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Kitchen Rules series: Part 3 “Utensils & Gadgets”

April 6, 2010

It’s been longer than we had hoped since we added to this series, but our reason is solid:  we have been up to our eyeballs in cake!  Lots of projects came our way in a short amount of time, so the series was put on hold in the interim.

When we last posted for the Kitchen Rules series, we talked about a well-stocked kitchen and we felt strongly that utensils are such a huge part of a chef’s collection that they deserve a segment all of their own. 

I don’t know about you, but my kitchen utensils and gadgets are my pride and joy.  I have a secret little addiction to collecting the latest and coolest gadgets that are on the market, much to my husband’s chagrin and mild amusement.  It got so bad that I actually had to restrain myself for a while there.  Pampered Chef became bad words in our home, never to be uttered in my husband’s presence for fear he would die from a fit of apoplexy.

With that said, let’s see what the fuss is all about.  We’ve decided to go about this in the form of a (long) list.  (For those of you who know me well, please keep your list-making comments to yourselves!)

I am a bad judge about what is a basic essential and what is frivolous based on my sad addiction so you have to judge for yourself.  Next to some gadgets I put a small blurb telling you about the greatness/necessity of the tool.  You decide if you want it, but remember:  if you opt against a particular tool and then find yourself needing it…I TOLD YOU SO!!!!  🙂

“UTENSILS:  TOOLS & GADGETS”

measuring cups – dry measure: Yes..there is a difference!  Use these for things like flour and sugar, but never for liquids!

All-Clad Stainless-Steel Measuring Cups & Spoons

(picture courtesy of Williams-Sonoma)

measuring cups – wet measure:  Use only for liquids, not dry ingredients!  Personally, I prefer the stainless steel type.  Mine come from Williams-Sonoma.

measuring spoons:  Stainless steel are nice and last longer!

vegetable peeler:  These come available for righties and lefties.  Both my husband and I are lefties, as are two of our three children, so we purchased a lefty one.  I forget that once in a while and then giggle when my mom or MIL are helping in the kitchen and simply cannot get it to work!

microplane rasp grater:  I use this for zesting citrus fruits.

regular box grater:  Grated cheese, anyone?

flat spatulas:  Other than serving as a weapon against siblings (as my son uses it), these are great for flipping pancakes, eggs, and such.

offset icing spatula:  I simply cannot live without mine to ice cakes.  One day I thought it was lost, and I almost sat down to cry! 

ladle

cake slicer/server

skimmer:  Great for taking fat off the surface of soups and other liquid recipes, especially soup.

spoon rest:  Keeps the counter clean(er)!

cutting boards:  I have one huge wooden one that has a little drain all along the edges to catch run-off.  I use this one when I want to carve a large pice of meat (whole chicken or turkey, London broil, etc).  However, for chopping and other prep work, I have medium and small plastic ones that I love.  They are non-absorbent poly and don’t retain odors or harmful bacteria like wooden ones do. 

wooden spoons

silicone spatulas:  I love mine.  It scrapes all the remnants of cake batter from the bowl.

scoopers – various sizes:  I use mine not only for ice cream but also for scooping batter into cupcake pans.  This allows me to get the same amount of batter for each and therefore makes for evenly sized cupcakes!

tongs:  Get multiple sizes!

trivets:  Protects your table and counters.

sifter:  For those recipes that call for sifted flour and confectioner’s sugar.

(picture courtesy of The Pampered Chef)

cooling racks:  A must-have.  I like stackable ones, which I purchased from Pampered Chef.

pastry brush set:  I like the silicone ones because they do not release annoying bristles into the food you are working with!

sugar shaker:  Great for dusting cookies and such with powdered sugar.

silicone rolling-pin:  I use mine for rolling fondant, but still prefer my wooden one for pie dough.

salad spinner

colanders

strainers

cheese cloth

kitchen twine

whisk:  I like my metal one, but some might make an argument for the plastic ones.

apple peeler/corer:  My kids love apples and I also love making apple desserts in the fall, so mine gets a serious work-out all year round!

(picture courtesy of The Pampered Chef)

apple wedger:  I love this gadget.  Again, purchased it from Pampered Chef (can you see why the hubby hates it??) and use it often.  After you peel your apple, you simply place it on the cutting board and center this gadget over the apple’s core.  Using firm pressure, you can easily cut the apple into eight wedges for a quick snack or even for pie!

strawberry huller:  My husband made fun of me for this purchase but I caught him using it once…and he loved it!

citrus juicer

vegetable chopper:  I use mine to chop onions so that I don’t cry!

garlic press

olive oil mister

vegetable steamer

pizza stone

melamine mixing bowl set:  Stores easily and are very useful.  Get ones with a rubber bottom so it doesn’t go slipping around the counter when you are mixing!

salt keeper

pepper mill:  I feel so professional when I use it!  🙂

can opener:  The one Pampered Chef gadget I don’t love it is this.  It is a pain to use, although I purchased it because it doesn’t leave a sharp edge on the cans, so it is a lot safer for my kids.

wine opener:  I don’t know how I would survive without it!  🙂

bottle opener:  For the hubby’s beers.

kitchen shears:  My husband uses ours to cut pizza…don’t ask but it works well!

pizza wheel:  The more traditional way to cut pizza.

I am sure we could go on and on, but these seems like enough to get you on the road to a fully stocked kitchen.  If you think of any others, we’d love to hear about them, so be sure to comment and let us know!

Happy baking!

Christina & Meghan

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