Print Story What do we really need in our kitchen?
Food
By gzt (Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 12:03:59 PM EST) gzt, kitchen (all tags)
And what things are overrated nonsense that we won't really use?


We've already got the basics of a few sauce pans, frying pans, stock pots (mmm veal stock), cast-iron skillet, 8-inch chef knife, paring knife, down, but what else is really necessary in the kitchen? We're not skilled "foodies" by any stretch of the imagination, but we can both make basic pastries and such and we like cookbooks like "Fat" and "Nose to Tail Eating", though some of the things are a little beyond our reach.

But, you know, comments like, "Oh, man, I simply could not live without my dutch oven," or, "Honestly, the garlic press is just a waste of valuable drawer space no matter how much garlic I eat," are what I'm after.

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What do we really need in our kitchen? | 67 comments (67 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Garlic press == fail by gazbo (4.00 / 3) #1 Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 12:32:02 PM EST
Good peeler == win. Not for crushing garlic, mind, more for peeling tasks.

Also get an appropriate sharpener for your knife. Watching people chop onions with a blunt knife makes me weep.


I recommend always assuming 7th normal form where items in a text column are not allowed to rhyme.

And a wok by gazbo (4.00 / 2) #2 Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 12:35:39 PM EST
I'm going to commit the gravest sin imaginable by saying that decent non-stick woks are the way ahead. I know everyone loves to talk about how great real woks are as long as you use my-special-seasoning-technique and you clean the wok immediately and, and, and.  But having used both types for a while, I've got to say that for a home kitchen, non-stick wins hands-down.

I recommend always assuming 7th normal form where items in a text column are not allowed to rhyme.

[ Parent ]
With silicon utensils, natch. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #3 Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 12:38:47 PM EST


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I honestly think woks are overrated by gzt (2.00 / 0) #4 Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 12:41:54 PM EST
Unless you're the stir fry king.

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wok by garlic (2.00 / 0) #66 Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 05:11:22 PM EST
I have a wok, and I prefer my iron skillet to my wok.


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+4.. by Metatone (2.00 / 0) #26 Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 02:36:21 PM EST
My monstrously heavy non-stick wok is the perfect curry making vehicle for modern life.


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Please to explain by motty (2.00 / 0) #33 Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 05:13:11 PM EST
What's wrong with a garlic press?

I amd itn ecaptiaghle of drinking sthis d dar - Dr T
[ Parent ]
Pros vs cons by gazbo (4.00 / 2) #34 Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 05:50:21 PM EST
The minor advantage in preparation time is dwarfed by the time taken to clean the bastards afterwards. And if you don't clean them soon afterwards (perhaps you foolishly think soaking might help) then your kitchen ends up stinking.

I admit to occasionally using one when making a salad dressing or similar; where the garlic really does have to be mushed rather than sliced.  But mark my words, I'm looking for an alternative.


I recommend always assuming 7th normal form where items in a text column are not allowed to rhyme.

[ Parent ]
Hrm by motty (2.00 / 0) #36 Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 06:07:24 PM EST
For me it's a major advantage in preparation time. I love garlic and use it a lot. I'd go so far to say as I use a lot of it a lot. I do not love chopping garlic by hand however, which is what I will nevertheless do in the absence of a press, and up until recently, I spent a lot of time doing this.

Now I've got a decent quality press again, and I find it does not take at all long to clean. When I use it I am careful to get the maximum garlicky goodness out of it into my food - I'm happy to stand there brushing away at it carefully with the knife until most of the garlic is in the food not the press, scraping up the squidgy bits that get left so the next pressing will push them through and so on - so there isn't much left to clean anyway. Also mine is the kind where the press bit is removable, which I think makes it a lot easier and quicker to clean.

I amd itn ecaptiaghle of drinking sthis d dar - Dr T

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(Comment Deleted) by xth (4.00 / 1) #46 Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 07:08:34 AM EST

This comment has been deleted by xth



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Works for me by motty (2.00 / 0) #49 Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 09:19:27 AM EST
Then again, I have a good quality garlic press but do not at this time have good quality knives.

I amd itn ecaptiaghle of drinking sthis d dar - Dr T
[ Parent ]
Messy by Merekat (4.00 / 1) #47 Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 07:14:37 AM EST
If I'm in a hurry, I throw them in whole and fish 'em out later (if necessary). With a bit more time, I use the fine side of the grater. If I'm not in a hurry, I use a knife.


