The Best Tools Around the Kitchen: Ten Great Choices
There are easier ways to prepare pretty and practical foodstuffs than needing to use every utensil, stove or gadget on the market. Narrowing the list down makes your work in the kitchen progress more smoothly and also saves money. You can always treat yourself to some extra goodies from time to time, but, you will find you come back to the simpler things the most often.
A Silicone Heart Style Pan
These pans can be used for individual cakes, gelatin molds, even for meat pate or ice for punch bowls. At $5-$10 of your money they are a sensible investment. Many occassions are ideal for a heart theme, not just Valentine's. For example, how about birthdays or anniversaries? To make them useful for almost any occasion let the color of the food item you are making match the ocassion. Green for St. Patrick's, red/white/blue for the Fourth or white for Easter.
Wilton Decorating Bag
For $5-$9 you can get a decorating bag that can be used over and over again, just wash in soapy water, being careful to rinse throuroughly or wash in the dishwasher. You will also need the tips and a coupler so you can decorate. A good choice are plastic or poly tips, they won't rust or corrode. Get the coupler to match as in large matches large. The tips are $16 unless you can find a small collapsible set (about $4). Finally the coupler ($3-$5) is what you screw over the outer basse of the tip after you place it over the tip of your bag. Your total cost is around $30 at most.
Pastry brushes are manufactured in silicone, and, in anywhere from boar bristle to nylon bristle styles otherwise. You could buy two of these while you are at it in case you want to mix different batters or marinades or colorings, as these are useful for marinading, sealing your pastry crusts or creating ultra thin crepes or pancakes and you might want to create designs as you cook on the pastry or make your crepes multi-tonal.
Skinny Utility Knife
Get a slim utility knife like the one you will see below in a minute. It won't hurt if it curves a little in the center either. You can peel everything just about as quickly as you could if you had used a vegetable peeler, they are easier to keep clean and you won't need another tool for slicing or cutting off the tips. The cost will be from $4 to $15 for each knife.
Silicone Rubber Jar Opener
You need a jar opener so you won't have to struggle with stubborn lids. YOu can buy jar openers for under $4 very easily both in supermarkets, dollar saver type stores and online. A useful substitute for this are a pair of rubber gloves which also will grip the lid and let you remove it much like the specialty jar opener will.
Manual Can Opener
When you choose a can opener that you will be turning by hand look for one that is in a mid-weight, the thin light weight ones are not very durable. This is for letting your electric can opener rest under its cover and come out only for company, and, for when it breaks.
A colander is for washing those tempting, overpriced organic goodies you picked up at the store at the last minute, rinsing fruit, draining tofu, draining macaroni shells and spaghetti and other items you will come across. This is an easy item to forget to buy. So, don't forget! A colander might set you back $10.
Meat Thermometer/Candy Thermometer
If you can get a combination meat/candy thermometer, that would be ideal. If you don't like to use one cooking thermometer for both types of food you don't have to, though, it won't make any difference because you will wash it each time you use it.
To be a good cook you need accuracy occassionally. The price for these is usually $8-$13. You can also buy the meat thermometer and the candy thermometer separately for about $6 each, the thermometers may be easier to find separately where you usually shop.
Medium Sized Serrated Knives
A serrated knife cuts breads neatly. A medium size will cut most loaf sizes and bums and other bready foods more gracefully than a large bread knife will. Classic bread knives are really large and are mostly for show when cutting French bread as, especially in the United States large round loaves and other breadstuffs are not very common place.
Custard cups are so useful. They sometimes seem awkward to store but due to the heavier weight, they are not really awkward at all. You can stack them and they will stay stacked. One of hte most useful things about these cups is that they are oven proof, you can use them to warm up small portions. You can also fit them in the microwave or toaster over easily. You can almost always find them for about $6-$8 in sets of four cups wherever pans for baking are sold. These little cups can be used to make muffins, individual cakes, gelatin cups and even for individual bowls of dip or salsa. If you have never owned these before you will love them very much once you have tried them.
If you buy everything here it will bleed your wallet of about $80. So, these essential items are a great deal for getting your cooking in order even if you don't have a lot of money to spend on things like this. Remember you are getting beautiful heart molds that will hold up to cakes as well as molded gelatins, two knives that will take care of practically any chore while saving loads of kitchen drawer or counter space, food thermometers to help in keep your food safe to eat and a decorating bag with accessories for decorating foods for any special events that arise. The above stash is really quite a time, space and money saving list of goods.