I cook so that my family and I can continue to live. That’s the only purpose. As it stands, I don’t cook for enjoyment. I don’t cook to relax – in fact, it’s quite the opposite. I consider it a blessing to have had a long-standing career with a company where I’ve learned a lot about cooking — to the extent that sometimes it’s actually fun! If you’re like me, you may have entered into the New Year with a set of goals. Mine are planted deep in my desire to improve my health through diet and nutrition. After 13 years in this industry, I’m practicing what I preach, uh, market.
I’m pleased to let you know that my first week was phenomenal! Not one cheat or backslide. In fact, the only beverage I drank all week was water and that wasn’t even one of my goals! So, as my grandmother used to say, I guess I was “feeling myself” when I decided to wing it on Wednesday night. I was alone. I had no one to feed but myself and to be honest I was worried. The old Jamie would have pulled into a drive-thru without a second guess but I was doing SO GOOD that I wanted to keep it up. I had worked a little late that night, making fast food look even more appealing. I didn’t have anything at the house that would accommodate a single portion, which means if I was going to cook, I needed to stop at the grocery store. Can I just say how much I LOATHE the grocery store? It’s rooted deep in my upbringing and I still blame my mother but that’s another story…
I left work in the dark, got in my car, and began my journey home. My stomach was growling. I was tired, and I was going home to an empty house. If I stopped at the store I’d have to get out in the cold but the drive-thru would allow me to stay warm and cozy… but then my inner superwoman came from the depths of my soul and was like STOP! She told me I was doing a great job, it would only take 10 minutes to run into the store, if you go back now you may never return … and then, she reminded me about my cookware. Oh, then it got serious. I could make a full meal in 15 minutes in one pan. The question then became, which meal should I make?
This is where the “feeling myself” part came into play. I know how 360 Cookware works. I know how to use the Vapor Method. I know when you should preheat and when you shouldn’t. I know the construction. I know the features and benefits. What I don’t know is food … and flavors … and such. I created a “recipe” in my head that I figured would be fabulous because a previous supervisor of mine used to always say, “If it looks good and sounds good, it probably is!” Ya, he was wrong.
This is what I put together:
In case you aren’t familiar with our product, 360 Cookware allows you to cook foods in their natural juices and it retains moisture superbly. The cookware can use the moisture in sauces, meats and vegetables to “boil” pasta noodles. Knowing this, I realized that I could cook the aforementioned ingredients in my 3.5 Quart Sauté Pan in about 15 to 20 minutes.
I cannot even express how PROUD of myself I was at the moment when I developed this plan. I just about leaped out of my car when I got to the grocery store. I walked with purpose as I grabbed my cart and collected my ingredients. I was able to pick up a few other items while I was there and left feeling accomplished. I was feeling awesome.
I got home, put away the extra items, and begin making my masterpiece. I placed all of the ingredients in the cold pan in this order – sauce, noodles, shrimp, baby spinach and grape tomatoes. It looked SO yummy I truly felt like I had done something big. I even considered taking a picture but I didn’t want to be one of “those” people. I turned the heat on medium, covered and walked away. You can do that with 360 Cookware. It doesn’t need a babysitter and I like that. I return about 11 minutes later and there’s steam seeping from under the lid which means that there’s a vapor seal. I’m ecstatic because when I poured the sauce into the pan, it wasn’t quite as much as I thought it would be so I got a little concerned but I had faith in my cookware and I let it do what it does best. After seeing the steam, I turned down the heat. But after a few minutes, I couldn’t fight the urge to check on the noodles, so I peaked.
I lifted the lid and for all intents and purposes, it LOOKED appetizing. I was still excited. Then I got a fork and went to mix it and realized that the noodles had burned to the bottom. I guess that wasn’t enough sauce after all.
I panicked at first but then I was able to pry the noodles off the pan without much effort. Some of them were burnt, there’s no disputing that, but the ones that weren’t directly on the bottom looked like they’d be ok. I was shaken, but not discouraged. I made sure the noodles were spread evenly and that there was enough moisture to continue to cook them. (I didn’t add anything – water, oil, nothing. There was a lot of moisture in that pan.) I replaced the cover and left it alone. After about 5 minutes or so I lifted the lid again. The noodles were tender, the shrimp was cooked, the spinach was wilted and I am feeling good about my creation. I made myself a plate with the “good” noodles, sat and tasted. It was one of the most unpleasant eating experiences I have ever encountered. I don’t know why but it just didn’t taste good. I wanted it to taste good so badly. But it didn’t.
I ate as much as I could stand, got myself together, and went into the kitchen to clean up my mess. Who knew cleaning would be the highlight of my evening?
The burnt noodles slid right off the pan. The brown, burnt mess wiped off with a dishcloth. I thought at the very least I’d have to use our stainless steel cleaner. Nope. I was so happy because after my “dinner,” I don’t think I could have handled much more.
So, my advice for cleaning stainless steel cookware is this: buy cookware that has a smooth finish achieved by using an environmentally friendly sanding process instead of harmful chemicals. Purchase cookware that food has a hard time sticking to. Invest in cookware that requires no more than baking soda and water to keep it looking brand new for many generations.
…I believe they sell something like that at 360Cookware.com.