Thursday, October 31, 2013

Corningware Goes Platinum - Platinum Cradles/Trivets

If you have been following Corningware411 for a while, you have probably seen them.  They occasionally show up in pictures here and there, or sneak into the background.  Sometimes they even get passing references in the comments.  They are not "Corningware" per se, nor are they Suprema, Centura or Vitrelle.  They are the unsung heroes of the Corningware world.  A table service necessity that not only protects your table, and the bottom of your Corningware, but has a retro appeal at the same time.

I am speaking of the Platinum Cradles (AKA Trivets).

Personally, though I have several other iterations of these "cradle/trivets", such as the wire ones which come in gold or chrome with either white plastic or Teak handles, I find myself always reaching for my Platinum ones.  There is something just clean and simple about the design;  there is an elegance to it, yet it has that retro mid-century flair that I absolutely love.

My only issue with these cradles is that they have a tendency to scratch wooden table tops if they slide.  They really didn't polish the bottoms of the feet all that well.  Then again, when these were released, more people probably had those awesome Crushed Ice Formica tables tops with the wicked cool Chrome trim.  It probably wasn't so much an issue back the.  Alas, I have a wooden table and I would much prefer not to scratch the heck out of it.  (I already did it once, thank goodness for Old English)

Luckily, thanks to a suggestion from my mother, I have found a solution to the issue.  That is, aside from just not sliding them across the table.  (Cause you KNOW, that someone at some point is gonna slide one eventually and nick up the table again)

Thus, my solution....  Screw protectors.  Yep, go down to the local hardware store (or hardware section of the nearest big box) and purchase screw protectors.

You may need more than 1 size though.  I found that some cradles (P-11-M and P-10-M-1) needed to have the 1/4 inch size. (which only came in white at my hardware store)

While the other ones (P-2 1/2-M-1 and P-7-M-1) needed the smaller #10 protectors. (which only came in black, I think I would have preferred white)

It doesn't seem to have any relation to the size of the cradle, as to which size of protectors you will need either.  The P-11-M is smaller than the P-2 1/2-M-1, but the P-11-M has thicker feet on it. 

Now, not only is my Corningware safely cradled for table service, my table is also safe from hot pots AND scratches.

All is right with the world again.

Where is your Corningware??

Monday, October 28, 2013

Taming the Wild Beast - Abused Wildflower 8 1/2 inch Rangetopper

So, I was at the Salvation Army today, when I found this.....

An 8 1/2 inch Rangetoper in Wild Flower.

Normally, this is not a pattern that particularly interests me.  Thus, as a general rule, I pass them by without so much as a second glance.  After all, I already collect and use 2 different print patterns as well as my French White, which seems to come in 2 forms (Original and II) along with a few of the Buffet Servers, the Grab-It/Pop-ins line and miscellaneous Storage & microwave browning pieces (even though I almost never use my microwave)  So I have enough "stuff" to look for as it is.

But I was completely overtaken by righteous indignation when I saw the abuse this poor skillet had endured in the hands of it's previous owner.

That is just down right gross...... Thus, I decided to try and save it.

I will admit that I may have bitten off more than I could chew this time. (first scrubbing - 15 minutes)

The inside was no problem.  So I guess it's technically useable at this point, however, the bottom is a nightmare incarnate.

I have scrubbed, and soaked, and pasted and let it set and scrubbed some more.

After 45 minutes of scrubbing, this is as far as I have gotten.  Then my sponge wore through....  (sigh)

It's aluminum bottomed, so oven cleaner is out of the question, I am thinking of soaking it in "goo gone" to see it that may turn the caked on, baked on and burnt grease coating off the bottom of the poor skillet.

Anybody else have any insights as to how to save this skillet?  I will keep you posted if I can figure out some way to save this wretched beast of a skillet. (that doesn't involve continuous scrubbing and arms like Popeye)

Where is your Corningware??

Update 11/6/2013 - Solution Found, though it involves Chemicals.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Operation Cornflower Complete - Centura Dinner Service for 4 and a Cup of Coffee with the Cornflower Giveaway

I have been on a tireless search for the last couple of months.  Ever since I succeeded in hunting down the dinner plates for my Centura Cornflower, I have been hunting high and low for the ever elusive bowls to accompany my service for 4.  It has been a quest fraught with peril and frustration.  I've braved blistering winds and scorching deserts...  Climbed to the highest room of the tallest tower... and...  um, Wait!  Sorry, wrong movie.

I have searched high and low, hither and yon, over hill, over dale, down dusty trails and back again. 

I have completed my quest, with the added bonus of 4 tea cups and saucers as well. (cause they were just sitting right there next to the bowls)

Not into Tea?  That's all right, I got your back.  I found 5 coffee cups in Suprema (produced much later than the Centura) for those who would rather have a cup o' Joe.

I am not completely sure that they are Suprema, they may be actual "Corningware" but I know for certain that they are NOT Centura, because they have "Microwave OK" embossed on the bottom, and Centura cannot be used in the microwave.

