Thursday, May 14, 2015

Seein' Stars - Unknown Black Atomic Star Pattern??

It all started with a conversation on Facebook in one of the Corning Ware collector's groups...   Someone had found a 2 1/2 quart saucepan with an elongated black star pattern on it.   None of us actually knew what the name of it was, cause none of us have seen a boxed piece. Up to that point, the only piece I had ever seen was a chipped and cracked 4 quart P-34-B dutch oven on Etsy over a year ago.  I did not purchase it, nor did I archive a picture of it.  At the time, I assumed it was just a test pattern piece, and I don't really collect those.  Several names were thrown out from Black Star and Atomic Start to Hyper Space and Event Horizon.  I contacted CMOG via email, but have not heard anything back yet...  Honestly, I am still waiting on a reply to an email I sent 6 months ago regarding the Green Wheat/Harvest Wheat/Wheat Floral pattern.

But true to Corning Ware form, cause these things go in waves, a 1 3/4 quart size appeared on eBay less than a month later.  I promptly purchased that one, so I could get a good look at one of these pieces.  It proved to be unmarked on the bottom.  No P-series mark, no embossing.... Nothing.   Which makes even attempting to date it's production virtually impossible, other than "prior to 1972" because of the P-series sized handle lugs.  (top piece)

Sadly, I lost an auction for a 1 quart sized piece last Tuesday, (Which is where this photo is from) So I did not get to add that piece to my collection.

But as with most things, when one door closes, another opens.  I became the owner of a 2 1/2 quart size piece just this morning, thanks to a fellow Facebook user with whom I worked out a trade.  (Thank you Terence!!)

I figured I should have at least 2 pieces in my possession before I wrote a blog post about it. Not that I am going to be able to do a "Big Reveal" on the name or anything, but this post will provide at least SOME information out on the internet about this pattern.

I would be up to only 4 known pieces, if it had not been for the original conversation on Facebook... You see another member graciously posted a picture of a 1 quart Saucemaker she had seen a while back.  (Thank you Heather!!

So to date, even though none of us know the name of the pattern and CMOG has not been forthcoming via email, we know there is at least a 1 quart, 1 3/4 quart & 2 1/2 quart saucepans, a 4 quart Dutch Oven (P-34),

a P-10-B Skillet

a 13 inch P-21 Roaster

and the 1 quart Saucemaker.  There even seems to be a P-119 Percolator.

That seems like an awful lot of pieces (8) for it to have been simply a test pattern.  This leads me to believe it may have been one of the patterns made available to Corning Employees in the Employee shop... Like the Christmas/Holiday pieces.

Where is your Corning Ware??

Anybody out there have this pattern with a box??

Update:   There is a similar pattern to this one, but with a more complicated star pattern.  It has a medallion in the center of the star...    This piece is a 1 1/2 quart size PH-1 1/2-B.

It's the same type of "black", being sort of a dark gunmetal grey color with a slight sheen to it.

Aside from this 1 1/2 quart dish, there also appears to be a PH-34-B (4 quart dutch oven) piece as well.


Thursday, May 7, 2015

Following the Leader - Libbey Ware Glass Ceramic Cookware

As you may know, Corning was not the only company to produce glass-ceramic cookware.  Oh, make no mistake, Corning invented and perfect the process of glass-ceramics.  It was Corning that manufactured pyroceram missile radomes and they were first to market a glass ceramic cookware.  However, Corning Ware was such a hot product that other glass manufacturers had to jump on the bandwagon.

Anchor-Hocking released it's glass ceramic cookware in the early 60's (Black Wheat), but it was pulled from the market in 1968 due to a lawsuit by Corning for patent infringement.  Narumi, a porcelain manufacturer in Japan, also came up with a glass ceramic product (Neoceram), but was not marketed in the United states until the late 80s under the Mikasa name (Fire & Ice).  ARC, makers of Luminarc, Arcoroc and Arcopal glassware in France, came up with a glass ceramic product as well.  It was originally marketed through Princess House as "Nouveau", but also on the regular market in the mid 80s as "Arcoflam".  (Which, by the way, is still being manufactured in France to this day.)

One of the ones that most people are not familiar with, however, is Libbey glass's version of glass ceramic cookware made out of  a material called Cer-Vit and sold as "Libbey Ware".  CerVit was a product of Owens-Illinois Laboratories, and their Libbey glass division was the chosen outlet for the cookware. The Cer-Vit formula, and variations there of, was also used for various other scientific applications.  The name "Cer-Vit" is a play on the words Ceramic and Vitrification. Libbey Ware hit the market sometime around 1962 and sold up until about 1966.

Owens-Illinois more than likely discontinued Libbey Ware production due to the lawsuit that Anchor-Hocking was engaged in, with Corning Glass Works, for patent infringement.  After all, if you are eventually going to enter into a joint venture with Corning Glass Works (Owens-Corning) it's best not to poke the bear.

The only pattern I have seen in "Libbey Ware" is the Brown Daisy.

The shape is a little strange, almost an oval, but not quite.

The bottoms are marked very simply with Libbey and, in this case, 1 quart saucepan.

