Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Starter Kitchen: Tools Part 1

I've gotten the question more than once, "what do I need in my kitchen." in this section I'll show you things you need, things that are good to have and things that. With each tool you'll get a run down of how it works and what you would use it for.

Because of time constraints, and the fact that I work all day, this will be a series of posts.

Tools you need:
  1. Large knife
  2. Small (paring) knife
  3. Vegetable peeler
  4. Measuring cups – both dry and liquid
Why you need them:

  • A large sharp knife
I can't tell you how much use I get out of a big knife with a sharp blade. It makes all the difference in slicing, dicing, mincing and chopping. This is an essential tool. You won't get very far trying to make do with a steak knife or a flatware knife.

Wusthof is one of the best brands. You'll also get good results with a Henckels, but basically any of the top brands will do. (Cuisinart, All-Clad, Kitchen Aid). I would stay away from celebrity chef tools. I worked with a Martha Stewart stock pot/pasta pot and got so-so results.

Also, spend the money on a small knife sharpener. I realize that the mechanical expensive ones are really good but if you're on a budget like everyone else these days, you'll want something between now and the next Wall Street boom to keep your equipment sharp. Besides, no one looks cool torturing a tomato for thirty minutes with a dull ass knife.
  • A small sharp knife - a.k.a paring knife
A paring knife is like the chef knife's little brother. This is used mainly for delicate work that the big boy can't handle. It cores apples and pears, takes the top and hulls from strawberries, and can be used to make decorative foliage shapes out of vegetables.

  • A vegetable peeler
This is a NEED tool. I tried getting by with using q knife to peel my potatoes and the peeler is so much better. If you need anything peeled this is your guy.

  • Potatoes
  • Squash
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Carrots
See where I'm going with this?

  • Measuring cups: dry and liquid
Look, there's a reason why the culinary gods made two types of measuring cups. The liquid measure will measure volume. (Cups, pints, liters that kind of thing.) The dry measure will measure weight. (Pounds, ounces.) If you use them interchangeably your measurements will be off and that could ruin a recipe, especially if you’re baking something.

Pyrex is best for liquid measuring cups because you can use them in the microwave and pour in hot liquids as well as cold. Graduated dry measuring cups and measuring spoons are the best kind to get, but run-of-the-mill dry measuring cups and spoons are ok if you’re on a budget.

OK, that's all for tonight. I’ll post up more stuff next time.


frooverheeman said...

I had totally forgotten the need for dry measuring cups when I made cookies since I hadn't baked in months... luckily they turned out ok with the liquid measuring cup measurements :)

We are big fans of honing our knives often (every other use) so we haven't had to sharpen them yet. I learned a bit about this in my metalsmithing classes as well as listening to Mr. AB. When you sharpen a knife you lose some of the metal b/c it essentially grinds it away as opposed to honing which pushes metal back and "reshapes" a blade. If you look directly at a blade and it is shiny on the cutting edge it needs honing- that means light particles are reflecting off of flat surfaces on what should be a sharp surface :) We've got a killer honer if you ever want to borrow!

Now that we hone I don't torture tomatoes anymore! :D

Eddel29 said...

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