Reviewed.com compared AGA Mercury to the heft of a luxury car and hailed it for its exquisite precision, insisting it’s unlike any oven ever seen. Kitchen & Bath Business listed AGA Mercury as one of the new hottest cooking appliances. And, it clearly has an appealing aesthetic that breaks through the cluttered market of kitchen appliances. But what exactly can the AGA Mercury do? Find out why people are choosing the AGA Mercury range with this up-close look.
114-Year-Old Montreat Heritage Home Renovated with AGA Legacy Appliances
When it comes to historic preservation, Tom and Katie Widmer of Montreat, North Carolina, are with the times. The couple decided to winterize their summer cottage, originally built in 1903, and convert it to a year-round permanent residence. They enlisted Hive Interior Design to modernize their 114-year-old home, while honoring its turn-of-the-century architectural details. Part and parcel with the overall design, the appliances were just as important as the rest. After careful research, the couple selected a full suite of AGA Legacy kitchen appliances to emulate the historic qualities of the home.
Tom Widmer describes the vintage-style range as the focal point of his kitchen, “You enter in through the arched cottage door into the family room, and the first thing you see dead ahead is the Legacy range!”
We caught up with the couple to get details on their new AGA kitchen, including before and after photos.
Why did you choose AGA Legacy appliances for your kitchen?
We were intent on keeping the cottage feel of this Montreat Heritage House (one of the original houses built at Montreat). We looked at all the brands and didn’t find any that matched the look/feel we were striving for, until we found the AGA Legacy Range. Its look was exactly what we wanted. Then when we learned about its functionality, features and terrific reviews, we knew there was no other option besides AGA. Although the refrigerator and dishwasher were more contemporary in style, they still matched well not only with the range but the entire look of the kitchen. In retrospect, AGA was an excellent decision.
Tell us more about your kitchen design. What do you like best?
Keeping the “cottage” feel and historical context was extremely important to us. Thus, we did some things reminiscent of the period, like marble and soapstone counter tops, antique fixtures over the island and dining room table and using our antique Hoosier cabinet instead of additional contemporary cabinets. But our favorite element was the repurposing of the old heart pine flooring from the original 1903 kitchen. Notice the wood used in the sink cabinet, the hood above the range, and the window trim. It is the repurposed kitchen floor. We also used it on three sides of the island.
Any design challenges you encountered?
We were hoping to be able to use the efficient “triangle” of kitchen appliance/sink layout. But to do so would have obviated our use of the Hoosier cabinet, as it was a natural location for the refrigerator. We felt it was important to place the Hoosier cabinet where we did and ended up lining up the refrigerator and sink on the same wall. It was a good decision, and we don’t feel we’ve given up any kitchen efficiency. We love the look of the refrigerator where it is.
The Nutritional Merits of AGA Cast Iron Cooking
I strive to be healthy. Alright, yes, leave me in a room alone with a platter of cookies and I’ll tear into them like a velociraptor, but for the most part I try to become better educated on nutrition and make healthier food choices. Fortunately for me, I already have a leg up with my AGA simply by the way it cooks food.
Allow me to explain with the help of fellow AGA owner and leading health and nutrition expert, nationally-recognized registered dietitian, Ruth Lahmayer Chipps, MS, RD.
AGA Preserves Nutrients.
“Nutrition goals from health organizations recommend five to seven servings from fruits and vegetables per day. As people strive to eat more produce, it’s critical that they also consider the method of cooking used in order to maximize their nutritional benefit,” Ruth explains.
The way you cook your food directly impacts the nutrition content you consume. You can start with a lovely bunch of raw, nutrient-packed vegetables and easily destroy their healthfulness with high, direct heat. Fry your vegetables in high heat, and you’ll risk losing important fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K. Direct heat also can destroy vital omega-3 fatty acids like DHA and EPA.
Therefore, to maximize your nutritional intake, eating foods raw, boiled or steamed is always best. Some studies suggest, however, that cooking certain foods like tomatoes, carrots and spinach allows healthful antioxidants to become more available to the body than in their raw state.
