My curiosity strikes again…I ALWAYS want to peek into peoples cabinets to have a look at their pots and pans, knives and other cooking tools. So here again to hopefully satisfy your curiosity are my ABSOLUTE MUST HAVE kitchen “tools of the trade”
Calphalon Non Stick Saute Pans I’ll admit it, I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to Saute Pans…I love my Caphalon that is all there is to it.
1 Large soup or stock pot
1 Medium Soup or Sauce Pan
1 Small Sauce Pan
I bought this really nice Tramontina 18/10 stainless steel 8 piece set from *gasps* WALMART. yes its true. Here they are
these guys have stuck with me, for 2 years, and still look and cook like new.
Then there is my Cast Iron Skillet. If you are of southern roots like me, this is a must have in your kitchen.
Thats the basics for pots and pans…I have a other pans that I never use and save mostly for camping trips. But those don’t bear mention.
what to look for in a Saute pan: the sizes are up to you but I recommend a Medium 8″ pan, and a large 10-12″ pan in NON-Stick. I have found Caphalon makes the most reliable and longest lasting non stick coating.
In regular pots and pans if I had no worries about money I would by Copper Bottomed (or copper core) Stainless Steel Pans. But I don’t have that luxury So I use Aluminum Core Stainless Steel. Whats the difference?
Aluminum (the cheapest pans you can buy) is a great heat conductor, it heats up super fast and gets super hot. The main problem you will find with Aluminum pans is the lack of EVEN conduction of heat. Basically meaning Aluminum pans get hot spots causing your food to burn on one spot while remaining almost raw on another.
Stainless Steel (Still very affordable) is a VERY slow heat conductor. These pans take the longest to heat up, but are extremely even in their heat distribution.
Aluminum Core Stainless Steel (moderate to pricey) is the most balanced and affordable pan type on the market. Good quality pans of this type will heat up fairly quickly due to the aluminum core but distribute the heat evenly thanks to the stainless steel coating.
Copper Bottom (or Copper Core) Stainless Steel (Expensive) Copper is the absolute BEST conductor of them all. It heats quickly and evenly, and is the temperature is easy to both control and maintain. But Copper is EXPENSIVE, so companies make “Copper Bottom” or “Copper Core” pans to utilize the best copper has to offer while keeping them less expensive than full on copper pans
Last but definitely not least is Copper (outrageous) Like I said before Copper is the best of the best. Unfortunately it is extremely expensive, and also requires special care instructions on how to use, wash and store these pans. Making them not only expensive but high maintenance.
On to Cutlery!
Heres the thing, I believe if there is ONE kitchen tool a cook needs to be willing to pay top dollar for, it is 1 good quality long lasting chef’s knife…or Santoku knife.
I am a big fan of Wustof
but some other great brands include
What to look for in a Chef Knife or Knife set:
Stainless Steel is the best metal for knives, it is sharp, and stays sharp for at least a few uses, it does not get contaminated, and it is easy to clean and maintain.
A full length TANG – The tang is the little strip of metal running through the handle of the knife, it basically shows that the metal from the blade goes all the way through the handle, this gives the knife balance which with practice will increase your cutting speed and precision.
Plastic or metal Handle this is important for sanitation reasons, if you think about those little spaces in between the handle and the knife where food can get stuck on a wooden handle or all the bacteria that could grow within that wood, it is kind of gross. Stick with plastic or metal handles for your own health!
A Steel – A steel is a simple metal rod that often times comes with knife sets, basically used to hone your knife at the beginning of every use. This is an important step to keeping your knife sharp for as long as possible.
Kitchen “Gadgets” Utensils and essentials
My favorite “Gadgets” if you will are really only 3
– My Garlic Press
– Potato Masher
– Pastry cutter
Everything else I believe can be done with a common utensil. Speaking of……
I use metal or plastic utensils depending on the pan i am using. Metal CANNOT be used on my non stick pans!
– Spoons (for stirring, tasting and mixing)
– Spatulas (for flipping and frying)
– Tongs (For reaching, Grabbing and tossing)
– Wisks (For wisking)
The only other items I MUST HAVE in my kitchen are
A colander (or strainer depending on where your from)
Liquid Measuring Cup
Dry Measuring cups
AAAAAAND a dish drainer. 🙂