By Steven Ziegler
For many of us at the WEBstaurantStore, cooking is not just something we think about at our jobs, it is also our passion at home. I am certainly no exception: if I am not making food, I am thinking about making food. So, as it turns out, I am not just a worker here at the WEBstaurantStore — I am also an avid customer. I thought I’d share some of my favorite kitchen tools that I have bought here; because as we head into the holiday season, I am sure some of these nifty gadgets and tools would make great (and inexpensive) gift ideas for your favorite home chef.
|Hi Heat Silicone Spatula — whether I am frying in my non stick pans, or getting the last of my pesto out of my food processor, this all purpose kitchen tool has served me well. We have stock two types of high heat spatulas, and I opted for the more expensive(but only $6.49) Vollrath version. I have had it for years, and put it through both tomato sauces and curries, and the head is still unstained.|
|Flexible Cutting Boards — If you click the link, you’ll see a video that I did recently explaining the many benefits of these cutting boards. In the beginning of the video I say that I am excited about them, and you may think that is just talk—but you’d be wrong. I get totally geeked out on kitchen stuff, and I love these things! I got my ServSafe certification 11 years ago and ever since I’ve been really paranoid about cross contamination. If, like me, you change cutting boards often; you will really appreciate the space savings.|
|Victorinox Egg Turner. — How my Grandma ever made what we Pennsylvania Dutchmen call 'dippy eggs' without one of these is beyond me. These are invaluable to me for making fried eggs, fish, or anything else that requires a little extra care in the flipping. We also have the high heat plastic version for non stick pans. I have and use both.|
|Mortar and Pestle -- So I use rosemary all time, so what? What’s it to you? I can stop anytime I want! Really! Whether I am just grinding up salt and rosemary (which I put on veggies all the time), making a dry rub for meats, or experimenting with some Indian cooking; it is easy to see why people have been using tools like this for millennia.|
|Immersion Blender -- Admission: I had one of these for several years before I used it even once (wedding gift). And then on a whim, I broke it out. Now I use it anytime I don’t feel like breaking out the blender or processor. The fact that it can be used right in a soup or sauce while it’s cooking is really convenient. This time of year I serve butternut squash as a change-of-pace side dish, and this is how I mash it and incorporate the butter.|
|Regular Old Kitchen Tongs — These tongs do everything they are supposed to do. And these tongs do many things they were never meant to do. I’ll leave that one to your imagination. We are selling them for $1.89 right now, and I have had mine for at least five years.|
|Probe Thermometer w/Timer -- This timer with temperature probe I bought after watching an episode of "Good Eats" with Alton Brown. I love that show, and he is always using one of these. Now I do, too! In fact, when my kids were younger, that timer got a workout counting down the dreaded "time-outs". So not only are my roasts done perfectly because of this, my kids are better behaved! It is magnetic, so it sticks on my fridge when not in use rather than taking up drawer space .|
|Cast Iron Skillets and Pots -- I love these indestructible pans! The more years I have them, they better they work. They hold heat well, go from stovetop to oven, and are easy to clean once seasoned. I use two of them for a makeshift panini grill: just heat two pans (one smaller than the other), place sandwich on the larger grill, put a sheet of aluminum foil on the sandwich and add the other heated pan on top.|
|Nonstick ½ sheet pans -- I have two of these at home, and more days than not, they are in use. Whether for oven frites, roasted asparagus, or baking, these pans have given me more than my money’s worth. The first time you melt cheese on nachos on one of these, and the cheese peels right off instead of being scrubbed, you’ll know you made a good purchase. Lincoln’s non stick Wearguard surface is long lasting and stands up to lots of abuse.|
|Stainless Steel Cookware -- I am the luckiest home cook in the world: I get to cook, but my wife cleans up my mess. These stainless steel pans not only look nice and heat evenly, but the stainless steel is super easy to clean.|
Honorable Mention goes to my 16 qt plain old aluminum stock pot Here is a trick for all the guys (or girls) that love the NFL: many years ago I would feel a little guilty for watching football every Autumn Sunday, but then I learned to make stock and soups. Now I can watch all the football that I want, tend to soup during the commercial breaks and halftime, and then be praised all evening for how good my soup tastes and for feeding the family. It’s a win-win!
We'd love to know your favorite gadgets and tools! Leave us know in the comments section below.