Monday, April 2, 2012

Induction cooktop: New Kitchen Review 1

*kitchen nerd alert* this is a detailed perspective on 1.5 week usage of our new cooktop.  If you're not interested, check out the next post.

We splurged on a few things in the kitchen, one of them being a cooktop/oven versus a range.  The difference is kinda subtle, but the combo allows for a bit more choice over what appliance you want.  Also, when it's all finished, it looks a bit more polished to have a built-in oven and countertop cook surface rather than a combo.

We didn't like the gas range we put in our last house, and we were ho-hum on electric.  Then we learned about induction.  Woah ... cooking with electromagnetic energy?!  Are we living in 2010 or what? Oh wait. . .

 We were lured by pictures like this: a raw egg spilled over a sliced-in-half skillet, one side perfectly cooked the other still clear and runny.  Or here where the butter is slowly melting in the pan but the butter on the cooktop is still intact.  We've got two little kids and two exploring cats, who wouldn't want a little extra protection from burnt fingers?

While it's been less than two weeks, I'm so far really happy with the induction cooktop.  1. it boils water in about 90 seconds.  I'm not kidding.  It's got a special setting marked "H" that cooks the %&*)(@ out of water.  It also turns off after 10 minutes, in the event you forgot about your water.  It senses when a pan is on the burner, and turns off if a pan is not sensed after a given amount of time.  Tonight, I was being the sloppy cook and spilled things all over the cooktop.  Rather than be rewarded with that acrid, lingering smoke that typically rewards such carelessness, the spilled food did nothing. It lay there, inert, cooling, waiting for me to clean it up. And it was directly on top of the "burner".

One downside is it doesn't work with all pans.  Aluminum pans don't work because they don't participate in electromagnetic hoobiedos (yes that's the technical term).  Also, cast-iron skillets are not recommended as the metal may scratch the glass surface, damaging the cooking capabilities.  I love, love, LOVE my cast iron skillet. I've cooked with it nearly nonstop for about 18 years now and it's only recently becoming properly seasoned.  I can't imagine not cooking with it. But maybe I'll make a few adjustments for the convenience this cooktop offers. Or I"ll still use it and not swish it around too much.  


Darren said...

OK, so here's an idea from the crazy idea pile (read: the internets)

Use ... wait for it ... a silicon pad between your lovely old cast iron pan and lovely new cooktop.

I think our silpats are rated at 500 degrees, and the smoke point of olive oil is a mere 375 degrees, so it seems reasonable.

But then, i'm not the science guy.

Zozopdx said...

good to know! but I want photos of the new kitchen!

Deanne said...

But would the silicon pad break the induction loop and prevent the burner from turning on? Mmmm, science.

Anonymous said...

You can just put a paper towel under the skillet. I don't have an induction cooktop yet, but my sister does, and that's how she keeps the skillet from scratching it. No joke!