My Favorites: Kitchen Tools and Gadgets - Le Creuset

I've decided to start a section of my blog dedicated to my favorite things, much like Oprah and Rachel Ray. My first post will be on kitchen tools and gadgets and I hope to continue featuring items in this category as well as places to eat, recipes, websites, etc.
In case you didn't know, I really enjoy cooking. I learned a lot from my mom growing up and we still love cooking together to this day. One thing I do have that makes cooking even more enjoyable for me is that I have some really great tools. I do not believe in skimping when it comes to kitchenware. I have really found that most of the time you do indeed get what pay for. This is not to say that you buy the most expensive item of its type, but do a little research and be willing to invest in something that will last.
My first featured item is one that I would hate to live without - my round French oven by Le Creuset in kiwi (pic from their website since mine didn't turn out). A dear friend of mine corralled others together one year to get me this for my birthday. Le Creuset also makes stoneware and some other types of kitchenware but I'm concentrating on this one piece.
The French oven is enameled cast iron, which means it can do all the wonderful things of cast iron without the reactivity issues, i.e. you can cook acidic things like tomatoes in them. I wish it wasn't quite so heavy, but after all it's cast iron and that's what makes it so awesome at heat retention and distribution. It can go from stove top to oven. The lid is oven-safe to 375 degrees. I love making soups in mine, but it's great for all sorts of things from braising to baking. I haven't baked in it yet but maybe that should be one of my next projects. I know a lot of people use theirs to deep fry food, but I hate frying in the house because of the oil smell. Really you can cook just about anything in them if you have the right size. They come in quite a few different sizes and colors. I wanted the round so that it would fit on my burners better since I have an electric stove but they also have oval and even a heart-shaped one.
I will be the first to admit that these are pricey but this is one of those things that is easy to consider an investment. They are very durable and while you could damage them it would take some work. They also come with a limited lifetime warranty as long as you buy it new or are given it new as a gift. This is one of the things I look forward to being able to pass along to my daughter. If you don't have any cast iron pieces in your kitchen I would highly suggest that you look at getting something enameled, and make that something from Le Creuset.
Hint: Because of their weight I highly suggest buying these in person unless you can get free shipping somehow. It's also nice to see them in person to get the best idea of the color and size.


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