The Survival Podcast Forum

Survivalism & Self Sufficiency Topics => Food Preps => Topic started by: David in MN on January 10, 2018, 07:40:04 PM

Title: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: David in MN on January 10, 2018, 07:40:04 PM
This is a thread I have meant to start for a while. It will be my method to outfitting your kitchen to be able to cook like a professional at home. I'll break it into a few segments:

1) Cookware

2) Hand Tools

3) Bake ware

4) MACHINES (my favorite)

5) Extras

The goal is to fit a kitchen with the ultimate tools and no waste. I won't forgive a tool that does only one thing. We want the ultimate in utility with little waste. Without further ado...
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: David in MN on January 10, 2018, 07:56:26 PM
1) Cookware

You need:

2 Cast iron pans. A 10" and a 12" (more on this later)

1 large stainless steel pan

1 Dutch oven

1 Stock pot

2 Sauce pans, One small one medium.

That's it. That's all you need. No non-stick, the cast iron works better. Nothing fancy like a panini press because we can smush 2 hot cast iron pans together and achieve the same result. You do need one stainless steel pan to cook acidic sauces that will break down the cast iron.

Recommendations:

All cast iron works. Buy cheap. My Lodge is heavier and slower to heat than my Griswold but both do about the same thing. Some corn bread recipes fit better in one than the other and sometimes it's nice to have the option to crowd a pan or have room to breathe. I do heat both and use them as a panini press. I do flip the Lodge (larger) and use it as a pizza stone. These 2 pans will do 75% of your cooking and rightly so.

For a large stainless steel pan I've never fallen in love. I have a Le Creuset but it's mighty soft (needs polymer tools) and is a pain to get all the stains out. I beat it up but I'm not particularly in love with it. All the cooks I know struggle here.

For the Dutch oven, it's Le Creuset all the way. This machine gun covered in enamel will power through any task. Make soup, stew, sauces, deep fry, roast, bake bread, etc. It's another necessary powerhouse. You won't regret it. Buy once cry once.

As to stock pots and sauce pots... I buy stainless steel on sale. I believe mine are Calphalon. These are tools that don't really get abused so going cheap here actually makes sense. These are mostly for making sauces or for boiling stock or pasta. Not heavy use. Anything that would be abusive here belongs in the Dutch oven.

That's it. 7 pieces of cookware to make a semi-pro kitchen. I have left out specialty things you might love like a crepe pan or Moroccan tagine. Well, the specialty stuff is on you. But if you've got a cupboard full of pots and non-stick pans you haven't used this decade, dump them. I did and it felt great. Besides, we need the space for the toys to come.

Next up, hand tools. I welcome feedback!
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: Morning Sunshine on January 10, 2018, 08:20:26 PM
I have to say that I mostly agree with you, David, but I need twice as many cast iron pans cuz I have 7 people in my house.  And we LOVE LOVE LOVE our 6" griswold (we have 3 and they are dirty most days!)

I have been wondering about getting a Le Creuset, but am unsure if I actually need it...
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: fritz_monroe on January 10, 2018, 08:38:20 PM
Le Creuset are really nice, but wow they are expensive.
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: David in MN on January 10, 2018, 08:40:11 PM
I have to say that I mostly agree with you, David, but I need twice as many cast iron pans cuz I have 7 people in my house.  And we LOVE LOVE LOVE our 6" griswold (we have 3 and they are dirty most days!)

I have been wondering about getting a Le Creuset, but am unsure if I actually need it...

Yup, larger households will have to multiply. I could see some fun uses for smaller cast iron with a big family. What jumps to my mind is a potato bar dinner (I love but my wife hates) where each kid gets a cast iron pan and potato. Fill it up and put it under the broiler. Awesome melty cheese with bacon and burnt broccoli on a potato... sooo good.

I can't tell you if a Le Creuset is right for you (though they do make some large sizes). But it is the weapon of choice for keeping something at a simmer without watching due to its high mass and it will handle the toughest traditional Italian ragu. It's a workhorse for a reason. I'm a big fan of old school stuff like pot roast and corned beef. The Le Creuset was made for it. Monday I made red beans and rice. Again, a sticky dish with lots of scraping after a long simmer. Ideal. I *think* my wife bought me mine for a birthday maybe 9 years ago and it's still pristine. There's not many pots you heat up, fry a sausage on, and then dump tomatoes in without ruining. This does it. I'd give it a long look.
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: AvenueQ on January 10, 2018, 08:41:55 PM
I also have a small 6" cast iron pan that I use frequently, as I'm quite fond of a fried egg for breakfast (I even scored a reasonably priced Griswold at an antique store). But, that's personal preference, I'd say most people don't really need one that small.

While I do love cast iron, I find myself reaching for our T-fal nonstick high-sided 12" skillet all the time. It's GREAT for bacon, as you don't really need a splatter guard since the sides are high enough to catch most of it (and bacon tends to ruin the seasoning on our cast iron, for some reason). And the lid means I can steam and poach with it too.
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: mountainmoma on January 10, 2018, 08:49:47 PM
I like having more sizes of stainless steel pots, I have often needed more than 2 at once. I also like a thicker bottomed stockpot size for when cooking a chili or such for a crowd instead of having a thin stockpot. I have a set of copper clad reverware stainless steel that I bought 39 years ago, and have been cooking with continuously since. I did get rid of the stainless steel pans, I never, ever used them after getting cast iron pans. Right now I have a 10" "chicken fryer" (so deeper) cast Iron and an 8" regular one. I miss having a flat one, but not enough to replace it it seems, the 12" flat one was better for tortillas and pancakes. So, I do not know what a stainless steel frying pan will do that cant be done in the cast Iron ? A Le Creuset is nice but I have 2 cheaper cast iron dutch ovens that I use instead. The reason I have 2 is when all the kids were home, it came up that I needed more capacity, I use these most often for baking bread.
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: Redman on January 11, 2018, 03:12:30 AM
We have 2 10" CI no name pans and a 12" Lodge. That thing is indeed heavy. 3 Dutch ovens, a 5qt and a 10 qt. used for paste, soups, gumbo, jelly making and a CI dutch oven I can no longer lift on the stove because of it's weight and my shoulders. Use it outside on a propane burner. Small, medium and large SS sauce pots, 13" aluminum coated skillet used for panfrying, cooking numerous pieces of meat in sauce and adding pasta or other stuff (one dish meal almost). 
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: redrider on January 11, 2018, 08:08:20 AM
I do flip the Lodge (larger) and use it as a pizza stone.
Could you expand on this, David? I am having trouble envisioning this method.

