Over the years I have accumulated quite the collection of kitchen utensils and tools. They can make the cooking task at hand much easier, more efficient and sometimes even fun. In an attempt to simplify and keep the expense to a minimum, we have compiled a list of the top ten kitchen tools. These are in no particular order, with the exception of a good quality, sharp knife…this is by far the most important item to have on hand. A good quality, well cared for chef’s knife will last years. It will be easier to keep sharp and will be a vital asset every day. Don’t skimp here! It is better to spend $100 (or more) on a high quality knife that will last 10-15 years than to spend $20-$30 on a crappy knife that will never keep a sharp edge and break or be useless in a matter of weeks. Contrary to what you may believe or have even been told, more accidents and cuts are the result of a dull knife than one with a razor sharp edge. The main reason for this is simply due to the fact that cutting with a dull knife requires more pushing or sawing pressure. More of a chance of the item being cut, slipping or moving and your fingers, or other body part becoming the target. Ouch. Always keep your knife sharp, always wash by hand (never in a dishwasher) and always dry immediately, and store in a safe place.
- 8-10 inch Chef Knife: We recommend Japanese or German made. Used for 90% of anything you will cut for cooking preparation. This is the most important of any cooking tools you will ever need.
- Vegetable Peeler: While not an absolute necessity, this will save you time and frustration and also make the look, feel, taste, and overall finished product much more appealing. Used for potatoes, carrots, cucumbers, apples, asparagus and so much more. Pick up a good quality peeler, take care of it and it will last for years.
- Digital Instant read Thermometer: Readily available, and not very expensive. As you gain more experience, the look, feel, time, and smell will be a good indicator of when your food is cooked to perfection. There is however, no mistaking the internal temperature. Don’t risk ruining all your hard work and money. Cutting into a steak, chicken, or beautiful roast to see if it is cooked is the quickest way to make it virtually inedible. Use your thermometer instead, and always keep in mind that the higher temperature you cook, and the larger the protein the longer it will continue to cook, even after it is removed from the heat. So always remove what you are cooking 5-10 degrees before you reach your target temperature.
- Tongs: We use a good quality, spring loaded pair of tongs for almost everything we cook. These are also awesome serving utensils for most foods. Go to a restaurant supply store and pick up a few of these. They will be better quality and cheaper than you can find at most other stores.
- Whisk: Nothing compares to the speed and efficiency of a whisk for anything from sauces and gravies, to whipping up scrambled eggs or a tasty omelette.
- Mesh Strainer: An absolute must to give all your sauces that velvety smooth, professional texture. Also great for straining pasta, boiled potatoes, vegetables, or just washing produce, beans, rice, etc.
- Wooden Spoon: Too many uses to name them all. The best of these include the ability to not ruin your non stick pots and pans and the preferred weapon of Italian Mom’s and Grandma’s worldwide.
- Bench Scraper: The perfect tool for scooping, and transferring ingredients from your cutting board. Also a must have for any dough preparations, and can be used as a cutting tool as well.
- Rubber/Silicone Spatula: Used for mixing, stirring, and removing every last bit from jars, bowls, pots or pans. Also great for not scratching, or damaging cookware.
- Metal Spatula: We prefer a longer, slotted fish spatula. Great for turning, removing and serving most items including the most delicate.
We hope this list is a helpful guide to getting your kitchen stocked with some great tools and utensils to make cooking easier and more streamlined. If you have any questions or would like suggestions please leave them in the comment section, or contact us. Click on the links to see great deals on products we recommend and use.
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