Best Inexpensive Non-Stick Skillet


The truth about non-stick skillets is that the coating won’t last more than a few years under normal use.  Although we absolutely love our stainless steel All-Clad saucepans and regular skillet, we would never part with $120 or more for a non-stick 10-inch frying pan.

Knowing that we are going to buy a new skillet every year or two, depending upon the inevitable degrading and peeling of Teflon coating, we are happy to simply go to Target and pick up the impressive Calphalon Model 1390 Skillet that measures 10 inches, or 25 cm. The price is $29.99, which isn’t cheap, but the pan is certainly worth the cost.

The skillet is a solid performer that heats up evenly, and holds the heat through the cooking process without creating hot spots or burning.  The secret to this pan is a thick disk of stainless steel fused to the bottom. Steel transmits heat more consistently than aluminum. It’s kind of heavy, but not too heavy, like a cast-iron skillet, and the steel bottom can take the heat of our annoying glass top range, which can easily scorch lesser pans.

We wish the Calphalon 12-inch skillet had a stainless steel disk on the bottom, but it would be probably be too heavy.  Instead, we have to keep a watchful eye when cooking things in the lightweight aluminum pan as it balances between too hot and not hot enough.  This shortcoming often leads to cooking two batches of food in the 1390, instead of one in the larger skillet. The Calphalon 1390 does such an excellent job of cooking hashbrowns, eggs, Chinese dumplings, and everything else we fry, we don’t mind the extra time.

Check out that thick chunk of steel on the bottom.
Check out that thick chunk of steel on the bottom.

Tricks for Better Hard-Boiled Eggs


It’s easy to make perfectly-cooked hard-boiled eggs with yellow yolks, which look much more appetizing than badly-cooked yolks with green edges.  For failure-proof success, cover eggs with cold water in a saucepan, put a lid on the pan, and bring the water and eggs to a boil.  The second the eggs start bouncing and tapping on the bottom of the pan, take the pan off the heat and let the eggs sit in the hot water of the pan for 13 minutes.

After the eggs have cooked, drain the hot water and cover the eggs in the pan with cold water.  Once the eggs have cooled for about 3 minutes, they will be very easy to peel.  If you don’t peel them right away, the eggshell will cool and contract and stick to the egg white, and you’ll be tearing off chunks of egg white with the shell.

For a warm egg salad, mash up the eggs just after you  peel them, add mayonaisse to taste, one green onion that’s been chopped, salt and pepper, along with any other ingredient that is traditional with you.  The simpler, the better.

Don’t forget to toast the bread if you are making a sandwich, as the crunch of the toast is a good contrast with the smooth creaminess of the egg salad. We like a thick piece of French bread that’s been Texas-toasted.

Deviled Eggs

We like very simple deviled eggs, with not much effort.  Simply slice hard boiled eggs in half, lengthwise, and remove the yolks.  Smash up the yolks with a fork, and add some mayonnaise (Japanese Kewpie if you have it), some salt and pepper, with some minced scallion and maybe some paprika or any other red chile pepper sauce.  Spoon it back into the holes of the removed yolks, and serve.  Make sure to keep them cool, because you know what’s going to happen if they get too warm.

Quick Natural Cure for Warts



When John was complaining about chronic foot pain, I told him to wait a few days, hoping it would go away like most maladies.  Unfortunately it got worse, so I took a look, and saw 2 plantar warts on each foot, with one of them taking over the bottom of his piggy toe.

Wart treatments in the drugstore promised results after 4 weeks, so we decided to do a natural cure that I’d heard about–tea tree oil.  There were several brands at Whole Foods, very expensive as usual, but I found this cheap one for $6.00.  It was Tea Tree Oil with bonus Vitamin E.

I took a Q-tip, dipped it into the bottle, a dabbed it on a wart. Then I dipped the other end of the Q-tip and did the same with the other wart (no double-dipping!) and repeated on the other foot.

John didn’t want Band-aids to cover it, so he put on socks and shoes.  Nothing really happened for about 4 days. The next day we noticed the warts were smaller, and the next day they all started to get little black spots. The boy was grossed out, and thought they were turning into tumors, but I could tell the spots were the death-knell for the shrinking warts.

The plantars got smaller and blacker over the next few days, and 2 weeks after treatment started, all 4 of John’s warts fell off the same day.  We’re keeping the bottle around, as Tea Tree Oil works on all kinds of skin fungus (too nasty to show).  We’re not too big on natural cures, as most of the ones we’ve tried don’t work, but it’s definite recommend for Tea Tree Oil.