In the first part of the Building Blocks of Cooking series, we covered essential spices, vinegars and oils that home cooks should have in their pantries. This month, we'll highlight kitchen tools and equipment that you should have in your kitchen.
If you haven't taken a Knife Skills class yet, this is the first step to becoming a confident cook. With a bit of luck, The Chopping Block's Owner/Chef Shelley Young may even be teaching, and it really doesn’t get better than that. After all, she's been doing it for 18 years!
A sharp knife is a safe knife, and a chef's knife can get most jobs done. Whether you are more comfortable with an 8-inch knife or aren't afraid to wield a 10-inch knife, it's a good idea to invest in quality knives that will remain sharp and will do the job right.
There are many different knives for all sorts of uses. However, if you are in the market for a quality chef's knife at an incredible value, Robert Welch is a knife line to consider.
Choose the size depending in how big your household is and what you cook the most. Look for a pan with an oven-proof handle, so that you can use it for multiple tasks such as searing on the stovetop and also finishing cooking in the same pan in the oven. It's a good idea to have a couple of different sizes for different jobs.
One of the most overlooked, yet useful, tools in your kitchen is the bench scraper or dough scraper. This is an extremely versatile tool because it can be used to safely carry food from your cutting board to your pan (as opposed to using the side of your knife), scrape down your surfaces, divide dough when baking, etc.
A citrus squeezer is one tool I reach for often in the kitchen. We carry them color coded for your citrus of choice (orange, lemon, and lime) but you can get away with the lemon squeezer for most citrus.
This tool is great for zesting citrus and we use zest when making dressings and baking desserts. One of my favorite summer desserts is simply grilled fruit with orange zest, tossed with toasted pistachios, and topped with some fabulous gelato. Are you intrigued by this? Check out our Grilling Classes to learn more about this delicious dessert.
You can use the Microplane to grate cheese as well. It works well on hard cheeses like Parmesan.
A good whisk is also a very handy tool. There are a lot of different types of whisks, but a flat whisk is essential for folding batter, making pan sauces, scrambling eggs, preparing dressings and many other uses. It's also a good idea to have a silicon whisk. This heat-resistant tool won’t scratch your pans!
These little geniuses are perfect to use to scrape everything out of a bowl. These also come in a heat-resistant option, which allows them to last longer.
As you can probably tell, I could go on and on. But this list of basic cooking tools is what I recommend for all home cooks. You can always add more to your collection as you begin experimenting more in the kitchen.
Of course, we sell all of these items at both locations of The Chopping Block. We always offer great incentives for shoppers each month, and they are even better when you shop after taking a cooking class. In fact, all after-class purchases are 20% off in August!