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March 14, 2018 |

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6 project ideas to recreate your kitchen – Longview News

Minor and major projects that can recreate your kitchen

As the hub of activity in a home, the kitchen serves many purposes: meal prep base, dining area, family gathering place, celebration zone, and entertainment center, to name a few. Does your high-use, heart-of-the-home kitchen meet the challenges and needs of your family life?

If not, then it’s time for a renovation. A kitchen remodel can be inspired by lifestyle changes, the need for energy efficiency, upgrading of decades-old styling, or simply that you are ready for a change. The good news is that remodeling the most used room in your house not only improves the space itself, it increases the overall value of your home.

Research from Remodeling magazine shows homeowners who undergo a mid-range kitchen remodel can expect to recoup 81 percent of their spend upon selling their home. A major kitchen remodel will recoup 59 percent, according to the same study. With statistics like these, remodeling your kitchen has the potential to be good for you now and in the future.

So what are you waiting for? Start planning your kitchen remodeling project today. Here are six ideas, ranging from minor to major:

* Replace your faucet. For the amount you use your kitchen faucet, functionality and ease-of-use should be top priorities – highlighted with stylish designs lines, of course. The Avery Selectronic hands-free pull-down kitchen faucet from American Standard features a three-function spray that can handle any kitchen challenge. Plus, this high-arc touchless faucet offers flexibility to suit user preference – simply switch to manual function for guests not familiar with touchless operation.

* Paint your cabinets. If replacing your kitchen cabinets is not in the budget this year, repainting them is the next best thing. A fresh coat of paint can dramatically change the appearance of your kitchen. Select a paint that dries hard so it can stand up to wear and tear; choose a satin finish paint to hide imperfections in the cabinet surface. To complete the look, consider replacing the cabinet hardware. Pick the style that appeals most to you and remember knobs are more common on cabinets, handles on drawers.

* Add a backsplash. Create an instant wow factor by enhancing the walls above the work areas of your kitchen. The use of varying shapes and materials can really showcase your creative side. Today’s homeowners are choosing larger sized subway tiles, introducing a bit more color to this traditionally neutral-colored area of the kitchen, experimenting with varying tile patterns, and choosing metallic and mirrored finishes. Extending the backsplash all the way to the ceiling, with the use of shelving instead of cabinets for storage, is a new trend gaining ground. Whatever your choice, a new backsplash can delight you every time you enter the kitchen.

* Elevate your faucet. For homeowners who enjoy crafting delectable meals for family and friends, an upgrade to the GROHE Essence semi-pro faucet provides the perfect combination of modern functionality and high style. It features convenient one-hand operation, full 360-degree sink mobility and two high-performance sprays. Plus, this high-arc faucet features a flexible silicone hose that can be easily replaced in a variety of rainbow colors for an instant kitchen “perk-up.”

* Explore sink options. Whether it’s for food preparation, dish washing or bathing a small child, families depend on the kitchen sink for a lot of things. The DXV Hillside stainless steel sink exhibits the rich character of popular farmhouse sink styling with a refined sophistication ideal for the modern kitchen. Made from 16-gauge stainless steel, its clean apron-front design makes it perfect for under-counter, flush countertop or above-counter custom installation. The result is a high-style sink that can meet any kitchen need.

* Change out those cabinets. While repainting cabinets can change the look of your kitchen, replacing them can totally upgrade the room’s core style and functionality. Select new cabinets based on the current needs of your kitchen, considering accessories that can improve functionality. Think slow-close drawers and doors, turntable corner cabinets, pull-out trash can cabinets, plus many innovative storage features. The choice of design styles – framed or frameless – will impact your kitchen’s look. Cabinets vary in price, depending on whether they are stock, semi-custom or custom. With kitchen cabinets accounting for up to 40 percent of a full kitchen remodeling budget, invest time in choosing the style and function that will make you love your new kitchen.

Whatever your level of kitchen remodeling, these upgrades are sure to make life easier and more enjoyable in a room that is the focal “living” room in any home. Go ahead and plan your renovations today – and experience the benefits for years to come.

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Why is their Teflon in beauty products? – Yahoo Sports

You’ve probably heard of Teflon before — the chemical is used in nonstick pans and is very popular. Although you expect that it will surface in your cookware, you probably don’t anticipate that it will show up in your beauty products. Unfortunately, a new report from the Environmental Working Group found that was the case, and such use is more widespread than you would think.

Environmental Working Group researchers scoured the organization’s Skin Deep database and found that Teflon showed up in 66 different products from 15 brands, including a number of household names. Teflon is in a class of fluorinated chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), which have been linked to cancer, thyroid disease, and reduced effectiveness of childhood vaccines. Teflon was the most commonly found ingredient for this class of chemicals, but researchers found 13 different PFAS chemicals in nearly 200 products from 28 brands.

Teflon and PFASs were  found in anti-aging products,  waterproof products such as eyeliner and mascara, and detanglers. They also showed up in sunscreen, shampoo, and shaving cream.

PFASs are used in anti-aging products and cosmetics because they provide a smooth, sleek finish, David Andrews, a senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. They are also used as skin-conditioning agents and can reduce hair frizz, he says.  PFASs can also provide oil and water repellence in waterproofing makeup.

News of Teflon in cosmetics isn’t new — a 2015 report from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and Breast Cancer Fund found that Teflon was used in some anti-aging products. But it is definitely a . matter of concern that the chemicals seem to be so widespread in cosmetics.

