Sometimes when I have a bit of a mental block I consult the fella. He’s usually pretty good at working me through it. And he’s always very serious and sincere in his offer to help me.
Take this example. For today’s post I knew I was writing about some of the kitchen tools that I LOVE. Things that I use pretty much on a regular basis that I couldn’t live without and think all of you should invest in. They’re that good. I got kitchen tool block after #3 so I looked up at him and asked him if he could remember what some of the kitchen things I rave about are. The fella’s answer, verbatim, is as follows:
“Well you like that big hot thing in the corner you’re always standing in front of. You know … it stands next to the big standy up cold thing. On the other side is the big wet hole. You seem to like all of those. Was that of any help?
OH! And sprinkles. You really like sprinkles.”
O.K. A) I have never used a sprinkle in my life, unless he’s referring to salt. Which he might be. B) He said all of this without once diverting his eyes from what is apparently the most riveting show on television. A show about real guys standing around in a real prison glaring at each other. For an hour.
I was about to ask him a few follow up questions, but someone’s glare turned into a “disrespect” and I lost his attention entirely.
What I’m trying to get at here is you’re only getting 3 of my current favourite kitchen tools. These are things that cost a lot but are worth every penny and I love each of them with all of my heart.
If you were to try and steal them from me I’d set your nasal hairs on fire. By rubbing 2 sharp sticks together in your nostril. I think that should give you a good sense of how strongly I feel about these things.
The number one workhorse in my kitchen is my Cuisinox “Elite” saute pan. It’s around $100. It’s hard to describe why it’s so much better than other stainless pans, but I’ll try. It cooks evenly and quickly adjusts itself to temperature. Unlike my other favourite pan, the cast iron pan, the stainless pan reacts better when you have to turn down the heat. If you’re cooking onions for instance and you suddenly realize they’re going to brown when you don’t want them to, if you turn the heat down the pan loses heat more quickly than a cast iron pan. Some might not see this as a positive, but for certain purposes, I do. It cleans easily and because of the metal handle can go from stove to oven. Food sticks enough to it to get a good sear, but it doesn’t stay stuck there forever. It’s like a perfect combination between a non stick pan and a too much stick pan. If you don’t have a good stainless pan, as soon as you can afford one … buy one.
I first heard about Maldon salt several years ago from my friend Michelle. It was harder to find them, but I sussed out a box at a local specialty food store. A box about the size of a deck of cards was $10. For salt.
I’m gonna be honest with you now. I love my $10 salt. I’m going to be even more honest with you. I’m really not sure I can taste the difference between it and a regular container of sea salt, but much like my Chanel lipstick, it makes me feel good when I use it. Makes me feel special. How big of a loser do you have to be for SALT to make you feel special? I wonder if I’m not getting enough attention at home.
It’s a beautiful, crystal flaked sea salt that you can crush up and sprinkle with your fingers. Since it really isn’t THAT expensive, I probably wouldn’t do you bodily harm if you stole it from me. I’m probably more likely to go the mental torture route with this one. You know. Fake spiders in your bed, wedgies, repeating everything you say and do RIGHT after you say and do it. That sort of thing.
Easily my most favourite thing on any given day in my kitchen is my stone baking sheet. Now, I’ve owned pizza stones, and other stone cooking pieces, but none of them impressed me. So when I opened this from my mother for Christmas one year I think I might have said “What did you get me this stupid thing for? These things don’t work. I hate them. I wanted a pasta maker! You’re the worst mother ever.”
Turns out the thing is great. Love it. It’s a “Pampered Chef” item. Apparently Pampered Chef stuff is only sold at home parties. How good is this stoneware stuff from Pampered Chef? I’d actually genuinely look forward to going to a home party if it was there. I mean, I’d probably still back out at the last minute citing a raging case of the Black Plague or something but … for a moment I’d really look forward to the home party. Which is quite something.
It’s completely non stick, but things still brown on it. This is the go-to pan for my Sweet Potato Fries and pretty much anything I want to get crispy, but be able to remove from the pan without a bout of swearing and a reciprocating saw. You wash it with just hot water and the oils from your cooking soak into the stone over time creating a beautiful non stick surface. Plus it gets all mottled looking, as you can see, which I happen to like.
Oh! And I just checked. Turns out I was fibbing. Turns out you CAN buy Pampered Chef stuff on-line. A baking tray like mine costs $45. You can look at it here.
You now have two options if you want to continue to be on my “good list”. You can either go buy all of this stuff RIGHT NOW. (no I’m not being paid or getting a cut of profits or anything) Orrrrrr … you can put it on your Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanza/Valentine’s/Ground Hog’s Day list immediately.
A word of caution. If your mother is like mine, you might consider telling her the only thing you want is a “pasta maker”. You know. Just to make sure you end up with the stone pan.