March 30, 2012

Foodie Friday - Tool Box


My Tool Box

by Resident Chef James Wood
Happy Friday everyone!
Have you ever gone to a kitchen style store in the mall and been overwhelmed with the (am I going to really use these) gadgets? I have broken down the most common and useful tools that most professional chefs use on a normal everyday basis besides their brains!
Here is what you will definitely find in my tool box/bag and kitchen to make my tasks easier and more efficient.

You might say, "that looks like a lot of stuff, James!" But I say, "you probably already have a lot of stuff in your drawers, just not the right stuff."

Knives and a steel

Sharp knives make your tasks easier and less hazardous than dull knives.
1. A chefs knife that has a good weight and feel to YOU.
2. A serrated knife or "bread knife"
3. Small utility knife
4. A paring knife pictured is a 3" paring knife and a "birds beak" or "tornee" style paring knife
5. A steel to keep the edges on your knives true and honed
Bench Scraper and Japanese Mandolin.

If you ever wonder how they get those paper thin slices and perfect matchsticks look no further than the Japanese mandolin. This is one, if not my favorite tool (besides my wife) for ease of use and razor sharp blade and its $20 price tag. Be careful though, I have lost a few pieces of skin on this device.
The bench scraper can be used for cleaning up your cutting board, scooping prepped items into bowls/pans etc… to even smashing garlic cloves and chopping them up with the (not so sharp) blade portion.

Measuring and Stirring Devices

Thermometers and timers will always be important if you are ever unsure of internal temperatures or how much longer should that roast take.
A flexible whisk with a good amount of wires is important because most things being whisked require air be incorporated, so the faster you can move the surface area, the faster your job will be complete.
Wooden spoons and rubber spatulas are always handy because they do not scratch stick resistant pans and are fairly easy to clean up
Measuring cups and spoons, I think these speak for themselves

Meat Tenderizers and a Microplane

If you ever want to tenderize a thick cut of beef, a pork chop or a piece of chicken in about a hour the deni tenderizer can do this with ease. It has 30 spikes in a spring loaded mechanism that you just smack your protein of choice with before marinating. $20
The mallet style tenderizer is good for making thin cutlets by placing your meat product between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and beating it unto your hearts content! (if you've had a bad day, look into this therapeutic form of relief.)
Finally the microplane, I have had this tool since it was introduced to the market in the late 90's. It is great for grating the hardest cheese, zesting citrus and even shaving chocolate. The ultimate finishing tool. I think we have all been to that italian restaurant with the great bread sticks and salad that use a different form of this tool to put park on your pasta at the table before you dive into that first bite.

So that is the tools I use most often. I hope this can help you out in making cooking easier at home. Thanks for reading and I will see you next week. 
I would love to hear comments on your favorite tool!


Maggie said...

Have most of these, but it's good to know that there are other things that are most useful (and what the uses are) to have on hand. For me, the microplane is one of the handiest tools going. Great blog!

the Sweetest Memory said...

Maggie, thank you so much. I am so glad you stopped by!