You’ve read about the Top 10 Indespensable Cooking Tools. Now that you’ve got the basics down, it’s time to slowly add to your collection.
15. Garlic press
You can always press the clove with a knife and a burst of pressure from your hand to unpeel the clove but this essential does everything for you. You can find a two-chamber press: one for crushed garlic; one for sliced garlic (remove peel first).
14. Stainless-steel slotted spatula
For flipping. Hamburgers. Pancakes. Enough said.
13. Silicone spatula
This is on the list simply for its utter efficiency. I hate wasting food so this gets every morsel from the bowl or pan to the baking pan or plate. Rubber spatulas discolor, harden and crack over time. Invest a bit more in silicone and you’ll pay less in the long run.
12. Stainless-steel slotted spoon
This works as a skimmer for soups or marmalade, deep frying as well as checking doneness for certain kinds of pasta (orzo, maccheroni)
11. Two-pronged cooking fork
With thick pasta, use this to check for doneness, as a pasta fork will spear and tear the pasta. This also doubles as a serving utensil for long pasta. This is also great for piercing the skin of vegetables before cooking.
10. Mesh strainer
Since we process our own tomatoes here at Cerines, it’s essential for making tomato sauce. Whenever you want a super-creamy consistency for any liquid, pass it through a mesh strainer using #9 above. This is how the professionals get those results.
9. Drum-type cheese grater
For quickly grating hard cheese right into a dish in half the time. We keep ours right next to the parmigiano and pecorino in the refrigerator. NB: not recommended for semi-hard cheeses, (cheddar, asiago or fontina, etc.) as the cheese will get stuck in the drum, owing to its higher moisture content.
8. Mini box grater
This little dynamo gives you a little citrus zest where you want, a bit of nutmeg in a sauce and can even grate fresh ginger.
The Italian Meat Tenderizer. Hello World. A well-guarded secret, it produces thin meats in seconds. This also doubles as a garlic peeler. One tap and there’s your perfectly extracated clove.
6. Offset spatula
Making sandwiches? Spreading anything thick on bread is a breeze with these.
5. Stainless steel tongs
The plain ones are the best; you need them to grab hot food and transfer them to something else. Like #11 and #12, these do double duty at the table.
4. Salt cellar
Not a salt shaker. Where do you keep your loose salt? There’s coarse salt, fine salt and sea salt. A beautiful box would be nice, but inexpensive small, ceramic bowls are just the right things to fit nearby your cooking area. These can also be brought to the table for those who need more flavoring (along with a lecture to not use too much salt!)
3. Manual pepper mill
Freshly grated pepper. Not the same as the flavorless pre-ground kind found in a pepper shaker. The secret ingredient in all savory food (and in gingerbread cookies, too!).
2. Chop plates
Gathering all those small ingredients that you’re collecting to make a dish (spices, herbs, eggs) onto small plates makes for easy preparation. These are also great for broiling food in individual portions. Whenever we’re making pizza, we portion out the ingredients onto individual plates so there’s no guesswork and no waste.
1. Chef’s knife
This is the all-purpose knife that shares duties with the food processor. Great for chopping.