CWC Commissions

This is the place where we commune about things related to cooking with clay [CWC]. A selection of various dishes made in ceramic cooking vessels have been curated here alongside brief descriptions of ingredients, steps and techniques. 

This is also the place where you get to be a part of the action! I lovingly create all of the cookware featured on this website by hand. My name is Andrew and I would love for you to have something to try out in your own kitchen. Lidded Casseroles, roasting/baking trays, skillets, comals, even sesame seed toasters and standalone hibachis are all pieces I have made with this specific cookware clay. The variety of custom cookware is almost endless. My desire is to make you what you would use the most in your kitchen so here’s the plan, reach out to me and let’s start a discussion about what you like to cook and how you prepare food in your kitchen and go from there. You can start by emailing me at my studio email at kickwheelllc@gmail.com I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

The cookware I create is most similar to Cast Iron Cookware in nature. When using it one starts with low heat slowly building, and uses a high heat cooking oil or fat. I prefer beef or pork fat, but also regularly use Other Brother Olive Oil or Spectrum or Napa Valley brand Toasted Sesame Oil. Washing and care are also similar to Cast Iron, save for the fact that light soap usage is good for cleaning. Please note that any ceramic cookware you use over time will develop an organic patina finish which I personally find gorgeous. 

You’ll find mostly my own cooking presented here and disclaimer, I’m a professional Artist and Functional Potter, but I am in no way a professional chef.  My kitchen is sometimes a touch messy from food prep, my photos are of the moment I’m immersed in and my cooking style while not simple is by no means coming from a place other than my love for over-cooking, feeding people and hosting a care-full, dinnering. I have included some professional chefs and home-makers’ images using the cookware they have purchased from me as well as their testimonials, so you don’t have to take my word for it.

 

Let’s dig in!

First is a definite go-to for ceramic cookware, easy smashed potatoes. Fingerlings work well here. First after a good rinse and wash, fill up your flameware roasting tray with potatoes, water and a splash of olive oil. Bring to a boil. Then let them simmer until most of the liquid is gone. Use the back of a large spoon gently destroy those tubers. Place back under the broiler [remember your flameware tray is perfect for this kind of transition from oven to broiler] and brown them to your liking. I remove them right before they seem done and add some salt, pepper, fresh grated parmesan cheese and some finely chopped parsley. A perfect side with some homemade hum-mustard dipping sauce

The Frittata. Different from a quiche in that the frittata has no crust and usually does not have a cream or milk added to its mixture.  Originally this egg-based dish was originally created as a way to stretch out the basic ingredients leftover when the pantry or larder was sparse. Basically baked eggs, but in reality so much more! This one has red bell pepper, goat cheese and kale amongst many other ingredients. A easy tip is using the end of the bag of your favorite tortilla chips as a crust. Baked at 350 degrees until you can smell it, then give it a jiggle to see if the center is cooked through. If not, then you can always put it under the broiler for a few minutes as the Flameware cookware can easily withstand that temperature differential when broiling.

 
Another version:

For my version of a stir-fry, I started with a head of garlic, two red and two yellow onions. Medium heat once I warmed the pot up. My intent is to sweat the allium and reduce it. 

Once I cooked those down and caramelized the onions, I deglazed the pot with a ladleful of homemade stock. Gave it a good stir and the added broccoli, carrot [purple and orange], gold beet, celery all finely sliced to ensure even cooking.

After that cooked down, for approximately 15-20 minutes, I added a skirt steak that I had fried in a cast iron skillet.

 Then I added my fresh kale, purple and green cabbage, parsley, cilantro and celery greens. All topped with a hot and sweet roux I made from the marinade I used on the steak, some fresh bird peppers and coconut flour. Covered on very low heat, the cooked vegetables and meat will essentially steam the greens while the sauce flavors everything under it. 

The finished dish is then served on top of a mixed grain side. Grab your chopsticks!

 Chicken and mashed potatoes nearly make themselves in a ceramic casserole. This was a batch of roasting potatoes, carrots, celery, onion and garlic placed into the pot underneath a whole chicken. Baked covered at 350 degrees until the aroma wafts through the air, then lower the heat to 250 degrees and remove the lid. Cook until desired brown. 

If you want to up the ante a little try using condensed coconut milk either poured over the whole concoction prior to cooking OR remove the bird, pour the milk onto the vegetables and immersion blend approximately 1/3 for dairy free creamy mashed potatoes.  

 

I love making hot sauces and marinades for full flavor effect. These next few images are of the fresh peppers I’ve roasted to turn into hot sauce. Pretty easy as you can either use salt, oil and vinegar to the peppers before roasting OR you can easily just roast them up by themselves. Once roasted up this is another job for the immersion blender, I usually fill up a mason jar with the peppers and anything else I want in the sauce and have at it!

