To become a professional cook, it takes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears . . . as well as equipment. Here are some items you'll want to give to someone starting her career a chef. It's easy to pull together these essential items for both home kitchen and professional use.
If you're lucky enough to have a mom who cooks, chances are you grew up with deliciously nourishing homemade meals and a repertoire of heirloom family recipes. This Mother's Day, thank Chef Mom for years of hard culinary work with pretty gifts to beautify her kitchen! We've picked out our favorite fetching accessories to make her smile when whipping up the next family meal masterpiece.
Graduation is such an exciting time, and for many former coeds, it's a chance to try out a new city, pursue dream jobs, and rent an off-campus apartment. It also may mean stocking and maintaining a "real" kitchen . . . at least one that's used for more than steeping ramen noodles and unpacking fast-food bags. We've rounded up 10 kitchen items that are essential to any postcollegiate kitchen (hint, hint, gift givers).
Upcycled, recycled — either way you spin it, there's something special about items that get another life. That's why we're loving these kitchen tools made out of everything from steel to old Coca-Cola bottles. This Earth Day, clean your veggies and serve your drinks knowing you're using products that have been made out of recycled material. All you have to do for your part is shop on. Does it get any easier than that?
We'd be lying if we said we didn't enjoy a good April Fools' Day prank. We knew we had to do something fun for the "holiday." Our take? Rounding up silly kitchen tools. You won't find any jokes here, but some of these finds might fool you into thinking they're something else — at the very least, they're awesome conversation starters. Click on and let the good times roll.
Do you have cutting boards in every material? While some of them have similar methods of care, here's the complete guide so you know how to properly condition, disinfect, deodorize, and remove stains from all of your cutting boards.
Wooden Cutting Boards
- Condition: Rub a little mineral oil over a clean wooden cutting board to keep it from looking dried-out.
- Disinfect: Do not let wood soak in water, and do not wash in a dishwasher. Immediately after using, hand wash it with a mild soap and water then dry it with a clean dish towel. If you've cut meat on the board, wipe the surface down with white vinegar, then let the surface dry.
- Deodorize: Squeeze half a lemon on the surface of the board and let sit for several minutes before rinsing with water.
- Remove Stains: Wet the stained area, apply kosher salt, and let it sit on the stain for several minutes. Scrub it away with a steel scraper.
Cork Cutting Boards
- Condition: Rub a little natural mineral oil over the board if it begins to look dry.
- Disinfect: Treat them like a wooden cutting board. Do not let cork soak in water, and do not wash in a dishwasher. Instead, hand wash with warm soap and water.
- Deodorize: Cork is naturally odor-resistant.
- Remove Stains: Cork is also naturally stain-resistant.
If you've got a powerful gas stove like mine, you'll know it's virtually impossible to set the flame to low; all too often I'll turn the nob, only to watch the flame flicker and burn out before I can settle on the right amount of heat. If you're the owner of a gas-lit stove and frequently encounter the same issue, I've got a solution for you. It's called a heat diffuser.
Often used in commercial kitchens, this flat, metal stovetop tool distributes heat evenly and automatically lowers the flame setting. This comes in particularly handy when cooking heat-sensitive items like rice and caramel, which will scorch in a heartbeat. In these scenarios, a heat diffuser can help control the flame and improve your cooking. Try out these three significant ways use a heat diffuser.
If you've just moved to a new city or are learning to cook for the first time, it can be hard to nail down new recipes, let alone all those kitchen tools. Just ask Eunice, who recently wrote in with this request:
"I've just landed my first real job, am moving across the country, and out of my parents' house for the first time. What are some kitchen essentials I should get? Can you direct me toward some companies that produce quality products [that won't] blow my whole budget? I'd like a good set of knives."
Eunice: we're here to help you — and anyone else looking for a complete set of cooking tools. Here are 10 pieces of kitchen equipment that are sure to be put to good use.
Serious chefs invest in serious knives. You'll discover that a high-quality knife cuts down on your chopping time, is less harsh on your joints, and creates precise, swoon-worthy slices. To avoid buying overpriced junk, here are a few rules you should abide by when purchasing a chef's knife. Ultimately, it's all about your hands and what feels right. Find a local store that carries the knife and practice holding and chopping with it so you're guaranteed to purchase something you love.
- High-carbon stainless steel material: Stainless steel won't rust and does not impart metallic flavor or color onto your food. Because high-carbon stainless steel is hard and durable, it retains its sharp edge longer than most and is easy to clean, hone, and sharpen at home.
- Heavy-duty construction: Look for knives that are forged from a single piece of steel with a full tang, which means that the steel runs from the blade to the edge of the handle. They offer better balance and are more resilient. Also look for a bolster, the thick steel portion in between the blade and the handle. A wide bolster indicates the thickness of the original piece of steel before it was forged; no sign of a bolster suggests that the knife was simply punched out of a roll of sheet metal.
- Pointed tip and curved cutting edge: A standard Western-style chef's knife is eight inches long, has a rounded edge for easy chopping and mincing, and curves to a pointed tip for cutting into squash or for fine cuts.
- Weighted, ergonomic handle While most chefs wrap a hand around the bolster of the knife, it's important to choose a handle you find comfortable. Most handles are ergonomically designed, but you might have a shape and material preference. Some are lined with rubber to keep the knife secure in your hand while other handles are made from wood or plastic. The best knives are designed so that the handle and the blade are equally weighted to make chopping a light, easy experience.
Whether a beginner or a professional, every cook could use a little help in the kitchen, and handy tools are essential for that. From pinch grips to timers to jar scrapers, we've gathered items that every cook will love to get this holiday season. The bonus: they all bring a welcome pop of color to the kitchen, and all cost less than $25. Cheap gifts that make culinary lives easier and more stylish? We suspect you'll want to pick up a few for yourself, too.