PFASs are widely used in consumer products. They also appear in stain-resistant carpeting, waterproof clothing, nonstick pots and pans, and grease-resistant food packaging, Andrews says. Unfortunately, they have the potential to build up in your body and have been linked to cancer, hormone disruption, immune system issues, reproductive problems, and liver damage.

Andrews says that the Environmental Working Group is “very concerned” that the chemicals used to make Teflon and other PFAS chemicals are in beauty products. Dupont and 3M, which make the chemicals, have phased out some of the most hazardous members of this class of chemicals, he says, but “there is no evidence the alternative chemicals are any safer.”

“DuPont (now Chemours) switched from using PFOA [perfluorooctanoic acid] to make Teflon to a new chemical called GenX, which has been shown in animal studies to cause many of the same health impacts,” Andrews says. “Very few studies have been done on other alternatives, but their chemical structure is very close to the banned chemicals, so there is good cause for concern.”

Although it is unfortunate that Teflon is in some beauty products, James G. Wagner, an associate professor of pathobiology and diagnostic investigation at Michigan State University, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that this chemical is likely to be a “low concern for health risks.”

“Teflon likely won’t be absorbed through the skin to a significant degree and even if it is, it will be at extremely low levels,” he says. “It is a very inert chemical with low reactivity to any human tissues.” Overheating Teflon-coated pans and inhaling the fumes “absolutely a health concern,” Wagner says, but that’s different from putting it on your skin.

However, many toxicologists and governmental health agencies are focusing their attention on the other per- and polyfluoroalkyl  compounds, he says. But how concerned people should be about them is a big question. “We just don’t know the complete picture yet,” Wagner says. “But this issue absolutely has the attention of our nation’s toxicologists and we should have some good answers in the next six to eight months, and an even clearer picture in the next two years.”

The National Toxicology Program will be publishing results of a two-year-long study later this year on perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), the now-discontinued Teflon-related chemical that is still found in drinking water, food, and the blood of 90 percent of the U.S. population, he says. (PFOS is not in cosmetics, but has a structure similar to that of chemicals found in cosmetics, he says.)

Manufacturers have developed substitutes for the banned PFOS; these substitutes, the PFAS in cosmetics, are the more than 3,000 chemicals that are smaller but still fluorinated, Wagner says. The National Toxicology Program will start an intensive coordinated study of the 75 most prevalent PFAS this spring, with results coming in the next one to two years. “Some of these PFAS can be found in cosmetics, so we could have answers on these risks very soon,” he says.

Still, Gary Goldenberg, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that he is concerned about the findings. “At this point, I would advise my patients to exercise caution,” he says. “It’s unclear what impact these chemicals have and what concentration is needed to cause a health concern.”

Goldenberg says it is “premature” to say that Teflon and PFASs in cosmetics will definitely cause cancer and other health issues, but it is a good idea to steer clear of them out of caution. “If given an option, I would probably recommend choosing a product without these potentially harmful chemicals,” he says.

So, check the ingredients list on your cosmetics and be wary of products that contain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. The Environmental Working Group specifically recommends being wary of ingredients that say “PTFE” or have “fluoro” in their name. If you’re not sure if your cosmetics contain PFASs, check the Working Group’s Skin Deep database for more information.

Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for nonstop inspiration delivered fresh to your feed, every day.

Category: Cookware Pans  Tags: ,  Comments off

Teflon — the stuff in your nonstick pan — was found in 66 of your favorite beauty products

You’ve probably heard of Teflon before — the chemical is used in nonstick pans and is very popular. Although you expect that it will surface in your cookware, you probably don’t anticipate that it will show up in your beauty products. Unfortunately, a new report from the Environmental Working Group found that was the case, and such use is more widespread than you would think.

Environmental Working Group researchers scoured the organization’s Skin Deep database and found that Teflon showed up in 66 different products from 15 brands, including a number of household names. Teflon is in a class of fluorinated chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), which have been linked to cancer, thyroid disease, and reduced effectiveness of childhood vaccines. Teflon was the most commonly found ingredient for this class of chemicals, but researchers found 13 different PFAS chemicals in nearly 200 products from 28 brands.

Teflon and PFASs were  found in anti-aging products,  waterproof products such as eyeliner and mascara, and detanglers. They also showed up in sunscreen, shampoo, and shaving cream.

PFASs are used in anti-aging products and cosmetics because they provide a smooth, sleek finish, David Andrews, a senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. They are also used as skin-conditioning agents and can reduce hair frizz, he says.  PFASs can also provide oil and water repellence in waterproofing makeup.

News of Teflon in cosmetics isn’t new — a 2015 report from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and Breast Cancer Fund found that Teflon was used in some anti-aging products. But it is definitely a . matter of concern that the chemicals seem to be so widespread in cosmetics.

PFASs are widely used in consumer products. They also appear in stain-resistant carpeting, waterproof clothing, nonstick pots and pans, and grease-resistant food packaging, Andrews says. Unfortunately, they have the potential to build up in your body and have been linked to cancer, hormone disruption, immune system issues, reproductive problems, and liver damage.

Andrews says that the Environmental Working Group is “very concerned” that the chemicals used to make Teflon and other PFAS chemicals are in beauty products. Dupont and 3M, which make the chemicals, have phased out some of the most hazardous members of this class of chemicals, he says, but “there is no evidence the alternative chemicals are any safer.”

