Wednesday, March 25, 2009

5 kitchen tools that I love and 1 that I hate

I'd like to take a moment to celebrate five kitchen tools that I really enjoy using and one that drives me crazy. I've limited my list to (mostly) hand, non-electric or electronic tools. In no particular order:

1. Spoon rest
When my cousin sent this device to us as a gift (sans spoon, obviously), we had to call her to ask her what it was. Turns out it's a very space-efficient spoon rest. It lives in the middle of our stovetop, and has something standing in it virtually whenever we cook. Great for big wooden spoons, spatulas, rubber spatulas.

2. Egg separator
Not a great picture, but I love an egg separator because it is such a crazy one-use-only device. It does its job really well, and it does no other job at all.

3. Chocolate chunker
This is a new edition. It solves the problem of how to break off a chunk of chocolate for baking. It is very effective, chunks the chocolate with precision so that you don't get more than you want and, ahem, looks bad-ass.

4. Mezzaluna
A double-bladed mezzaluna (half-moon) knife with its own round-welled cutting board. This makes cutting the fresh herbs that we love so much not feel like drudgery. I look forward to using it both on the herbs we get from the farm and on the ones we're (finally) growing to grow ourselves this summer.

5. Timer
Also a new addition, and the one electronic tool in the bunch. This device has four timers that you can set for different times. It's terrific when half a batch goes in the oven and then the other batch goes in 6 minutes later. It's also great when there are three different things cooking on three burners, all with different cooking times. It can "remember" a time, too, so we tend to keep one of the four timers set to 4 minutes, yielding a perfect pot of tea.

And one I hate:
The Pastry Bag
Every time I use the pastry bag, whatever is going in it squishes out all over the place. This one has a good nozzle design, so I don't get leaks there, but I do have trouble filling it cleanly, and then stuff inevitably squeezes out the back end. I'm perfecting my twisting technique, which helps, but I recently saw a recipe that tipped me off to what may be the problem. It called for filling to 10 inches of a 14-16 inch bag. My bag is only 10 inches total; its small size forces me to either put very little pastry/frosting/whatever in the bag and refill a bunch (suboptimal) or squeeze it out the back end (sub-suboptimal).


Jacksons said...

Remind me to show you how to fold a pastry bag! You'll love it.

JFo said...

Can you make a video and post it to Youtube?