Cooking Tools: The More You Have, The More You Can Do!
There is a vast difference between cooking from scratch and cooking prepared foods in many ways. One way discussed here is the cooking tools needed to prepare each.
When serving prepared foods, only the basics are needed. A few pots, pans, stirring spoons, knives and of course the ever-necessary can opener, will get you a long way.
The good news is that you can prepare great-tasting meals from scratch with the same cooking tools! However, the more you enhance your skills, your desire to venture out into areas requiring more specialized cooking tools will increase.
Remember, the purpose of this web site is to teach you to feed your family without breaking the bank, so you don’t want to run out and make the Pampered Chef stock price go up single-handedly. Garage sales, eBay and Craig’s list might come in handy. You might also keep a keen eye open for sales. I bought a pressure cooker at J.C. Penny’s for less than $20 on sale. That pressure cooker has put out a ton of great-tasting budget-minded foods and all because I kept my eyes open for a deal. The key with all of these techniques is to be patient. Remember, you don’t need it now. Be patient and you’ll have your gourmet kitchen outfitted before you know it.
Continue to check the web site. I’ll occasionally be posting some of those less than run-of-the-mill tools and how they are used.
In plain terms, a pressure cooker is a pot with a lid that seals and has a regulator to release the steam, thus building up pressure inside the vessel. This tool is great for tenderizing meats and quickly cooking dry beans.
Crockpots are neat tools every budget-minded cook should have. They typically consist of a large removable ceramic, lidded pot which fits down into a metal warmer. They can be simple or fancy. The simplest of crockpots have a high and low setting and the most fancy will have digital readouts with a number of settings. I’ve found that one which has low, high and warm settings fits all of my needs. The fancier you get the more things you have to break. The beauty of crockpots, also frequently called slow cookers, is that you cook a lesser cut of meat over a long time and tenderize it down to a delicious meal – and that saves you money. Click on the crockpot headline above to learn more, see some recipes and other resources.
Zester or Microplane
A Microplane or zester is a must have for a well-rounded kitchen. We use it for grating hard cheeses like Parmesan, chocolates or zesting things like lemons, oranges, Coconut, ginger. All these zesty and tasty foods will help make that blasé meal a real family favorite winner.
A kitchen must have a garlic press to be complete. Garlic is such a wonderful ingredient to add to meals and nothing beats freshly pressed garlic - we have tried it all and fresh cloves truly add the most flavor and real sweet and hot flavor - never bitter. I have had this garlic press for about 15 years and we just picked it up at a local grocery store. It has really held up even though you can see it is showing its age now. Get one, you will not be disappointed.
Lemon or Orange Juicer
We have used every type of juicer and have found this one to be the best. My wife got it for me as a Christmas gift from a local discount chain and I have never used the old-fashioned kind since. She got me the orange one which is larger than the one designed for lemons because sometimes lemons are quite large and this way we can do either oranges or lemons with just one utensil - that helps save on storage space and we only had to purchase one item! She scored...
Turners or Spatulas
We finally broke down a few years back and bought some good spatulas or turners. We have two that are our go to's and really must use them each and every day. This LamsonSharp turner is great for our stainless steel pans. It has a great angled edge and the blade is so thin and it really is sharp - not really a sharpened edge but it is precision thin and great for really scraping that item off the bottom of the pan.
This gray Matfer Turner is perfect for any non-stick surface. We use it all the time to cook our eggs. The Matfer Turner is molded from one piece of Polyamid plastic. It is shaped to fit nicely in your hand. The best feature is its beveled front edge and semi-rigid flexibility - it is not floppy and droopy. It is resistant to 430F. Matfer products are made in France. We use this turner every day, no doubt.
Silicone and Wire Whisks
Having plenty of wire and silicone whisks around can be very helpful when whisking up that special sauce. I have 3 silicone and 3 wire. Why do you need so many you might ask? Good question too! You don't at first but I got these as sets at our big box bulk store so they were a real deal. The different sizes are helpful depending on how much you are whisking or how fine it needs to be. For a fine, thin sauce a thin wire will whip it into shape and the thicker wires are great for heavier thicker things.
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