“DuPont (now Chemours) switched from using PFOA [perfluorooctanoic acid] to make Teflon to a new chemical called GenX, which has been shown in animal studies to cause many of the same health impacts,” Andrews says. “Very few studies have been done on other alternatives, but their chemical structure is very close to the banned chemicals, so there is good cause for concern.”

Although it is unfortunate that Teflon is in some beauty products, James G. Wagner, an associate professor of pathobiology and diagnostic investigation at Michigan State University, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that this chemical is likely to be a “low concern for health risks.”

“Teflon likely won’t be absorbed through the skin to a significant degree and even if it is, it will be at extremely low levels,” he says. “It is a very inert chemical with low reactivity to any human tissues.” Overheating Teflon-coated pans and inhaling the fumes “absolutely a health concern,” Wagner says, but that’s different from putting it on your skin.

However, many toxicologists and governmental health agencies are focusing their attention on the other per- and polyfluoroalkyl  compounds, he says. But how concerned people should be about them is a big question. “We just don’t know the complete picture yet,” Wagner says. “But this issue absolutely has the attention of our nation’s toxicologists and we should have some good answers in the next six to eight months, and an even clearer picture in the next two years.”

The National Toxicology Program will be publishing results of a two-year-long study later this year on perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), the now-discontinued Teflon-related chemical that is still found in drinking water, food, and the blood of 90 percent of the U.S. population, he says. (PFOS is not in cosmetics, but has a structure similar to that of chemicals found in cosmetics, he says.)

Manufacturers have developed substitutes for the banned PFOS; these substitutes, the PFAS in cosmetics, are the more than 3,000 chemicals that are smaller but still fluorinated, Wagner says. The National Toxicology Program will start an intensive coordinated study of the 75 most prevalent PFAS this spring, with results coming in the next one to two years. “Some of these PFAS can be found in cosmetics, so we could have answers on these risks very soon,” he says.

Still, Gary Goldenberg, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that he is concerned about the findings. “At this point, I would advise my patients to exercise caution,” he says. “It’s unclear what impact these chemicals have and what concentration is needed to cause a health concern.”

Goldenberg says it is “premature” to say that Teflon and PFASs in cosmetics will definitely cause cancer and other health issues, but it is a good idea to steer clear of them out of caution. “If given an option, I would probably recommend choosing a product without these potentially harmful chemicals,” he says.

So, check the ingredients list on your cosmetics and be wary of products that contain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. The Environmental Working Group specifically recommends being wary of ingredients that say “PTFE” or have “fluoro” in their name. If you’re not sure if your cosmetics contain PFASs, check the Working Group’s Skin Deep database for more information.

Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for nonstop inspiration delivered fresh to your feed, every day.

Category: Cookware Pots  Tags: ,  Comments off

These big puffy pancakes are as easy as they are spectacular …

As soon as the server elbows through the kitchen door and begins to wend her way through the pancake-house rush, you can’t take your eyes off what she is ferrying. It is an eggy crater the size of a dinner plate, with tender, fat-tire curves and a sweet aroma the Pied Piper only wishes he could deploy.

It’s called a Dutch baby on the menu, and the reason is far from apparent. No matter; it demands immediate, before-it-deflates eating, topped with a compote or a shower of confectioners’ sugar at least.

Who could make such a thing? You can, in short order. The batter ingredients are few and come together in a blender. Pour smooth, into a hot buttered pan, and the batter will shimmer and bubble in the oven until the moment of liftoff. Then, the pancake curls at the edges that rise above the rim, accompanied by an occasional mogul at the center.

It is an old recipe, and its history skews sweet. Pancakes in the Dutch Manner as presented in the 1998 cookbook “The Sensible Cook: Dutch Foodways in the Old and New World” resembled spiced (flat) crepes, while the topography gets much closer to Dutch baby territory in recipes for German puffed apple pancakes made hundreds of years ago. The origin of Dutch could be “Deutsch,” and the dish’s popularity in America is due in part to Sunset magazine articles dating back more than 50 years.

But the Dutch baby is versatile enough to step toward savory. In other words, have your way with it.

There are but a few rules to keep in mind: The batter should be well blended; the pan and its fat must be h-o-t; the puffed Dutch baby needs to sit in the oven for a few minutes after the timer goes off, to improve the odds it will retain its structure longer.

Blender Dutch Babies

4 to 6 servings

These puffy, eggy pancakes are about the most versatile, quick and easy things you can make in a skillet — and if you don’t have the 8-inch skillets called for here, you can bake all the batter in a single 9- or 10-inch ovenproof skillet, or use a pie plate.

FOR THE PANCAKES:

3 large eggs

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3/4 cup flour

3/4 cup whole milk

1 to 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

FOR THE OPTIONAL FILLING:

1 cup frozen cherries, preferably tart

1 heaping tablespoon granulated sugar

For the optional topping (your choice, or a mix)

Plain Greek yogurt

Pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

Maple syrup

Toasted slivered almonds

Granola

Confectioners’ sugar

For the pancakes: Preheat the oven to 425 F. Place the eggs in a bowl of warm tap water for 5 minutes, or until they are close to room temperature.

Divide the butter between two 8-inch cast-iron or ovenproof skillets; transfer to the oven. Watch closely so the butter melts, but do not let it brown or burn.

Beat the eggs in a blender on medium-high speed for 5 seconds, until frothy, then add the flour, milk, granulated sugar (to taste), salt and vanilla extract. Blend on low speed to incorporate, then blend on medium-high for 5 seconds.

