Have you ever wondered how those celebrity chefs always look overjoyed to be running around the kitchen cooking??
Look closer and you’ll notice they have all the proper tools, things are organized and measured out, and you probably haven’t ever seen them do the dishes!
You might have to enlist a friend, spouse or kids to take care of that last one, but this week we’re helping you deck out your kitchen to make sure you have what you need to enjoy cooking and food prep!
Start Simple: Get the Basics
1. Sharp Knives
Make sure you have sharp knives to work with! If you don’t have a good knife sharpener at home, go and get one. There’s nothing worse than trying to cut a tomato with a dull knife – you might as well use a hammer. Preparation time can be cut in half with the right knives!
2. Silicone Cookware
Do you have silicone cookware in your home? If not, it’s a must! Silicone utensils have become fairly commonplace, but now it comes in the form of muffin, loaf, and cake pans – even parchment! The non-stick capability is unbelievable AND it’s dishwasher safe!
Silicone bakeware can go straight from the freezer to the oven, and utensils won’t scrape your cooking surfaces!
*Not sure if it’s 100% silicone? Give it a pinch test. When you pinch the silicone material, if it changes color, stay away. If it looks the same, you are good to go
3. Quality Pots and Pans
Have you ever tried to cook with a wobbly pot on a cooktop? Not only is it annoying, but you’ll get uneven cooking. Still working with scratched up teflon pots and pans you’ve had for 10 years? It might be time for an upgrade!
There are some that swear by cast-iron skillets (*be careful of scratching a cooktop) and there is a “Cadillac” of pans, the carbon steel option is what most restaurants reach for – like cast iron for heat retention, but a fraction of the weight.
Have you ever used a “Chef’s Pan” AKA “Saucier Pan”? With their higher edges they can not only work for standard frying, and sautéing, but also take the place of a soup kettle for smaller batches and are excellent for “one-pan” type dishes.
4. Baking Sheet
Did you know a cookie sheet is defined as a sheet without sides, or just a small lip, and a baking sheet has a rimmed edge? The rimmed edge can be helpful to contain juices and oils for general cooking.
Look for a pan with a 10-18 gauge rating (the lower the gauge, the thicker/more durable the pan) to avoid warping and thus more uniform baking. A good quality sheet with uncoated aluminum can provide a, surprisingly, non-stick environment! You can use baking sheets to make full meals with one sheet a million different ways – just check out this Roast Chicken and Veggies Recipe!
5. Box Grater
With a high quality 4-sided box grater you can make food prep a breeze! The largest setting is perfect for the most common, cheeses of course but also vegetables like zucchini, apples, carrots, onions, cabbage, and more! Even tomatoes if you are using for sauce!
There is the side for smaller shreds. The prickly side for grating things like hard cheese and zesting citrus. The slicing side can take the place of a mandolin in a pinch.
TIP: Freeze cheese for a short time to making shredding easier.
TIP 2: Save your knuckles by purchasing Food Grade Cut Resistant Gloves!
6. Measuring Cups
Did you ever wonder why you need one of those glass type measuring cups for liquid? Why can’t you just use a regular measuring cup?
Standard measuring cups are meant for solids where you can just scrape along the top to get a precise measurement. Liquid measuring cups indicated 1C = 8 oz but it means one cup = 8 FLUID ounces.
Dry ingredients differ in weight, i.e 1C of flour = 4.5 ounces, not 8oz. If your recipe calls for ounces of dry ingredients, make sure to weigh it!
TIP: Yogurt should be measured in a liquids cup.