Archive for April, 2008

The Kitchen Table Bistro, Richmond

The Kitchen Table Bistro in Richmond is a vital part of Vermont’s farm-to-table movement and an absolutely lovely place to enjoy a romantic meal. Read more

Mario Batali 6-qt Dutch Oven

Last year, in addition to a solid five pounds of cookie weight, Christmas brought me another wonderful gift: An enameled cast iron Mario Batali Dutch oven. As orange and rotund as Batali himself, this 6-quart pot has already proven itself a dream come true for making perfect soups and stews. An elementary measure that I employ when assessing the quality of a new piece of cookware is the old onion test, and because this thing has some serious weight, onions sauté to perfection (though in about twice the time as the Cusinart stainless steel pot that I have recently forsaken in its favor). It’s all about heat distribution. Porcelain-coated cast iron may take longer to heat up, but it succeeds in retaining heat, and therefore cooks things evenly. (A sign of a lesser pan is often the speed in which it gets hot. Test this theory by witnessing the 1.5 seconds it takes for an aluminum pan to become a branding iron.) Yes, speed often equals convenience, but we’re making homemade soup here, a labor of love. What’s the hurry? The enameled interior of the Batali Dutch oven isn’t what I’d describe as “non-stick,” but clean-up is incredibly easy thanks to its dreamy, smooth surface. At less than half the price of a Le Creuset dutch oven, it’s an excellent bargain to boot. And if it’s good enough for Mario, it’s good enough for me.
Retails for about $100.