Remove the hot pans from the oven and swirl the melted butter so it coats the sides. Immediately pour in the batter, dividing it evenly between the pans; bake (middle rack) for 13 to 15 minutes, until puffed and golden brown at the edges, which should curve and rise above the rim. Turn off the oven, and let them sit there for 5 minutes. This will help the pancakes keep their structure.

Meanwhile, make the optional filling: Combine the frozen cherries and granulated sugar in a small saucepan; cook over low heat for about 10 minutes, or until juices coat the back of a spoon. Turn off the heat.

Use a thin spatula to dislodge the Dutch babies from their pans; they should slide out. Cut into halves or wedges. Top each portion with some of the stewed cherries and an optional topping or two, if desired. Serve right away.

Nutritional information per serving (based on 6): 170 calories, 6 g protein, 16 g carbohydrates, 9 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 110 mg cholesterol, 140 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 4 g sugar

Adapted from “The Minimalist Kitchen: The Practical Art of Making More With Less,” by Melissa Coleman (Oxmoor House, April 2018).

Cauliflower Jalapeno Dutch Baby

2 to 3 servings

2 tablespoons unsalted butter (may substitute olive oil)

2 large eggs, at room temperature (see NOTES)

1/2 cup flour

2 tablespoons harissa

1/2 cup regular or low-fat milk

Pinch kosher salt

2 cups white or green cauliflower florets, blanched (see NOTES)

1 medium jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

Fresh, crunchy sprouts, such as a store-bought mix of lentils, green peas, adzuki beans

Handful cilantro leaves

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Place the butter in an 8-inch cast-iron or ovenproof skillet; transfer to the oven. Watch closely so the butter melts, but do not let it brown or burn.

Beat the eggs in a blender on medium-high speed for 5 seconds until frothy, then add the flour, harissa, milk and salt. Blend on low speed to incorporate, then blend on medium-high for 5 seconds to form a smooth batter.

Remove the hot pan from the oven and swirl the melted butter so it coats the sides. Immediately pour in the batter; bake (middle rack) for 13 to 15 minutes, until puffed and golden brown at the edges, which should curve and rise above the rim. Turn off the oven, and let sit for 5 minutes. This will help the pancake keep its structure.

Meanwhile, toss together the blanched cauliflower florets, jalapeno, sprouts and cilantro in a bowl.

As soon as you remove the Dutch baby from the oven, top with cauliflower mixture, then drizzle with the oil, if desired. Use a thin spatula to dislodge the pancake; it should slide right out. Serve right away.

NOTES: To bring eggs to room temperature, place them (whole, in the shell) in a bowl of warm tap water for 5 minutes.

To blanch the cauliflower, prepare a bowl of water and ice cubes. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add the cauliflower florets and cook/blanch for about 30 seconds, then immediately drain and transfer to the water bath to cool. Pat dry before using.

Nutritional information per serving (based on 3, using low-fat milk): 290 calories, 12 g protein, 29 g carbohydrates, 15 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 150 mg cholesterol, 250 mg sodium, 3 g dietary fiber, 4 g sugar

From deputy Food editor/recipes editor Bonnie S. Benwick.

Everything Spice Dutch Baby With Brie

4 servings

For convenience, feel free to use a store-bought Everything-Spice blend instead of making your own, as directed here. This also can be baked in a pie plate.

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 large eggs, at room temperature (see NOTE)

3/4 cup flour

3/4 cup regular or low-fat milk

2 to 3 tablespoons harissa

Pinch kosher salt

3 ounces chilled brie cheese, cut into thin slices

1/2 teaspoon black sesame seeds

1/2 teaspoon toasted white sesame seeds

1/4 teaspoon dehydrated onion flakes

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place the butter in an 9- or 10-inch cast-iron or ovenproof skillet; transfer to the oven. Watch closely so the butter melts, but do not let it brown or burn.

Beat the eggs in a blender on medium-high speed for 5 seconds until frothy, then add the flour, milk, harissa (to taste) and salt. Blend on low speed to incorporate, then blend on medium-high for 10 seconds to form a smooth batter.

Remove the hot pan from the oven and swirl the melted butter so it coats the sides. Immediately pour in the batter; bake (middle rack) for about 15 minutes, until puffed and golden brown at the edges, which should curve and rise above the rim. Turn off the oven, let sit for 5 minutes. This will help the pancake keep its structure.

Reduce the temperature to 200 degrees. Remove from the oven just long enough to arrange the brie slices on the surface of the Dutch baby (tamping down any big bumps, as needed), then sprinkle with the black and toasted sesame seeds and the onion flakes. Return to the oven; bake for 2 minutes, or just until the cheese begins to melt.

Use a thin spatula to dislodge the pancake; it should slide right out. Cut into wedges and serve right away.

NOTE: To bring eggs to room temperature, place them (whole, in the shell) in a bowl of warm tap water for 5 minutes.

Nutritional information per serving (using low-fat milk): 330 calories, 14 g protein, 22 g carbohydrates, 21 g fat, 11 g saturated fat, 190 mg cholesterol, 330 mg sodium, 1 g dietary fiber, 3 g sugar

Adapted from “The Minimalist Kitchen: The Practical Art of Making More With Less,” by Melissa Coleman (Oxmoor House, April 2018).

