The holidays are right around the corner so I thought it might be enlightening to hear from everyone what some of your favorite cooking tools are. I’m sure there are some great things that every cook doesn’t even know he or she needs. Maybe we can all get some great gift ideas.
Good tools can make all the difference in how much you enjoy completing a task. I think a lot of people who don’t like to cook have never had the right tools. So I will get us started off with five of my favorites. The rules of this little adventure do not include appliances. That’s a whole different subject.
- If I could only have one knife, it would be my Wusthof Classic 7-Inch Santoku Knife, Hollow Edge. I use it for almost everything. It is especially good for cutting up any kind of vegetable.
- Locking Tongs – stainless steel with scalloped heads. You can lock and unlock them with one hand.
- A Swiss Peeler, it has a short handle and a blade like a potato peeler. I find it a bit more versatile and easier to use than a standard potato peeler. I use it to peel everything. It’s especially good for butternut squash.
- A Berard French Olive Wood Handcrafted Wood Spatula. I bought mine in Paris decades ago. I use it everyday and I think it still looks pretty fantastic. It’s fine for non-stick pans and of course cast iron which can get really hot. I like it better than metal or silicon.
- A Mini Measuring Cup. I picked this cute little shot glass up a few years ago on a whim. It measures tablespoons, teaspoons, ounces and milliliters. I find it much handier than measuring spoons. One handy little cup for all those different types of measures. I love it.
Ok, let me hear from you in the comments section below.
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I see all sorts of sauces these days in the grocery store both jarred and dry mixes. While I am sure they are convenient, I am guessing they have their share of stabilizers and chemicals and a bunch of salt. I prefer to make my own. Pan sauces are incredibly easy, and the secret to thickening them is Beurre Manié.
We lived in Germany for a little over 3 years. It was a dream come true for me and I still miss our little German Village. It was tiny. So tiny, it did not even have a bakery. Most Germans make a stop by the bakery every couple of days for fresh bread. We had a bread truck come through on Tuesdays and everybody went out when they heard the horn to get their fresh loaf. The truck had a big door that opened the whole side of the truck. It opened up into this wonderful little mobile bakery. All sorts of beautiful loaves in different shapes and sizes.
I have one jalapeño plant mainly to keep me supplied for salsa and chips. It is without a doubt an addiction. My plant waited almost all summer to really produce and now the one plant must have 20 jalapeños. So, this salsa is one attempt at not allowing these little green jewels go to waste.
I made this on the fly a few mornings ago and oh my gosh. What a keeper! This frittata is great fresh from the oven, the next day warmed up in the microwave or at room temperature. If possible, cook it in a cast iron pan.
There is nothing like New Mexico green chile. It’s not like jalapeños or habanero peppers. The first thing you taste is not just heat, it’s flavor. This type of salsa in New Mexico is like ketchup anywhere else. You can put it on almost anything. Eggs, chicken, vegetables, hamburgers, burritos, enchiladas, the list goes on. Check out my New Mexico Frittata, to get started.
If you have never made a yeast dough from scratch, pizza dough is a great start. It is easy to knead, elastic and just plain fun to work with. I love to see the magical transformation of a shaggy glob into risen dough. It’s culinary magic.
New Mexican Gazpacho
I am a salsaholic. If I had to choose my last meal, salsa and chips would be included. But then there is the guilt. Those chips are so fattening. Well, this cold soup is my guilt free solution. It really is a liquid salad that stays good in the fridge for days. I love it for a quick snack or lunch. There is nothing more refreshing on a hot summer day.
It has been brutally hot for the last week so I have loathed being in the kitchen at the hottest part of the day to cook dinner. We have no air conditioning. Today we had a bit of relief so I roasted cauliflower in my Breville counter top oven. It produces a lot less heat and I love the convection option for caramelization. Now if you think you don’t like cauliflower you really must give this a try. Roasting gives it a totally different flavor.
Slow cooker cooking is a beautiful thing, but especially when the weather gets warm. A nice roast without heating up the kitchen for hours with a hot oven. Make a big one because the leftovers are even better.