Today I’m going to present you a few indispensable and helpful gadgets for your kitchen. Some of them are more like the fancy stuff you’ll never need, but this article is more about making fancy food and dinner preparation and making the planning easier. Especially for time-intensive cooking sessions like the ones for special occasions, it is important for you to be able to focus on the cooking and not let yourself get distracted by time wasting procedures.
This is not about the basic stuff like a cutlery set or bowls and mixer or whatever… of course you’re going to need that. What I want to show you is my own selection of special utensils that I really fancy.
The melon baller
This little round spoon will help you make nice balls out of almost any fruit or vegetable. If you want tiny ice cream balls for, let’s say, a minimalist dessert or something, you can also make use of the melon baller. There are more than a few uses for those melon ballers like hull strawberries, scoop apple seeds and even make wannabe-truffles out of chocolate ganache. (Ideas taken from: chatelaine.com melon baller ideas)
The kitchen torch aka creme brulee burner
First things first! Safety!
Be careful with fire, the kitchen torch can reach temperatures up to 1,400 °C/ 2,550 °F. That’s one hell of a heat, considering that’s around 4 times hotter than a typical BBQ charcoal fire. I know we’re all passionate cooks and know how to handle fire, but just in case…I told you it was hot!
Anyway, the list of uses for a kitchen torch is almost endless and definitely more than just caramelizing sugar on crème brûlées. Check out this link for awesome inspiration!
Now that we’re talking about fire and heat, let’s switch over to the next gadget(s) you Need when using heat: Thermometers!
Whether it’s the good old meat thermometer or the affordable infrared thermometer, both of them will be a huge help concerning the preparation of meat, checking the temperature of frying oil or any outcome of cooked sugar (syrup, caramel, etc).
The silicone spatula
Times will come where you need to shovel something out of a bowl and you will realize that the spoon you’re holding isn’t sufficient for that job. In this case, silicone spatulas are the handiest. Plus, they’re easy to wash, don’t damage your non-stick pans and do not absorb any flavors.
The measuring cups
I know that the American households already have them but most of the people who use the metric system almost ALWAYS have to check, to convert and to calculate how much grams or ml a cup of flour is…
So, do yourself a favor, don’t waste time converting these numbers and use measuring cups, holding just the right amount of anything you need in your recipe.
The plating tongs
Coming in different sizes and shapes, they can be really useful when flipping food on a grill, lifting or placing food for a clean presentation or even precisely move any delicate hot component on a plate. Get yourself a pair of those, but be sure you choose some with a ridged exterior and interior, as they have the most grip.
The syringes and droppers
If you’re aiming for a really fancy dinner, some molecular stuff or a presentation on a tasting spoon, go for syringes and droppers. These two medical utensils can come in really handy concerning the precise and detailed placement of gels, oils and other fluids in small quantities or drops on your plate. Take an example from my 6 course dinner for my girlfriend: the second course was a couscous and had lemon gel (which was actually just lemon curd in a syringe) and harissa (also pure harissa in a syringe).
Nowadays, you’ll find spice blends in almost every combination for every possible food. But in my opinion, this really takes the spirit of cooking away. I love to blend freshly crushed pepper, juniper, cloves and cinnamon stick in my mortar, obtaining an awesome dry-rub for deer meat.
When cooking for special occasions, take any chance you can to crush, blend and mix your own spices as the taste is more intensive and, in my personal perception, the smell of your component also increases.
The knife set
One of the most essential utensils can be the knives, depending on your cooking style. Whether you want to cut meat, fish, veggies or bread, you’ll need different types of knives. Most of the chefs have a knife set for a longer time than just their apprenticeship. Even I have used my fathers knives when I got into cooking at home, which means it has been around for more than 20 years!
Again, do yourself a favor and invest in a good knife set, as this will be your longest companion in the kitchen.
If you have any questions concerning advices on these gadgets, fell free to ask and comment!