As much as I enjoy cooking, I truly believe that the cooking equipment I use in my kitchen not only makes cooking more fun for me, but more importantly, the tools I use make me more efficient when I’m cooking.
I am often asked by friends, family and more recently, our guests who have taken classes with us at COOK, what cooking equipment I like to use in my home kitchen and my work kitchen. To help field some of those questions, I put together a list of some of my favorites kitchen tools.
If you’ve taken a class at COOK, these are the same tools that you used during your class. Enjoy!!
Don’t be fooled into spending a fortune on a knife block set if you don’t think you would use all of those knives on a regular basis. There are maybe 3 different knives that I always keep on hand for cooking on a day to day basis but my chef knife is usually my one “go-to” knife for probably 95% of my slicing and dicing.
You can spend a lot of money on a knife but if you’re just looking for a good, decent-priced knife that can do the work, then I’ve found this knife to be a good bet.
I like this knife are because it has a very manageable weight and length, the blade is forged steel (the blade isn’t just cut out of a sheet of metal) and has a full tang (the metal of the blade goes all the way down into the handle).
We’ve been using our knives for over a year now at COOK and even after all the wear and tear we’ve put them through, with proper honing between uses, our knives are holding up today as well as they did on the first day we opened!
Taylor 1470 Digital Cooking Thermometer/Timer
One of the best inventions, ever! How many times do you find yourself opening the oven when you’re roasting chicken or perhaps a pork loin when you’re tryinbg to check and see if it’s done? Not only are you losing precious cooking heat each time you open the oven door, but you then try to check doneness by cutting into it or poking it with a knife.
Even if you used a meat thermometer that was oven-safe, you still have to open the oven to check the reading, so again, losing heat. This thermometer solves the dilemma. The timer/thermometer itself stays outside of the oven and the probe that goes into the meat is connected to the thermometer by a silicone wrapped wire, making it safe to go into the oven.
All you have to do is set your thermometer to the desired temperature, set it next to the oven and when your roast reaches that temperature, the alarm goes off to alert you. No more constant opening of the oven to check your temperature reading!
I would always recommend kitchen tool that can serve more than one purpose and this microplane is definitely one of those tools! I don’t know how often most people prepare recipes that call for zesting an orange or a lemon, but I find myself using my microplane for other more common uses.
I go through a lot of garlic when I cook so I buy garlic cloves that are already peeled. When I need to add garlic to my recipes, instead of pulling out a knife and cutting board or a garlic press (that always seems to leave a lot of garlic in the press), I just whip out my microplane and with garlic clove in hand, I easily rub the garlic clove back and forth across the plane.
The finely grated garlic collects on the underside of the microplane that I can then tap against my pan and the garlic easily drops into whatever I’m adding it to. Does the same trick for grating fresh ginger and I also like to use it for grating hard cheeses like Parmesan or Romano.
Even better is that because the microplane is so thin, it takes up very little room in my kitchen and can easily be washed by hand or in the dishwasher!
They call this tool a fish spatula because it is typically used in restaurants for turning fish when cooking delicate fillets because the spatula has a tapered flat but flexible slotted metal head.
This spatula is still definitely good for that purpose, but I use it for just about every other time I need a metal spatula - flipping pancakes, frying eggs, transferring cookies from the baking sheet to the cooling rack, basically every time I need a thin blade to slide under a food that needs to either be flipped or picked up off of a pan.
A quick trick to making a really nice roast chicken, beef, or pork is to brown it on the stove and then finish the cooking process in the oven. The problem then is that you typically have to use one pan to cook it on the stove then transfer the meat to an oven safe dish or roasting pan. With this pan, you can do both, thus reducing the need for a second pan!
The aluminum surface of the pan is perfect for getting that beautiful color when you’re searing your meat. Then, because the pan and handle is completely oven safe, once the searing process is complete, the entire pan, meat and all, can go into the oven to finish roasting off.
However, be careful! The silicone wrap on the handle is what keeps you from burning your hand when you’re using the pan on the stove. Once the pan goes into the oven, the entire handle will get HOT!! including the silicone grip so you will need to use a good oven mitt when removing the pan from the oven and then wrap the pan handle with a towel because the handle will take at least 15 minutes or more to cool down enough to touch with your bare hand.
No doubt about it. $200-$250 is a lot of dough (no pun intended), to drop on a mixer. But if we’re talking about the KitchenAid stand mixer, then believe me when I say that it’s worth every penny!
Aside from the fact that these mixers are built like a tank (and weigh as much as one!), they will probably last longer than any of the major appliances that are in your kitchen. I’ve had my 4.5 qt. cobalt blue KitchenAid mixer for over 15 years now and that’s a long time in my book. It’s older than both of my kids!
Now in those 15 plus years, my mixer has stirred through countless dozens of cookies (I never bake less than a double recipe at a time), whipped up gallons of whipping cream, stirred through hundreds of pans of one-bowl brownies, kneaded it’s share of bread dough and more recently, rolled out yards and yards of pasta, just to name a few. My list goes on… but so does my mixer!!
I can honestly say that my KitchenAid runs as smoothly today as the day I got it. I’ve yet to replace any of the attachments much less the stainless steel bowl. And by the way, when I received my mixer, it wasn’t even new! It was a hand-me-down from my mom (who cooks even more than I do), so I knew it had already been through a workout with her.
So don’t let anyone tell you that it’s ridiculous to pay that kind of money for a small kitchen appliance. Let’s see… $250 divided by 15+ years of good eats? This machine will pay for itself!
For a quick look at all of the items above check out the COOK store on Amazon.