised ring on the bottom.

This ring prevents the bottom of the pan from touching the stove top.  OK, except for the actual ring itself.  Thus, cast iron, for the most part, is unusable on these types of stoves.  Which is a bummer, cause I LOVE Pineapple Upside-Down Cake.

Historically this particular cake is made in a cast iron skillet.  Well, that isn't happening anytime soon, or at least not until I have access to a gas stove again.  This is where Vintage CorningWare comes in.  Not only does it have a flat bottom, thus making full contact with your glass cook top, but it's properties are very similar to enameled cast iron in many respects.  (the flat bottom is how you tell Vintage CorningWare from the current stoneware facsimiles).

It is a little slow to heat up, but once it does, it holds the heat very well.  Just like cast iron.  The surface is as smooth as, well, glass.  This gives it the same "Non-Sticking" qualities as the enamel used on cast iron.  And since you can use it on the stove (Vintage CorningWare ONLY) the preparation method for Pineapple Upside-Down cake is exactly the same as it would be in a cast iron skillet. 

Now I was all happy about using my Cake pan...(P-321)

But upon closer inspection, I realized that it was going to be a little bit too small (it's only 8 inch)  So I had to opt for my 8 inch square utility pan instead. (P-322)

It's true, an 8 inch square (8 cups) holds more batter than an 8 inch round (6 cups).  Two cups of batter is a significant difference.  (Though this recipe works fine in a conventional 9 inch cake pan)

With that conundrum solved it's time to hit the stove....  Don't worry, the bottom of the pan says it all.

See?  For "Range and Microwave". Obviously this pan was made at some point in the 1970's after microwaves hit the market.   So grab the butter and let's get this cake a goin'.  OH, but before we do.  If you are going to use a conventional cake pan (not a cast iron skillet) preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C) and bake 45-50 minutes instead.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

1/4 cup (4 TB) Unsalted Butter
1/2 cup (3.5 oz) (100 g) Brown Sugar
4 Pineapple Rings
Maraschino Cherries or Pecans
1/3 cup (5 1/2 TB) Unsalted Butter
3/4 cup (5.25 oz) (150 g) Brown Sugar
1 Large Egg
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 1/4 cups (5.5 oz) (155 g) AP Flour
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
1/2 cup (4 oz) (118 ml) Pineapple Juice
Water (in case there isn't quite enough Pineapple juice)

Melt the Butter in an 8 inch CorningWare utility dish (8x8x2 inch square) over medium flame. (Yep, on the stove)

Sprinkle 1/2 cup (3.5 oz) (100g) Brown sugar over the melted butter.

Drain the pineapple slices (reserving the juice) and arrange the rings on top of the brown sugar.

Place a Maraschino Cherry or Pecans or both in the center of each Pineapple ring. (you can hold off on the cherries until the cake is unmolded if you like, but the nuts should definitely go in the bottom of the pan)

Set the pan aside and begin preheating the oven to 325 F (165C) degrees.

In the bowl of your mixer, cream 1/3 cup (5 1/2 TB) Unsalted Butter with 3/4 cup (5.25 oz) (150 g) Brown Sugar.

Add the egg and beat until emulsified.

Whisk AP Flour, Baking Powder and salt together in a small bowl.

Add enough water to the Pineapple juice to make 1/2 cup (118 ml) though you may not need to do this.

Begin adding the Flour and Pineapple juice to the creamed Butter mixture alternating. (Juice, Flour, Juice, Flour, Juice)

Spread the batter gently over the Pineapple rings.

Bake for 55 minutes.

Let the cake stand for 5 minutes before unmolding onto a plate.

And as if that is not enough deliciousness,

I like to top it with a small dollop of unsweetened whipped cream.

Oh YEAH!!!!

Oh, so after you have unmolded your beauty....

Just run warm water into the pan....

And Voila!   Almost everything is already gone...  True, it needs a little soap and a sponge.  It IS caramel after all...  :)  But taking that fact into consideration, the clean up is pretty easy.

Look MA!  No Teflon!  I LOVE this stuff...

Where is your Corningware?