Using cast iron radiant heat, the AGA delivers the most ideal cooking method to gently steam and quick-boil food to retain nutrients and moisture. Carrots are a good example—the AGA keeps their true flavor, nutrition content and vibrant orange color as they are cooked to softness—not mush.
AGA Reduces Salt, Sugar and Oil Intake.
Otherwise known as the “troublesome trio”, these culprits are known to negatively impact health, especially with excessive consumption. Unfortunately, these are the same components that tend to bring flavor to foods we enjoy.
“A big problem in the kitchen is often the over-usage of oils while cooking, which can add hundreds of calories to our meals. For example, one tablespoon of olive oil has about 119 calories!” Ruth explains.
For those of us raised on conventional ranges, we expect to have to use butter or oil, salty seasonings and sugar to flavor food to be tasty. Why? Convection ranges employ direct heating elements and a fan to circulate heat, a harsh cooking environment that can dry out food and compromise flavor. Most of us don’t know there is a vastly different way to experience food until they eat AGA food.
Simply by cooking with an AGA alone, you can reduce your “troublesome trio” intake by 1/3 or more. This is because the cast iron AGA uses radiant heat to cook food gently and consistently, preserving the natural moisture and flavor of food. That means you can taste food for how it is intended to taste by nature, rather than masking it with loads of butter and seasonings.
Ruth is busy developing new recipes for Kitchen Icons, chef-inspired appliance and kitchen design/build company, and has noticed the AGA difference herself.
“I have been amazed at the intense flavor that is derived from foods cooked in the AGA.”
For overall healthy cooking, she shares this philosophy, “When considering your next nutrition-packed meal, think about this general rule: Keep cooking time, temperature, and the amount of liquid and fat to a minimum. Boost flavor with culinary herbs like fresh basil, rosemary, thyme and marjoram—and don’t forget the garlic!”
To learn more about Ruth, visit her web site livinghealthykitchen.com to watch her efforts to make kitchens healthier.
On my next post, I’ll share 10 healthy meal examples of this practice in action. Here’s to your health!
If there’s one more thing an AGA can do best, it’s slow-cooked food, really easily. The gentle, consistent heat of the AGA simmering oven offers ideal conditions to slow cook casseroles, cakes or roasts at an even temperature with little moisture loss for succulent results every time.
As a matter of fact, the temperature of the AGA simmering oven is equivalent to the low setting of a conventional crockpot. That means you can convert any crockpot recipe to the AGA slow-cooking method. And here’s how.
BASIC AGA SLOW COOKING PRINCIPLES:
STEP ONE: Food must be heated first before it will cook in the simmering oven. Start the cooking process with either of these two methods:
- Bring to a boil on the boiling plate to make sure the food and cooking dish are hot all the way through, or,
- Place the dish in the Roasting Oven for 15 – 30 minutes, until bubbling hot.
STEP TWO: Cover food with a lid or foil to prevent a crust from forming on the surface, then transfer to the simmering oven to finish slow cooking for the designated time.
New to AGA slow cooking? Give this recipe a try!
Ralph Lauren Kitchen in “The Season of Style” Christmas window display includes a holiday red AGA cast iron range
Every year in the heart of the New York City shopping district, the department stores of Fifth Avenue unveil magnificent window displays to eager spectators, a city custom that dates back to the 19th century and often takes months to plan and implement.
“Window tourism is, after all, a time-honored New York holiday tradition,” says Matthew Schneier of the New York Times. “Typically five million visitors come to the city between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve alone.”
Luxury designer label Ralph Lauren was no exception to this year’s festivities. Under clandestine cover, the creative team concepted three new window displays, a carefully protected secret until the big reveal in November. This year’s theme for the Ralph Lauren Home collection incorporates a claret AGA Total Control cast iron range, a festive complement to their inviting cabin kitchen.
“I’m about longevity, I’m about timeless,” Mr. Lauren describes his style.