Dutch Baby With Chorizo and Watercress

2 to 3 servings

Here, the slight heat and chew of cured chorizo combined with peppery watercress are lively complements to the eggy oven pancake.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 large eggs, at room temperature (see NOTE)

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup regular or low-fat milk

Pinch kosher salt

Pinch freshly ground black pepper

2 1/2 ounces cured, cooked chorizo, cut into thin half-moon slices

2 handfuls watercress

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place the butter in an 8-inch cast-iron or ovenproof skillet; transfer to the oven. Watch closely so the butter melts, but do not let it brown or burn.

Beat the eggs in a blender on medium-high speed for 5 seconds until frothy, then add the flour, milk and salt and pepper. Blend on low speed to incorporate, then blend on medium-high for 5 seconds to form a smooth batter.

Remove the hot pan from the oven and swirl the melted butter so it coats the sides. Immediately pour in the batter; bake (middle rack) for 13 to 15 minutes, until puffed and golden brown at the edges, which should curve and rise above the rim. Turn off the oven, and let sit for 5 minutes. This will help the pancake keep its structure.

Meanwhile, place the chorizo half-moon slices in a microwave-safe bowl; cook on MEDIUM for 30 seconds, or until slightly crisped. Let cool on paper towels.

Use a thin spatula to dislodge the Dutch baby from its pan, sliding the pancake onto a plate or cutting board. Top with the watercress and crisped chorizo, then drizzle with oil. Serve right away.

Nutritional information per serving (based on 3, using low-fat milk): 370 calories, 14 g protein, 19 g carbohydrates, 27 g fat, 11 g saturated fat, 170 mg cholesterol, 540 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 2 g sugar

From deputy Food editor/recipes editor Bonnie S. Benwick.

Harissa Dutch Baby With Tomatoes and Mozzarella

2 to 3 servings

Adding the spicy pepper paste to the eggy pancake batter gives it a cheerful color, as well as a mild boost of flavor.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 large eggs (see NOTE)

1/2 cup flour

2 tablespoons harissa

1/2 cup regular or low-fat milk

Pinch kosher salt, plus more as needed

Pinch freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

2 cups heirloom cherry and grape tomatoes, cut in half

4 ounces bocconcini (small mozzarella balls), drained

Handful fresh basil or flat-leaf parsley leaves, torn

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Place the butter in an 8-inch cast-iron or ovenproof skillet; transfer to the oven. Watch closely so the butter melts, but do not let it brown or burn.

Beat the eggs in a blender on medium-high speed for 5 seconds until frothy, then add the flour, harissa, milk, salt and pepper. Blend on low speed to incorporate, then blend on medium-high for 5 seconds to form a smooth batter.

Remove the hot pan from the oven and swirl the melted butter so it coats the sides. Immediately pour in the batter; bake (middle rack) for 13 to 15 minutes, until puffed and golden brown at the edges, which should curve and rise above the rim. Turn off the oven, and let sit for 5 minutes. This will help the pancake keep its structure.

Meanwhile, toss together the tomatoes, mozzarella balls and basil or parsley in a bowl; season lightly with salt and pepper.

As soon as you remove the Dutch baby from the oven, top with the tomato mixture; the cheese should start to melt just a little. Use a thin spatula to dislodge the pancake; it should slide right out. Serve right away.

Nutritional information per serving (based on 3, using low-fat milk): 350 calories, 16 g protein, 24 g carbohydrates, 21 g fat, 11 g saturated fat, 175 mg cholesterol, 300 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 6 g sugar

From deputy Food editor/recipes editor Bonnie S. Benwick.

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Voraciously: Week 3 — How to set up your kitchen for success

Become a better cook, then show off your skills. This 12-week series will give you the tools you need to make a meal you’re proud to share with friends.

Sometimes I forget how mysterious the kitchen was when I first moved into my own apartment, armed with an assortment of parental hand-me-downs. I loved the convenience of frozen and microwaveable meals. Preparing a “one-pot dinner” was as simple as opening up a box of Pasta Roni. I rarely purchased additional equipment because I had no idea what I needed.
 
Stocking your kitchen doesn’t have to be a complicated or pricey adventure. If your budget is flexible, splurge on a few higher-end items that will last you for decades (for example, a good-quality knife). Or you can start with all inexpensive yet well-made items, get a feel for them and upgrade over time as you see fit.

Today, I’m going to share some of my top kitchen essentials to help you figure out what you might need to round out your cooking supplies. Then, I’ll put a few of those key items to use and show you a quick-and-easy recipe that can be used to enhance many savory recipes: a fried egg.

Scroll ahead to see the recipe for the Everyday Fried Egg

Skillet: You have two options: Skillets with straight or flared sides. Straight-sided skillets are best for searing, pan-frying and handling large quantities of ingredients, and those typically come with lids. Skillets that have sides that widen at the top allow you to flip ingredients, and they’re also the best option for recipes in which the ingredients take on the shape of the pan, such as frittatas and skillet brownies. 

You also get to choose between nonstick and regular pans. Nonstick skillets allow you to reduce the fat required in recipes, and they’re a good choice for working with tender ingredients such as eggs, delicate fish and pancakes. Regular surfaces (typically stainless steel or cast iron) are all about that flavorful, crisped exterior.

Medium saucepan with lid: A 1.5- or 2-quart, heavy-bottom saucepan is great for making sauces, cooking grains and using for a variety of tasks when you don’t need a huge pot of boiling water (for example, hard-cooking eggs).
 
Rimmed baking sheet: Whether you’re baking cookies or roasting veggies, baking sheets are a true kitchen essential. Always line them with parchment paper or foil for easy cleanup.
 
