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Posts Tagged ‘Kitchen equipment’

I think it was first on one of the Barefoot Contessa shows that I saw her use the ice cream scoop – the one with the release handle – to fill muffin cups. This struck me as quite genius as I had a bad habit of making a mess out of the process of filling a muffin tin, inevitably ending up with burned batter over most of the pan. I now like to chill the batter just slightly, so that it is a bit firmer, and use the scoop to fill each muffin cup to exactly the same size. It is so nice to not have the leftover batter to divy up, or have some giant muffins overflowing and other small ones overcooking.

I’ve also started using the scoop for making cookies. Ditto to all the above on saving time and reducing mess and making all sizes equal. Since I tend to make pretty large sized cookies anyways, this works great for me.

Last week I found yet another use, and this may be the best yet – I used the scoop to create perfectly round, even meatballs with significantly less meaty mess than usual! The meatball mixture chills in the refrigerator for a while (mine was in there overnight) and then I simply scooped out each one to the perfect size without ending up with disgusting hands. And the process was so much faster!

This is probably an obvious short cut to lots of folks but since I’m relatively new to the idea and have been loving it so much, I thought I’d pass it on to any who haven’t yet discovered this shortcut!

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Simple Equipment

Amazon has this nifty little system that allows you to list items in a ‘store’ from your blog.  I’ve included some of my favorite cookbooks, books about cooking, equipment, serving ware and foodstuffs in a list that you can find by clicking on the link at the right called “Recommended cookbooks, equipment and more”.  Some of these things I don’t own but wish I did, for example the new sexy green Bon Appetit cookbook which I’m craving as a basic resource for recipes, or the gorgeous All-Clad saute pan.  Most of them are things I use over and over again in my kitchen – my favorite red spoon which doesn’t scrape the bottom of my pots, my Reidel wine glasses which feel so luxurious to drink out of, my beloved Kitchenaid mixer which has been the centerpiece of my kitchen for almost 10 years now.  These are good friends in my kitchen and I think you should meet them. 🙂

People seem to enjoy using the comment feature on this blog, so I’ll throw out a question that I’m curious about – what is the favorite or most indispensable tool/book in YOUR kitchen?!?  Let us all in on the secret!

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Gas vs. Electric

I just realized I’ve created my own soapbox here to expound upon my BIGGEST pet peeve in my new kitchen.  I’m happy to have this opportunity to publicly say – WHY GOD, WHY are there still electric stoves in kitchens!?!?  I HATE my electric stove.  The funny thing is, I don’t think I’d ever used a gas stove until I lived in New Orleans, and it actually took me a little while to get used to it.  But in the 5 years since, I’ve grown not only used to it but terribly fond of the old gas stove.  There’s something about the little click-click-click as it’s igniting that is so full of anticipation.  And for those of us who are visual learners, it couldn’t be easier to manage your heat because you can SEE that cute little blue flame flickering away.  Most importantly, the heat responds quickly – it gets warm quickly when you light the stove and adjusts quickly up or down. 

Let me assure those of you who don’t cook on electric stoves – this is NOT the case with those annoying little coils.  The situation is slightly improved from when we first moved in, but here’s the worse case scenario which happens about once a week in my kitchen.  I put a pot of something on the stove to heat up.  Being spoiled by the instant gratification of my old gas stove, I want heat quickly, so I crank the dial up to the max.  While waiting to get some boiling action, I empty the dishwasher, wipe down the counters, chop something, open a bottle of wine.  I peek in the lid.  Not a bubble.  I sigh and turn back to the sink to load the dishwasher.  Pull a few more ingredients out of the fridge.  Take another look.  NOTHING.  Suddenly there’s a shout from the living room and I head in there to see what interesting thing just happened in either football or politics. 🙂  In about a minute, I hear the sound of water, or worse, soup, spilling all over my stove and burning on the hot coils.  For the next several times I use that burner there’s a thin stream of smoke heading towards the heavens and the smell is so bad even Nola (the dog) comes in to stare at me accusingly.  I’ll likely be dealing with this beast for the next 3 years but my sweet husband promises me, while consoling me as I spout potty words, that he’ll get me a gas stove for the next place we live.  For the rest of you, if you have any choice about it, I urge you to toss those electric nightmares and get a sexy little oh-so-responsive and helpful gas stove.  Cooking is so much more enjoyable that old-fashioned way.

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