Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Suzanne made me do it...

So the waxing of the magic that is Williams-Sonoma, and love for kitchen tools in general, continues. My friend Suzanne, who is awesome, and her fiancee Jairy, who is also awesome, are getting married in November so she asked for a few tips for her registry. Because I could go to graduate school to study kitchen gadgetry (which is much better than being a hoarder) I was happy to comply. On a totally unrelated note, does anyone remember Cliff Huxtable (a la Bill Cosby on The Cosby Show) and his love for kitchen gadgets and wasn't allowed to buy anything from Jake? Just me. Alrighty then back to my list.

1.Short Order Griddle - Which you might remember from yesterday. Let's call that one covered.

2. Frying pan - in a larger and smaller size. I have non-stick and regular versions and am quickly thinking everything should be non-stick! These are pretty much mainstays in the kitchen although the griddle could get you through for a while in cause you had to wait from birthday to Christmas then back to another holiday of your choosing.

3. Cookie Sheets - Alton Brown recommends cheap pans from restaurant supply stores and that's a pretty good suggestion. I have some pastel ones I love from last Easter at Target that make me happy because they've held up well and they're pretty. Pretty and utilitarian goes a long way for me. It's kind of how I like to see myself but I feel I could be digressing again.

4. Silpats - they go with the cookie sheets! These feel weird but are fantastic for baking and cooking anything that you would normally use a cooking spray or parchment paper for and frankly, that parchment spray business is a pain in the ass and seems fairly wasteful.

5. Stock Pot - Pick a nice stainless steel one that would hold the amount you normally cook and for boiling pasta water, etc. Just make sure it's not too tall when it's filled on the stove and is easy for you to pick up and carry. Learned this the hard way! Again, the restaurant supply is probably a good idea although I have a nice one and one that came with a dish set we got when we got married 17 years ago. The giant ones that include the pasta strainer (also have) but are too tall for me to easily drain the water and I end up with steam burns or scalded from the water. I promise, I did the research here for you. Get a nice mid-size pot and drain in a colander like your Grandma or Mom. Well, like my Grandma or Mom.

6. Dutch Oven - these things can be crazy expensive but you'll use if for everything since it can be used on top of the stove then popped into the oven for a long time which is great for anything in the winter. It's especially good for braising meat and then throwing in the veggies, herbs and liquid and sticking it all in the oven on low heat for most of the day. Yum.

7. Bakeware - cookie sheets have been covered, but if you want to do some baking I feel like the following are good for most anything you'd want to make. Brownie pan 8x8, cake pan 13x9, round cake pans (at least 2 at 8"), tart pan with removable base (great for quiche as well and would stick with 8" or 9"), loaf pans, at least one bundt pan (especially if you're in the South or Midwest!) and a pie pan (mine are usually glass).

8. Two sets of measuring spoons - or maybe that's just me since I have 3 and regularly have them all dirty. Plus measuring cups for dry and wet ingredients. No, they're not interchangeable so don't even think about it. These have tons of options and I have both pretty versions and utilitarian work horses.

9. Cooling wire racks - really great for cookies. Leave them on the baking sheet with silpats to rest for 5 mins them remove to cooling racks. Greatness and they don't crumble on you like they would if you removed them immediately.

10. Wooden spoons, rubber spatulas, etc are must haves! Leave them stuck out for easy reach by the stove. I have 4 different crocks for mine but I'm kind of crazy and watch way too much Barefoot Contessa.

11. Also highly recommend a mixing bowl set that you'll use over and over. I also have a stainless steel set of 3 with the largest bowl being fantastic for mixing large batches of anything and an antique ironstone that I use for cookies which I mix by hand when I feel all domestic. I also use if for rising bread dough.

12. And the final thing I use all the time is my Kitchen Aid mixer. I have the kind that raises and lowers the bowl vs the neck raising and lowering. For whatever reason I felt like it would last longer and I've had mine for about 15 years so my instincts did not steer me wrong. Pricey but you'll have it forever. Seriously.

I think this focus on the kitchen lately is largely due to Sophy reaching an age where she can now have some solids. She has no interest in food beyond watching us eat and throwing a fit but we continue to try. I'm looking into baby led weaning and will report back.

Also, I really love kitchen gadgets. I am still not schilling for the man and am just a weirdo Williams-Sonoma groupie. Admittedly, I have been known to cheat on them with Sur la Table.

1 comment:

Bo Nash said...

Big thumbs up on the dutch oven. Even if it's just a standard cast iron one instead of the fancy coated French things. Most versatile "thing you cook in" you can own.