Tuesday, September 8, 2009

little update

ridiculously pumped that this week is uber short for me - only a 2 day work week before heading out to CA on Thursday morning!

not tons to report from the weekend - of course there was football (and more football and even more football and back episodes of So You Think You Can Dance for me). and then there were 22+ miles walked for 3 Day training - which, um, i have to do 3x that in the same amount of time? yikes! add in a doggie playdate involving mimosas and laying out with HDH and Miss Sadie Mae (in which The Boom acted like a total brat) and an impromptu Trulucks dinner with my aunt and her boyfriend followed by 500 Days of Summer at the Angelika, and we had ourselves a lovely little holiday weekend!

now, lovely readers, its time for you to earn your keep because i have two very important questions for you! are you on the edge of your seats? do you have your thinking caps on and your dainty hands poised over your buzzers? here we go...

(1) for those of you who grow your own basil, how much sunlight is necessary and how much do you water it? i have mine in the kitchen windowsill along with my two succulents but i'm obviously watering it more than i water them. right now, my basil has several leaves with black spots on them. what am i doing wrong?

(2) i need mega-tips on how to cook with non-coated pots and pans! our lagostina cookware just arrived and i absolutely love it, but i had some trouble with stickage last night whilst whipping up some pesto pasta. do i just need to dial down the heat?

i told you these were very important issues, right up there with health care reform and Jillian vs. Bob.


  1. I don't know the answer to either of those questions. I feel like an inadequate housewife.

  2. ok to answer your basil question.

    How much water are you feed the basil?

    It should be soggy, but not drenched. Any leftover water should be drained immediately through the bottom, so make sure your pot has a hole or saucer underneath the pot. And regarding sunlight, place the plant in a south-facing window will give it the sun it needs if you do so for at least 6 hours per day.

    Regarding the black spots...is the basil plant next to an air conditioner? Cold weather can cause black spots.

    Hope that helps.

  3. 1) my basil plant is up on a windowsill and gets about 2 hours of morning light (on those days when the sun deigns to shine for more than 20 min in Michigan) and it gets about a coffee cup of water every couple of days. master gardener, clearly i am not, but, it hasn't died and is making new leaves. hurray!

    2) usually i just add a touch more oil/butter than i would with non stick and haven't had any issues...

    guess i'm 1-1 so far as helpfullness goes :)

  4. I haven't grown basil inside... so I'm no help there, however, while the weather is still nice you can always stick it outside for a while in the morning sun to help sun it and dry it out.

    With the pans, they are great and you will find you love them more than your nonstick ones! Definitely turn down the heat a little, and always make sure you add enough olive oil. Also, don't put anything in the pan until the oil is hot, if you don't wait for the olive oil to heat that can make things get sticky.

    Another plus with the new pans over the non stick variety is that you can put them in the oven. For example if you are cooking chicken breast, you can sear the breast and then put the pan with the breast in the oven at around 350 or so, and cook it through that way, it keeps the meat from drying out, and also frees up your stove top for other dishes. This is how restaurants often do duck and chicken to order, fyi! :)

  5. Mmmm, love basil! :) I think the black spots might be due to the basil not getting enough sun. I moved mine to a sunnier spot (6+ hours per day) and it's doing great now, but I also grow it outside so this answer may not be of any use at all to you!! As for the nonstick pots and pans, you will LOVE them once you get used to them. They are so versatile. As for the sticking, you are right, for stainless steel and copper pots you can't really go higher than medium heat before things start sticking. Make sure you have enough oil/butter in the pan and make sure it is pretty hot before you add your food. Happy cooking!

  6. Oops, I meant noncoated pans, not nonstick!

  7. Ditto on the black spots being caused by cold weather - basil is a little high maintenance like that! Moving it away from the window should help. Maybe there is a draft too?

    And for your cookware, I have stainless tri ply, and I use some Pam or olive oil and things are usually fine, but there is the occasional burnout that requires soaking. Good luck!

  8. I have no idea on the first one, but as far as the pans go, I would say the same as everyone else has: just add a little more olive oil/butter, and definitely keep the heat lower. I usually cook things on medium, when it says med-high.

    Good luck! :)

  9. Try a spray bottle in between real waterings for indoor plans.

    As for stainless cookware, LOW HEAT!

  10. I have the Lagostina as well.

    The key is to never go higher than medium. I usually cook on low/med [about 4 if your stove has numbers].

    Then I always cook with a tablespoon and a half of olive oil [if not more].

    Hope that helps!

  11. Basil - I've killed four of them so far. All have been on my kitchen counter near a bright window with indirect sunlight. All turned black and withered away. I tried watering more, watering less... no dice.

    As for the cooking - the key is to never use heat higher than med-high (med is sufficient for most things), use enough oil, and let it get VERY HOT before you add your food. Once the food is in the pan, let it sit a minute before you move it so that it won't stick. I know that seems counter intuitive, but I've had non-coated All Clad for 11 years now and don't have a problem with things sticking at all.

  12. I just want to echo the above comments regarding the cookware. When using stainless, I always heat a "notch" or two lower than I would using non-stick. Also, use a little more olive oil than usual. If I'm making something that I don't want to use olive oil with (example: eggs), I use cooking spray.

  13. I burn the shit out of everything due to rabid impatience.

  14. Oh if you get the answer to question 2 can you PLEASE share?! I have a wonderful 12-piece Cuisinart set and especially in my new apartment with a gas stove, it's hard to not get things to stick!

  15. I'm a guilty reader of your blog that I stumbled upon recently - love it!
    About the basil - get that plant outside while the weather is still nice! It will soak up the sun, even if its in the sun all day. Water it daily so it stays fairly moist and the best thing is to make sure it has enough soil space for itself (2-3 plants in one pot gets way too crowded and they will start competing for nutrients). Once it starts getting cold you can bring it into the windowsill but it might not survive through the winter. I have to plant new ones every late spring/early summer.


happy little comments!