Although there are many interesting appliances on the market, here are the most frequently used ones. Note that I did not include the microwave as only one of the recipes in this book is done in the microwave. The following appliances are cutting and/or mixing machines, they save a lot of time but you can always do it all by hand, so do not be intimidated by them.
- Blender: glass jars can withstand hot liquids better and remain clear, while plastic ones don’t.
- Food processor: look at the bottom, will liquids seep out when you remove the bowl from it’s base? Check the blades are they of a good quality? Is the lid easy to close?
- Hand-held mixer: check the length of the cord, the solidity of the beaters.
- Standing electric mixer: (particularly helpful if you bake a lot) look for metal or glass bowls never plastic as they are no good for egg whites and hard to get really clean.
Utensils and Gadgets
Here’s a list of cooking utensils and gadgets that will make your job as a cook easier. Those marked with a spoon are the fundamentals.
Can openers and cork screw
are a necessity.
Candy thermometer/deep-fat thermometer
look out for a good gadget to hang it on the side of the pot as they must never touch the bottom. Also look for one with both metric and imperial measures as some cookbooks use one or the other.
A utensil designed to remove the core (or center) from fruit or vegetables. Corers are usually made of stainless steel and come in different shapes for different uses. An all-purpose corer, used for apples, pears and the like, has a medium-length shaft with a circular cutting ring at the end. The core can be cut and removed with this tool. Another kind of apple corer is shaped like a spoked wheel with handles and not only cores the apple, but cuts it into wedges as well. A zucchini corer has a long, pointed, trough-shaped blade that, when inserted at one end of the zucchini and rotated, will remove the center, leaving a hollow tube for stuffing. A pineapple corer is a tall, arch-handled utensil with two serrated, concentric cutting rings at the base. After the top and bottom of the pineapple are sliced off, the corer is inserted from the top and twisted downward. The tool not only removes the core, but also the outer shell, leaving pineapple rings.
if you get glass or wood they can also hold hot pots and pans while plastic ones will warp, keep in mind that wood is harder to clean.
A double-pan arrangement whereby two pots are formed to fit together, with one sitting partway inside the other. A single lid fits both pans. The lower pot is used to hold simmering water, which gently heats the mixture in the upper pot. Double boilers are used to warm or cook heat-sensitive food such as custards, delicate sauces and chocolate. ( in french: bain marie).
Dry and liquid measuring cups
they are different (see Weights and Measures ).
sometimes a flat one is easier to keep clean, look for good quality because they tend to rust as they are difficult to dry.
all kinds, I like one with a flat tip to scrape the bottom of pans when de-glazing. They need to be replaced regularly. Never let them soak in water or put them in a dishwasher .
(or the old fashioned slow one) but beware microwave thermometers will melt in a traditional oven. Some cooks never use meat thermometers…
you might have one on your stove just check it to make sure it is accurate.
they are not essential at first.
Large and small fine-meshed sieves
A compact, hand-operated machine with various adjustable blades for thin to thick slicing and for julienne and french-fry cutting. They’re used to cut firm vegetables and fruits (such as potatoes and apples) with uniformity and precision. On most machines, the food is held in a metal carriage on guides so that fingers aren’t in danger.
metal is better, plastic ones break
A small, bowl-shaped tool used to cut round, or oval, shaped pieces of melon. The best melon ballers are rigidly constructed with a wood or metal handle and a sharp-edged, stainless-steel bowl, which can come in several sizes, from about 1/4 inch to 1 inch.
A cone-shaped bag with two open ends. The small end is pointed and can be fitted with decorative tips of different sizes and designs, while dough, whipped cream, fillings, etc. are spooned into the large end. When the bag is squeezed, the contents are forced through the tip. Pastry bags have a multitude of uses including decorating cakes, forming pastries or cookies and piping decorative borders. They come in various sizes and can be made of a variety of materials, including nylon and plastic-lined cotton or canvas, polyester and plastic.
A small brush used for applying glazes to breads, pastries, and cookies either before or after baking. The best all-purpose size has a width of 1 to 1 1/2 inches. Pastry brushes can be made of nylon bristles, sterilised natural bristles or goose feathers. Natural-bristle brushes are considered best because they’re softer and hold more liquid. Goose feathers are excellent for egg glazes because they leave a thin, even coating. The harder nylon bristles will last longer but may melt if accidentally in contact with a hot surface.
A heavy, grease, and moisture resistant paper with a number of culinary uses including lining baking pans, wrapping foods that are to be baked en papillote and to make disposable pastry bags.
look for one that has an opening large enough to be easy to fill and has a screw top that is long enough and sturdy.
An individual baking dish (3 to 4 inches in diameter) that resembles a miniature soufflé dish. Ramekins are usually made of porcelain or earthenware and can be used for both sweet and savory dishes – either baked or chilled.
Rubber and metal spatulas
those need to be replaced regularly there is no super duper ones, I prefer the wood handle rubber spatulas they scape sides better.
A kitchen tool used to brown the top of foods. It consists of a long iron rod with a cast-iron disk at one end and a wooden handle at the other. The disk is heated over a burner until red-hot before being passed closely over food. In addition to quickly browning foods, salamanders are used for dishes (such as crème brûlée) that require that a surface layer of sugar be caramelized quickly so that the custard below remains cold.
It is very usefull as many recipes are given with the weight of food rather than their volume. Look for one that has both metric and imperial measures and a large enough bowl.
I like a large flat one, to skim off the surface of liquids.
Soufflés are customarily baked in a classic soufflé dish, which is round and has straight sides to facilitate the soufflé’s rising. These special dishes are ovenproof and come in a variety of sizes ranging from 3 1/2-ounces (individual) to 2-quarts.
Stainless steel colander
I find one with a wide neck is more useful than a tiny one.
daisies work well but break and tarnish easily, I wonder if oriental bamboo steamers are better…I am not sure. You can always use a sieve over a pot of boiling water.
stainless steel so they will not rust.
A round-bottomed cooking utensil popular in Asian cooking, where its uses include stir-frying, steaming, braising, stewing and even deep-frying. Woks are traditionally made of rolled steel, which provides excellent heat control, but they can also be made of sheet iron, anodized aluminum and stainless steel. They come in various sizes, usually have two handles and are generally accompanied by a ring-shaped stand for use on a gas stovetop. Special flat-bottom woks are also available for use on electric stoves.
The stainless-steel cutting edge of this kitchen tool has five tiny cutting holes which, when the zester is pulled across the surface of a lemon or orange, create threadlike strips of peel. The zester removes only the coloured outer portion (zest) of the peel, leaving the pale bitter pith. (I also use it on the skin of cucumbers to make striped slice edges.)