 

 I love sandwiches and making them. It’s an art all to itself. Here is a roast chicken sandwich. I used a flameware tray to toast the bread, then assemble to sandwich in and melt the cheese. Twas a good dinnering. 

 

 On a whim, if you’re unexpectedly in charge of dinnering, you can simply slice up some onions and garlic [for quicker cooking], grab a 4-pack of sausage you’ve been storing in the fridge and put the whole mixture in a flameware casserole, leave the lid off and broil until desired browning. Slice and put on a roll to serve with fries or chips. 

 When my father came to visit for Thanksgiving I made a turkey breast and leg. Thick salt, herb rub and a slow low roast made this a tender holiday meal. 

Earlier that same day we had a lunch feast on Baker beach in San Francisco. I love grilling persimmons. Slice off the tip, carve a little pocket and fill with cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and cumin. Grill stem side down until the skin is blackened. Remove the peel and dice or mash. You’ll love the look on people’s faces when you tell them these aren’t sweet potatoes.  

Pizza is made even better when using your own ceramic pizza stone. Pro tip, par-bake your dough while you sauté your toppings to avoid the soggy center. Remember as well with toppings that more times than not, less is more. 

 

Next up is a traditional dish, one my Mother learned to cook for my Polish Father. Cabbage rolls.  I’ve switched it up a little to make it healthier and more flavorful. My first alteration was to use Collard Greens instead of Cabbage, both for ease of preparation and because I believe them to be a bit sweeter. I usually brine the leaves in a big stock pot with a palm-ful of coarse salt, bring that to a rolling boil then simmer for as long as you can or at least 45 minutes to an hour. After I drain them I prefer to remove the whole stem as it makes them easier to fill and roll and you effectively get double the rolls! Next up is where you can get extremely creative - the filling. I’m an omnivore but this dish should stop any vegetarians from attempting making this with grains, legumes and even nuts or seeds. My filling usually has ground lamb and either ground pork or beef, usually one pound of each. My Mother’s filling was solely beef and white rice which is another reason for my creative alterations. I usually add one egg per pound of meat, and then a binder like oats or a finely chopped piece of multigrain toast. Then comes the fun! Any of these can make your filling the best, cumin, celery seeds, mustard seeds, oregano, rosemary, paprika, chili powder, or cayenne for flavor. I like to attempt making this filling like a complete meal so I’ll add in pepitas, sesame seeds, red lentils, flax seeds, psyllium husks, multicolored quinoa or a mixed grain rice. Once I have my filling thoroughly mixed up and my collards de-stemmed I place a small pinched dollop of filling into a half of a leaf and roll it up similar to how a burrito is rolled. Pro-tip you don’t have to put all the filling into one leaf, a little goes a long way. I like to layer the rolls snuggled into a large flameware casserole with fresh tomatoes or your favorite tomato-based sauce on top. I’ve gotten three such layers into a casserole. Once either all the filling or all the greens are used up cover and bake these rolls in the oven at 350 degrees until you start to smell them, then lower the temperature to 250 and uncover for another 30 minutes. I do this so as to get some of the extra moisture from the greens and tomatoes baked off, my own personal preference. The best part is toasting up your favorite bread or bagel melting some cheese on it and then scoop some these rolls on top for a leftover sandwich the next day. Enjoy! 

 

My partner loves to eat fish so I’ve had a lot of practice perfecting this dish. Basically, I’d call it baked fish casserole, but it’s definitely not as boring as the name might make you think. Pictured here are some salmon filets, when I’ve had good luck with halibut, tilapia, trout and other types of fish. Select your fresh vegetables to become a grate for the fish to bake upon, I personally choose broccoli, carrots, onions or leeks, fennel, a leafy green like chard and some bok choy. Chop those up and put them into the casserole. Next de-bone your fish and stud it with garlic and cover it with some freshly grated ginger. I usually make a marinade/sauce out of coconut aminos [you could use soy sauce here but I recently found out that I have a bit of an allergy to soy so I use the aminos as a substitute], lemon juice, fish sauce, chili paste, toasted sesame oil, some vinegar from my most recent homemade pickle and perhaps a splash of Bragg’s Ginger Sesame salad dressing. Once mixed together, pour this sauce over the fish and vegetables, cover and bake at 350 until you can start to smell the delicious aroma. I like to remove the lid at this point to let the fish get a little crisped up. This dish can be served with rice, potatoes or even as a taco. 

