Friday, December 9, 2011

The tools of the trade.

One question that occasionally comes up is "What kind of kitchen gadgets should I have?".   My answer is  none.  Yes, I have had some gadgets over the years. You know, those infomercial wonders that will make your life easy and turn you into a world class chef.  My experience is that they are garbage, and that is where they will end up.  What you should concentrate your money on are some quality kitchen tools.

But what tools should every kitchen have?  While answers probably vary widely depending on who you ask, I give you my top 10 tools.

A quick word on brands.  I have my favorites and I will link to them if you would like to buy them.  But more importantly, get what you like and fits your budget.  If you can afford to buy Messermeister knives then by all means do so.

But again you don't have to spend a ton of money to get some quality stuff.  One of my favorite brands is Oxo, awesome stuff at a reasonable price.

So here we go.

#10.  Whisks -  assorted sizes they are a very versitile tool, from beating egg whites, and blending salad dressings to dissolving solids in liquid.  They are essential for making any kind of creamy sauce.

#9. A stainlles steel box grater - A box style grater gives the choice of hole sizes for grating Parmesan cheese and chocolate to shredding cheddar or carrots.

 #8. A pepper mill - DO NOT under any circumstances buy pre-ground pepper it's not even close to grinding your own!  This is one case where I use something that is bit on the pricey side for no other reason than it looks cool.  I use a modified turkish coffee grinder,  it is one of my favorite pieces in the kitchen.  However I also use those McCormick grinders that are disposable, so use what you want, as long as it's not pre-ground!

 #7.A peeler - Use a peeler to remove skin from vege's and fruits.  Get one that fits your hand well and washes easily.

 #6.Measuring spoons - Let's face it, as much as you think you have a great eye for how much a teaspoon is, you don't.  Measuring spoons ensure that you are close to the recipe.  If you want to experiment after that, have at it!  Have a couple of sets, few things are more aggravating than needing the Tablespoon for dry and liquid ingredients  in the same recipe.

#5. Measuring cups - see above.  I love the measuring cups that have the gradient at an angle inside the cup, makes it super easy.  I have plastic and stainless ones.

#4. Kitchen Shears - Keep these handy, mince herbs, trim fat from meat, make slits in dough and they cut stuff to!  Get the kind that comes apart to be sure they are well cleaned after use on poultry etc.

#3. Mixing bowls - get a variety of sizes, and materials.  The are endlessly usefull.


#2.  A chef's knife - I know that there are tons of different types of knives for all sorts of different jobs. But, if you need to chose one knife to have, it is the chef's knife.  They come in different sizes but the most common is the 8", get one that fits comfortably in your hand and is well balanced.  This thing is the work horse of the kitchen, a good chef's knife can do just about any of your slicing, dicing and cutting jobs.  I'm going to include a couple of good cutting boards at the same time.  Wood ones are great for anything except meat and poultry so have a good have  plastic one to use.  A word of warning on plastic boards, they all say that they are dishwasher safe and yes, you can  put them in the dishwasher to sanitize them.  Just make sure that you take them out before the dishwasher's dry cycle as the heat generated during drying can warp your board.  And speaking from experience a warped cutting board is no fun at all.

And finally my #1 kitchen tool.  The Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer.  Yes it is expensive, but it is well worth it. This thing can do just about anything, with the right attachments it can mix, knead, whip, make pasta, and grind meat for sausage. It can be a grinder, a strainer, a slicer, a chopper, a shredder and much more.  Yes, I like my mixer. And you will to.
This is the one I have.

Well there you have it, my top 10 kitchen tools.  Honarable mention would go to a good mandolin.  I use mine often, but if it comes down to a choice, a chef's knife and some practice can do pretty much the same thing.  The mandolin is just much faster.

If it seems like this post was on big add to buy stuff on Amazon, that's because it is!  Click on something and buy it!!  Your favorite chef will thank you!

Stay hungry friends

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