Loaf pan, brownie pan, muffin pan: The type of bakeware you need depends on what you’re planning to bake. Most of these can be used in more than one type of recipe, making them good multitaskers. For example, a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan works for breads, pound cakes and meatloaf.
 
Dutch oven: An enameled cast-iron Dutch oven is one of the best all-purpose pots you can own. Non-enameled Dutch ovens are a more affordable alternative, but the enameled versions are much easier to clean. Use this to make soups and stews, sear meats and prepare an assortment of one-pot meals.

Chef’s knife: This is the most important utensil you can own, with a blade that is 8 to 10 inches long. The chef’s knife is a kitchen workhorse, especially when it comes to meat and produce. Use it for chopping, slicing, dicing and mincing. Invest in a decent one (anywhere from $80 to $120), get it professionally sharpened occasionally, and it will last you for ages as long as you treat it properly.

A paring knife is a close second. Paring knives can be used for various tasks that require a bit more precision, such as peeling and hulling produce, or removing seeds from peppers and vanilla beans. A good quality paring knife will cost $40 to $50.
 
Kitchen shears: Keep a pair of scissors in the kitchen; they’re a great multitasker. You can use them for just about anything, including trimming fresh herbs and raw chicken, as well as opening that stubborn bag of potato chips.
 
Blender/food processor: I’ve lumped these together, because they can often be used for similar tasks, such as making dips and pesto. Blenders are best for liquids (smoothies, sauces and soups), while a food processor can handle more labor-intensive tasks, such as grating large quantities of cheese. High-end blenders are powerful enough to handle tasks meant for a food processor, and vice versa. If there’s room for only one in your budget, think carefully about which one you’re most likely to use on a regular basis. If you’re planning to make a lot of smoothies, get the blender. 
 
Heat-resistant tongs: Think of tongs as an extension of your arm. Use them to turn meats and vegetables as they cook, and for tossing together pastas and salads. You can also use them to grab hard-to-reach things and point at people.
 
Microplane zester: This is a multitasking kitchen tool that can grate citrus zest, nutmeg, hard cheeses and more.
 
Meat thermometer: Avoid the guesswork and get a digital meat thermometer. I use one with a probe and alarm, which can be left inside the meat as it roasts in the oven or on the grill. The alarm goes off when the internal temperature is where I want it to be. No more undercooked or overcooked steaks!
 
Oven mitts: I recommend using oven mitts, preferably non-flammable, that are shaped like gloves or mitts, which offer much more control over the hot items you’re handling. Even better, some of them have a non-slip grip.

Additional items you should have include large and small mixing bowls, liquid and dry measuring cups and spoons, wire cooling rack, vegetable peeler, colander, cutting board, spatula and whisk.

Having a well-stocked pantry and fridge will save you so much time in the long run. As you become more familiar with how to use ingredients, you’ll be able to throw together countless meals in no time.

Washington Post deputy Food editor and recipes editor Bonnie S. Benwick has pulled together an excellent pantry list for her weekly Dinner in Minutes feature, which highlights great, simple recipes that utilize the skills I’ll be teaching you during this series. You can use Bonnie’s pantry as your shopping guide and make adjustments based on your personal preferences. Find it here.

You’ve got your tools, you’ve got your pantry list, now let’s use some of the most basic items from each list (a skillet, spatula and egg) to cook one of the most versatile things you’ll ever make: a fried egg. A simple fried egg is wonderfully versatile and can be used in so many ways. Try serving it over French toast, salad or steak, or on a sandwich!

1 serving

HANDS-ON TIME: 5 minutes
COOK TIME: 2 minutes
EQUIPMENT: Nonstick skillet, spatula, small ramekin or measuring cup

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, or more as needed depending on the size of your skillet
1 large egg
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Place a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add just enough oil to form a thin layer on the bottom of the pan, swirling to coat. 

Crack the egg into a small ramekin or measuring cup. This gives you a chance to remove any shell fragments and pour the egg directly into the skillet. Once the oil shimmers, gently add the egg to the skillet. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. 

Allow the egg to cook for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, occasionally shaking the pan after the white has started to set. Be careful, as the egg might sputter a bit in the oil as it fries. If necessary, you can reduce the heat or move the skillet off the burner for a few moments. 

For sunny-side up fried eggs with a runny yolk, use a spatula to remove them from the heat when the edges are brown and crisp, and the whites have set on top. For an over-easy egg, gently flip the egg and cook for an additional 30 seconds before removing from the skillet. 

WANT TO KICK THINGS UP A NOTCH?

  • For a slightly softer consistency, add a couple teaspoons of water to the pan along with the egg, cover, and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute. The steam will lightly set the egg on top — a foolproof way to ensure the egg white will be completely cooked.
  • Grate some fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano or cheddar cheese on top of the egg and make it the centerpiece of a breakfast sandwich with toast, a bagel or an English muffin. Just about any hard cheese would pair well.
  • Top your egg with a dash of your favorite hot sauce or a dollop of harissa.
  • Sprinkle a spice blend on your egg, such as herbes de Provence or za’atar. Or try paprika or a fruity ground red pepper instead of black pepper.
  • Serve the egg on slices of ripe avocado.

Put an egg on it!

Show us your fried eggs, however they came out of the pan, and show us what you enjoyed them with. Follow us on Instagram at @eatvoraciously, and share your photos of this recipe using #eatvoraciously. We may feature your dish right here next week, when we navigate the challenges of picking produce at the grocery store.

