Skip to main content

Selecting Your Basic Kitchen Tools

Pots and Pans- Here are a few general considerations when considering your pans;

  1. Can they go from stove top to oven? If they can’t this will greatly limit their use.
  2. Are they well made and will they distribute heat evenly. Quality pots and pans make cooking much easier. It’s very tough to make a great sauce or stunning stew in a thin grade aluminum pan.

Cast Iron Pots- I can’t say enough about the importance of using heavy duty pots, as they distribute heat well and will give vastly superior results. The initial investment is a bit more, but they last a lifetime. Some top brands are Le Creuset and Staub.

Large Non Stick Sauté Pan- This is a must in any kitchen for omelets, quick sautéing and seem to last best when hand washed and put up after use. I have had the best results with All Clad stainless non stick.

Wok- I find that unless you have a dedicated wok burner on your range, it’s quite difficult to manage the traditional style, so I prefer the ones with handles. Not fully authentic, but the results are what counts, and they are starting to catch on throughout Asia.

Tongs- These are staple in any professional kitchen and for good reason. They are versatile, fast and efficient. A few sizes will be very helpful.

Knives – This should be one of your best and first  investments. Just remember that sharp knives cut far fewer people than dull ones, as dull knives will slip. I use Wusthof with wonderful results.

Cutting Board Plastic and wooden only. No glass or hard surfaces, or your lovely knives will be dulled within minutes. The key thing to remember is to try and have a surface that can be cleaned properly and if possible to use one board for meats and one for vegetables and other non meat products.

Sieves- I find so many uses for my small and medium size sieves, that I can’t imagine cooking without them. You may also use professional china caps, but some small simple sieves are indispensable.

Potato Ricer- If you want the fluffiest mashed potatoes, this is the way to go. It is also a great way to mash parsnips and other vegetables.

Wooden Spoons- I treasure my wooden spoons, as they become more comfortable with age. I find that the most basic are best. They do not need to be expensive. I few sizes are very helpful.

SpatulasI cannot say enough about how handy these are. I actually have given them to people as a holiday gift and they have told me it is their favorite kitchen tool. Buy a few sizes and make sure you have one, which is extra small to get into the small dishes, ramekins and food processors.

Metal Measuring Spoons- Spend the extra money and go for these, as the plastic ones are just not worth it. Have two sets, so you won’t need to be washing in between use.

Measuring Cups- I find that a medium and then a large size is most efficient, and best if they can be made of Pyrex and can handle high heat. For baking the metal measuring cups with handles are the best.

Scale - A small kitchen scale is essential. Many people use them for weighing out ingredients when baking, however if you want a basic every day scale, it should be able to measure smaller quantities.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Norfolk Style Seafood

This is such a good recipe and so simple to make. The story behind this recipe is interesting. When I was a young boy, we used to go to a seafood restaurant in Washington DC called O'Donnell's. They had wonderful food, and most importantly, they had Buck.


Buck was a gentle giant at 6' 2" and was always talking to me about his recipe. He had invented this style of cooking seafood and had even developed special pans which could be used over open flame and then it could be delivered to the tables still sizzling. He was rightfully very proud of this. 


After being there quite a few times, Buck shared his recipe with me and told me to keep it a secret. Since this was over 40 years ago, I guess I can reveal it now. 


Ingredients

1/2 lb Shrimp, Jumbo Lump Crab or Langoustines, raw and shelled
2 Tbsp Butter
2 cloves Garlic, chopped
Dash of Old Bay Seasoning
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
Few dashes of Tabasco
Splash of White Wine
Salt and Black Pepper


Heat your pan until fairly hot, then add butter an…

Turbot Poached In Puttanesca Sauce

I wanted to build on the puttanesca sauce I posted yesterday to show how a versatile sauce can be used to prepare multiple dishes.


I got the idea to poach some fish in the puttanesca sauce, as I found some really nice turbot at the market.




Ingredients
1 large finely chopped Onion 4 cloves of Garlic, finely chopped 2- 28 oz. cans of crushed or diced Tomatoes, or whole tomatoes that are lightly chopped in the processor.
3 Tbsp Olive Oil 3 tsp. Red Pepper flakes or a few whole red peppers
4 to 6 Anchovy filets ¼ cup of Capers, (Try to get the salted capers and prepare them by rinsing and then soaking for 30 minutes. it's worth the extra effort, as the flavor is vastly superior to the brined capers). ½ cup pitted Kalamata Olives Freshly ground Black Pepper
1 lb Turbot, cut into four pieces. You could substitute Cod, Hake or Monkfish.
Note: You will notice that there is no salt in this recipe. When you consider the olives, anchovies and capers, you really don't need additional salt. If you omit…

French Seafood Stew aka Bouillabaisse

I've always enjoyed bouillabaisse, but I've never tried making it. I assumed (wrongly) that it was very complicated. 

It is really simple to make and I have minimized the ingredients below, to make it even easier than a classical preparation. However, if you want a classic Bouillabaisse, just add in the optional ingredients listed below
Bouillabaisse is basically a fisherman's stew and reflects what seafood was caught fresh that day. There are many variations of this classic dish from Marseille.

I like to start with the classic preparations and then branch off from there. If you find a set of common ingredients, then you can start to craft your own recipe and make it your own. 
I love cookbooks and read them like novels. I always basically know the recipe I want to prepare, but I find that looking at multiple recipes and sources, gives me the best results. This is loosely based on Ina Garten’s Seafood Stew. 
Ingredients 
4 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil 1 large Onion, chopped  1 teas…