Archive for 'Copper'

10 Gifts for the Francophile

Are you looking for that special something for the Francophile in your life? These ideas will make them weep with joy like a kid in Pierre Herme.

1. Water and Iced Tea Pitcher with Toile

Toile decorative designs are very common in France. You’ll see them on aprons, wallpaper, linens, and this pitcher. It’s great for holding iced water, tea, and punch.

French Black Toile Porcelain Water/Tea Pitcher Featured in Country Living Magazine

2. La Rochere Goblet Set

The bee was a symbol for Napoléon and can be seen on everything in France. These glasses are a good example. They’ll provide a wee bit of 19th Century style to the dinner table. Here’s a bit of history about the icon

Napoléon I wanted to highlight Carolingian and even Merovingian heritage, a good manner to skip the Capetians kings’ heritage, and looked for new emblems in 1804.
The State Council followed Cambacérès and Lacuée, who proposed the bees, as “a republic with a chief”, with a sting but producing honey, which was the emblem of work for Ségur. The team, directed by Vivant Denon, that designed the imperial arms, proposed a semy of bees in “Merovingian style” on the imperial purple coat. The original design was deemed “too archaic”. Later, a bee with well-detached wings was selected, and appeared on the Emperor and Emperess’ clothes, as weel as on the hanging in the Notre-Dame cathedral during the coronation.
The Bees as the Imperial Symbol

La Rochere Bee Décor 12.5 Ounce Footed Water Goblet Set of 6

3. Extra Thick Copper Frying Pan

Every French kitchen has a thick copper frying pan. These utilitarian pans will become the centerpiece of every meal. This 10.2-inch frying pan has sloped sides for high-heat frying. The extra-thick 2.5 mm copper exterior heats quickly and evenly, yet it also features a non-reactive stainless interior lining that holds up to heavy use and cleans easily.

 6504.26-Cuprinox Extra-Thick 2-1/2 mm 10-1/2-Inch Round Frying Pan

4. Electric Crepe Maker

There was one thing I missed tremendously when I moved from Southern California to Paris: Mexican Food. That’s right, I needed my quick meals that were filling, greasy, salty, sinful, yet sooo good. Fortunately, there is a replacement in Paris; the crepe stand. You can get a sweet crepe or the savory version (gallette) that will warm your soul for just a few euros. Now you can recreate this dish at home.

But don’t think crepes are just for fast food. Take a trip through Brittany to explore the wide variety of crepes and finish the meal with a strong cider.

World Cuisine 13-Inch Diameter Tibos Electric Crepe Maker

5. Colorful Salt Cellars

These colorful salt cellars look like they came straight from the Bastille farmers market in Paris. Their whimsical shapes and fun colors will add a dash of spice to your table. These are meant to hold some nice finishing salt, such as the wonderful Sel Gris From Guerande.
Colorful mini ceramic salt cellars, set of 6 assorted colors, French

6. Laguiole Pearl Handled Spreader Set

Laguiole, a small French mountain town about 350 miles south of Paris, is famous for its cattle, its cheese, and its cutlery. The original Laguiole knife was made by iron smiths in 1829, as a farmers tool. This farmers tool was refined into the Laguiole Steak Knife, which is used today by many famous French restaurants. This pearl handled set is made just for spreading honey, confiture, or creme fraiche.
French Laguiole Pearl Spreader Set in Wood Drawer Tray

7. Bain Marie for Creme Brulee

Custards need to be baked at a consistent temperature. Normally you’d place your ramekin dishes in a pan half-filled with water. This set has special dishes and larger pan that lets you bake the perfect set of custards.  This set also includes a torch for creating a perfectly carmelized topping.

BonJour Bain Marie Set

8. Grand Dictionaire de Cuisine by Alexandre Dumas

My coworkers gave me this book when I left the Paris office to move back to the United States. It’s an amazing book by Alexandre Dumas, who is best known as the author of The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo . This book was a work of love for Dumas and consumed the last part of his life.

Grand dictionnaire de cuisine, by Alexandre Dumas

His massive Grand Dictionnaire de cuisine (Great Dictionary of Cuisine) was published posthumously – Wikipedia

The book is filled with charming line drawings and extensive descriptions. Please note: this book is written in French, although it is still very interesting for those that do not know the language.

9. Classic French Cooking with Dorie Greenspan

Dorie Greenspan has written some of the most accessible, delicious books about French cuisine. My copy of her book Baking with Julia is dog-eared and splattered with batters and doughs. Her latest cook book, Around my French Table,  promises solid French cooking that you can do in your kitchen.
Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours

Here’s an interview by Dorie with the Poilane boulangerie.

10. The Sweet Life by David Lebovitz

David Lebovitz is an internationally respected pastry chef that moved from Berkeley to Paris. He’s written a series of beautiful cookbooks that explore the sweet side of life. The Sweet Life highlights the greatest bakeries and candy shops of Paris while also telling stories of life across the ocean. You’ll quickly find yourself addicted to David’s humor and recipes.