Have a question? Message us on Instagram or email us at voraciously@washpost.com, and check out voraciously.com for more tips, tricks and great, simple recipes.

Until then, happy frying!

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Teflon — the stuff in your nonstick pan — was found in 66 of your favorite beauty products

You’ve probably heard of Teflon before — the chemical is used in nonstick pans and is very popular. Although you expect that it will surface in your cookware, you probably don’t anticipate that it will show up in your beauty products. Unfortunately, a new report from the Environmental Working Group found that was the case, and such use is more widespread than you would think.

Environmental Working Group researchers scoured the organization’s Skin Deep database and found that Teflon showed up in 66 different products from 15 brands, including a number of household names. Teflon is in a class of fluorinated chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), which have been linked to cancer, thyroid disease, and reduced effectiveness of childhood vaccines. Teflon was the most commonly found ingredient for this class of chemicals, but researchers found 13 different PFAS chemicals in nearly 200 products from 28 brands.

Teflon and PFASs were  found in anti-aging products,  waterproof products such as eyeliner and mascara, and detanglers. They also showed up in sunscreen, shampoo, and shaving cream.

PFASs are used in anti-aging products and cosmetics because they provide a smooth, sleek finish, David Andrews, a senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. They are also used as skin-conditioning agents and can reduce hair frizz, he says.  PFASs can also provide oil and water repellence in waterproofing makeup.

News of Teflon in cosmetics isn’t new — a 2015 report from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and Breast Cancer Fund found that Teflon was used in some anti-aging products. But it is definitely a . matter of concern that the chemicals seem to be so widespread in cosmetics.

PFASs are widely used in consumer products. They also appear in stain-resistant carpeting, waterproof clothing, nonstick pots and pans, and grease-resistant food packaging, Andrews says. Unfortunately, they have the potential to build up in your body and have been linked to cancer, hormone disruption, immune system issues, reproductive problems, and liver damage.

Andrews says that the Environmental Working Group is “very concerned” that the chemicals used to make Teflon and other PFAS chemicals are in beauty products. Dupont and 3M, which make the chemicals, have phased out some of the most hazardous members of this class of chemicals, he says, but “there is no evidence the alternative chemicals are any safer.”

“DuPont (now Chemours) switched from using PFOA [perfluorooctanoic acid] to make Teflon to a new chemical called GenX, which has been shown in animal studies to cause many of the same health impacts,” Andrews says. “Very few studies have been done on other alternatives, but their chemical structure is very close to the banned chemicals, so there is good cause for concern.”

Although it is unfortunate that Teflon is in some beauty products, James G. Wagner, an associate professor of pathobiology and diagnostic investigation at Michigan State University, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that this chemical is likely to be a “low concern for health risks.”

“Teflon likely won’t be absorbed through the skin to a significant degree and even if it is, it will be at extremely low levels,” he says. “It is a very inert chemical with low reactivity to any human tissues.” Overheating Teflon-coated pans and inhaling the fumes “absolutely a health concern,” Wagner says, but that’s different from putting it on your skin.

However, many toxicologists and governmental health agencies are focusing their attention on the other per- and polyfluoroalkyl  compounds, he says. But how concerned people should be about them is a big question. “We just don’t know the complete picture yet,” Wagner says. “But this issue absolutely has the attention of our nation’s toxicologists and we should have some good answers in the next six to eight months, and an even clearer picture in the next two years.”

The National Toxicology Program will be publishing results of a two-year-long study later this year on perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), the now-discontinued Teflon-related chemical that is still found in drinking water, food, and the blood of 90 percent of the U.S. population, he says. (PFOS is not in cosmetics, but has a structure similar to that of chemicals found in cosmetics, he says.)

Manufacturers have developed substitutes for the banned PFOS; these substitutes, the PFAS in cosmetics, are the more than 3,000 chemicals that are smaller but still fluorinated, Wagner says. The National Toxicology Program will start an intensive coordinated study of the 75 most prevalent PFAS this spring, with results coming in the next one to two years. “Some of these PFAS can be found in cosmetics, so we could have answers on these risks very soon,” he says.

Still, Gary Goldenberg, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that he is concerned about the findings. “At this point, I would advise my patients to exercise caution,” he says. “It’s unclear what impact these chemicals have and what concentration is needed to cause a health concern.”

Goldenberg says it is “premature” to say that Teflon and PFASs in cosmetics will definitely cause cancer and other health issues, but it is a good idea to steer clear of them out of caution. “If given an option, I would probably recommend choosing a product without these potentially harmful chemicals,” he says.

So, check the ingredients list on your cosmetics and be wary of products that contain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. The Environmental Working Group specifically recommends being wary of ingredients that say “PTFE” or have “fluoro” in their name. If you’re not sure if your cosmetics contain PFASs, check the Working Group’s Skin Deep database for more information.

Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:

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Category: Cookware Pots  Tags: ,  Comments off

The 7 Best Cast-Iron Skillets You Can Buy in 2018

The only skillet on the list to appear twice, The Field is our pick for best everyday skillet. You get the smooth surface of premium cast-iron, you get a price that isn’t eye-watering, you get a skillet light enough to handle day-in-day-out and you’re not going to feel the world-ending rage you might if you drop a skillet three times its price off to the floor.
Cooking Surface: 8.75 inches
Total Diameter: 10.25 inches
Weight: 4.5 pounds

Introduction

e-embracing craftsmanship. A righteous exodus from the flimsy and mass-produced. A feedback loop of hipsters following each other’s tails. Call it what you will, one of the biggest stories in the wide world of products is the surge of the maker movement, and few industries have been revived more thoroughly than that of cast-iron cookware.

In the first half of the 20th century, cast-iron cookware hit its peak, reaching near-ubiquity in the American home kitchen. A great many of the brands of the time — Favorite, Vollrath, Wagner and Griswold — made skillets considered collector’s items now. These pieces were light, hand-smoothed specimens. Today, some sell for dollar amounts in the thousands.

The rise of mass-manufacturing — coupled with the introduction of cooking materials like aluminum, stainless steel and various permutations of non-stick — spelled a violent downturn for cast-iron in the ’60s and ’70s. Lodge, the sole widely-available, American-made cast-iron manufacturer to come out of this period alive, has remained as such since. But, the recent rekindling of interest in handcrafted goods has led to something of a renaissance, or at the very least a second life, for the heavyset kitchen tool.

Point of all this being cast-iron cookware hasn’t been this cool since before the first World War, so it’s about time you got on board. Here’s everything you need to know.

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These days you can buy damn near anything online — including some of the country’s finest cuts of beef. Read the Story

Important Terms

Cast-Iron: Iron made with around 1.7 percent carbon, giving it its classic heavy, brittle nature.
Seasoning: The layer of polymerized and carbonized fats between what you’re cooking and raw iron.
Pour Spouts: If present, small areas cast into both sides of the pan meant to easily discard (or save) sauces or excess grease.
Wall Slope: The gradient at which the walls of a cast-iron pan run into the cooking surface; the steeper the wall slope, the less tossing can be accomplished
Front Grip: A protruding area opposite the handle where you grab hold of the pan with your non-dominant hand; meant to make heavier dishes and pans less cumbersome.
As-Cast: The result of skipping the milling and polishing process on the cooking surface; when a skillet’s cooking area is rough and sandpapery, it is as-cast.
Rust: Also known as ferric oxide, a toxic result of the oxidation of bare cast-iron; avoided by a layer of seasoning, but easily fixable.
Smoke Point: The heat at which fats begins to break down and smoke; also the point you need to reach to properly season a pan.

How to Use a Cast-Iron Skillet

How to Heat Your Skillet

Get used to putting it on the stove (or by the fire) ten to fifteen minutes prior to cooking or applying oil. Iron is a terrible conductor, meaning it will take a few to get hot, but it’s rescued by tremendous heat insulation. Also be mindful that because it gets hotter than other cookware and can’t be quickly cooled by removing from heat, heavy smoking often occurs. You can cook nearly anything in cast-iron, but it shines brightest producing any dishes that are improved by a wicked crust: cornbread, pies, steaks, fried chicken and bacon are among the most popular dishes.

How to Clean Your Skillet

Cleaning is as simple as waiting a few minutes until after cooking (to let the pan cool) and scraping what you can out with a wooden spoon or spatula. All remaining bits and pieces are easily dispatched with a handful of kosher salt and light rubbing with paper towels or a dry sponge. If something is seriously stuck, a bit of water and even minimal soap isn’t going to destroy your seasoning.

How to Season Your Skillet

Crank your oven way up (self-clean cycle works wonders), grab your favorite fat (flaxseed is popular) and drop a very small amount on the cooking surface. Wipe the fat over all the cooking surface and various nooks and crannies of the pan, then wipe over that again with a clean paper towel. Too much oil and you’ll leave your pan sticky and not fully polymerized, and therefore not non-stick. Let your pan sit in the super-hot oven for an hour or more; you’re waiting to for the applied fat to exceed its smoke point, which is what causes it to attach firmly to the pan. If it looks shiny, leave it in longer. It’s as simple as that.

How to Remove Rust from Your Skillet

Rust isn’t a death sentence for cast-iron. If it’s flash rust — rust that forms after just a few minutes of iron exposure to air — you can usually just wipe it off and get it seasoned. Heavier layers of rust are removed by a soak in a vinegar solution (1:1 white vinegar to water), a wipe off, dry down and applying a layer of seasoning. If this isn’t effective and you’re game for a science experiment, look up “electrolysis.”

How to Store Your Skillet

Obviously, you’ll want to keep your skillet out of humid or damp areas. Beyond that, it’s not recommended to stack cast-iron pans in each other as they can easily scratch a hard-earned layer of seasoning away if twisted the wrong way. If you have room, simply tossing it in the oven after cleaning is an ideal storage spot.

How to Pick the Right Size

Consider what you want to cook in your cast-iron skillet, how often and for how many people. Then understand that a skillet’s cooking surface is smaller than the size it’s typically labeled as, so think of how much space whatever it is you’re wanting to cook will take up and ensure it will fit. Most 10-inch skillets have about nine inches of cooking surface, which is enough to comfortably cook one large ribeye but not quite a full pork loin.

If you want to cook full breakfasts, multiple steaks at a time, or just run a household with a few more mouths to feed, go bigger — something with at least 9.5-inches of cooking surface is a good place to start. Yes, the weight will climb the bigger you go, but don’t shirk yourself and your family out of quality food because you have to use two hands.

Non-Stick and Stainless Aren’t Created Equal — Here’s Why

Spoiler: your trusty non-stick couldn’t sear properly if its life depended on it. Read the Story

Buying Guide

Best All-Around Cast-Iron Skillet: Butter Pat Industries Heather Skillet

Category: Skillets  Tags: ,  Comments off