Must-have cooking accessories for the modern chef
As tastes change over the decades, the tools and accessories that are helpful in preparing recipes change as well. Here are some of the must-haves for your well-outfitted kitchen.
Saucepan with a little lip
Buying the best pans you can afford is essential, but most manufacturers leave lipped saucepans out of their sets -- if they actually make them.
Whether it is bechamel, soubise or bercy, a good pan is necessary for saucy success. If the pan is too light, your sauce can scorch -- too heavy and it’s hard to move quickly. You need something that conducts heat evenly and preferably has a lip so that you can move the sauce to another container easily and without mess. The Circulon Contempo Red saucepan has all of that plus a bright, cheery color and a food release system that really works.
Oven and dishwasher safe? Yes, please.
Wood cooking spoons
Wooden cooking spoons are essential because they don’t conduct heat. They won’t heat up and curdle a delicate sauce or burn your hand if you leave them in a simmering pot. Wood is gentle on your hands, your nonstick cookware and your budget. Plus, here's a little known fact -- metal spoons can sometimes react with acidic ingredients and leave an off taste in your food.
Always wash wooden spoons by hand. Once a month, you should condition your spoons by rubbing them with olive oil and letting them sit overnight, wiping the excess oil off in the morning.
A good knife sharpener is essential in any kitchen. The sharper you keep your knives, the safer and more efficient you will be in your food preparation chores. Look for an electric sharpener with diamond abrasives to keep that edge sharp and free of nicks. Check to see if you can use it on both sharp and serrated knives.
like a pro
Having a set of presenting rings will allow you to plate side dishes like rice, potatoes and layered salads just like a professional chef. Put the ring of your choice on a plate, add the layers of food carefully and then slowly slide the ring off the food. Very impressive.
An infrared, digital thermometer is the best way to decide when to take that perfect, grass-fed steak off the grill. Because it is digital, it will give you an exact temperature, allowing you to figure standing time and other details as you are cooking. Choose one with a one second response time -- even half a minute can mean the difference between perfectly cooked and shoe leather.
What are your must-have cooking tools and accessories? Leave a comment and let us know.