Every once in a while, a simple and easy idea comes along that makes a huge improvement in your cooking. For me, this was one of the big ones. I’ve been using squeeze bottles for years now (they are probably OLD news to many of you), so I’m actually surprised I haven’t extolled the virtues of them here on the blog yet. Yes, they are awesome. Yes, if you haven’t yet converted to using these cheap and effective tools, you probably should.
Cookware and Tools Posts
Tools to get the job done right.
It’s 5:00 AM and my body stubbornly refuses to sleep due to jet lag, so I couldn’t think of a better time to have a cup of tea and write about the amazing knives I bought in Japan.
As I’ve often said on this blog, I believe the knife to be the most important tool in the kitchen. Without a sharp knife, you are not going to make good food, not enjoy yourself, and likely hurt yourself as well. That being said, there are knives and then there are knives. It’s true that any halfway decent stick of metal, properly sharpened, can be enough to cook a decent meal (at least until it breaks or needs to be re-sharpened). You certainly don’t need to go to the other end of the earth to find the perfect knife. On the other hand, a great knife is a great investment, and doing exactly that (going around the world to find that perfect tool) is a fun and rewarding thing to do.
Stir fried food is healthy and awesome, but people sometimes sweat the technique. It’s sort of ironic because this ancient method of tossing some veggies or protein in a hot pan was practically invented for simple, quick cooking. With these three basics in mind, a perfect stir fry is a very do-able thing.
Doguyasuji (cooking tools street) is a stretch of covered shopping space in Nanba, Osaka. This street is a unique place in Osaka dedicated to restaurant industry supplies. It’s also very fun for home cooks to visit! The shopping street stretches about 100 meters in length. A lot of the prices are very good, because this is stuff designed to be used and keep costs down for restaurant owners. Much of it is very appealing to home cooks and it’s well worth a stroll. There is something for everyone.
Your knife will be your closest co-worker as a cook. Treat it with care and respect, and it will serve you well. Treat it badly, and it will turn on you.
I believe it was Anthony Bourdain who gave that comforting and gentle advice to new cooks; “If you are incapable of demonstrating pride in your tools, you are incapable as well of making food you can be proud of.” And that, when you do cut your finger wide open with a dull knife that has slipped, you will richly deserve it.
There is nothing that smells as good as food sizzling on a red-hot grill (with the possible exception of onion and garlic sauteing in hot butter.) With summer fast approaching, you may be in the market for a new gas or charcoal grill. I’ve been using a Weber Genesis for about one year. Before that, I had a Weber Baby Q (due to a small living space and a small budget). Both grills have been absolutely outstanding, but what I have also discovered is that Weber is also quite possibly the most helpful and responsible company I have ever dealt with.
In general, I noticed right away that the products were of wonderful quality; easy to assemble and very solid. I haven’t had any issues with the grills. My first experience with Weber’s customer support came when a Weber-branded cookbook I purchased began to have issues with the binding (pages were coming loose). I sent an e-mail to Weber’s general customer support address, expecting absolutely nothing in return. Most companies don’t respond to e-mail with anything more than a canned “thank you for your e-mail, we will look into it,” and I assumed I had basically wasted my time. I was surprised to receive this promptly in return:
Got this from Belgium recently as I mentioned in my first post about Demeyere cookware. (A general summary of the cookware is located there.) Not as heavy as I feared… definitely easier to maneuver than the saute pan but still among the heaviest class for stainless/ply frying pans, I am sure.
Demeyere’s “Proline” 5-star frying pan matches their Atlantis line of cookware in style and materials. I’m not sure why the fry pans have their own names. It’s sort of confusing. I chose a 12 inch size since I still have an old, cheaper 10 inch pan and it always seems too small to make a real meal.
The frying pan uses the clad construction similar to the conical saucepan. A thick layer of aluminum alloy sits between pure aluminum layers, which are coated with the stainless outer and TripleInduc layers. It’s got the same rock-solid construction as the other pieces. I read a funny comment about this cookware online recently- that you could hit cars traveling 100 mph with it and it would probably be fine. I believe it… this stuff is heavy duty.
So far, so good. Heats up quickly and very evenly. I’ve done vegetables, meat and fish with no real problems. Well, the fish was an issue but that was my own stupidity, not the pan.
I like it a lot and it’s become a real workhorse for preparing meals. I reach for it all the time! I can imagine this baby lasting a lifetime.