Cooking Tools For Your Kitchen

If you cook occasionally or if you are just starting out, your kitchen should be equipped with certain basic tools. You do not have to purchase the most expensive utensils on the market. Buy what you need within your budget and if you decide cooking is something you like and you want to experiment with various types of recipes, you can upgrade.

Here is a list of basic cooking tools for your kitchen:

Chopping Board

Chopping Boards are used to chop or cut up meats and vegetables. You should have a separate chopping board for raw meats, one for vegetables and one for fish. You will probably also want one to use for slicing cooked meats. Chopping boards are made from a variety of materials. The most common are wood and plastic. You can find chopping boards that are color-coded so you can prevent cross-contamination.

Cutlery

Knives are an integral part of the cooking process. You have to slice, dice, chop, and cut up ingredients for the dishes you are planning to cook. These may be the tools on which you spend the most money. The knife should be sharp and easy to use.

Knives come in different sizes for different uses such as steak knives, chef’s knife, bread knife, utility knife, and so on. You can purchase sets in a wooden rack or block.

Whisk

The whisk is a tool that is used in preparing a number of dishes. You do not have to spend a lot of money on this utensil. You may want to consider purchasing a stainless steel whisk because they are easy to work with and most ingredients will rinse off easily before washing.

Wooden Spoons

Wooden spoons are a versatile utensil. You will not scratch your non-stick pots and pans with these. These spoons last a long time and they do melt or warp.

Bakeware

Pans are made of a number of materials including stainless steel, non-stick, and copper.

When you are learning to cook, you may want to start with a set of non-stick pans. If you are planning to bake cakes or cookies, you will need cake pans which come in 8-inch round or 9-inch round sizes. They also come in square shapes and various other shapes to make specialty cakes. Cookie sheets also come in various sizes and materials.

Cookware

Cookware is made of a variety of materials. Depending on the type of cooking you do, you will probably want at least one large stockpot for making soups, a broiling pan, casserole dishes, small saucepan, a large skillet, and a small skillet.

Other Utensils

Spatulas are used to turn eggs, flip pancakes and hamburgers. You will want to have one or two of these on hand. Another good tool to have is a pair of tongs to use for turning food.

You can start cooking with a few basic tools and then add more as you gain experience, confidence, and the desire to experiment with preparing different dishes.



Source by Sandra Rouse

Factors to Consider When Buying a Hand Blender

In the kitchen, a hand-held blender has many names: stick blender, immersion blender, or wand blender. Its function is to blend ingredients directly inside their own bowl, pot, or just about any container you want to use. The motor is in the upper section of the handle and is connected to a rotating blade at the bottom. A protective guard around the blade helps prevent accidents. The shaft of the blender could be stainless steel or plastic, but the blades should always be stainless steel.

With a long history of award winning culinary tools and three models to choose from, the Cuisinart® hand blender has options in color choices and additional accessories (whisk, chopping tools, and more). When using this type of blender, simply combine your ingredients into a pot, container, or bowl, insert the blender, and turn it on. When the blender is immersed into a liquid, a whirlpool is created by the rotation of the blade drawing in the ingredients as the food is mixing. Since the blade is completely immersed, it is less likely to splatter like other hand mixers can do. Hand blenders are also quieter than traditional blenders, and so much easier than dragging out the big blender.

Here are some important factors to review as you consider buying your own immersion blender:

The Design

  • Does it offer different colors to go with your kitchen décor?
  • Is it safe and comfortable to use?
  • Is it easy to operate?

Clean Up

  • Are all the removable parts and attachments dishwasher safe?

Attachments

  • Are attachments included? If not, are they available separately?
  • Are they good quality, and replaceable?

Plug In or Cordless

  • If portability is important to you, choose a cordless model.
  • For plug in models, make sure the cord extends away from the blender so it isn’t in your way.

Need some ideas of what you might use a Cuisinart® hand blender for?

  • Cocktails – choose the handy cordless model to take anywhere you want
  • Pancake lump removal
  • Smoothie creations made faster and with less mess
  • Fluffy egg whites for meringues, whipping cream, or even egg white omelets
  • Frothing milk for dessert dishes
  • Gravy mixing right in the pan or pot

The Cuisinart® hand blender (or Cuisinart® Smart Stick) is ergonomically designed for comfort, ease of operation, and effortless clean up. Between the three models available, you have easy one-touch control, your choice of plug in models, or a rechargeable cordless model, and numerous attachments to handle a variety of culinary needs.



Source by L Adina

Can the Gt Xpress 101 & Xpress Redi-Set-Go Change the Way You Cook and Eat?

The GT Xpress 101 has been on the market for years and is designed to reduce the usage of oil and eliminate fat by cooking foods from both sides. The newer and sleeker XPress Redi-Set-Go works on the same ideals and is giving the GT XPress 101 a run for the money. Both cookers are marketed to busy and health conscious people who want to be able to make quick and easy meals in a fly without mucking up the kitchen or being forced to digest grease and oil. Both products do work as designed but there are some differences in the two.

The GT XPress 101 costs $50 and if paid all at once a second model is offered for free. The free model is extremely small and is probably sufficient for a dorm room but not necessarily a family kitchen. This indoor cooker has a compact design and runs on electricity which is nice when you don’t want to heat up the kitchen. It also comes with lots of freebies like recipe books, a spatula, flavor injector and a pocket maker to make things like pitas. The company asserts that it will make low carb foods in less than 7 minutes. In a kitchen test, the GT XPress 101 performed as designed although a nutritionist stated that the amount of carbs in a food depends more on what you are cooking. Chicken and omelets both cooked in less than 7 minutes, but lean steaks were a bit chewy after 8 minutes. Although they cook fast, in order to cook for a family of 4 you would have to use the cooker twice. It is about the size of a sandwich press and is designed rather plainly – but is easy to use and operate! Most consumer reviews indicate that the product is definitely worthwhile and enables them to cook fast, healthy and tasty meals. The non-stick surfaces are easy to clean and some consumers requested the desire for the plates to be able to be removed for cleaning.

The Xpress Redi-Set-Go essentially is designed to be an indoor grill. It is advertised to bake, grill, fry or steam foods in less time than it takes to microwave. This model comes with an insertable pan to make appetizers, a double sided spatula and a food divider which is nice when cooking for multiple people. You also get a set of recipes to go along with the cooker. This also costs $50 and is impeccably designed and a perfect match for most modern kitchens. In kitchen tests the built in timer was a nice feature and foods cooked to perfection without burning on either side in around 7 minutes. Even German pancakes were made flawlessly in this multi purposed cooker. They offer a money back guarantee as well as a warranty to provide a replacement in the event of defectiveness. The cord wrap makes for convenient storage and it is definitely smaller than a toaster or toaster oven. All of the surfaces are non-stick avoiding the need for heavy oils or sprays to lubricate the grill. The inserts are dish washer safe and easy to clean according to consumer reviews.

While both of these products have definitely been able to prove their worthiness in the kitchen, the newer XPress Redi-Set-Go may be a little nicer. With the removable trays and the sleek new appearance consumers are excited about putting it in their kitchen. The GT Xpress does come with a much more detailed and comprehensive selection of recipes that can make the product much more usable in the every day kitchen. Although both speak about replacing the microwave and the oven, neither could do that entirely. For one thing they are not that large and they are not able to make side dishes, casseroles or simply heat up foods without crisping. All in all, most consumers rave about how much they use this new kitchen appliance and wonder how they got along without them. In either case, purchasing one of these will never be met with regret and they do offer a great way to quickly cook foods.



Source by Grace McLellan