[ Parent ]
cleaver == world's best garlic peeler by clover kicker (2.00 / 0) #45 Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 06:57:21 AM EST
So it seems only natural to use the same cleaver to chop the garlic.

As a bonus, cleaver + wee cutting board both fit in the dishwasher.

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Ignore the unbeliever! by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #52 Tue Sep 08, 2009 at 08:24:35 AM EST
Get This garlic press. Very easy to clean.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

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(Comment Deleted) by xth (2.00 / 0) #63 Tue Sep 08, 2009 at 08:14:04 PM EST

This comment has been deleted by xth



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Get a real pop corn popper by lm (2.00 / 0) #5 Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 01:58:47 PM EST
If you like popcorn, that is. Air poppers and microwave popcorn are both massive fail.

I really like my Pyrex™ casserole dishes. They used to have plastic snap-on covers which made them great for taking casseroles to carry-ins. But one got lost and one of my daughters re-heated a casserole in the other without taking the plastic lid off.

I also really like my stainless steel baking sheet. It's a rather heavy gauge. I could probably affix it to a wooden handle and use it for a battle axe.

And it doesn't get as much use now, but for several years, life would have been unbearable in our house without a crockpot. I really like being able to put dinner together the night before, store it in the fridge over night, plug in the next morning and come home to a piping hot meal.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
I could use some crockpot recipes by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #6 Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 03:00:59 PM EST
I make a beef stew, and baked beans, I need more.


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Do you like lentil soup? <nt> by miker2 (2.00 / 0) #17 Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 07:25:17 AM EST



Ah, sociopathy. How warm, how comforting, thy sweet embrace. - MNS
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Yes by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #28 Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 02:51:32 PM EST



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Recipe by miker2 (4.00 / 1) #50 Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 09:34:41 AM EST
Add this to a crockpot on 'low' for  hours:
- 2.5 quarts boiling water
- 4 boullion cubes, chicken or veggie
- 4 bay leaves
- small can tomato paste
- 4 medium carrots, shredded
- 3 (or more) cloves of garlic, chopped
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 1 lb bag of lentils
- pepper

After 7 hours, add 3/4 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup red wine vinegar and cook for another 2 hours.

It's awesome, I make it every Sunday for lunch during the week.


Ah, sociopathy. How warm, how comforting, thy sweet embrace. - MNS
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Panini press + lots of cheese by Driusan (4.00 / 1) #7 Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 03:15:49 PM EST
I love our panini press. If you like coffee, get a nice coffee press or espresso maker (the stove top kind, not the fancy electric ones, unless you really like coffee. Coffee grinders are nice to have too if you like making good, fresh coffee, but by no means essential.)

If you're buying appliances, get the kind of fridge with the freezer on the bottom, not old kind on the top. They're just a little more expensive and a million times better. (Ditto for glass top stove vs conventional heating coils.)

It depends on what you guys use, which the two of you know more than anyone on HuSi, but my general advice for house stuff is: pay more to get stuff you really like rather than getting cheap shit "just to have it." That way you'll keep it and actually enjoy using it, rather than getting sick of it and frustrated then buying a new, more expensive one after a little while anyways.

--
Vive le Montréal libre.

pay more? by gzt (4.00 / 1) #11 Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 09:32:53 PM EST
shit, mate, I'm getting married, we're registering for this stuff.

but that is my philosophy in general. Put money where it matters and make it last. Spend the $1000 on a bed, you'll be on it for a third of your life for the next 10 years. Get the soft toilet paper. Buy the pots you can expect to pass on to your grandchildren still in pristine condition. etc

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re: toilet paper by infinitera (4.00 / 1) #12 Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 09:43:18 PM EST
I don't understand people who try to save a few cents with thin/harsh TP.

Unfortunately those people include my mom and MiL.

[…] a professional layabout. Which I aspire to be, but am not yet. — CheeseburgerBrown

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I KNOW by gzt (4.00 / 1) #13 Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 09:52:21 PM EST
That number included my last roommate. Even the TP at work was more luxurious than the stuff he would buy. I mean, y'know, buy the generic brand of the soft stuff, wait until it's on sale and buy in bulk, but, seriously, it's not worth it to get the rough stuff! You can save that $2/month somewhere else in your budget! I mean, you don't have to go all extra froofy, I find the low-end soft stuff is perfectly acceptable, but WHY OH WHY would anybody accept that final leap down to the harsh stuff?!?

