Saturday, January 16, 2010

Taking Stock

Jamie Oliver. Top Chef Seasons 1-6. Julie & Julia. Blogs. The Food Network. Dining out in New York City. Whole Foods. Fairway. Bon Appétit.

All of the above have inspired me to be more involved, detailed, and adventurous in the good life of a foodie.

That, and um...I love to eat.

Our kitchen collection has been gaining and refining as we figure out the whats and hows of our gastronomical journey. Special thanks goes to Leannis, who passed on many of her tried and trues to our household. There are so many fun tools to play with while brewing up a tasty dinner that I could start a whole new blog in honor of them, but here are six that were particularly indispensable in 2009, followed by six I hope to acquire during 2010.

1. Latte Bowls: Anthropologie sells these porcelain jewels that come in a spectrum of hues and make you feel like you are in a Provencal cottage while enjoying your oatmeal, organizing your mise en place, or just admiring them nestled happily together on the shelf.
2. Parchment Paper: Keeps baked goods from burning & sticking and creates little pouches of heaven when baking/steaming fish and veggies (en papillote) with basically no clean up.
3. Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer: The king of the kitchen from creaming butter and sugar to creating the perfect batter consistency all the while saving you many an arm cramp.
4. Digital Scale: This little guy helps you realize how much you are consuming ("That's a serving of cereal???") especially when you are trying to watch your caloric intake. Not that you need to. You are perfect just the way you are. Smokin' hot, in fact.
5. Reversible Cast Iron Griddle/Grill: As city folk, we have no outdoor space hence-no grill, but this has become a worthy substitute for creating those appetizing grill marks on salmon and asparagus. Plus turn it over and you have pancakes on the weekend!
6. Micro-planers: If the Kitchen Aid Mixer is the King, these are the little minions behind the thrown that have all of the real power. Different sizes for different tasks. Some pecorino to finish off your pasta dish? Check. How about some extra lemon zest to your citrus glaze? Check. Even a dash of fresh nutmeg as that secret ingredient that no one can guess? Check!

1. Bamboo Steamers: We've been trying to make healthier dinners and I think one or two of these bamboo steamers would be a no nonsense way of preparing fish and veggies. Maybe I would even attempt dumplings!
2. Slow Cooker: With the winter months ahead my mind goes to stews, chilis, soups, and other old fashioned and hearty meals. I also remember needing one when I had a huge corned beef slab to make last St. Patrick's Day. I'm not settled on a specific brand but I do think the oval shape is smart and a locked down lid would be handy.
3. Cast Iron Skillet: How come we always go back to the tools our ancestors used? A good, large cast iron skillet is on my wish list for stove top to oven creations. It would also come in handy if I needed to knock an intruder unconscious...
4. Mezzaluna: I love fresh herbs almost as much as I despise chopping them. How come mine always end up in a green Chia Pet-like ball? I definitely need one of these. Ch-ch-ch-Chia!
5. Silpats: Like parchment, these make baking a breeze - but reusable!
6. Cheese Knives: Cutting the cheese seems more classy with the right utensils (cue: lame joke). I loved this bamboo set from Anthropologie, but since it is long gone I will need to keep my eyes peeled. I already imagine myself having more dinner parties.

Now, who's doing the dishes?


  1. i will! i will! :o)

    great post..i too am a big fan of all mentioned equipment and cravings. I also love Le Creuset and apparently all you need are two knives: paring and chef knife- then you're one step closer to becoming the next... (insert favorite celebrity chef here)

  2. what the hell is "mise en place?" I don't know what it is about good food writing...or I should say good writing about food...but it makes me want to get off the couch and fix something yummy or, better yet, ask my better half to fix something yummy. You can't really be a devotee of Julia Child, however, and use a mezzaluna. You have to acquire the knife skills to cut those herbs perfectly yourself.

  3. Mise en place translates to "putting in place" and is basically your prep work. I agree about getting my basic skills down - but the gadgets are so much fun!