Another version:

 

Once again, we have a seafood dish but this time it’s a little different. Once deboned, I’ll use the whole fish after the head is removed, line the insides with aromatics like rosemary, oregano and thyme, squeeze some lemons onto them and fold them back together. Pictured here I’ve sliced the tops off of four heads of garlic and topped them with salt, pepper, rosemary and olive oil. I can choose to bake this but usually I then place this roasting under the broiler and within about 15 minutes I have roasted garlic to spread onto toast and some flakey fish bruschetta to eat as an appetizer. Many times, this type of dish will be part of a bigger picnic styled spread with homemade pickled vegetables, creamy brie, goat cheese, and more!

 

 

I’m a huge fan of soups and fondly remember one being on the stovetop of my childhood home most of the time during the long winter months both as a nourishing warm meal but also as a way to keep the home cozy. This soup pictured is a hearty tomato-based broth with all the vegetables I could find. 

Similar to how I start many other dishes, I begin with either a mirepoix mixture or simply my allium and garlic. I sauté these to sweat out the moisture and caramelize them. Once they’ve cooked down I ladle some homemade broth into the pot to deglaze it. Then I’ll add in the vegetables that need the most time cooking. These could be potatoes, carrots, cauliflower or romanesco. If I’m adding a meat to my soup I love roasting or cooking it ahead of time to add more flavor. I will combine the meat once those hearty vegetables have begun cooking. Lastly are my aromatics, greens and homemade broth. I bring that whole combination to a rolling boil and then reduce the heat down to a simmer and let it stay there for as long as possible. If desired about 7-10 minutes before I want to eat I can add in some dried tortellini, elbows, shells or other dried pasta. Perfect for a cold night!

  

Who doesn’t like Shepherd’s Pie?

This is a bonafide side dish for sure. Halved brussel sprouts, cauliflower, seasoned and marinaded. Cover with bread crumbs and roast until browned.  

 

 

Roasting whole vegetables doesn’t get any easier than with a ceramic roasting tray. Salt, pepper, oil and vinegar. Roast until cooked through. This dish was prepared by Chef Melissa King. 

 



Here’s another way to start a soup, simply halve some vegetables and place under the broiler. Definitely a flavorful beginning. 

 

Here Chefs Sean and Renee Baker are using flameware as the tool to make their own tortillas and refried beans. Renee writes “The composition and clay used to create Andrew's Flameware has helped us to bridge Southern Mexican technique with our Northern California cooking. We use the comal like pans for our masa cookery, such as tortillas, quesadillas, tetelas, and sopes. The deep lidded pot is used for beans and stews, and the lid can be used as a tortilla holder. We also use the spouted nesting bowls for matcha, sauces, vinaigrettes, and even to eat out of. All of the pieces we own are super versatile, high quality, and unique. We also love that they are locally made.”

 

 

Pictured here is the former signature dish of smoked octopus that Chef Rogelio Garcia created when he was at The Comissary.

 

 

My friend Chef Andrea Rappaport recently got herself a comal and promptly made herself breakfast stating “Today I got my first "real" taste of cooking with clay thanks to this comal crafted by Andrew M Kontrabecki of Kickwheel and all I can say is WOW! I'm a professional chef and amateur ceramicist (full disclosure, Andrew was my instructor for 4 years) and I can't believe that I'm just now learning the wonders of flameware!”

 

 

Here Mrs. Wright of Ransomville, NY baked her family a fresh loaf of bread.

 

She also made some ratatouille in the same pot to jar up for her Niece who was about to head off to college for her freshman semester. 

She writes: “Having been at the realm in my own kitchen for twenty years, I’ve found that quality kitchen tools are a chef’s best friend. The right tool can make a job like the wrong tool can screw one up. After learning that quality equals success from ingredients to tools, it was no question that a versatile flameware casserole was on my list of “must haves". Multiple characteristics highlight the hand-crafted design. Aside from the lid being its own cooking vessel (think sauté pan); the ease of using one vessel and moving from flame cook top to oven to table/serve is top rated. Developing flavors throughout the cooking process happens seemlessly while allowing for effortless style in presentation. The clay heats evenly and cooks amazingly. When used as a Dutch oven, the French bread crust cannot be beat! Truly rivals the commercial oven strength right in your own kitchen. Red meat sauce, stews, French onion soup, roasted vegetables and artisanal sausage.. the options are endless with the many uses of my domed casserole dish. I would be remiss if not to mention, this piece doubles as functional art. No need to find a cupboard to stash this domed beauty away- she sits each day on my countertop in all her simple glory. Art meets functional life in this design. Your life can only get better when you invite art into your home and kitchen.”

 

Alex requested something “to roast a whole chicken in.” So i created this covered casserole for him. This is the maiden voyage for this cookware.

He writes, “It is a joy to cook with, easy to clean, perfect size and made by a talented artist. Ifyou want the best cookware you’ve ever owned this is where to get it. We also have a frying pan that we use all the time for making steaks. It retains and transfers heat beautifully.”