If you are just learning to cook, or are moving into your first place, you probably don't have much in the way of cookware and kitchen tools. And you may not even know what basic tools you need. Here is what I recommend to begin your journey from beginning cook to gourmet chef.
This is a very basic tool, but provides a number of essential functions. We all know that using a cutting board saves our counter tops, but when used properly, it also can reduce knife injuries. Butcher block has been the traditional favorite; however, concerns about bacteria getting into the wood grain have encouraged switching to other materials. Plastic cutting boards are inexpensive, easy to clean and can molded with antibacterial agents in the plastic. Other popular materials for cutting boards are glass, bamboo and corian. Start with at least two large cutting boards – one for vegetables and fruit and a separate one for meat products. Using two cutting boards like this will reduce the risk of cross contamination from raw meat.
Good Quality Knives:
You really can’t cook or chop anything properly without a good knife. Inexpensive knives will last only a short time and can never be as sharp as fine cutlery. Not only does a good, sharp knife help you prepare food efficiently but it also makes cutting and chopping safer. A dull knife can slip and cut your finger very easily. These are investment pieces, and they can be expensive, so do your research before purchasing. Minimally, your kitchen should have a eight or ten inch chefs knife and a paring knife. Neither should have a serrated edge. As your cooking skills grow, you will add to your knife collection.
Large Pot With a Good Fitting Top:
You need a pot for pretty much anything – from boiling water for pasta, to cooking vegetables, and making soups and stews. High quality cookware is typically stainless steel, with variations of core thickness and layers of stainless. These variations are what the manufacturers use to differentiate their product from other similar pieces of cookware. Study the differences and consider how they match the way you cook and what type of cooking you do. Some work better for slow cooking, like stews, while others are better suited to quick cooking methods, like boiling water for pasta.
This may be the cooking pan you use the most. Versatility makes them essential in the kitchen. Use a saute pan for stir fries, frying chicken, making grilled cheese or hamburgers, sauteing a fish filet, or flipping an omelet. You should get one without a wooden handle and check that they are oven proof. Then they can do double duty on your stove top or in your oven. If your budget allows, consider getting a smaller size for omelets and vegetables and a larger size for stir fries and multiple pieces of meat. To properly use a saute pan, you will need to avoid overcrowding the food, so do consider those larger sizes if your budget allows.
These are perfect for preparing things in the oven. From a beef roast to a roasted chicken to roasted vegetables, a roasted pan can help you cook your favorite dishes in the oven.
Some people put off purchasing a good quality roasting pan and get by with the aluminum throwaways from the grocery store. While it will get the job done for your Thanksgiving turkey, it isn’t a long term solution for someone who really enjoys cooking.
This kitchen utensil is also known as a liquefier in the UK. Kitchens and laboratories make use of this to mix different ingredients together, puree fruits and vegetables and emulsify mayonnaise or vinegar and other matter.
A countertop blender is made of several parts: a jar or container that holds the matter to be blended, a rotating blade and an electric motor at the base. This kind of a blender allows you to put food in, press button and leave.
Aside from the countertop blender, there is the immersion blender has the electric motor on the top part, has a shaft with a rotating blade at its end. It is similar to the electric mixer but with a blade. This kind of kitchen utensil needs you to hold it while blending foods, unlike the countertops.
Why do you need a Blender?
If aren’t sure you need to spend hard earned money on a kitchen utensil that you might not use often, allow me to tell you that you do. Besides, this kitchen utensil isn’t that expensive, to begin with. You can choose different kinds of blenders at Amazon depending on the brand, capacity, and features.
To answer the question of whether or not you need a blender, I’ll discuss what you can do with it and let you decide for yourself.
What can do you with a Blender
A heavy duty blender is often used by restaurants and food processing companies. But for your first kitchen, you use a countertop
or immersion blender. If you ask me, you can stick with the countertop kind for now.
This kitchen utensil can creatively help you prepare meals and beverages. Here is a quick list of what you can do with your blender:
- Puree soups, blend frozen cocktails, smoothies, health shakes and margaritas.
- Blend sauces for different dishes.
- Emulsify mayonnaise.
- Grind nuts, chocolate bars, and bread into crumbs
- Chop vegetables and fruits.
- Mash potatoes, carrots, and other vegetables.
Using A blender
How to Make Smoothies using a Blender
A cup or two of unsweetened coconut milk
Chopped fresh or frozen figs
1 cup baby spinach
1 Banana/or a mango/ or any sweet fruit of your choice
I tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Natural vanilla extract
Throw all ingredients in a blender and blend away.
Homemade Smokey Peanut Butter
Roast peanuts in a pan with oil. Throw in a high-performance blender with butter, sugar, and milk. Blend away.
In a Nutshell
There are so many things you can do with a blender, even if you are only preparing food for yourself and occasional guests. If you are trying to lose weight or sticking to a specific diet, this kitchen utensil will help you achieve that. So, if you are going to shop for kitchen utensils you will need for you first ever kitchen, don’t forget to add the blender to your checklist.
Like most things in life, quality does cost more. Start by purchasing a few high quality kitchen tools and add to your collection as your cooking skills grow.