About Me

I have been cooking my way through life for over 50 years, beginning with mud pies as a child. I've turned a corner now and feel a Renaissance in my life. Recipes and Random Thoughts is my personal spin in a blog about how to prepare good food and how it prepares you for life. I want to share with you, honest to goodness food punctuated with perspective from the special memories and moments that have marked my journey.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Right Stuff: Kitchen Gear, Gadget & Gizmos

I swore not to purchase anymore kitchen equipment unless something essential was broken or it was absolutely necessary.  So how did I come home with one of those expensive super blenders that doesn't fit anywhere in my already cluttered kitchen.  I usually show up at Costco around lunch time for the free samples and got a sales pitch on the health benefits of the Vita Mix. Sucker! I'm sort of the Carrie Bradshaw of kitchen appliances and gadgets.  There's always a new style that I've got to have to make my culinary life more complete and send my cuisine to new heights. I shop the kitchen stores like a woman with a blank check in Tiffany's, then parade the latest jewel in something exquisite and delicious.  Oooh, isn't that slicer/dicer the most adorable thing I ever saw and all I came for was some cheese cloth which lead to a $50 fine meshed Chinois strainer and the pistle is only $15 more which lead to the most divine raspberry coulis.  They know my name and weak spots in kitchen stores the way a private club knows it's elite members and their favorite cocktail.  "Have you seen our new Tunisian hand painted Tangine, Madame?"

I've got two food processors as well as a food mill and an immersion blender.  Each has a unique purpose.  I have  Kemex,  Krupp's,  Keurig and Toddy coffee makers.  I have a bread maker and a digital scale to ensure accurate measurements.  Can I really trust the 4 sets of measuring cups I have (and that doesn't include the liquid measuring cups). I was dumbfounded when I found a friend had only a single one cup liquid measure and mixing bowl in her household.  Another friend had kitchen knives that wouldn't slice warm butter so I offered to take them home and sharpen them on my Pro Chef Knife Sharpener.  I used to arrive for house parties with my own knives and sharpener but it made people nervous.  I have to ask my husband to pull out the heavy marble slab I bought last year for pastry.  If the dough doesn't stay cold, you won't get the proper results and cold marble solves that.  My pasta machine doesn't get enough use lately and I still have not used each of the 350 cookie cutters I own. I'm afraid of my Japanese mandolin after I sliced my finger in a bloody mess. My best gadget investment is a simple tubular silicone garlic peeler for $6.95 at Crate & Barrel.  Does the job and your hands don't smell like garlic but my real favorite is my popover tin.

How long will the sexy Vita Mix be in favor?  Will it be a short, torrid affair or a love that burns long like my Le Creuset #14.  So far it's passionate but could flame out after a few weeks if  I don't find the right balance of healthy and haute. I've liquefied a lot of produce in the last 48 hours and my skin is glowing like a woman in love but please don't tell the bread machine I'm cheating on it.
I think, if I had to, I could manage with one 6 inch sharp knife, a big spoon, a 1 cup measure, a 4 quart bowl, a 1 quart pot and a cast iron fry pan, a baking sheet, a whisk and a spatula. Most people do but please, don't put me to the test. Good equipment does make a difference at some point in the quality of what you can accomplish but it's only useful if you are inspired by the possibilities of beautiful ingredients. 

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