The holiday window display is featured at the Ralph Lauren flagship store on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 55th Street, adjacent to the famed Polo Bar, a clubhouse of sorts for an array of celebrities followed by the flashbulbs of paparazzi on a weekly basis.
The display will remain open until the first week of January.
If you venture out to see this window display, snap a photo and share it on Facebook or Instagram. Be sure to tag AGA Ranges, and tell us what you think!
Glamorous Dita Von Teese is timeless in her craft, from her signature red lips to her Golden-era Hollywood style. With a steadfast artistic vision and an eye for showmanship, it seems only natural the starlet was attracted to the vintage good looks of an AGA cast iron range, the new focal point of her kitchen.
Here, she chronicles her experiences with food and drink – and how home-cooked AGA meals have changed her life. See how the style icon is making the most of her new Tudor style AGA kitchen.
Excerpt from New York Magazine’s Grub Street
“I love cooking and recently redid my kitchen in a Snow White fairy tale–Art Deco–meets–Tudor style, and it might just be the most glamorous room in the house, so I like to spend a lot of time in there. When I remodeled my kitchen, I bought a British-racing-green cast-iron Aga stove, with copper accents. It’s a real showpiece when people walk into my kitchen. I’d been fantasizing about it for a long time — it’s what Julia Child used.
I read my manual a lot, and it includes a recipe for the famous slow-cooked porridge, which has been life-changing. I mixed the steel-cut oats with water and salt in my heart-shaped cast-iron pan, and popped that in the low-temperature oven to cook overnight. Even my boyfriend, who doesn’t like oatmeal, is completely astonished that it doesn’t have butter and cream in it.
I come home and take the porridge out of the oven and make my favorite extra-smoky Mariages Frères Lapsang Souchong tea. I’ve got so many friends addicted to this that now I have to leave space in my luggage for it when I go to Paris. The porridge is divine as usual, like a creamy soufflé with chewy baked browned edges. I pour some maple syrup on it and again marvel at how this can come out so deliciously with just water, oatmeal, and salt! I really need more witnesses to how amazing this porridge is.
I love hosting themed potluck dinners at my house. I decided to make a cheese fondue served with vegetables and bread to dip, and Champagne. It was a huge hit. I read that the first person to drop something into the fondue has to host the next fondue party. I’ve long wanted to host a “Fundue Fondue” party, with fondues of all different kinds, and everyone wearing amazing wigs — like how Ellen von Unwerth used to host wig parties in Paris. Perhaps next time. But potlucks are great, because people love thinking of a dish to bring and bragging about it. And also, you don’t have to do much work, except for the cleanup.
I’ve always loved cooking and entertaining. I like making things that are beautiful — things that people go “Ooh and ahh” over. It’s one of the reasons I chose the fondue. I said to my boyfriend, “What am I going to make? Everyone expects me to make something exciting!” I like the wow factor, but I don’t like to make complicated meals. Simple things that are impressive. One of the reasons is that I travel so much for work, and I eat out a lot, and I always miss making my own, simple, unfussy food at home. I find it to be very therapeutic.”
Lifestyle & Design – An AGA Range in a Kitchen Island
Many of you are hard at working designing your dream kitchen with our beloved AGA cast iron range as the perfect cooking solution for your home. After spending countless hours determining the fit and function of your kitchen design, those of you interested in having a kitchen island are now wondering, will an AGA cast iron range work in a kitchen island design?
Thankfully, whether you have a traditional AGA cooker or you are purchasing from one of the new generation of AGA cast iron ranges, the AGA works splendidly in an island setting. As you can see here, this refined rustic estate home showcases a traditional AGA cooker in Claret within its kitchen island design.
The island is structured around the AGA allowing it to be slightly pronounced representing the main focal point of the large, open space. While the traditional AGA cooker required ceiling ventilation, the new generation of AGA cast iron ranges, such as the AGA Total Control and the AGA Dual Control electric model, only require in-room venting. Meaning a rangehood is not required making this a perfect solution for any kitchen island setting.
