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Food processor girl is back...what are essential kitchen items to have?

lb Nov 11, 2004 08:50 AM

Well, everyone was so helpful about my question about whether registering for a food processor for my wedding was necessary - thanks so much! I love to cook but up until now haven't been able to afford all these fancy appliances so now that I am picking some out I'm looking for advice. If anyone cares like commenting, I'd totally appreciate people's opinoins on their favorite kitchen gadgets/tools. Pots and pans I'm already going with All Clad MC and for knives I'm using Global...but other than that I'm wandering around aimlessly. (Though I think I will go with the food processor now after everyone's comments.)Any opinions would be much apprecited!

  1. e
    eastiegirl Nov 11, 2004 09:21 AM

    I love my KitchenAid stand mixer. I'm hoping to get some attachments this Xmas, but even without them it's a great tool. It just makes prep so much faster and easier, and I like that I can leave it mixing while I'm doing something else, rather than having to stand there with the hand mixer. My other must-have's are the stoneware baking sheets and pans from Pampered Chef. Since using them I have never made a cookie that wasn't perfect; they all come out evenly and nicely browned on the bottom. Great too for crisping up leftover/frozen french fries or pizza - when you're not in the mood for real cooking!

    1. c
      Carb Lover Nov 11, 2004 10:09 AM

      Thanks for bringing up your previous inquiry about the FP. Even though I initially said below that I could do w/o my FP, reading everyone's + responses reminded me of what it can uniquely do--and now I'm glad that I have it when needed for those jobs :)

      My kitchen must-haves:
      -3 knives (chef's, paring, cleaver)
      -Boos block (wish mine were bigger, so I'd rec getting a big flat one, not too thick)
      -beyond your All-Clad set, 2 non-stick shallow pans (small & large), grill pan, wok
      -cooking utensils (several wooden spoons, silicone spatula, plastic pancake and metal fish spatulas, steel slotted spoon)
      -set of baking pans and sheets
      -colander set
      -mixing bowl set
      -gadgets beyond your usuals (microplane, tiny whisk for mixing small amounts of liquid, French rolling dowel, meat and candy thermometers, pastry brushes, Asian 'spider' strainer, good corkscrew)
      -Krups toaster oven
      -Waring blender
      -KA stand mixer
      -rice cooker
      -spice rack
      -oven mitts

      Have fun w/ that registry!!

      3 Replies
      1. re: Carb Lover
        lb Nov 11, 2004 10:29 AM

        thanks for all your suggestions! what's a boos block?

        1. re: lb
          Carb Lover Nov 11, 2004 11:03 AM

          Boos is the brand of a wood chopping block. Check out the link below. IMO, they are the best in the field. Not hard to find since places like Crate & Barrel and Williams-Sonoma carry them.

          Link: http://www.johnboos.com/

          1. re: Carb Lover
            lb Nov 11, 2004 08:59 PM

            cool, i checked them out and they look great. thanks for recommending this brand.

      2. z
        Zorra Nov 11, 2004 10:20 AM

        A hand mixer is useful for little jobs like mashing potatoes or whipping a couple of egg whites. Mine is a KA.

        1. v
          Val Nov 11, 2004 10:39 AM

          I can't cook (and therefore live) without my:

          garlic press (pampered chef)

          utility knife (pampered chef 5" blade..SO sharp & comes with a sharpener/sheath storage thingy)

          rubber spatula (again, pampered chef...have had it for years and it has not cracked nor stained nor has the handle ever broken)

          good wooden chopping boards..I have a large and a small (son made the larger one in shop class years ago!)

          old seasoned cast iron skillet (10")

          food processor (Hamilton Beach Food Pro 2)

          newest beloved item: Calphalon 12" non-stick skillet

          Mixers: I have a hand held that is old but does the jobs I need very nicely. I think Kitchen Aids really are more for those who LOVE to bake and bake a lot considering the investment required.

          1. s
            suebe Nov 11, 2004 11:08 AM

            The SF chronicle published an article just yesterday about outfitting a new kitchen. It's just their opinion and others may want to weigh in (I for one wonder why a new cook would want several pastry brushes..) I think most of their advise is good though. Best wishes.

            Link: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...

