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Sometimes Tools Are Good Things

Sometimes Tools Are Good Things

I love to cook. I’m not sure how great of a cook I actually am, mostly because my husband is well-trained to keep the compliments coming, regardless of what his taste buds tell him; while I appreciate this, it doesn’t stop me from taunting him uncontrollably anytime I’m the least bit self-conscious about the toothiness of my paella or texture of my tortilla Espanola. Domestic disputes stemming from cloaked self-consciousness aside, I find cooking to be a fun, relaxing outlet. Making it more fun (and even more relaxing) is the litany of go-to kitchen tools I have at my disposal. Here’s to those I couldn’t live without:

-Mandoline: Despite everyone’s warning about the dangers of the mandoline, she and I have become fast friends. I use the 1/8-inch setting for the perfect tortilla Espanola.

-Kitchen shears: Cutting through bones sounds gross, and it kind of is; making the carnage a hell of a lot more manageable are these things. And they came with a handy magnetic case I keep adhered to the side of my fridge for easy access.

-Cast iron pan: I purchased my first cast iron pan at a kitchen store in North Conway, New Hampshire. Several years later, it looks like something straight out of the Old Sturbridge Village – you can’t beat it though, especially for steak and garlic shrimp.

-Good chef’s knife: I have always loved chopping, and find it to be incredibly calming. This was the case even when I owned knives from CVS back in college – imagine how I feel now with my Sun Chef’s knife! PS: researching the best way to cut and chop things is one of my favorite pastimes (I sound really fun, don’t I?).

-Kitchen twine: Tooth picks have no place in chicken or pork – I learned this the hard way. Kitchen twine, though sometimes difficult to remove/locate (especially if there’s flour dredging involved) is well worth it – your reward will be deliciously moist, not to mention evenly-cooked.

-Good old fashioned casserole dish: I have no idea where I even got this from, but I have no intentions of getting rid of it anytime soon – it seems like I use this reliable old friend at least twice a week, between making shepherd’s pie or lasagna, or even a big batch of balsamic-roasted vegetables.

-Tongs: Being the resourceful soul that I am, I used spatulas in place of tongs before I owned a pair – let me tell you, maneuvering anything around a pan is 1000 times easier with my trusty tongs.

-Rubber spatulas: I say “spatulas,” plural, because I can’t get enough of them. Gentle enough to use on anything, yet durable and so easy to clean.

-Emulsion blender: Soups are among my favorite dishes to make – this emulsion blender makes preparing a quick, healthy blended vegetable soup a cinch. My mom bought it for me for my 25th birthday.

-Paella pan: Arguably my husband’s favorite tool, seeing as he would eat this iconic Spanish dish daily given the choice. Aside from the fact that it’s big and sturdy (and has cute red handles!), I thrive on the drama of carrying this pan, overflowing with a classic Paella Valenciana, to the table. The oohs and ahhs from my guests (who know me well enough to appeal to my ego) get me every time.

Posted by Nicole