We had family visiting last weekend and I was appreciating once again how well the kitchen works. It is not the biggest kitchen nor the most modern, but it is well equipped and functional.
I have a great selection of knives within arm’s length, the onions and garlic sit in baskets on the counter, and the olive oil and vinegars are an easy reach away. For me, when it comes to cooking, it’s about easy access to all the major kitchen tools. And by this, I don’t mean fancy electric machines. I thought I would show you this morning the three tools I reach for the most often when I am cooking – the ones I can’t do without.
The first is my Santoku kitchen knife.
This one is a Henckel 7 inch and is lightweight and always sharp. These knives come in different qualities and at different prices. You use a knife every day, so I would recommend buying the best quality one that you can afford. (That said, I have used cheaper knives that also seem to work just fine.) This Santoku seems to satisfy most of my cutting needs. My advice is to find a knife that works for you. There are many great knives out there, but it has to have a comfortable grip and be the right weight for you. When you find your knife, you won’t look back!
I use this Japanese Benriner mandoline every day.
It lives in the drawer below the counter and is simplicity itself: small, portable and easy to clean. I bought it years ago at a Chinese grocery store (Kim Phat for those who might be reading in the Montreal area), but you can order them online at Amazon. I know there are lots of fancier ones on the market, but again I return to my theme of simplicity. They come with multiple blades, but I seem to only use the slicer and it can be easily adjusted for thicker or thinner cuts. I use it to cut cucumbers, onions, radishes, fennel and anything else that requires thin slicing. I also use it to slice potatoes for scalloped potatoes and cabbage for coleslaw. It comes with a plastic guard that really does need to be used, especially when you get near the bottom. The blade is sharp! They come in two widths. The one I have is the narrower of the two, but when I upgrade I will go for the little wider one.
The last simple tool that I use often is this rasp that I bought at Lee Valley Tools years ago.
It has become a bit dull over the years. This is a testament to how often I use it. Grated parmesan on the rasp is light and airy and you’ll find you don’t need as much as when grating on the regular box grater. Bring it to the table after and allow people to grate their own. It is also a super zester for lemons and limes and makes quick work of ginger and garlic. (If you are interested in purchasing the rasp, I have included the link here.)
Voilà, three simple tools that you might not be able to live without either.
I am wondering if you have a kitchen tool you can’t live without? If so, why not share it in the comments. Maybe I’ll find a new favourite!