Posts tagged kitchen tools
Thanks for the guest post by Jo Levy
My husband is definitely the technology guru of our house. He is great with gadgets and computers, and can really repair anything. It’s awesome to have someone like him around since we increasingly use technology to get though our everyday lives. We use a ton of electronic appliances in our kitchen, so whenever one of those starts acting up, it gets fixed immediately. Last time my phone was acting weird, it was my husband who fixed it. Then when our computer started going crazy, he came to the rescue again. Sometimes I just wish I could fix things myself! That is why I was so excited when I searched St. Paul wireless internet and found Clear Wireless. My husband was really impressed that I found a service that not only provided wireless internet service for our home, but I got him a mobile hotspot too. It felt really good to finally be the one in the family to fix one of our problems! From now on my husband can keep on fixing things and messing with all of our gadgets, but I’m officially in charge of finding great internet deals!
Looking at the calendar today I was shocked to see we’re just two and half weeks away from Thanksgiving! Now’s the time to start looking through your cookbooks to pick out those just right recipes. Most families have their traditional favorites, but why not add a little something new and different. Maybe it’s just a new pumpkin pie recipe, that uses different spices than you ordinarily do. Or maybe you want to try something entirely different, something healthier than in the past.
Whatever it is, having the right ingredients and equipment on hand makes the day run much more smoothly. Nothing like getting ready to make the whipped cream for on top of the pies and finding out you forgot the whipping cream.
If you’ve never cooked the main meal before then checking things out on Google or Wiki could be in order. Our favorite saying around here is, “Google knows everything.”
Feeding a large crowd may be a little hard on a tight budget. Now you can save on goods and groceries with coupons at Savings.com. They have the latest coupons for savings on all your favorite items and they’ve recently added groceries to the list.
So whether you’re going for the traditional turkey and mashed potatoes, or going to give a vegetarian meal a try, there’s probably a coupon to help you save on doing it. Now that’s giving yourself a early holiday gift and leaves you more to spend on other’s gifts, too.
It’s amazing how, as you get older, the type in your cookbooks can appear to get smaller and smaller. Or maybe you feel like you need to hold it further and further away to see it clearly.
If that’s the case, then it’s probably time to make an appointment with your eye doctor. In many instances you may just need reading glasses. You might want to buy a pair of cheap eyeglasses to keep in the kitchen. That way you’ll never have to run all over the house locating your glasses before you can prepare a meal.
Just the other day I heard a funny story. This guy owned a Mexican restaurant and was very well known for his delicious salsa. One day, one of his servers comes into the kitchen and tells him that there’s a customer complaining about his salsa. The owner is livid. How can anyone have a complaint about his famous salsa, he thinks. Once in the dining room he sees it is a friend of his who has complained. He’s about to give him a piece of his mind, when his friend plunks the salsa in front of him and tells him to taste it. The owner does and gets a horrified look on his face. His salsa tastes terrible! What had happened was the prep chef had accidentally grabbed the sugar instead of the salt, and the result was ghastly.
The point is, you could be reaching for sugar instead of salt yourself if you can’t see the ingredients well, or adding too much or too little of a key ingredient. So, in order to keep your friends and family munching happily, take the time to get the cookbook in focus with a fun or fanciful pair of glasses.
We all have them, those items we can’t imagine our kitchen without. For me one of them is our Mac knives. They aren’t especially fancy, but the handle is bent up slightly, so that when you cut something hard and the knife finally breaks through, I’m not breaking my knuckles on the countertop or cutting board. They also sharpen easily and hold the edge pretty well.
For others it might be a favorite pot or skillet. Over the years I’ve tried all kinds of pots and pans. We found that, although quite heavy, cast iron is fantastic. It heats very evenly, once seasoned nothing sticks to it, and cleanup is a breeze.
One thing that we’ve found is, that if you have a favorite appliance, it pays to buy and store spare parts, especially ones that wear out the fastest, like gaskets or anything rubber or plastic.
