Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Choosing & Using the Right Cooking Tools

Over the years, I have lost some very helpful tools and acquired others.  Life is so much simpler when you have the right tools to do the job.



Making a good meatloaf is the result of having the right tools.  It is better for flavor to use ground meat that is higher in fat content.  This now means I have to shop for ground meat in the pick 5 section of my supermarket because they insist on making lower fat content packages in the regular section.  This causes the meat to ooze fat while it is cooking.  So I make my meatloaf in a stainless steel pan that has a groove around the edges to collect the fats during cooking.


The meat sits in the middle on a flat surface while the edges are curved to collect the oil drippings.  HINTS: I always save a coffee tin to catch the drippings so that they don't go down the drain or make a mess in the trash basket.  My son started putting a sheet of aluminum foil lining the bottom and sides which can be let congeal and then thrown away.



Once the meatloaf is cooked, it is handy to have a spatula large enough to lift the entire meatloaf from the pan onto the platter for setting before cutting.





I bought the pan which was actually advertised as a lasagna pan.  With the lowered edges I can't see the benefit in making lasagna in the pan, but it is perfect for my meatloaf.  The elongated spatula that is pictured, I acquired when two of my daughters were working for a pizza shop that went out of business.  The owner of the shop told the girls who also managed the shop for him to take whatever they wanted.  There was a similar one at Bed Bath and Beyond but it cost $95.  I found the exact same spatula online at a restaurant supply website for $3.


Another tool that was acquired from the pizza shop was this double handled block cheese cutter.  I use this when I make home made pizza.  It cuts the entire pizza with one cut.  I can then use the cutter to make the pizza 6 or 8 cuts depending on how many I'm feeding.

I also use this tool to cut and shave my 10 lb. block of chocolate that I am melting down to make my chocolate molds or for dipping pretzels.  This work by cutting off chunks big enough to be shaved or broken down further using this tool.


 This smaller spatula is a find that I made on a trip to Bed Bath and Beyond.  I use it to cut my lasagna or frittata.  By using the spatula to measure and cut in squares, I have the perfect size pieces for serving.

My son uses it to flip over easy eggs because it is easier to handle and has a cutting edge that fits under individual eggs.

This spatula would also work well at that birthday party for cutting the cake after the first slice has been made by the birthday person.

The pie crust cutter is another tool that I have found other uses.  I do have a hard boiled egg cutter that I formerly used to cut up my hard boiled eggs for potato and macaroni salads.  I have since found that using the pie dough tool works better and chops the egg into smaller pieces that lend more flavor to the salad.  This also serves to not leave egg whites in chunks which to my taste detracts from the flavor of the salad.

I then use the hard boiled egg cutter to cut the last egg for decorating the salad along with slices of fresh pepper if I'm taking it to a party.

It takes time and experimentation to find the right uses for all of the tools that you may already have in your kitchen.  Just because you bought it for one use doesn't mean that it can't be used for something totally different and become a tool you would miss if you didn't have it.

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