Cool, New Cooking Tools! - Musings of a Kenai Peninsula Foodie Blog at Allrecipes.com - 265172

Musings of a Kenai Peninsula Foodie

Cool, New Cooking Tools! 
 
Jan. 23, 2012 11:20 pm 
Updated: Jan. 25, 2012 5:21 pm
Anyone who’s read this blog will know that I love to cook and also love to look for something bigger and better to use in the kitchen, especially if it’s ergonomically correct and promotes safety in the kitchen.  My Great-Uncle John on my mother’s side of the family died from not being able to put out his robe that caught on fire while he was fixing himself breakfast.  Being ninety-two meant that his reflexes weren’t the greatest.  Yes, it does sound tragic, but having worked in burn wards, I’m telling you I’m glad he met his end very quickly rather than to suffer in tremendous pain while recovering... if he could recover...  We didn’t use hyperbaric oxygen back then for burns as we do nowadays.

Anyway... where was I?  Oh, yes!  I have no clue how in the world I was connected with OpenSky dot com, but it’s a showcase for celebrities of various backgrounds to be his or her own seller of interesting things.  I’m only interested in the chefs, and boy, do they have a list!  But my all-time favorite is Michael Ruhlman because he’s actually using his head to rethink common kitchen tools, making them actually work and work well.  Here’s an example:



This is the Egg Spoon, or what it is more commonly known as the Big-A** Spoon or the Bad-A** Spoon.  This is one solid piece of stainless steel with some real weight to it!  So how does this spoon help me when it comes to one of my favorite eggs dishes -- poached eggs?  Have you ever read cook books written by some really famous cooks, and they describe having to carve off the frizzies created when you plop these puppies into boiling water?  Even vinegar really doesn’t put an end to them.  And I really hate wasting good egg whites just for looks.  What I didn’t know was that there are two different densities of egg white in a single egg -- a very watery one and a heavier-weighted one.  It’s the watery egg white that makes the frizzies.  So all you need to do is to break open an egg and let it settle in this spoon.  The watery egg white will drain off, leaving behind the more stable, less likely to frizz egg white behind.  Now you just add it to the boiling water, and voila!!  A perfectly poached egg.  And I am not wasting that watery egg white which I’ll use for something else.  Now why didn’t I think of this???

That’s what Michael Ruhlman does -- he thinks of these really great kitchen tools.  As he has said before, he was quite frustrated that there were no handy tools like the ones in his brain... so he and a friend decided to make them rather than bitch about not having them.  And they are great!  Here’s another really great skin saver.


Ever read in a cook book to baste something you’re cooking with a spoon... and realizing that you’ll burn your knuckles before you can even get a decent load of basting juices to do the job?  I call that just asking for at least a second-degree burn.  But these handles are off-set so that you can baste without harming your hands... even helpful in plating.  Again, these are solid stainless steel and quite hefty in weight.  I absolutely love these spoons so much, I have two sets of them!


This meat pounder is the best one I’ve worked with.  I have a side for anything I could ever want... and I really like the horizontal bars -- these can pulverize the toughest grizzle.  I have been having a lot of fun with this puppy when I’m pounding out moose steaks.  Talk about tender...  Yummy!!!!


These side towels are just great to have around the kitchen.  I use them a lot when I’m handling hot dutch ovens or hot handles to cast-iron pans.  And this material is tough!  I’ve tossed out my old pot holders for these suckers.


These “spankles” are just perfect for stirring, stir-frying, scalding, flipping, turning...  I’m losing track.  The large one is HUGE!!  I misplaced my muddler, but the hand to the large spankle did a great job!  At least it is big enough to stir milk when I’m scalding it to make cheese.


All the above (plus my meat tenderizer and side towels) are now highly valued kitchen utensils and are made of quality materials.  Unless I stupidly lose them, I’ll have them all for the rest of my life.  I am impressed with the designing and how useful they are in my everyday life.

