Kitchen Essentials – 10 Awesome Tools

nina | September 22nd, 2011 - 5:17 pm

Most cooks will argue that without their favorite pieces of equipment, it’s difficult to find the motivation to cook.

Here are some of the favorite tips and tricks taken from the http://dryman.com.au website when making a meal using 10 of the most beloved kitchen tools.

These tools are some of the ones that we’d hate to live without.  Many of them are multi-purpose and others are so useful we can’t imagine what we did before they were invented.

1.  CHINOIS.  A cone-shaped sieve is made of very fine mesh metal with a long handle attached.  Use this for straining soup, stock, custards and any other sauce or liquid to produce a very smooth end product.  This item may also be used to dust pastries or cakes with powdered sugar.

2. DIGITAL SCALE.  There are several types fo scales. . .spring or balance, for example, but the spring seems to be the most favorite.  It calculates both metric & standard weights and can be used to measure any ingredient.  This type of scale if very accurate for prepping ingredients for baking.  If you are watching your weight, this scales is perfect for determining portion sizes.

3.  HANDHELD JUICER.  Another name would be a citrus squeezer of citrus press.  This tool quickly juices citrus, without any seeds and pulp.  Juicers are great to have behind a bar for extracting large amounts of citrus juice.

4.  SPIDER.  This is a hand-held, portable strainer.  Composed of a metal wire basket attached to a long, flat bamboo handle.  This can be used to pull blanched vegetables out of boiling water, drain pasta or scoop fried foods out of hot oil.  Using a spider saves time and dirty pots.  If you have several foods to cook, you’ll only have to boil water once.

5.  MORTAR AND PESTLE.  This two-piece tool, can be made of everything from stone to wood to marble.  The thick bowl is the mortar and the club-shaped handle is the pestle.  This is perfect for crushing spices or seasoning rubs.  A food processor or spice grinder can whirl ingredients into a muddled mass, where a mortar and pestle maintains the integrity of each ingredient.

6.  OFFSET SPATULA.  Available in a variety of shapes & sizes.  This spatula is unique in that the stiff metal extension bends down from the handle and then straightens out again, creating an angle that keeps your hand out of way and allows you to lift or turn items easily.  This spatula can be used to frost cakes, flip pancakes in a crowded pan or spread batter into a baking dish.

7.  SILPAT.  Think of this as permanent parchment or waxed paper.  These flexible silicon mats are used to line baking sheets or to create a nonstick surface.  The material is heat-proof, so the mats can go in the oven again and again.  Great for preparing pie or pizza dough and working with sticky ingredients like  caramel or taffy.

8.  MANDOLINE.  A hand-operated slicing machine, used for cutting even slices or julienne.  An adjustable blade allows the user to choose the thickness of the vegetable slice, or switch it to make julienne or crinkle-cut vegetables.  This is the best tool for precise, uniform slicing.  A hand guard comes with most mandolines, so you can slice without the fear of losing the skin off your fingers.

9.  MICROPLANE.  Also called a rasp grater, this long and skinny hand-held tool can be used to zest citrus, shave Parmesan or any hard grating cheese, or even shave chocolate.  Ergonomically speaking, it’s comfortable and easy to use.  And there is no fear of grating your knuckles.

10.  INSTAND-READ THERMOMETER.  Most chefs carry an instant-read thermometer with them at all times to determine when meat or fish is cooked through.  It’s also a good idea to have a candy thermometer, which can be used to regulate the temperature of hot oil.  This thermometer takes the guesswork out of the equation, and if properly calibrated, is always on target.

Source:  SFGate.com

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