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the soft stuff by StackyMcRacky (4.00 / 1) #18 Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 09:06:25 AM EST
pills on my ass and does not get me clean!

get me some sandpaper that will clean me off!

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OMGTMI by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #29 Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 03:09:04 PM EST

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

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I use a sugarcane one by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #31 Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 04:16:15 PM EST
It's called Papura, and it's lovely and gentle on the bum, but also strong. It's 3-ply of very thin sheets. Well worth trying if you find anything like it.

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i'm in the process by StackyMcRacky (2.00 / 0) #37 Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 06:33:26 PM EST
of converting to cloth.  cleans better than any disposable wipe, and is cheaper and more hippie friendly in the long run.

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Yeah, but by barooo (2.00 / 0) #54 Tue Sep 08, 2009 at 11:46:57 AM EST
Then you have shit-covered rags to deal with.

I guess this is similar to "diapers" except that's only for a few years per iteration, not the rest of your life.


man, i need a beefy taco now.
-gzt
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we use cloth diapers by StackyMcRacky (2.00 / 0) #56 Tue Sep 08, 2009 at 12:09:31 PM EST
and it's really not as bad as you think it would be.  in fact, i'm irked that i listened to people and didn't use cloth from the beginning.

and you don't really "deal" with them.  you just throw them in the wash, run 2 cycles, then throw them in the dryer.  the end.

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(Comment Deleted) by xth (2.00 / 0) #61 Tue Sep 08, 2009 at 08:07:27 PM EST

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damn by gzt (2.00 / 0) #64 Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 08:51:02 AM EST
you and R would get along so well - is there something in that houston water?!

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pollution by StackyMcRacky (2.00 / 0) #65 Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 09:14:16 AM EST
her brother thinks i'm nuts.

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Oh, in that case.. by Driusan (2.00 / 0) #19 Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 09:15:13 AM EST
A2 started missing her old roommate's blender when we moved in together. It's good for making smoothies and the like.

I prefer toaster ovens over microwaves and neither of us really miss the microwave except when we get a craving for microwave popcorn or want to re-delicify an old croissant, but if neither of you cook YMMV.

And every registry should, of course, have "two lifetime supplies of the most expensive motherfucking toilet paper in this store" on it.

--
Vive le Montréal libre.

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speaking by bobdole (2.00 / 0) #43 Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 04:25:35 AM EST
of getting "free shit", if coffee is your thing. Get a nespresso-machine. Yes it's politically uncorrect and "expensive", but it makes good coffee without any cleaning and hassle.

-- The revolution will not be televised.
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Get one of those better job things. by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #8 Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 06:39:46 PM EST
That way you can pay other people to perform the drudgery of preparing your meals.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

It's called a wife. by gzt (4.00 / 3) #10 Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 09:17:35 PM EST
I'd expect you to know that one.

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haha by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #15 Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 03:06:11 AM EST
literally the funniest hing i've read today. thanks!

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

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those models of wife have been discontinued by clover kicker (4.00 / 5) #21 Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 10:42:10 AM EST
It's almost impossible to find a wife these days that supports the meal-cooking feature.

Also, please consider the TCO when shopping for a wife, the long term costs can be extreme, and getting out of your contract isn't always easy.

[ Parent ]
she seems to really want to cook for me? by gzt (4.00 / 1) #27 Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 02:49:09 PM EST
I hope it's not really a conspiracy.

[ Parent ]
i cook. by StackyMcRacky (4.00 / 2) #38 Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 06:35:44 PM EST
i also recently made a 1950s-esque shirtdress AND a 1940s style apron.  and i picked up a good pair of rubber gloves for cleaning the house (it seems i am allergic to SLS in cleaning agents).

i'm a freak.

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I'm reminded of an old Doonesbury by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #53 Tue Sep 08, 2009 at 08:27:31 AM EST
Where Mike looks at what he likes and starts screaming "AIEEE! I'm my parents!"

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
I managed to find one by houser2112 (4.00 / 1) #58 Tue Sep 08, 2009 at 01:01:39 PM EST
But the true TCO is turning out to be much higher than the already considerable, advertised TCO.

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Sounds like youve got the basics by LinDze (4.00 / 1) #9 Sat Sep 05, 2009 at 07:35:30 PM EST
small (<=1l) sauce pan/pots are handy if you're only cooking for two. More cast iron skillets are always awesome. 8 & 12" are good but I even use 15" as a faux griddle.

The only gimmicky thing I an think of is ramekins. Ohhh, and graters. Accutec rocks my cheesy world.

