Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Essential Utensils

Here's one that's been frementing in my "starred items" list forever...

Essential Utensils via The Cook's Kitchen

They say:
I say:

They say: One 8-inch chef’s knife–for chopping.
I say: check

One 10-inch slicing knife–for slicing meat and poultry.

Two 3/4-inch paring knives–(one for you and one to share).
Share with whom? The Pampered Chef's "$1" paring knives are great. I wish they were still just a buck.

One serrated bread knife–for bread and tomatoes.

One boning knife–for deboning meat, poultry and fish.
Nope - I leave deboning to the butcher.

Knife sharpener (electric or stone)–to keep your knives very sharp.
I leave knife sharpening to the guy at the hardware store.

Knife block–to store your knives safely.
check, although I'd love to have those magnetic strips mounted to my kitchen wall to free up counter space.

One or two vegetable peelers–for potatoes, carrots and apples.
...and for slicing things really thin.

Three to five different sized rubber spatulas–for cleaning out bowls, folding ingredients or getting the last little bit out of jars.
Get silicone instead of rubber - it stands up better to heat (including the dishwasher).

Three to four metal whisks of different sizes–for mixing batters or sauces.

One to two plastic or wooden whisks–for whisking in non-stick pans.
None of my sauce pans are non-stick.

One ladle–for soups and gravies.

Three to four wooden spoons of different sizes–for use in your non-stick pans and for beating thick mixtures.
More like 5 (spoons and paddles), and bamboo is so much better than wood.

One metal spatula–for scraping roast pans and using on the grill.
...and scraping the cooktop.

One hard plastic spatula–for using in your non-stick pans.
Nope - use the bamboo paddles.

One slotted spoon–for removing items from water or oil.

One meat fork with a long handle–for the oven and barbecue.

One set of kitchen tongs–for moving around awkward or hot items.
I have two sets - one like this and one like this

Bulb baster–for basting and removing fat.

Meat thermometer–essential for making sure meat is cooked.

Kitchen timer–very helpful when you are busy.

Four-sided grater–for potatoes, cheese, etc.

Ricer or potato masher–for potatoes, squash, etc.
I say get both - I have a masher and really would like a ricer too.

Corkscrew–wine just wouldn’t be the same without it.
Get a vacuum pump too, unless you're going to finish every bottle you open within the next 24 hours. If so, call me!

Bottle opener–essential kitchen accessory.
Get the kind that doubles as a can puncturer (like for pouring broth or tomato juice).

Can opener–electric or hand is indispensable.
There's no need to get an electric one; they take up a lot of space and you can't throw them in the dishwasher. Most of the hand held ones today require little effort to turn.

Rotary egg beater–for beating eggs and batters.
Nah - Between whisks, my electric mixer and my Kitchen-Aid, I'm covered.

Rolling pin–for rolling out doughs, breaking ice and candy.
I use the wooden dowel from my paper towel holder - just wrap it in waxed paper or parchment first.

Flour sifter–for sifting flour and other dry ingredients.
I just use a wire mesh sieve.

One large metal or plastic colander–for straining or draining.

One small colander–for straining or scooping items out of pots.
I use a wire mesh sieve for this too.

One wire mesh sieve–for pressing solid or lumpy food through to get a smooth sauce.
I have a set of three - one's about the size of 2 tablespoons, one's about a cup, and the third is about 2 cups. I use them a LOT. The big one is great for rinsing that goo off of canned beans.

Two wooden cutting boards–for chopping food. (Wood is safer than plastic or glass because of its natural bacteria killing properties. It may be easier to clean plastic or glass cutting boards, but bacteria is killed in under five minutes on a wooden cutting board. Wooden boards are also better for your knives.)
I've switched to bamboo for these too.

Fire extinguisher–the most important kitchen utensil of all.

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I also have to add:

parchment paper:
I rarely bake anything on my pizza stone or a baking sheet without first lining the sheet or stone with parchment paper. And I wouldn't dream of baking fish unless it's in a parchment packet.

kitchen snips:
These are great for cutting raw chicken into small pieces. It's a lot easier to cut up your chicken with snips before you cook it and add to a pot pie or other dish than to try to cut it with a knife when it's still steaming hot (Of course, I could just buy the precooked frozen chicken chunks and not have to worry about when to cut and how to cook, but that's something I reserve for dinner emergencies).

food chopper:
I've used the same Pampered Chef one for over 10 years now - it's the version they had before they had their own branded one. This is wonderful for chopping onions, mushrooms (I always chop up the mushrooms so they're not identifiable when I add them to a meal when the Bear is eating with us), carrots, garlic (before I started buying the minced garlic in a jar), and to make our meals bite-sized for J.J.

rubber grip for jar lids:
One of the best give-aways you can grab at the Southern Women's Show or other convention/trade show. I got a really neat Smucker's one at a booth at the Country Music Marathon this year. These have proven indenspensible to remove bottle and sippy cup lids. Who would have throught that juice transforms into superglue when it's stuck between a sippy cup and the lid?

What can you NOT live without?


Slartibartfast said...

I did not know that about the cutting boards; I had always thought the opposite: that wood retains the bacteria. It was probably told to me by a plastics salesman.

Instead of snips, and because we generally freeze our meat, I just defrost chicken about 2/3rds of the way, cut it while it's still semi-frzen, then defrost the rest of the way.

But, if you always eat fresh chicken, snips are the way to go.

Good stuff. THe one thing I really need (according to Alton Brown) is a good pack of tea towels.

Shannon said...

Add Pampered Chef's bag clips for bread, bagels, chips, crackers, cereal, rice & pasta that's packaged in bags, frozen vegetables... I have an entire drawer for mine!

Lindasis said...

I agree on the Pampered Chef bag clips. I use them on frozen bagged stuff, cereal, chips, and the largest size is great for the grass seed, fertilizer and potting soil bags in the garage.

The 2nd 'can't live without item' is also Pampered Chef...the 2 qt. micro steamer. The frozen stuff I mentioned...go great in this. I even bought a 2nd one for the office.

Julie said...

A sieve????

Lindasis said...

One more...my onion chopper. I love not crying over that task!! (And I know the steamer isn't a 'utensil', but I still couldn't live without it.

Klinde said...

I love my garlic press. I know I could just use the chopped garlic in a jar; however, lots of things I make require whole pieces so I just go that route.

I too did not know about wood vs. plastic and agree with Slarti that I always thought it was the other way around. I have the Pampered Chef boards in all sizes and a glass one for chicken.

I recently acquired a Cuisinart Mandoline and it has been a great source of joy. I highly recommend one.

Oh, and lastly, my 16" frying pan that is also very deep. It is also oven safe and I love it to pieces.

Okay, one more because I am a fanatic about kitchen gadgets... I love my Pampered Chef stoneware. I use all the pieces all the time and about killed my husband for wanting to put them in the dishwasher. Thankfully I caught him and he lives to see another day.

Muffy said...

I have one of those magnetic strips.. the serrated bread knife barely stays on sometimes and the cleaver definitely won't.

Also, I knocked a knife off the strip and it bounced off the counter and almost onto my foot... so while it's space saving, a block might be safer. heh.

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