I like the smaller bowls.  They are solid white, and initially intended for the plain white coupe set, but since the tea cups are "suppose" to be solid white, I figured I can sneak in some plain white stuff here and there to break up the Cornflower, not to mention the Blue in general.

The 6 5/8 bowls that actually go with the service are interesting in that they are blue on the outside and white on the inside.

Evidently, mine are the older ones, because they have a white bottoms.  I guess later, the entire outside finish was blue.

So, this is my completed service for 4 (with extras).  I keep telling myself that I am stopping at this point, since it's REALLY the Corningware that I am interested in for cooking purposes.  It remains to be seen as to whether I can control my obsessive compulsive self and refrain from purchasing any more Centura Pieces.

But in the interest of Retro-Coolness, I don't think it gets much better than this.

In case you missed it, I found 5 coffee mugs... and while they may, or may not, be Corningware, they have still been lovingly adorn with that "Oh, so recognizable" little blue flower.  Since I only need 4 mugs to go with my dinner service, I have decided to host yet another giveaway and bestow this "extra" coffee mug on 1 lucky winner.

What better way to enjoy your morning coffee than with the bright and cheery Cornflower staring back at you?

This "A Cup of Coffee with the Cornflower" giveaway will run from today, October 24th, thru the witching hour on Halloween (11:59pm on the 31st)  The winner will be drawn on November 1st (all Saints Day) and be promptly notified via email for shipping information.

So leave a comment, pin this, subscribe via email, Tweet or +1 this and so on.  It's up to you how you wish to enter and how many times you do.

Good luck!

Where is your Corningware?? (Centura??)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Oktoberfesting with Corningware - Sauerbraten Stew

One of my favorite dishes is Sauerbraten... LUV IT!   Considering that Oktoberfest has been, well... "festing" over the last few weekend in Mt. Angel, OR and Leavenworth, WA, I decided it was time to get back in touch with my inner German.  Especially since I was not able to attend either celebration.

One of the big issues with Sauerbraten is it's size.  I cannot possibly under any circumstances consume 4 lbs of beef.  Sorry, not gonna happen.  Thus, unless I am actually having a dinner party, with a German theme, I hardly ever make it and must resort to ordering it at the Rheinlander to satiate my need.  It bugs me to order things in a restaurant that I am perfectly capable of making at home.  It seems to defeat the purpose of "eating out".  Should I not be ordering something new and exciting?  Something that I would not attempt at home?  Something made with strange exotic ingredients that I cannot get my hands on?  Sure!  But no, I order the Sauerbraten.  (sigh)

But all that ends tonight, for I have found a perfectly proportioned and perfectly delicious substitute for Sauerbraten.  It's a stew that, for all intensive purposes, IS Sauerbraten made in 1/24th the time in 1/4 of the portion, all covered in a thick unctuous gravy-like broth that SCREAMS Achtung, Baby! (No reference to the U2 album is intended)

Sauerbraten Stew

2 TB Olive Oil
1 1/4 lb Beef Stew Meat
1 cup chopped Onion
1 cup chopped Carrot
1 cup chopped Celery
3/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
3/4 cup Beef Stock
2 TB Sugar (or 4 tsp Honey)
2 Bay Leaves
Several Grinds of Black Pepper
Salt to Taste
8-10 Ginger Snaps

Corningware 2 1/2 quart Saucepan (P-2 1/2-B) and cover (P-9-C)

Preheat the oven to 325F degrees.
Heat Oil in 2 1/2 quart Saucepan set over medium flame.

Dry the Beef Stew Meat with paper towels (As Julia Child says, wet meat doesn't brown well)

When the Oil is hot, begin sauteing the beef in 3 batches to prevent over-crowding the saucepan.

As each batch is browned, move to a bowl. I'm using a 24 oz (725ml) French White Ramekin "F-24-B".

Add a little more Oil, if necessary, and dump in all the Vegetables.

Saute for a couple of minutes, then sprinkle with Sugar (or honey) and saute until translucent.

Add the Beef back to the Saucepan.

Pour the Red Wine Vinegar and Beef Stock over the mixture.

Add the Bay Leaves, several grinds of Black Pepper, and a good pinch or two of Salt.

Bring to a simmer, then cover and move to the oven for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, place 8-10 Gingersnaps in a zip bag.

Crush them into fine crumbs with a rolling pin and set aside.

After the hour is up, remove the saucepan from the oven and add the Gingersnap crumbs.

Stir well, then recover and place back in the oven for 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and stir the thickened stew.

Serve at the table in the Saucepan in a P-2 1/2-M-1 Platinum Cradle. (This last part is not really necessary, but if you've got it, why not use it?)

Ladle up a big bowl of Deliciousness.

Every spoonful a spicy sweet treat that mellows into a pleasant tart beefy flavor.  It's Oktoberfest in a bowl.  Now, where did I set my beer?

Where is your Corningware??