Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Starter Kitchen: Tools Part 2

The second installation of what you NEED in the kitchen. Remember, these house-ware stores and As Seen On TV people will try to get you to buy more than you need. Don't. You work hard for that money!

More Tools you need:
  1. Measuring spoons
  2. Ladle
  3. Spatula
  4. Colander & Sieve (and sometimes, a salad spinner)
  5. Baking Sheet/Cookie Sheet
  6. Serving Utensils

  • Measuring Spoons
More necessary in baking but handy with cooking when measuring spices. I recommend getting good quality spoons, also called graduated. These will last longer and give you more accurate measurements. If you invest in good tools, as far as finances allow, you'll be saving yourself money and headaches in the long run

  • Ladle
Looks like this. YOU ONLY NEED ONE! And if you're not a big soup maker or you get it out of a can, you might not need it. However, if you get into making your own stock, gravies, stews or anything with a liquid element, it's always good to have this on hand.

  • Spatula
Rubber or stiff, you should have one of each. They help you scrap the last of the whatever out of any container. It's good to have a stiff spatula when you're dealing with doughs and a rubber one when you have soups, sauces or stews. Some baking recipes call for a rubber spatula to form peaks with whipped cream, marshmallow or meringue toppings on pies and cakes.

  • Colander & Sieve (and sometimes a salad spinner)
These are MUST HAVE items if you intend to ever eat a vegetable or make pasta. Not everyone washes out the sink before they start dinner. Sometimes Fido and Fluffy need to be fed at the same time as Bobby, Marsha and Jan. Having a colander on hand makes it easier to make sure your eggplant parmigiana doesn't have kibbles and bits in it. The salad spinner is one of the few kitchen gadgets I have, and I gotta say this thing rocks. Not only does it get water off the lettuce, but you can use it to store the greens that weren't used at that meal time.

A Sieve is a wire (sometimes plastic) mesh with a handle and is primarily used for sifting flour, straining sauces or giving fruit a quick wash. It's smaller than a colander and dose not do a very good job straining pasta. A lot of people use the terms colander and sieve interchangeably, but I think that just encourages confusion.

  • Baking Sheet/Cookie Sheet
If your mom ever made fish sticks and tater tots, you will remember the baking sheet that always seemed to be on hand. Whats the difference between a cookie sheet and a baking sheet? Not much. Some types of baking sheets will have a lip on them so you can make brownies or use as a base for a pie, like cherry or apple, and keep the juices from spilling over and messing up the oven. I like the sheets with the lip on it better. It gives you more options for whatever it is that gets tossed in the oven. One of the best things about them is that you can have more than one and when they start to get kinda old and gross, you can leave them in the oven as a protector in case you have a spill. Obviously if it starts to get holes in it, recycle it.

  • Serving Utensils
Hands DO NOT COUNT as serving utensils. I don't care what your Man Book tells you. Unless you are the only one that will ever eat in your apartment (or mother's basement), you're gonna need serving utensils. These consist of:
  • two wooden salad spoons
  • 2-3 large serving spoons
  • a large serving fork
You might be thinking, "Pshhht! My hands are always clean! Why do I need to have any of this junk?" One word Einstein - Soup.

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