Sunday, September 27, 2009

Kitchen Tool Set – Four Basic Tools

There are several companies that bundle different basic kitchen tool sets. They can range from just a few pieces in the set, to more things that you can shake a rolling pin at. There are four basic kitchen tools that every set should have.

Ladle: Pouring hot liquids from heavy pans is not only difficult, it can be dangerous. Never forget, kitchens are places of fire and heat. Ladles are used for moving hot or cold liquids from on cooking pot to another, or for serving soups and stews. A good ladle will hold about 1/2 cup of liquid. I prefer a ladle that has a handle set at a bit of an angle. Those with handles that sit at, or nearly at, 90 degrees to the top of the ladle cup are a bit harder for me to control.

Serving/Basting Spoon: Essentially these are really big spoons. Some people say you should only use them for serving, because the handle can get hot if you use it for stirring things and leave it in the pot. My solution is simple. Don't leave it in the pot while you're cooking.

Spatula: I'm talking about the metal or plastic variety for turning food over, like flipping a hamburger on the grill, or lifting them gently from the pan to the serving plate. Again, I'm going with the hamburger example. They are nearly essential for flipping and moving more delicate foods, such as fish, that would have a tendency to break up under a set of tongs. I prefer slotted plastic ones to solid metal ones, to reduce the chance of it scratching my pans and to keep unwanted cooking liquids and oils in the pan, not on the serving dish.

Slotted Spoon: Perfect for removing foods from boiling water, either for serving or testing to find out if they're done. They're also great for skimming scum (schmutz) off the surface of liquids. Some are round, others are spoon shaped. Either way, I prefer a lot of smaller holes to a few larger ones. The spoon shaped ones can double as a serving spoon for some dishes.

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