Here are the top 5 tools every home chef should own.
- Durable Cutting Board – whether it be wood or plastic, a good cutting board is very important. Try to void the clear plastic and thin cutting boards. Also, always place a damp towel under your cutting board to keep it from sliding around when your using it.
- Good Quality Knives – When it comes to knives, quality is better than quantity. The 3 most important knives to own are a chefs knife, a smaller all-purpose knife (like a Santoku) and a paring knife. you can accomplish most kitchen tasks with these 3 knives. The chef knife is used mainly for chopping, slicing and dicing. The santoku is great for items such as vegetables. Examples would be slicing eggplant and skinning butternut squash. The paring knife is very important for cutting jobs that require you to hold the food you are working with, such as small fruit and vegetables.
- Japanese Mandoline - this is a very important tool used for many tasks that is used by the pros that you should have at home . It allows you to slice vegetables very thin which is easier than trying to slice vegetables with a knife thin and consistent. a perfect example would be a thin cut radish for a salad.
- Hand Blender – this tool allows you to do multiple tasks kid the pros! Here are just a couple of examples: puree a soup, blend a sauce together, make a smoothie and make a vegetable puree such as sweet pea puree that goes great with seared sea scallops.
- Heavy duty-oven safe roasting/braising pan - having quality sauté pans and pots is important, but we often overlook this piece of equipment. Everyone should have a heat duty-oven safe roasting/braising pan. For example, it should be large enough to be able to roast a whole turkey for Thanksgiving and deep enough to braise a beef brisket. Roasting and braising are two very important cooking techniques. When roasting a protein like turkey, always try to use a roasting rack that would fit inside the pan or lay the turkey on a bed of vegetables, such as large diced carrots onions and celery. To braise a protein such as beef brisket, here are the basic steps. 1st – sear the meat in the roasting pan with a little grape seed oil and remove the meat. 2nd – add any vegetables and or other ingredients called for in the braising recipe. 3rd add any wine and or stock called for in the recipe. 4th – add back the meat and make sure the liquid is covering the meat by 75% or so and cover as directed in the recipe. At the point there are 2 ways to proceed, depending on what the recipe you are using will tell you. you will either place the covered braising pan in an oven of you will continue to slowly braise the covered item on top of the stove over low heat under the braising pan.
Note from Robert: If you don’t have #2, click here to check out my line of knives!