Archive for the the rules Category

The Essentials

Posted in the rules on 9 September 2009 by restaurant refugee

The Essentials

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.

  1. 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:
    1. The most important knives are your Chef’s knife, a carving knife, and a pairing knife – in that order.
    2. Investing more than $250 in knives is wasted money for all but the most serious of home cooks.
    3. Purchasing an inexpensive knife set and splurging on the chef’s knife is the most practical way to proceed.
  2. A slow cooker might provide the most culinary bang for the buck around.
  3. Rivaling the slow cooker for the most bang for the culinary buck is the mandoline.
  4. 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.
  5. I would rather invest my money in a double oven and a six burner stove than any other major kitchen appliances.
  6. Warming trays are nice to have but will not be used that frequently.
  7. 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.
  8. Towards that end, there are few design elements more valuable than a center island.
  9. Never underestimate the universal functionality of a microwave.
  10. Whatever can be hung from a ceiling or mounted on a wall should be.
  11. For more specific design instructions, I found this website to be very accurate and helpful.
  12. 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.
  13. Just as two will always shorten whatever road you travel; two will always shorten the cooking time of any dish.
  14. Cooking without music and wine is like swimming without water.
  15. Only the lazy cook makes throw-away salads.
  16. Margarine and butter are not interchangeable no matter what anyone tells you.
  17. Cast iron and Copper pots have no peers.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
Advertisements