Monday, January 28, 2013

What I Cook With

Why Hello Dear Following:

Today we shall discuss my 10 most essential cooking items.  The idea comes from the blog, Nothing But Delicious, and I thought it was a good idea.  Her list seems more aimed at baking.  As I do not enjoy baking as much as I do cooking, I'm going to list my cooking gear.  I also thought ahead, so the list will be in order of least to most important.

10.  Measuring spoons. 

       These are handy but not really necessary.  Practice eliminates their need.

9.  Tiny Spatula. 

     This was the best wedding shower gift I received.  I have two and I use them almost every time I cook.  They are really good at getting in the nooks and crannies of a blender type item, or small cup or small bowl.

8.  Medium size metal bowl.

Extremely versatile for mixing eggs, mixes, liquids with dry ingredients, holding chopped veggies while you wait for it to be time to add them in.

7.  1 Cup Liquid Measuring Cup. 

This is better than the bowl because you can measure and mix all in one item.  It's just hard if it's too small to do that.  You can even add the milk and the oil in if you do fraction additions correctly, so you only have to pour your liquids in once.  Or, add the oil, add the milk, add an egg and whisk!

6.  Small metal spatula, or metal flipper thing.

This is useful to help flip pancakes, eggs, rice when you are making fried rice and don't want to break the rice kernels in half (so says Josh), flipping food when the pan is too full.  Also useful in cutting frozen ground beef off itself when you are browning it from frozen.  Useful in chopping food in the pan while it's cooking...separating onions from themselves, etc.  Really good at flipping potato cubes.  It is important that the edge is worn down to an angle so you can easily slip it under the food.

5.  Wooden cutting board.

I try to tell myself that any cutting board will do.  But it won't.  I like nice big ones that hold all your veggies while you cut more up.  I do NOT like plastic ones with legs.  I do NOT like glass ones.  We have a silicon one we use for meat so we don't get meat juice in the cracks.  That one works fine.  But I just like my big wooden one.

4.  Knife.

A knife of any kind will work, but the better quality it is, the easier it will be.  I do not like steak knives with plastic handles hidden in heavy desk drawers that leap out and attack you while you are moving the desk.  As a matter of fact, I don't like steak knives at all, and Josh seems to think they are the most important tool in the kitchen and won't let me get rid of the plastic handled attacking steak knives that we do have.  I should just pitch them anyways.  I don't even use them when we do have steak.  A good knife, at the very least, does not have a bendy blade.  Cutting something with a knife that has a blade that bends left or right is as easy as cutting something well with safety scissors.  And just because you can sharpen it, doesn't mean that it's still usable.  If it's been sharpened so much that only a quarter of the original blade is left, I think that you probably sharpen too much, wrong, or needed to get new knives 10 years ago.  A good rule to live by is to never own a knife with a cheap plastic handle.  The cheaper the handle, the cheaper the blade.

(Knives are my favorite)

3.  Wooden Spoon.

I love wooden spoons.  You need many different kinds for different uses.  But if you can only have one, get a nice solid standard one.  Emphasis on solid.  You can stir and hit more with a sturdier spoon and not worry about it breaking and splintering.  The more you use it, the more beautiful it gets.  Some people suggest the bamboo spoons because you can put those in the dishwasher, and they are nice, and it seems to have a thinner edge, so I use it on some medium weight to liquid foods, but I use the thick one (see picture) for big soups and a full pan.

2.  Cast Iron Pan. 

You really just can't cook anything without this.  I prefer this to the fancy no stick pans because you don't need to worry about fancy no scratch utensils to use with it.  The metal flipper thingy can't be used with the non scratch pans.  You'd have to pay more to get a silica covered one.  And a silica covered whisk, and plastic stir spoons, and not stick a spoon or fork in them.  I mean the non-stick pans are nice and I use them, but my true love is the cast iron pan.  You can also put it right in the oven, Josh worries about chemicals and putting the fancy pancy pan in the oven.

1.  Spices, Onions, Garlic

I know these are not tools, but I literally could not cook you dinner without these three things.  These are the essentials of my food.  Spices that are my favorite include Cumin, Salt, Black Pepper, Cajun mixes, Italian seasonings, red pepper flakes, Tabasco sauce, vinegar, caraway seeds and celery seeds.  Celery seeds being the most important of them.

That is my list.  How would your list be different?

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