Over the years, I had seen, and sadly collected, so many gizmos that I now call “Uni-tools.” They do one thing, but take up so much space in my kitchen drawers and cabinets.
While I was in Culinary School one of the Chef’s always said “Use the RIGHT tool for the job.” Over my two years there, I realized that meant I needed to use the Original tool for the job. The tool that had been used since the times of Auguste Escoffier. Although those implements have developed and often mechanized over time, the basics are still the best tools for the job.
Here you will find a list of the instruments that I just can’t Bake, or Cook, without.
Stainless Steel Ice Cream Scoops
A Great stainless steel Ice Cream Scoop is a must! Its keeps things clean & consistent. Also, it removes the issue of unused, or dripped batter going to waste. That is a culinary No-No! I have these in a bunch of different sizes to use for pancake batter, cupcakes, and truffles. The best part, they do very well in the dishwasher!
This is in my top 3 most important Kitchen Tools. It takes the “Scrape the sides of the bowl”, out of the recipe! It does it on its own. It also cleans up nicely on the top rack of the dishwasher.
Chef’n Switchit All-Purpose Silicone Spatula
I LOVE this for baking. Its easy to clean, and gets every little bit from the bowl. Although you can wash it on the top rack of the dishwasher, its so easy to run a sponge over it, its not worth it. I have several of these, and prefer the white and green colors. You can find them on Amazon for around $10.
Chef’n Switchit Silicone Spoon Spatula
This one is best for Cooking.
I use this every single night when I make dinner, that’s why I have several. It has a metal rod that runs through the center of it, so its sturdy enough to break up browning ground beef, or sausage. Its wonderful moving chopped onions around while sauteing, scraping the bottom of a pan while de-glazing, all while gentle enough to use on non-stick or porcelain Le Creuset dutch ovens.
So first and foremost, I am a pastry chef. I one of the products that makes cake baking so much neater, and easier is a parchment paper circle. These are pre-cut to whichever size you’d like. I tend to keep the 9″ on hand, then just make my own for 8″. Here is an amazingly clear video on how to do that. Click here
Escali Kitchen Scale
This is something that no pastry chef can live without. Its the tool that us Culinary Mad Scientists use the most. But, for the average home cook or baker, its just as useful. I use it to measure out chicken when I am butchering it myself, dividing a huge jar of pasta sauce into portions to freeze, and of course for scaling out baking ingredients for bread making. It comes in a ton of fun colors, so it’ll match any kitchen decor. You can find it at Sur la table, Bed Bath and Beyond, and of course Amazon.com.
7″ Santoku , Meridian Elite by Messermeister
This is my third baby, after Bacardi & Harley (my kitties). I LOVE this knife. When I started culinary school I was using the standard 9″ chef’s knife. About 25 minutes into my Intro to Kitchen Skills class, and about 20 carrots in to my first pile of practice vegetables, the Chef came and told me I needed to have a new knife by our next class. He explained how all 5’4″ of me couldn’t provide enough leverage for a knife that size. At the sight of my feeling insulted, he gave me one of his knives to use that was 7″. Immediately I felt more in control of the tool, my hand hurt less (although the rest of the pile of carrots would soon build a permanent callous), and it was much lighter. From then on, this knife has been my “machete”, or tool for every job!
These are great knives because they are of good quality, light in weight, and easy to sharpen on any steel. They come in lots of different colors and because they are inexpensive (around $10) you can have a few around. They also come with a nice sturdy sheath (blade cover), at no extra charge.
Messermeister Regular Sharpening Steel
If you are going to invest in good knives, or just want to get the most out of the ones you have, a steel is a must. I don’t care for the high-tech knife sharpeners. They are bulky and take up a lot of room in the drawer, but even worse some actually damage the knives. They do so by removing layers of steel as opposed to re-shaping it, which will cut down on the life and quality of your knife each time you “sharpen” it. So, keep it simple. This steel is very basic. It has a great weight to it, and has a ring to hang it on your kitchen wall. It runs about $25 online.
This is a must have for all homes. It’s a tortilla warmer made of insulated material, so there is NO risk of it melting. (C’mon, you know its happened to you too! No? Ok, uh… me neither…) It eliminates, and I mean ELIMINATES the need for frying tortillas for dishes like enchiladas, taquitos, and tacos. You can try it out with my Chipotle Lime Vegetarian Taquitos.
I had never heard of a “Mushroom Brush”, until my mother in law showed up to my house with 3 of them. (Trust me, one is enough.) I use it to clean mushrooms, as well as to clean the outside of sweet potatoes and squash. Then, I just throw it in the silverware basket of the dishwasher and wash it that way. Its great for my “Aunt Jodi’s Stuffed Mushrooms, Re-Created” recipe!