Favorite Kitchen Tools?
Just under two years ago, I packed up my car and cat, and moved ~2000 miles. The only thing I took from my kitchen was my Romertopf clay cooker and a travel coffee maker.
Now Iím in the process of making a commitment to staying put for a bit, and I want to flesh out my kitchen tools. Iíve been staying fairly bare-bones up Ďtil now.
I have a list, but Iím wondering what are some of your favorite kitchen tools. Something you couldnít do without on a daily basis? Something that maybe you donít use a lot, but still couldnít do without for something specific? Something that does so many things (a la Alton Brown) that you donít know how you ever got along before you got it? Or anything else you love to use in your kitchen.
It doesnít have to be complex. It can be as simple as the 99cent spatulas from Walmart which are surprising comfortable for small hands. :)
Also a question. If I have an immersion blender, do I need a hand mixer?
Thanks in advance for any tips, help, etc.
I'm in a stage in my life where I'm leaning heavily toward minimalism, so my kitchen tools are few and far between.
The most extravagant thing I own are two (count 'em two!) different sized skillets - one for bacon, the other for omelets. (The bacon pan is too big for omelets, and the omelet pan is too small for bacon!)
I have one wooden spoon and one silicone spatula.
I have two different sized pyrex casserole dishes that I use for baking (chicken breast, bacon poppers, pork chops, etc) but in all honestly, I could do with only one. (They were packaged in a set.)
That's really about it, unless you count the tupperware I used to store left overs!
My favorite kitchen tool is this [URL="http://www.amazon.com/Rosenhaus-Swiss-Swisspro-Vegetable-Peeler/dp/B000UT69MY/ref=sr_1_1?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1359825231&sr=1-1&keywords=swiss+potato+peeler"]Swisspro Vegetable Peeler[/URL]. I use it practically every day. It works on everything, including butternut squash.
As for gadgets, there are 3 that see a LOT of play around our house: A Cuisinart mixer/ blender (same base, multiple attachements for up top), a Kitchenaid handheld gadget (same handbase, 3 different attachments for immersion blending, chopping, and whisking))and a mandoline.
As to straight up tools:
A good set of knives. They don't hafta be Wusthof, but stay away from the Walmart special. Cutco and Chicago Cutlery serve us well. You don't need every kind under the sun. A Chef's blade or santoku, paring knife, and steak knife and you should be good.
A good set of pots and pans. I use Lodge for my cast iron and enamelware and Cuisinart for my stainless steel. You don't need nonstick. I'd say a bare minimum would be a 10" cast iron skillet, an enameled dutch oven, a stainless skillet, and a stainless saucepan.
A good set of mixing bowls. Go Pyrex or metal. These things are my best friend., especially the ones with lids that I can just pop into the fridge.
A half sheet pan. We use this to prep meat, bake roasts, roast veggies, do steaks inside, and 5 million other things.
If you do stuff like meatloaf, get a pyrex loafpan.
When it comes to toys that do a LOT for very little cost: a microplane (minces garlic, grates parmesan, zests fruit, etc), a pair of kitchen shears, silicon kitchen tongs (I think ours are OXO, great for small hands and they lock shut,) a 6 qt crock pot (ours is Hamilton Beach and has taken some MASSIVE use without even thinking of breaking.)
What you don't need: the latest egg cooking gadget, the latest baking gadget.
In response to your question: kind of. You can make an immersion blender work, but it'll take longer to bring things together. If you need both, get the gadget I mentioned above. You'll essentially be getting a hand mixer, mini chopper, and immersion blender for about the cost of one of those.
[QUOTE=naiadknight;1081672]...and a mandoline.[/QUOTE]
May I ask which mandoline you have? I've been looking into getting one, but I'm wary, since there seem to be so many crappy ones on amazon.
We have the OXO one. You can sharpen the blade and pull it completely apart to wash it. Don't go with the Chefmate. That thing was a hunk of junk.
Silicone spatula, dutch oven, loaf pan, sheet tray, blender/food processor, pepper mill, cast iron skillet, slow cooker, good chef knife. With those things i can make almost anything.
Getting some great ideas - keep 'em coming!
I've recently purchased:
A Fagor pressure cooker set: 8 & 4 quart pots, the pressure lid, the regular lid, and a steaming basket.
A Lodge Combo Cooker: 3 quart dutch oven with a lid that doubles as a 10" frying pan. (One person family so plenty big enough.)
Lodge muffin tin.
Pyrex mixing bowls.
Set of three strainers - haven't used these yet, but they look like they'll fit any straining needs I have.
Plastic bag and bottle dryer - a lifesaver because I'm actually cheap... er... frugal enough that I wash and reuse ziploc bags.
I have a cheapie blender, a cheapie food processor, a cheapie coffee grinder (which is ancient), a drip coffee maker which I no longer use because I make espresso every morning in my little stove top pot. And I have a food scale which is amazingly accurate considering I bought it for $4 at a thrift. :)
I like the idea of the combo thingy with the immersion blender and whisk. Heading to Azon to see if I can find it there.
We didn't have much space living in our RV, so I had to choose my kitchen gadgets wisely. We have since moved back into a house and I have so many gadgets that we got out of storage and are collecting dust now, like the rice cooker and bread machine. Here are my favorites:
Cast iron - I have two, a small dutch oven and a frying pan. I recommend getting old pans from yard sales rather than Lodge, they have a smooth bottom and hold a seasoning much better.
Cuisinart duet blender/food processor
Julienne peeler or mandoline (I have both)
Rada Cutlery knives--inexpensive and yet better than the pricey set I used to have
Coffee grinder and stovetop moka espresso pot.
Slow cooker (want to replace this with a stainless multi-cooker like the Instant Pot, it pressure cooks as well)
Silicone bakeware and collapsible bowls/colanders
Measuring mixing bowls (pyrex), those are so handy.
Anchor Hocking True Seal glassware--I love being able to bake/freeze/nuke/dishwasher them, and the lids are leak-proof.
I thought I could live with just an immersion blender, but ended up getting a mixer when we lived in our RV. Making whipped cream by hand is exhausting. I also really like the idea of the Kitchenaid handheld gadget, I'll have to look into that.
I have 3 things I can't live without.
Kitchenaide Standing Mixer - it's white and over 23 years old. Still a work horse. Weighs a ton, but i love it!!
My knives and whet stone. Invest in the best you can afford.
14 inch Le Cruset blue covered pan. Again it is over 20 years old and on it's 2nd lid holder.