Check out Michael Ruhlman’s website and see his three new books.  Twenty Techniques is awesome!  And now I can make my own bacon!!!!  What flavor!!  And Ruhlman’s right -- if you can marinate a steak, you can make your own bacon!


This book is amazing.  With each technique, he goes into great detail, including pertinent biochemistry info that I find so fascinating.  Like... one of the most important tools in cooking is... your brain!!  Water and salt are really awesome, and so on...


This is rather like a very in depth dissertation on all sorts of cooking techniques and important things to know about.  Yes, it does look and sound like a textbook, but it really holds your attention!


Last but not least is this truly handy book.  Remember how pound cake got its name?   One pound of flour, one pound of sugar, one pound of butter, one pound of eggs.  All ratios, right?  Well, there are a lot of other such helpful ratios.  And how does this help me?  Let’s take consomme -- except I want to make a moose consomme -- so how do I do it?  It’s one part roasted bones, twenty parts water, and so on.  You can pretty much solve whatever heavy mystery you may have on your hands, and I’ve always wanted to be able to do something for all that moose bones.  Why not make soup??  Or aspic?  It doesn’t matter what creature you’re working with -- you now have the directions to do it.

Legal Disclaimer:  I am not receiving any kind of compensation for the above recommendations.  Nope!  I just like to report new and great tools so that everyone can benefit.
 
Comments
Alley 
Jan. 24, 2012 1:26 am
Enjoyed reading your blog! Thanks for the tips!
 
Jan. 24, 2012 6:18 am
I have his Elements and Ratio books. I don't have a need for his new tools but they look like wonderful. Thank you for sharing the information.
 
Jan. 24, 2012 6:21 am
I use my gravy ladle to scoop up the pan juices and baste with, works perfectly.
 
petey 
Jan. 24, 2012 10:36 am
what kind of cheeses do you make? I might have to take a gander at that last book, it might be handy for me too!
 
Jan. 25, 2012 7:51 am
I have never really blogged at all. However, I am curious as to whether there are any bloggs about living in Alaska. It fascinates me perhaps because I live in Arizona.
 
Mamaw1 
Jan. 25, 2012 5:21 pm
Thanks for the good, useful information. I love sturdy, useful tools in the kitchen. Some of my favorites are old ones I picked up at estate auctions. Keep on blogging!
 
 
 
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Borderbumble

Home Town
La Habra, California, USA
Living In
Kenai, Alaska, USA

Member Since
Apr. 2011

Cooking Level
Expert

Cooking Interests
Baking, Grilling & BBQ, Frying, Stir Frying, Slow Cooking, Asian, Mexican, Italian, Mediterranean, Healthy, Dessert, Gourmet

Hobbies
Scrapbooking, Knitting, Quilting, Sewing, Needlepoint, Gardening, Fishing, Photography, Reading Books, Music

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About Me
I have lived many places, including Amish Country in Ohio, but Alaska is the place I adore. I get all my seafood from Peninsula Seafoods, including wild white King Salmon, and King Crab at $9.95 a pound! I love the summers where it is just around sunset all night long! And on the Summer Solstice, we'll either stay up all night with the Dragon Drummers or go fishing in the middle of the night. In the Winter, we hibernate and eat comfort food.
My favorite things to cook
I LUV to grill! I'll grill all the veggies in my house once I get my charcoal grill going. I also love Asian cooking, especially Japanese, but Kalbi is my all-time favorite meat to grill.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My grandmother on my mother's side left me a lot of her authentic Slovak recipes which I adore. I also tried to learn as much from my Uncle Bob who is a chef extraordinaire.
My cooking triumphs
Anything seafood and noodles. In fact, I make my own pasta because it tastes so much better and soaks up the flavors of my sauces.
My cooking tragedies
Lately, I really screwed up meatloaf. And some goolash I recently did. Yuck!!! How can anyone mess up on these two entrees?? I guess I can...
 
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