-Lin Dze
Arbeit Macht Frei

I couldn't live without my Juice Weaselâ„¢. -nt by chuckles (2.00 / 0) #14 Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 12:59:08 AM EST


"The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin [...] would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities"
the Juice Weasel is inferior by codemonkey uk (2.00 / 0) #51 Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 12:34:23 PM EST
wedding listing? by Merekat (4.00 / 2) #16 Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 04:57:59 AM EST
Stuff you'll never want to buy yourself but curse when you don't have it - nice big serving dishes for stuff.


A chef by me0w (4.00 / 1) #20 Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 09:34:44 AM EST

"the only reason we PMS is because our uterus is screaming at our brain to go out, get fucked, and have a baby ... and it makes us angry."
Can't live without..... by technician (4.00 / 2) #22 Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 11:13:37 AM EST
....hrm.

A decent NSF approved "soft" cutting surface (I have a whit poly one that is two feet by 18 inches), a set of small metal bowls to help sort the prep stuff, and a decent spice rack / shelf / method. Also a set of wooden spoons, a set of nonstick-safe spoons and turners, and a set of metal turners. For some reason I have seven sets of metal tongs.

Measuring devices for wet and dry in glass and plastic.

A small kitchen scale.

A heavy wood / bamboo cutting board, big enough for bread or a rack of ribs.

Four or so aluminum cookie sheets. Four or so 8" aluminum pans from someplace like Ace Mart. One decent stainless 3qt saucier, and at least one brazing / roasting pan with a rack (nothing fancy, no need for an adjustable rack).

As far as needless nice to have stuff, I like my bread machine.

I agree with this list by yankeehack (4.00 / 1) #23 Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 11:30:21 AM EST
although I think seven sets of tongs are a bit much... (unless you're doing a heckuva lot of entertaining...)

Also, metal bowls are good dual use for food prep and serving. One of the better investments I've made.
"...she dares to indulge in the secret sport. You can't be a MILF with the F, at least in part because the M is predicated upon it."-CBB

[ Parent ]
I seem to end up with by technician (2.00 / 0) #24 Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 12:32:01 PM EST
tongs for each BBQ, but it turns out 6 are required: two for 20 pounds of brisket, 2 for pork / sheep, and two others for various non-meat serving duties.

Bizarre that I don't remember buying any of them except for the first set.

[ Parent ]
prep bowls! by gzt (2.00 / 0) #25 Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 01:17:27 PM EST
I always forget those and whenever I'm in a kitchen with them I make a mental note that those would be good to have.

Mental note: those would be good to have.

[ Parent ]
This has just reminded me by gazbo (4.00 / 1) #30 Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 03:26:57 PM EST
Roasting tins and similar. Useful to have enough to roast a large joint in one, while doing roast potato etc. in another and leek au gratin in a third.

Even better if they're attractive enough to serve up in when you have guests - "oven to tableware", I believe they're called.

Oh, and weighing scales.  I'm a fan of digital scales, as you can put a half-prepared bowl o' stuff on them, then zero it in one button press before weighing in the next ingredient.


I recommend always assuming 7th normal form where items in a text column are not allowed to rhyme.

[ Parent ]
What is this weighing thing? by R343L (4.00 / 1) #32 Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 04:39:42 PM EST
I haven't weighed anything except at the store in ... forever. I suppose this might be why some of my cooking doesn't come out quite right.

As regards roasting things, if you're doing things like roast potatoes (cut up with seasoning kind) or roast veggies or things like cookies or granola or .. well whatever, I love my Silpat.

"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot

[ Parent ]
Silpat by gazbo (2.00 / 0) #35 Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 05:55:47 PM EST
How does that thing hold an artery-crushing quantity of goose fat?!

Weighing things is awesome.  Essential(ish) if you're making bread, but also fantastically lazy.  Add 150ml of milk? Fuck getting out the measuring jug and creating more washing, just weigh 150g into the mixing bowl.

Note for Americans: 150ml = 0.000523736089 hogsheads and 150g = 0.0102782649 slugs


I recommend always assuming 7th normal form where items in a text column are not allowed to rhyme.

[ Parent ]
Ahem by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #40 Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 06:50:45 PM EST
That's 0.000523730415 American hogsheads.

[ Parent ]
Silpats are not for things with goose fat! by R343L (2.00 / 0) #41 Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 06:54:00 PM EST
They are for things that should be crispy-ish or dry or something you want to easily remove.

