10 Food Preparation Essentials to Tackle Any Dish
Sublime is managing to avoid loads of gadgets that clutter up your kitchen and your mind. The Food Preparations guide provides you the 10 tools you need for everything from daily kitchen usage to being able to entertain like a pro.
Avoid the temptation to buy too many items because chances are you won’t remember what you have, and will struggle to find storage for all those gadgets. Reality is many items sound useful but don’t have real value worth the space they take up in the kitchen.
Knives - The hardest working item in your arsenal
Which knives to buy is a highly personal decision. The feel, weight, budget, and look are important considerations. It is not necessary to buy a full knife set, 3 good knives will handle virtually everything you throw at them. If you buy the right ones, they will perform well and last you for years.
Get the best you can buy for your budget. Consider your chef’s knife to be the most important investment. It’s really worth it.
Three Essential Knives
1. Chef Knife
Slicing meats and poultry and chopping vegetables, nuts, and herbs.
6”, 8”, or 10” depending on your hand size.
2. Paring Knife
Peeling, cutting, and carving fruit; mincing herbs or garlic; scoring meat
3” or 4”
3. Serrated Knife
slicing bread and tomatoes
The reason I love the Wusthof Ikon 8 Series is the weight and feel of it in my hand. I don’t have dainty small hands nor do I have man hands.
I’ve used more expensive, heavier and lighter professional knives but I prefer the Ikon 8 series. When prepping for parties, it doesn’t fatigue or rub my hands raw due to improper weight or fit. It stays sharp and has outperformed all my other professional knives.
The MAC Knife Chef Series is also a great alternative and performs well for what it’s intended. A half-bolster helps you maintain a professional grip, and dimples prevent food from sticking to the sides of the knife as you chop.
Victorinox Fibrox Pro Chef's Knife Ergonomically designed, non-slip Fibrox Pro handle provides a sure grip and easy handling even when wet, making each knife safer and more efficient. Expertly crafted in Switzerland since 1884; designed for professionals who use knives all day, every day; lifetime warranty against defects in material and workmanship.
4. Knife Steel
Make it a practice to use it every time you pull out your knives. Run your knife over it about 15 times and it’s ready to use. There’s nothing more dangerous than a dull knife. You will use your knives improperly which will lead to cutting yourself.
5. Cutting Board
The right cutting board will protect the blades of your knives, prevent the spread of harmful bacteria, and simplify cleanup. There are many options, ranging from plastic and wood to glass and Corian.
Ideally, you should look for a board with two usable sides, nonslip edges that will keep the board securely in place during prep, and a groove that will catch liquids and prevent spills. Other features to consider: Flexible boards make transferring prepped items a cinch; handles allow for easy lifting and carrying; color-coding helps prevent cross-contamination of ingredients.
The Boos RA03 Maple Wood Edge Reversible Cutting Board is a great choice. It’s 24” in width for plenty of cutting space and 2.25” in depth for enough weight to stay put. It does take a little effort to keep it clean and long lasting but it’s worth the time and investment.
A couple of good resources to keep your boards in tip top shape are Bon Appetit Clean and Care for a Wooden Cutting Board and Reader's Digest How to Clean a Cutting Board.
6. Vegetable Peeler
Whether you are peeling three pounds of potatoes for your first Thanksgiving or creating some quick chocolate curls to decorate a friend's birthday cake, a good vegetable peeler should have a wide, durable blade. Stainless-steel blades peel more smoothly than ceramic ones. Serrated blades are best with tough-skinned produce (like butternut squash); sharper blades will make cutting both easier and safer.
A comfortable, no-slip handle is a must, and we prefer the Y-peeler to the standard swivel peeler, as it makes prepping large quantities of fruits and vegetables easier. An eyer (like a little scoop) will allow you to quickly remove small blemishes and bruises from fruits and vegetables.
7. Micro Grater
Microplane 38004 Professional Series Fine Grater is a kitchen must have. I use it for everything from finely grating hard cheeses, citrus, garlic, ginger, spices, chocolate and so much more. Try it and you will never go back to finely mincing garlic or ginger with a knife again. You will love it!
8. Box graters Kitchen Basix Cheese Grater & Shredder. Box Graters are useful for small amounts of grating, otherwise your hands and arms fatigue easily . For bigger grating jobs, consider using your food processor with a grating wheel. I would recommend Kitchen Basix Cheese Grater & Shredder, It’s heavy duty, ultra sharp, and has a rubber base for non-slip usage.
9. Immersion or Stick Blender
An immersion/stick blender is a great little tool to smooth out soups and sauces in pans, pots or containers. It also works well for making smoothies. Some stick blenders have a single purpose and others have multiple attachments for different applications such as a small food processor, whisk attachment, and beakers. My favorite is the OXA Powerful 4-in-1 Hand Blender, 300 W. The immersion attachment performs well, it has a secure grip, and a powerful motor. The small food processor is great for medium chopping jobs, when you don’t want to bring out a big food processor.
10. Can Opener
A must have. Unless you create everything from scratch, eventually you will want to open a can. Even the most diligent of gourmet chefs use a canned product occasionally and for most of us, it’s imperative iGearPro’s Smooth Edge Can Opener is a solid choice. It will do the job easily and safely, no more sharp edges to your cans
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