Sunday, December 19, 2010

All I need For Christmas, I already have

Colander, a place to rest your chicken

I remember reading somewhere that before your children write a list of what they want for Christmas, it's good to have them write a list of what they already have. This hasn't been tried at my house yet, but maybe this is the year. I secretly hope that home, and being loved would top the list and not the Wii.

As I look at a copy of the Sur la Table Holiday Gift Book,( also known as cooks porn) resting next to me, with pages carefully marked to everything I want, I realize it's nothing I really need. So, I put together my own list of what I use to cook both professionally and at home. Just so you know, appreciative family, friends and clients to cook for are at my secret top.

Here is a few of my favorite kitchen things I find impossible to live without. Most items are simple, obtainable and affordable, just what a cook needs and what I remind myself I already have!
good stuff
Sheet pans - 1/2 sheet pans they are called fit home ovens. Restaurant quality available at a supply store.
Instant read thermometer - Never try to guess the internal temp of your chicken! 
Tongs - all sizes from springy heavy duty to light weight small pinchy ones. Can't have enough tongs!
Colander- simple stainless steel with feet for better draining.
Nesting glass bowls - I bought mine at Williams-Sonoma. I'm on my second set, wore the first ones out.
Standing Kitchen Mixer - I have a old white one a Kitchenaid, probably an antique by now.
High quality stainless steel measure cups and spoons - I like my set from Williams-Sonoma.
Glass measure cups - I love the 8 cup from Pampered Chef as well as Pyrex 1 and 2 cup.
Wooden spoons - classic tool, kind on pans and hands.
Neck timer - great for when you have to leave the room with cookies in the oven.
Wire whisks - wood handles are best for leaving it in a cooking sauce to keep from being burned.
Pastry brush - I don't like the plastic or silicon ones, give me a wood handle and traditional bristles.
Pastry bags and tips - I keep several sizes of each for cake decorating to filling deviled eggs.
Scoops - several different sizes, to perfectly portion meatballs, cookies and the like.
Food processor - large capacity is best, simple easy to clean is what your looking for.
Ceramic white platters, plates bowls - all sizes, best for entertaining in any season and for food photos.
Bamboo cutting board - I love how it wears.
Microplane - easy to use grater for fine zest.
Cheese knives - all sizes, essential tools for appetizer serving.
White flour sack towels - (no paper towels) a habit I developed from working in commercial kitchens.
Le Creuset -  51/2 Qt. nothing better for sauces, soup, stews.
8" Chef knife - my two favorites are Wusthof- Classic and a Shun. I had to get the Shun when prepping for a cooking demo for Alton Brown and ended up really liking it.
Le Creuset, birthday gift from my husband

My favorite item is in a class by its self a 13" old Magnalite skillet, well seasoned by daily use. Not sure where you can get a pan like that nowadays, (mine I nicknamed Serious Black) he's ugly but well loved, but has been with me about 30 years. If your reviewing your own needs, or looking for a gift for the cook in your life, I hope this list helps.
Serious Black in action

If I don't get another chance before Christmas, I wish everyone a happy and wonderful holiday season, Chef Renee. 
essential cheese knives make great gifts


Velva said...

I think it is a wonderful idea to make a list of what you already have before you make a list of what you want...I have stored that thought away, as I am planning on using it.

I love your list of cooking items that you cannot live without. Not only is this a list of what you already have but, it is a list of what has made you happy. Great list! I can totally relate to your kitchen items.

Happy Holidays to you.


~ Chef Louise said...

you are so right renee, we have more than most and then some... and 1000 pieces of parchment, right? perfect post for the season, i added it to OC Bites on facebook...

Chef Debbi said...

Yes, I too have all that I need, yet I look longing at W/S & Sur la Table at all the bright and shiny new stuff. I love your comprehensive list, what a great idea. Now if you could just get the kids to.......

chow and chatter said...

oh what a sweet post hugs
Merry Christmas


Sean L. said...

I could definitely use one of those skillets for my cooking. You are completely right about the tongs and the wooden spoons, in find those the most the most useful.


Kim said...

What a great list! I have everything but the neck timer. :-) No wonder we're remodeling... we need to fit all of these tools in our kitchen!!

Hope you and yours had a Happy Holiday season - happy new year!!


P.S. And thanks for the reminder of listing what already have... which is lots.

zayne fontes said...

Yes! I love that picture of the chicken hanging out! so funny! Great blog. Just telling you now that I want a skillet for my b-day. ;)