However, I could see you laying a silpat in an appropriate sized roasting pan thus making it easier to clean the roasting pan after cooking something with artery-crushing quantities of goose fat. However, any reasonable person would, after roasting something like that, deglase the pan on the stove and make tasty gravy. So, yeah, no silpats for that. Good for cookies though. :)

"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot

[ Parent ]
Also, by R343L (2.00 / 0) #42 Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 06:55:19 PM EST
I was obviously being intentionally obtuse about this weighing thing. I just don't bake often enough (or complicatedly enough) for me to bother (though I think I did once upon a time like eight months ago). Moreover, I don't dirtying measuring cups and the like since I just immediately rinse them and stick them on the drying rack ... :)

"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot
[ Parent ]
weighing is more accurate by StackyMcRacky (4.00 / 1) #39 Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 06:38:07 PM EST
really only necessary in baking.  we wing it with most of our cooking "eh, that looks good"

[ Parent ]
cooking is art, baking is science by clover kicker (4.00 / 1) #44 Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 06:53:51 AM EST
Precision matters in baking, which is pretty much applied chemistry.

[ Parent ]
In theory by technician (4.00 / 1) #59 Tue Sep 08, 2009 at 01:03:09 PM EST
cooking is, as well, if you're using a classical method. Each of your classic French recipes from, say, Le Cordon Bleu is going to be precise to the point of psychosis. For instance in my notes: Dice that chive precisely 1mm per slice, with a cover area of no less than 6cm by 6cm by 2mm, so exactly 3/4ths of a cup, assuming the chives will be bedded onto a cream surface with a tension "not unlike an egg."

Crazy shit. But every time you make, say, ratatouille, it will come out precisely the same. Every single time.

Home cooking is more forgiving that home baking, certainly. But in a kitchen that practices any classical cuisine, repeatability (in large numbers and over many iterations) is key.  You cook a roast with cream veggies for 800 covers a night, you do it like a robot: precise, fast, and consistent.

[ Parent ]
I could argue by clover kicker (4.00 / 1) #60 Tue Sep 08, 2009 at 06:54:39 PM EST
that 800/night of anything is no longer art :)

I think what most people take from that saying is that you can sometimes save a mediocre stew at the last minute with a bit of salt/spice/whatever, but if you left anything out of your muffin recipe you're doomed before it even hits the oven.

[ Parent ]
(Comment Deleted) by xth (4.00 / 1) #62 Tue Sep 08, 2009 at 08:10:46 PM EST

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[ Parent ]
prep bowls by barooo (2.00 / 0) #55 Tue Sep 08, 2009 at 11:49:27 AM EST
for the win.

also:
  • scale
  • another chef's knife if you both cook at the same time...  I think I have a 10".
  • dutch oven (cast iron, or better yet enameled cast, but those are super spendy)
  • a really good 10" stainless clad frying pan (all clad, sitram, etc...  Something that's copper clad and well made) for searing and pan sauces.  I used to use cast iron for this, but you get much more and better fond with the SS.
  • a scale.
  • consider a good instant read thermometer like a thermapen
  • a scale
  • a couple of heavy wooden spoons
  • a couple of good balloon whisks
  • and finally, a heavy pizza stone.  leave it on the floor of your oven always, and it helps regulate temperature even if you're not cooking on it.
  • And a scale.


man, i need a beefy taco now.
-gzt
[ Parent ]
Oh hell, forgot about by technician (2.00 / 0) #57 Tue Sep 08, 2009 at 12:54:38 PM EST
the instant read thermometers.  I have four of 'em, two are large and tuned for meat on a smoker (lower temp range) and two are "normal."

But yeah, you need at least one quick read thermometer.

I line the bottom of my ovens with unglazed quarry tile instead of a pizza stone. That'll sometimes fuck with a gas oven, so you have to be careful about what you cover. My new oven hasn't had that treatment....it can be convection, and has a bizarre vent / heat layout...they warn you in the manual not to line it.

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(Comment Deleted) by xth (4.00 / 2) #48 Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 07:42:51 AM EST

This comment has been deleted by xth



things that are good to ask for for free by garlic (2.00 / 0) #67 Wed Sep 09, 2009 at 05:18:42 PM EST
stand mixer
cuizenart chopper thing.

they may not see alot of use, but they're so pricey you'dnever buy your own.


[ Parent ]
What do we really need in our kitchen? | 67 comments (67 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback