A new line of cookware has arrived, just in time for holiday cooking and gift giving. Its manufacturer, the Durand International Group of Arques, France (based in Millville, N.J.), calls it Arcoflam. What does this brand have to offer that already isn't in other lines of cookware which seem to be saturating the culinary marketplace these days?
A few things. Significant things . . . particularly for hurried cooks.
Since all-purpose usage is the goal for the French-made cookware, it performs on the range top, in the conventional oven or in the microwave. For leftovers, all the pans are conveniently equipped with a plastic lid for refrigerator or freezer storage, which saves having to wash an extra utensil.
But the wonderful news is that the cookware can go from the freezer directly to the oven or microwave or, better yet, onto a burner without risking breakage. The exceptional thermal shock resistance property of these pots is made possible by Arcoflam's ceramic technology. The cookware is made from tough vitroceramic whiteglass, and unlike metal pots and pans, it will not warp or lose its shape under extreme temperature changes. The company backs its cookware with a 10-year warranty against thermal shock.
Although it may take slightly longer to heat an Arcoflam dish (as with heat-proof glass dishes), the cookware has the ability to retain heat in the food long after removing it from the heat source. This heat retention quality makes the pots inviting as serving pieces since they can go from stove or oven to table. Attractive in sleek classic styling with simple lines, each of the 12-piece assortment of covered saucepans, skillets and casseroles will blend easily with other china patterns.
The detachable handles snap on or off quickly and lock into place securely. When the handles are removed, the pans can be nested for space-saving storage.
Arcoflam's large skillet has a high dome cover, which makes it possible to use the pan as a steamer. What's nice with the dome lid is that the pan may be heaped to the top with vegetables and very little water added. With the see-through glass top, you can watch for doneness or add more liquid if needed.
Another feature is the deep-dish design of the white casserole lids, which can double as underliners or be used for sauce or relish dishes. When turned upside down, the deep lids can be used with the respective pots as double boiler tops for heating delicate sauces or melting chocolate.
The complete line of Arcoflam cookware includes: five covered saucepans ranging in size from half a quart to 2 3/4 quarts; one (10-inch) covered skillet; one (10-inch) saute pan; one (2 1/2-quart) square casserole; one (3 1/2-quart) covered oval casserole; and three round covered casseroles ranging in size from one quart to 2 1/2 quarts. Detachable handles and plastic lids are also provided.
A free recipe book prepared by Arcoflam is available by writing to Arcoflam Consumer Services Department, Durand International, Wade Boulevard, Millville, NJ 08332. To start your holiday menu agenda, here is a recipe for Tomato Bisque using an Arcoflam casserole or saucepan.
2 pounds ripe tomatoes (about 6 large)
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 whole cloves
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh basil
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Skin, seed and chop tomatoes. Melt butter in medium saucepan and saute onion until tender. Add tomatoes, bay leaf, brown sugar, cloves and basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are thoroughly cooked, about 25 minutes. Remove bay leaf and cloves and transfer mixture to blender to puree. Return to saucepan and stir in cream and milk. Heat over low heat. Serve sprinkled with chopped parsley. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
The Arcoflam cookware from Durand International has a suggested retail price range from $12 for the smallest casserole to $40 for the largest casserole. The whole set has a suggested retail price of $350. The cookware is available at the Broadway, May Co. and Bullock's.