Jamie, the author of the My Life with Redheads Blog, is about to build a new house and is in the process of making some decisions about her kitchen. She recently asked me for “suggestions on what a passionate cook cannot live without?” This is the first installment (assuming that more come to mind) of what I consider essentials for the kitchen and cooking.
- A good knife set is essential to all precision cooking and most attractive plating. It is a worthwhile investment that will yield years long, if not life long, dividends. That being said:
- The most important knives are your Chef’s knife, a carving knife, and a pairing knife – in that order.
- Investing more than $250 in knives is wasted money for all but the most serious of home cooks.
- Purchasing an inexpensive knife set and splurging on the chef’s knife is the most practical way to proceed.
- A slow cooker might provide the most culinary bang for the buck around.
- Rivaling the slow cooker for the most bang for the culinary buck is the mandoline.
- The immersion blender is solidly in third place – especially the 10 speed 300 watt model that is currently making my socks roll up and down.
- I would rather invest my money in a double oven and a six burner stove than any other major kitchen appliances.
- Warming trays are nice to have but will not be used that frequently.
- When designing, or evaluating a kitchen, besides the aforementioned stove issues, the usability and ease of access to storage, and counter space are the most important factors.
- Towards that end, there are few design elements more valuable than a center island.
- Never underestimate the universal functionality of a microwave.
- Whatever can be hung from a ceiling or mounted on a wall should be.
- For more specific design instructions, I found this website to be very accurate and helpful.
- The hanger steak is the most flavorful cut of beef around – especially when you consider that it costs $10/pound at WholeFoods versus the Tenderloin which sets you back $25/pound.
- Just as two will always shorten whatever road you travel; two will always shorten the cooking time of any dish.
- Cooking without music and wine is like swimming without water.
- Only the lazy cook makes throw-away salads.
- Margarine and butter are not interchangeable no matter what anyone tells you.
- Cast iron and Copper pots have no peers.
- Attempting to recreate restaurant dishes is somewhat akin to comparing yourself to the models on the magazine covers… which is not to suggest that it shouldn’t be attempted.
- I cook for the soul, the palate, and the eye – in that order… not saying that you should too, but I doubt it could ever hurt.