            1 Reply
            1. re: suebe
              lb Nov 12, 2004 10:53 AM

              thanks so much for this, it's a very useful article to have

            2. c
              ChefShell Nov 11, 2004 11:45 AM

              1.) microplane brand grater
              2.) knives: 8-10 inch chef/french/chopping, 5-6 inch flexible boning, 5-8 inch serrated, utility, paring, cleaver, and slicer; i use henkel.
              3.) immersion blender (braun or cuisinart) and regular bar blender (waring is popular)
              4.) sauce pots (small and large), 8 quart+ stock pot, saute pan, non-stick small saute pan, cast iron pan, grill pan. i use copper from william-sonoma.
              5.) silicone spatulas, 3 whisks (large, small, and flat), patry brush
              6.) stand mixer and food processor, both kitchenaid
              7.) meat thermometer!!!!!!!! digital is great, but have a standard on hand too.
              8.) oversized garlic press. zyliss makes one on amazon.com that is wonderful. it does way more than 1 garlic clove at a time. i think it was $16.
              9.) steamer insert for one of your pots
              10.) kitchen shears/scissors.

              these are the things i use the most. i didn't put things on here like bowls or peelers. as a chef, these are the things i couldn't live without.

              1. s
                Sir Gawain Nov 11, 2004 12:52 PM

                Are you in NYC? (your e-mail address seemed to suggest that you are.) If so, you must have a lot of space to fit all the things people suggest!

                >:-/ (*envy*)

                Anyway, my kitchen is tiny and I tend to bake rather than cook, so I'm doing fine without big-assed stand mixers, blenders and suchlike. For nearly everything I do, I use a hand mixer (my favorite gadget of them all) plus a stick/immersion blender (the attachment works well for chopping/grinding nuts, but I want to get a processor soon.)

                What I want to warn you against is getting a lot of dark-colored nonstick cook/bakeware - not only does it tend to burn food (the dark color causes that) but there are also some concerns about health effects, plus the nonstick layer will eventually wear off and you'll be buying new ones.

                If you bake or want to start baking (do it!!!), I would definitely recommend getting some plain round baking pans with removable bottoms (at least two in 9" size), a couple of cookie sheets and jelly roll pans (they are great for galettes, cookies, bars and anything in between), a nice bundt cake pan, and maybe madeleine molds or some other fun thing like that (NOT nonstick, again). Silpat mats are great, especially as a non-stick work surface (get the largest size you can find).

                And - get some good aprons!!! I really like the bistro-style long ones (from the waist down), they really make sure you don't make a mess of yourself and look good to boot.

                1. j
                  Jane Hathaway Nov 11, 2004 12:53 PM

                  An immersion blender. I have the Braun and I love it. I use it almost every day. It's great for pureeing soups and chopping fresh herbs. It's absolutely indispensible now that I have a baby. I just puree a bit of whatever we're having and give it to her. Congratulations on your marriage.

                  1. d
                    danna Nov 11, 2004 01:09 PM

                    Get a big Le Creuset (sp?) Dutch Oven. I can't live without mine.

                    1. m
                      MMRuth Nov 11, 2004 02:10 PM

                      I've read through the responses so far and pretty much agree - definitely get a Le Creuset casserole of some sort - I use mine all the time for risotto, soups, stews. Wish I had more sizes. I also really like my Le Creuset grill pan - to grill vegetables & fish mainly.

                      One thing I didn't see mentioned that I have come to rely on all the time - a good set of metal kitchen tongs - mine have a kind of scallopped things at the end - I use it to stir, flip, remove items from the pan as well as to move pot lids w/o having to grab an oven mit.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: MMRuth
                        Ruth Lafler Nov 11, 2004 05:12 PM

                        I cooked for 20 years without tongs, and now I don't know how I did it!

                        Lots of good suggestions -- one thing no one has mentioned that I use more and more is a scale.

                      2. c
                        Candy Nov 11, 2004 02:12 PM

                        I have read through the posts and no one has mentioned the cutting mats that are available inexpensively at most places that sell kitchen wares, they come 2 in a package and retail for under $6.00. I have lots of cutting boards, all dishwasher safe, but those little mats do get a work out. Also At WS I found odd sized measuring cups and spoons. I find them quite handy. Also I love my regular Anco stainless masuring cups.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Candy
                          Val Nov 11, 2004 06:32 PM

                          I forgot to mention pepper grinder! Didn't see it in the posts but may have been reading too fast....freshly ground black pepper (or a nice peppercorn mixture) makes 100% difference, in my opinion.

                        2. z
                          Zorra Nov 11, 2004 06:29 PM

                          It's not exactly essential, but be sure to register at Williams-Sonoma so that people who don't want to buy you utilitarian or "practical" gifts (you'd be surprised, there are lots of such people) can get you some of those cute salad plate sets, pasta bowls, etc. etc...*sigh*

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Zorra
                            Carrie Nov 12, 2004 10:24 AM

                            Same thing goes for Crate and Barrel. It's cheaper than WS, and a bit more modern. Whichever fits your taste better!

                          2. l
                            lb Nov 12, 2004 10:54 AM

                            Thanks everyone for all your useful comments. They were all great and have all had a direct impact on what I plan to register for. I love Chowhound!

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