If you want to whip up great meals in your kitchen, you need to make sure you have a few basic necessities. A good selection of quality pots and pans and some useful kitchen gadgets and tools will have you whipping up gourmet meals with ease!
First off, you need to get a good set of pots and pans. At the minimum you will need a large frying pan, a small frying pan, a two-quart saucepan with cover, a one-quart saucepan with cover, and a stock pot for cooking soups and stews. It’s also a good idea to get a cover for at least one of the frying pans and if your budget allows.
When selecting your pots and pans remember that a better quality set will help you be a better cook. Cheap pans wear out and tend to burn the food so you really aren’t saving money if you go the cheap route. Good quality pots and pans, on the other hand, spread the heat evenly so that your food does not burn in some places but remain undercooked in others.
So how do you know if a pan is a good pan? Well, typically you do get what you pay for but make sure that your pans are sturdy and the bottoms are flat. Steer clear of aluminum pans and instead go for stainless steel with a porcelain coating.
If you select pans with a nonstick coating you need to take care when cooking on them. The fumes can be harmful to some pets and fatal to pet birds so never overheat them. Heat them up only as much as is necessary, and be sure to use plastic or wooden tools on them so you do not scratch the coating. If you need to scrub the pan for cleaning us a plastic or nylon net scrubber and avoid using steel wool pads.
Some other useful cooking devices for your kitchen include a wok, a crock pot, a toaster and of course a microwave. To process the food, you might want to pick up a food processor and blender as well as an electric mixer, and to cut roasts, an electric knife.
When you are cooking, you will need a good selection of wooden spoons to stir your creations with. Be sure to get a good variety of sizes and handle lengths. Wooden spoons are great because they are inexpensive, don’t get too hot to handle and won’t hurt your non stick cookware.
You also need a variety of spatulas in different shapes and sizes. A heavy spatula may be needed to flip your colossal gourmet burger, but you’ll want a lighter one to flip eggs. You’ll want narrow spatulas as well as wide ones so that you have a size for every job.
Whisks are another staple that no kitchen should be without and they come in a variety of sizes. They are great for mixing lightweight ingredients, and are easier to work with and clean than a mixer or blender.
A good set of knives is a must! It just does not pay to buy cheap ones as they wear out fast and make cutting almost impossible. With cheap dull knives you will be struggling to squash and rip your food instead of slicing through it with ease. Along with that, of course, you need a good cutting board to give you a flat work surface and protect your counters. Actually, it is a good idea to have more than one cutting board – keep one for cutting vegetables and another for meat that way you won’t have to worry about getting bacteria from the meat onto any veggies you plan to eat raw. Plastic cutting boards are a bit less porous and can be cleaned easier than the wood ones.
You also need to stock your kitchen with a set of measuring tools. You need measuring cups and spoons for dry ingredients. Additionally, you will need a measuring cup to measure liquids. For liquids, a two cup measure is most convenient. If you want to be accurate in your measurements for dietary reasons, buy a food scale to measure your portions.
You should also have a can opener for opening those cans that don’t have a pop top. They have electric ones, but I find that if you buy a good quality hand opener they are much easier to use and clean.
With kitchenware, you will find that it doesn’t pay to buy the cheapest item. The money you spend will more than make up for itself with longer lasting tools which are easier to use. Good quality kitchen tools can actually make the task of cooking easier!
Lee Dobbins writes for Online Gourmet Foods .com where you can learn more about cooking and gourmet food.