3 Kitchen Tools I Love!
They’re Expensive. And They’re Worth It.

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.

Pan

 

 

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.

Salt 2

 

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.

Salt

 

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.”

Stone

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.

 

97 Comments

  1. Erica M says:

    I found your blog via a pinterest pin…and LOVE IT!! I sat here laughing out loud..mostly at your Fella in the Christmas tree shirt LOL..just the expression said it all.
    BUT … I had that PC pan. I used it a bit but once my kids got big enough to start cooking some I felt it was a accident waiting to happen because it’s so heavy and bulky to move when hot.
    Gave it to my mom..who adores it.
    I also have a set of stainless pans. One is a set of Emeril pans I got as a gift from my mom, or actually think my Hubs got them as a gift from her…wonder what THAT message was? hmmm.
    Anyway…and I have an old beat to hell stainless pan I use for EVERYTHING. I have no idea where it came from, the brand..nothing but know I love it.
    Gonna have to look into the salt though…
    I am just recently learning to cook. I say that although I’ve been cooking for over 20 yrs, just not very well. LMAO! It’s great to learn about spices and new things in the kitchen..Thanks!!
    And keep them coming..your a hoot!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Erica M – Glad yo found my blog! Good luck w/ the cookin’. The better you get, the better you’ll eat. ~ karen!

  2. Diane Stairs says:

    I just read all about your Pampered Chef stone and…..I went to my cupboard and pulled out the brand new one, still in the box that I got probably 5 years ago…you have inspired me to use it. see, your blog is the best!!!!

  3. Culinary Favorites From A to Z says:

    Thanks for your information on teflon, I found that helpful as I too, have had my concerns.

  4. Amy says:

    Hey Karen, I love your posts. You crack me up, educate, and entertain me! I sell Pampered Chef, and I just wanted to say thanks for sharing how much you enjoy your stoneware. Gave me warm fuzzies :)

    • Karen says:

      Amy – Well … the bar pan is the only thing I’ve tried, but if that’s a fair representation of everyhing else PC … it’s a goooood product. :) ~ karen

  5. Sam says:

    $10 for Maldon sea salt?! This British boy can get a 250g box of Maldon salt for £1.65 (or C$2.60) in any supermarket. I’ll gladly mail some over if you’re being grossly ripped off in Canadialand.

  6. Beth says:

    That is why I read your blog — everyone needs to laugh out loud on a daily basis!!! Your fella is too funny, guess that’s why you are together!

    I too am a PC nut!! So much so, that hubby’s side of the family all thought that I sold the stuff!!! About 1 yr ago I broke my lg Bar pan – went into a screaming/crying fit in the kitchen – family came running as they thought I’d cut off my arm — sensing that I was in a fragile state, Hubband assured me it was easily replaceable — not understanding the perfection of the surface, but I did recognize his effort to comfort me and try to help me not fall completely apart!!
    I had invested in the Hard Anodized pots/pans, because I didn’t understand the value of the stainless cookware (humble apologies,and I’ll add it to my list of things to obtain!) As for the salt – had made the change to Sea salt in the last year, we live in a VERY small town and have to shop in the town one over (which isn’t much bigger)so I will have to plan a trip to civilization and get to a real store to obtain the salt!!
    I have a Kitchenaid that I got on ebay several years back because I physically can’t do a lot of mixing — I LOVE it!!! And I am always on the hunt for anything that can make my job easier in the kitchen!!!
    Thanks again for your blog, your encouragement to everyone to jump in there and do stuff – and of course for your sense of humor!!! I look forward to it daily like a good cup of Joe and a visit with a good friend!! (will that keep me in your good graces I hope?!!!) ;-)

  7. Lisa says:

    I adore my PC stone bar pan, and my 9×13 deep dish baker, and my stone pie baker, and my round baker, and my stone rectangle flat pan, and my round pan . . Yes – I’m a die hard PC stoneware lover! My mom sold PC for quite a few years so I was an early convert 15+ years ago. I can’t live without my food chopper. I was recently married and received the Martha Stewart knife block set and 2 sets of her “tupperware” type sets – would knock someone out who tried to take those from me!

  8. kelliblue says:

    Seeing as my mother got me a full length plaid flannel nightgown–with ruffles–for Christmas one year (for me, the consistently warm-natured, flannel-hating gal who lives in consistently warm Texas), I’m thrilled when she gives me a gift certificate.

    Two things that I can’t live without are my “big knife,” a large yet inexpensive chef’s knife I found at a local Asian food store, and and my “twangers,” aka some extra long bamboo toast tongs (not really toast tongs but they’re good for that too). I use them both daily for one thing or another. I once left my knife at a friend’s cabin, then proceeded to harass the snot out of her for months till she got it back to me. I felt completely out of sorts in my kitchen without my knife…like Kramer without his quilt. Luckily, I found another knife just like it. Y’know, just in case someone decides to break in and steal the other one. It’s that good. :)

  9. Kristen says:

    Hey- I think my mother IS like yours. ;)

  10. Amanda says:

    Love my antique cast iron – dutch oven, 8″ skillet, and mammoth 14″ skillet. I’m quite certain I could kill with (and for) any of them, but the big ‘un would take two or three to lift it, and could brain the little thieves simultaneously! Serves them right for trying to take it. They are seasoned to perfection and smooth as glass. The pans. Not the thieves. They’re dead and slimy.

  11. Jasmine says:

    Well I feel like a bit of a loser-I had the PC pan, pizza stone and loaf pan. I gave them all away because I just wasn’t crazy about them. What’s that I said? Yes, I just didn’t like them. Mostly because when I am trying to bring something out of a stinking hot oven they are so freakin heavy I have to use two hands and sometimes I only use one mitt or even the tea towel. They got jettisoned in my last move-someone might be happy in the thrigt store around here though. But that frying pan looks like something I could fall in love with…

  12. Make Your Kitchen says:

    I can’t live without good material in the kitchen. Good food needs excellent quality of materials

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