Pieces that have surfaced to date are the 1 quart saucepan (above) as well as 2 quart and 3 quart saucepans.

There are 8 inch & a 10 inch skillets.

  (marked as such)

And a 2 quart Casserole which is wider than the saucepan, with lower sides.

Is is also marked as an actual "Casserole"

versus the "Saucepan" mark

Here are the 2 different 2 quart pieces together.  2 quart Saucepan on top and 2 quart Casserole on the bottom.

There still may be other pieces out there, that have been unaccounted for.  I am thinking there is probably some sort of 13x9 inch roasting pan out there somewhere.

The lids are shaped a little bizarrely and have white ceramic knobs that appear to be "riveted" on, but they are not.  The "rivet" is actually a flat headed screw.

The handle has an interesting streamline shape that is surprisingly comfortable in the hand.

Simply place it on the dish lug, and flip the switch forward to lock.

They are marked on the underside with the script L within a circle and the word "Libbey".

Where is your Libbey Ware??

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Corning Ware Comfort Foods - Not Shepherd's Pie

Traditionally, Shepherd's pie is made with Lamb, Cottage Pie is made with Beef, Swineherd's Pie is made with Pork and Huntsman's pie is made with wild game of some sort.  Since this is chicken, and I have no idea what you call someone who tends chickens, I am just gonna go with "Not Shepherd's Pie"

Even more true, in this case, since it isn't covered in mash potatoes, but rather a mashed faux-tato concoction made with Cauliflower, Roasted Garlic, Greek Yogurt and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (trust me, it's good)

I always hand mince my chicken thighs, because I do not care for the mealy texture of ground chicken.  Hand mincing really does make for a better stew.  Which is really what "Shepherd's/Cottage/Huntsman's pie" is... a thick stew topped with mashed potatoes (or in this case, mashed faux-tatoes)

Not Shepherd's Pie

Your Topping: (Mashed Faux-tatoes)

1 head of Garlic
Olive Oil
2 heads of Cauliflower
1/4 cup real Greek Yogurt
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated - plus more for sprinkling on top

The Filling: (Chicken Thigh Stew)
Olive Oil
1 Onion, diced (about 6 oz)
3 - 4 medium Carrots, diced (about 7 oz)
3 - 4 stalks Celery, diced (about 7 oz)
1 lb Chicken Thighs
1 TB Tomato Paste
2 TB AP Flour
1/4 cup White Wine
1 1/2 cups Chicken Stock
1 TB Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp Thyme, dried or 2 tsp fresh, chopped
1 tsp Rosemary,
1/2 cup Frozen Peas

The Equipment: (Corning Ware, of course)
5 quart (A-5-B) with lid (A-12-C)
4 quart (A-84-B)

Begin by preheating the oven to 400F degrees.
While the oven is preheating cut the cauliflower into florets

Dice the Onion, Carrot and Celery....

and mince the Chicken Thighs.

When the oven is hot, cut the top from the head of Garlic, place it on a piece of foil, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with Salt and Pepper.
Crimp the edges and top together to form a parcel and toss it in the oven for 40 minutes.

(or until it roasts and become sweet and browned)

Meanwhile, begin heating 3 1/2 quarts of water in the A-5-B, set over medium high flame.

Place the the P-84-B over medium flame and apply olive oil.

When hot, add the Onion, Carrot and Celery, sauteing until tender.

Remove the vegetable from the P-84-B.

Apply more Olive Oil and begin sauteing the minced Chicken Thighs.

When evenly cooked, add Tomato Paste and cook for 5 minutes.

Return the vegetables to the P-84-B and add the Flour, cooking until the Flour begins to smell "nutty".

By now, the Water in the A-5-B should be boiling, so add the Cauliflower Florets.

Cover, and allow to come back to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until tender.

Add Wine to the Chicken mixture and cook until the flour begins to thicken slightly

Now add Chicken Stock...

and the Thyme and Rosemary....

Then hit it with the Worcestershire sauce as well.

Bring everything up to a simmer over low flame and let it all hang out and mingle together for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, squeeze the roasted (and now cooled) Garlic from the peel into the bowl of the Food Processor.

Drain the Cauliflower and add to the bowl as well.

Pulse a few times to begin breaking everything up.

Add Greek Yogurt and Parmigiano-Reggiano, then process until everything is smooth.

You may even add some chives to the mix, it you like.

When your chicken "stew" should be sufficiently thickened.......

Turn your oven Broiler on, then remove the "stew" from the flame and stir in the frozen peas. (Don't worry, there is plenty of heat in the stew to thaw them out but leave them crunchy - I hate mushy peas)

Now, begin spooning the Cauliflower Mash (Mashed Faux-tatoes) over the stew, following the outside edge in a spiral towards the middle. (this will ensure a good seal around the outside)

Leave a small hole in the middle to allow for steam to escape. (yes, those are chives in my faux-tatoes)

Sprinkle the top with more Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. (cause there is no such thing as "too much" Parmigiano-Reggiano)

Place under the broiler until the top begins to brown.

Remove and consume with delight.

Where is your Corning Ware??