Monday, July 6, 2009

Lets Talk Equipment

So, my main thrust in writing this blog is to inform whoever decides to read my ramblings about proper ingredients. This does not just pertain to edible ingredients however. The proper tools by which one produces a meal can be equally as important as the actual food product included in the recipe. For instance, without a proper temperature monitoring device, any meat dish will either be dry or under-cooked, unless the cook has worked a grill in a restaurant and can determine meat temperature by touch. Also, without a quality sauté or frying pan, a home cook could never get that restaurant quality sear on a piece of fish. This could go on all day.

The first item of kitchen equipment that I feel I should detail on this blog is possibly the most essential of any one thing a home cook should buy. I know, I know. You are thinking that I must be taking about an item of french cast iron cookware or an expensive stand mixer. The most important thing you can have in your kitchen is much more simple and versatile.

The best thing a home cook can invest in is one good knife. Thats right ONE good knife. For any home, restaurant cook, or executive chef, there is one favorite knife. Now don't get me wrong, there are different knives for different work. But, instead of buying that $100 set of 22 knives that will be dull in five days, go to a good kitchen store and buy ONE knife. Personally, if I could have only one knife in my block, I would choose my Wusthof Ikon eight inch hollow ground chef's knife. It is versatile, it is high quality, and it is guaranteed to take care of most of the jobs a great home cook will need to tackle.

It is important, however, to not choose a knife based on looks. Personally, I have the Ikon Creme handle. it is not the most attractive option that Wusthof offers, but the business end is the exact same as it would be on the original black handle or the beautiful Blackwood option.

Now, the eight-inch chef's knife is my choice. Some people feel better with a six-inch. My mother actually prefers a 4.5-inch prep knife as her go to. It is all up to the cook. I like the blade of a chef's knife because it promotes good action for slicing, it allows for a good angle, and it rocks properly for fast chopping. It is good for breaking down meat, taking the place of a fillet knife. It is good for slicing cooked meats, taking the place of a carving knife. It is good, if it is really sharp, for slicing bread, taking the place of a break knife. This too could go on forever. Simply put, a good chef's knife has the ability to take the place of most of the knives you might have in your matching set.

For other brands, check out Wusthof Classic, Grand Prix II, or Ikon; JA Henckles Twin Cuisine series or Twin Signature series; Kershaw Shun Classic or if you have the extra money Shun Elite.

Wusthof Ikon- triple riveted handle, full length tang, all around great knife.

JA Henckles Twin Cuisine- Great heavy handle, durable blade, one-piece forged handle, full tang without rivets.

Shun Classic- top of the line Japanese blade, super sharp and balanced.

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