Many of us have put out a pretty penny to get top of the line countertop appliances, such as mixers, blenders, food processors, etc. It’s very distressing to have put a lot of money into a great Cuisinart food processor only to find that they no longer make the part we need. Finding a good online source of cuisinart parts is something you should do as soon as you’ve decided that this is the processor you’ve always dreamed of. Picking up an extra blade and any other part you see that might need replacing due to regular use, and storing them away until they are needed, will save you a lot of heartache when the time to replace them finally arrives.
You might want to take an inventory of your favorite “must have” items, and see if any of them have easily replaced parts that might wear out. Then take a little time to stock your workroom with a box containing these parts, for future use. An ounce of prevention really pays when you have a big dinner party and the blade finally breaks on your food processor. Then all you’ll have to do is pull out the blade you stored away and no one will know the difference.
I was recently gifted a beautiful pair of Gingher sewing scissors. Ever since I started living on my own I had used a pair of Fiscars, thinking that they were really fine scissors. However, when I put these new puppies to fabric they cut through it like butter and left a razor sharp, clean edge. I was shocked.
My mother had Gingher scissors and I had used them while I was growing up, but when I got on my own I didn’t have the money for Gingher, so I picked what I thought was the up and coming Gingher – Fiscar. Well, obviously I was wrong.
So often in life we shortchange ourselves and end up making life harder. We tell ourselves that Henkel knives are not really all that great. Or we can do with the $25 Black and Decker, rather than the $150 Cuisinart appliance. In doing so we make our cooking experience less enjoyable, less efficient, and sometimes less safe. In some areas of our life we can afford to economize, but if cooking’s really a passion for you, spend that little bit extra to get really top-notch equipment. You’ll never regret it.
There are quite a few smaller items that I find make food preparation easier. Here’s my essential and nearly essential list.
- Measuring cups and spoons – Nice stainless sets of both will last forever.
- Spatulas – Get silicone ones. They last forever or nearly so.
- Pot holders – Get really good thick ones so you don’t burn your hands.
- Can opener – Make sure it is easy to use and fits your hand.
- Handheld chopper – Also called a tap chopper. Thought this was one of the stupidest things my husband every bought, but it really does chop things in a flash, nuts, olives, pineapple, etc. Easy clean up, too.
- Bamboo mixing, stirring and serving spoons – Bamboo is nearly indestructible. My wooden ones always wear down (am I eating wood?) Bamboo looks almost exactly like the day I bought it.
- Slotted spoon – Gets things out of watery stuff without a mess.
- Oven thermometer – Only need this if you move frequently, as each oven has its own idea of what 350˚ is.
I think that’s about it for essentials. However, that is not all I have in my kitchen…
I was looking online at what others thought were essential tools and found out that I have a very lacking kitchen. How can I cook delicious gourmet meals if I’m missing the essentials? After reading their lists I’m surprised I can even cook a meal at all. Not only that they must have huge kitchens, because if I bought everything on their lists it would fill my kitchen and about half the rest of the house.
Here’s a list of the tools I use the most.
- Knives – I use knives made by Mac. I like that their handles are at an angle so you don’t mash your knuckles when slicing.
- Good cookware – I don’t use any non-stick, because I don’t trust that it is not toxic in the long run. Cast iron, although heavy is great for cooking. If seasoned property they work just like non-stick. Otherwise I have nice stainless pots and pans.
- Food processor – Great for fast chopping of veggies, nuts, cheese, etc.
- Blender or Vitamix – Although we have both, I’d choose the Vitamix if I could only have one, because it doesn’t bog down like a regular blender does.
- Cookie sheets, pizza pan, muffin tin – Use these more than I thought I would.
- Mixing bowls – Got a fantastic set of 5 nearly 30 years ago and they are still going strong. Get one or two more of the mid-sized, as you’ll use them a lot.
That’s about it for the big stuff.