The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World's Most Glorious - and Perplexing - City

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Make awesome strawberry jam in this pot by Mauviel

Making strawberry jam is a fairly simple task. You simply cut and mash up the fruit, heat it up with sugar until it boils and gels, pour into jars, and then finish with a hot water bath. While the steps are simple, it requires some precision with ingredient proportions, temperatures, and cooking times.

Mauviel Copper Jam Pan - Hammered

It helps to cook the fruit in a heavy pan that keeps the fruit at a consistent temperature while cooking. This copper jam pot from Mauviel is the perfect tool for making jam. Williams Sonoma says

Prized in French kitchens, this classic copper pan helps transform fruits into delicious jams, jellies and preserves. Made of heat-responsive copper in a wide, shallow design, it’s also useful for making caramel and other high-sugar foods. It’s crafted in France by Mauviel, a family-owned maker of fine copper cookware since 1830.

  • The wide, shallow bowl and heat-conductive 1.2mm-gauge copper promote a rapid boil, which develops fruits’ natural pectins.
  • Unlined interior is safe for use with foods with a high sugar content.

Mauviel Hammered Copper Jam Pan – Williams Sonoma

Personally, I use a Malto Mario dutch oven for making jam. It works, but isn’t the best option. The dutch oven holds the heat once the pot is taken off the burner, whereas the copper pot would start cooling to avoid over cooking.

Here’s a video about Mauviel

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The Mauviel copper fondue pot brings French elegance to your party

This beautiful fondue pot is from the Mauviel factory in Normandy, France. It’s thick copper construction will heat quickly and keep your fondue at the perfect temperature.

Mauviel Cupretam Pour la Table Tinned Copper Fondue Pot

This stainless steel fondue set by Blomus features top quality construction with a more modern design.

Blomus 67063 Minato Fondue 24 pcs. Set Stainless Steel

Mauviel’s History in France

Mauviel, a French family business established in 1830 and located in the Normandy town of Villedieu-les-Poeles, is the foremost manufacturer of professional copper cookware in the world today. Highly regarded in the professional world, with over 170 years of experience, Mauviel offers several different lines of copper cookware to professional chefs and home cooks that appreciate the benefits of their high quality products.

Professional cooks can attest that copper cookware is an essential part of every cookware collection as it is 2X more conductive than aluminum and 10X more conductive than stainless steel. This advantage makes copper the very best material for cooking, as it is unsurpassed in its ability to heat up evenly and rapidly and to cool down quickly, allowing for maximum control and great cooking results.

CUPRETAM pour la table has a 1.2 to 2mm thickness of copper exterior and is lined with a tin wash interior that, in the opinion of professional chefs creates the ultimate cooking surface. It has straight sides and bronze handles with copper rivets and has a polished or hammered outside finish, not only to enhance their inherent beauty but also to facilitate cleaning. A timeless product, CUPRETAM pour la table embodies the traditional process and professionalism known only to Mauviel.
Mauviel Cupretam Pour la Table Tinned Copper Fondue Pot – Amazon

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Beat Egg Whites in this Solid Copper Beating Bowl

Did you know you can get better results when you beat egg whites in a copper bowl?

Old Dutch 10-Inch Beating Bowl, Copper

About.Com has a good description of the chemistry behind this tip.

When air is whisked into egg whites, the mechanical action denatures the proteins in the whites. The denatured proteins coagulate, stiffening the foam and stabilizing the air bubbles. If the foam is overbeaten in a non-copper bowl, eventually the proteins become completely denatured and coagulate into clumps. There is no going back from the clumpy mess to nice foamy whites, so overbeaten whites are usually discarded.

If a copper bowl is used, then fewer protein molecules are free to denature and coagulate, because some are tied up in conalbumin-copper complexes. In addition to forming complexes with conalbumin, the copper may also react with sulfur-containing groups on other proteins, further stabilizing the egg proteins. Although the iron and zinc found in other metal bowls also form complexes with conalbumin, these complexes don’t make the foam more stable. When glass or steel bowls are used, cream of tartar may be added to egg whites to stabilize the whites.
Are Copper Bowls Really Better for Whipping Egg Whites? – About.Com

This 10-Inch Copper Beating Bowl by Old Dutch has a round bottom and single handle to make it the perfect container for whipping your egg whites.

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Solid Copper Hammered Canisters add Old World Luster to Your Kitchen

Bring a touch of old world elegance with these solid copper canisters by Old Dutch. Their hammered surface will reflect a warm glow on your marble counters.
Old Dutch International Solid Copper Hammered Canisters, Set of 4
This set includes the following sizes: 4 qt, 2 qt, 1.5 qt, 1 qt. They are nickel lined and affordable at less than $70.

Here’s a video of building a hammered copper pan.

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