There are many resources out there to assist you in designing and planning your dream kitchen. Magazine and online articles give insightful tips, such as HGTV. One of the many resources AGA provides designers and architects are 2D and 3D drawings of our ranges to assist designers. Our drawings give an accurate layout and representation of our ranges. Click here for the full list of drawings for all AGA cast iron ranges.
To see more photos of this Refined Rustic Estate Home for sale in Wine Country, click here to visit their site.
There are many reasons why people decided a while ago an AGA was not right for them. Whether it be their home, their cooking style or the fact they did not want their stove on all the time, many made up their mind and chose another appliance. Some of the following customer constraints prevented them from purchasing an AGA:
- It’s on all the time
- Too hot in the kitchen
- Too big for my kitchen
- Too expensive to run
- Too much heat for my well-insulated home
- I do not cook during the week
- We only cook quick meals
- Cannot have a flue in the kitchen
Thankfully, AGA listened to those who felt this way and created an entirely new generation of AGA cast iron ranges which addresses each of the above constraints exemplifying why an AGA is right for you – why an AGA is right for any home!
A variety of AGA cast iron ranges are available giving customers a choice of models to suit their individual needs. Thankfully the market for the AGA cast iron range has broadened as many constraints against owning an AGA have been overcome. For instance, the AGA Total Control and AGA City24 give you the flexibility to operate each oven and hotplate separate and independent from each other. The ovens on the AGA Dual Control models operate simultaneously while the electric hotplates operate separate from the ovens and independent of each other. Dual Control ovens can be turned on, off or turned down to save energy. Regardless of which cast iron model you choose, each AGA range comes fully assembled and do not require a flue.
For more information, please visit www.aga-ranges.com.
Chef’s from all over coastal Virginia gathered around the AGA Total Control wowing the crowds with their culinary creations
Joyce Crowder was elated to share the news that her kitchen would be the main showcase kitchen at the 2016 Coastal Virginia Home & Garden Show. This year the Coastal Virginia Magazine sponsored the Culinary Corner where Crowder Custom Cabinets provided the kitchen showcasing the 3-oven AGA Total Control in the latest color, Aqua.
This years emcee was Chef Patrick Evans, the Food Editor of Coastal Virginia Magazine. Well known chef’s from various restaurants along the coastal region of Virginia enjoyed cooking up their favorite culinary creations using the AGA Total Control.
Hover over the images below for fun snippets highlighting each Chef and the delicious foods created on the AGA Total Control.
AGA making waves at the Coastal Virginia Home & Garden Show gives a HIGH-5 to all the culinary talent who cooked their dishes on the AGA Total Control 3-oven cast iron range such as,
Chef Andrea DiCarlo with La Bella Italia, Ghent
Chef Caruso with La Bella Italia, Redmill
Chef Josh Stivers with Point at Phoebus
Chef Mike Farrell with Still Worldly Eclectic Tapas
Chef Troy Camacho with Casual Gourmet Victoria
Chef Chad Martin with Circa 1918
Chef Edward Storey with Supper Southern Morsels
Chef Scott Home with Granny’s Kitchen
Emcee Chef Patrick Evans-Hylton the Food Editor with Coastal Virginia Magazine
Just when we thought the fun had died down, we were excited to see a recent article by Retro Renovation, about colorful retro kitchens, showcasing our AGA colorful ranges at KBIS! Kate and Pam did a fun job tying our booth suites into fun retro-styled highlights which exemplify how well our products work no matter the look you are trying to achieve.
Whether you are going for retro or modern, country or eclectic, the AGA cast iron range works in each! With over 15 colors available, those of your looking to create colorful retro kitchens are in luck!
Here is a snippet of what was said about our colorful retro kitchens:
So when we spotted the colorful AGA stoves booth, it was a breath of fresh air with big smiling lollipop sprinkles on top. Color, color and more color — plus, they even had a retro inspired kitchen setup. Oh happy day!