I just recently moved into a garden condo unit. I am very happy with the place, it looks lovely and I do not mind it is a garden unit. However, since gas lines are not allowed I have something in my kitchen that I've never had before - an electric stove. How the heck do you use this thing? Let me share what I have learned.
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The first day I used this stove I sent the fire alarm off! I did not burn any food - just had a bit of smoke going around. You would think it'd be easier to cook with one of these given most of the basics are common sense however being that we are all creatures of habit it has taken some getting used to. Now, a few weeks later, I have got the hang of it.
A common beginner mistake with these kind of stoves is not waiting long enough for the element, as it is called, to heat up. What I did at first was turn it up really high since it was taking too long. Of course, all that did was made my pan too hot. Patience here is really handy. A drop of water works perfect to check if the pan is hot enough.
Without the convenience of just looking at how big a flame is, you need to get familiar with your stoves low, medium and high temperatures, what do those settings really mean with your particular stove. The settings shown on my stove are a range of numbers 1 - 10 with 5, of course, being medium. I have found it useful to mostly stick with the medium temperature unless I am boiling something. If you need to boil and then quickly reduce the heat to a simmer it is helpful to have two burners so you can move the pan from the high heat burner to the low heat burner.
Leaving the pan/pot on the burner after the food has been cooked will result in over cooking or even burning. Even though the burner is shut off the food is still cooking since it takes it awhile to cool down. I have started to lower the temperature even before the food is finished cooking and found that work very well - this goes for the oven also.
The kind of pots and pans you use are also important, stick with flat-bottomed pans that make full contact with the heated element. Also, be sure to match the size of the pan to the burner you are using. This will help save on your electric bill since more heat will get to the pan.