Thanks,

rr
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: David in MN on January 11, 2018, 11:00:09 AM
Could you expand on this, David? I am having trouble envisioning this method.

Thanks,

rr

Sure. If you put a large cast iron pan in your oven upside down it will work as a pizza stone. You use the flat bottom. Of course the large mass of cast iron and its improved thermal conductivity over ceramic means it actually cooks faster and more like a traditional wood fired oven. This link has a good picture that explains it all.

https://lifehacker.com/use-your-cast-iron-pan-as-a-pizza-stone-1756747343

A true "baking steel" is the best option but they are a heavy pain in the butt and the cast iron lets you make 12" pizzas pretty quick. Easy enough to let the kids make something unique for them (and we have triplet nephews and niece). One gets sausage and cheese, one gets pepperoni and olives, and they all give me dirty looks when I use anchovies.

It takes a couple tries to get itright and I put a pan underneath to catch messes but it's a fun way to get pizza done right at home.
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: AvenueQ on January 11, 2018, 11:17:36 AM
Sure. If you put a large cast iron pan in your oven upside down it will work as a pizza stone. You use the flat bottom. Of course the large mass of cast iron and its improved thermal conductivity over ceramic means it actually cooks faster and more like a traditional wood fired oven. This link has a good picture that explains it all.

https://lifehacker.com/use-your-cast-iron-pan-as-a-pizza-stone-1756747343

A true "baking steel" is the best option but they are a heavy pain in the butt and the cast iron lets you make 12" pizzas pretty quick. Easy enough to let the kids make something unique for them (and we have triplet nephews and niece). One gets sausage and cheese, one gets pepperoni and olives, and they all give me dirty looks when I use anchovies.

It takes a couple tries to get itright and I put a pan underneath to catch messes but it's a fun way to get pizza done right at home.

 :jaw-drop:

This also alleviates the problem of having to leave the stone in the oven to heat up and cool down. I've fanagled enough floppy raw dough to know what a pain that is. We tossed our baking stone for our move (it was cheap and badly stained and we wanted a better one anyway), but now I'm thinking maybe we won't replace it.
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: fritz_monroe on January 11, 2018, 11:24:43 AM
I use a thick pizza stone in my ceramic grill for pizza.  Comes out fantastic.

We have them for in the oven also and they have gotten a lot of use.

The item that's used most in my kitchen is a 13.25" Lodge skillet.  Have a lid for it also.  Lesser use from the 10" Lodge.  I'm working on getting my daughter to use the proper sized pan for things, she often uses the 6" pan for a couple of scrambled eggs.  That's fine, but the 10" is much better for that.

We are lacking in pots, we are still using the cheap stainless steel pans we got when we got married 22+ years ago.  Although I guess since they are holding up, they weren't so bad.
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: Smurf Hunter on January 11, 2018, 11:36:32 AM
So far I'm covered with the exception of the SS pan.
I have a knock-off Le Creuset enamel cast iron dutch oven that I use a lot.

My cast iron includes a mix of yard sale finds and family heirlooms.  I have a 10" griswold that belonged to my great grandmother in the 1920s.  Actually saved it from the trash when a great-aunt was cleaning out the attic after my grandfather passed away years ago.  It's by far the best performing in my collection. I might actually grab it if I had to "bug out" :)
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: redrider on January 11, 2018, 12:06:48 PM
Thanks for the info David, AvenueQ and Fritz. That looks very interesting. I love a crispy crust.

Do you grease the pan bottom?

rr
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: bigbear on January 11, 2018, 12:09:43 PM
For starters:  I'm a cooking invalid.  I can cook basic stuff and Saturday morning breakfast is my domain (at least as far as the kids are concerned, Daddy's Bisquick pancakes/waffles are better than Mommy's Bisquick pancakes/waffles...).  I've become much better at various types of eggs.  But my wife spoils me!

We're like AQ and use a large skillet quite a bit (from light frying to sauce to browning meat...).  We have some cast iron pans, but don't use them nearly as much (mostly for camping or the fire pit).  Though I like the personalized baked potato idea! 

For the Dutch oven, how much of a value drop off from the Le Creuset to a Lodge version?  At 4-5 times the cost, it has to be something remarkable.  I can justify dropping $80-90, but $300-400 is a tougher sell in front of the Family Budget Committee.

What about a broiler pan?  Or is that considered a specialty item?  We use ours a few times a month, so maybe that's my answer...
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: David in MN on January 11, 2018, 12:22:12 PM
If you use it, the fancy Dutch oven is well worth it. It caramelizes food yet releases easy. The flavor is better, the cleanup easier. But if you pull it out twice per year maybe not worth the price tag. Plain old cast iron actually does some things better as well. If you don't feel a pot is worth the same as a new rifle and it'll spend most days on the shelf I wouldn't fault going to cast iron.

I'm not a big user of the broiler. If I'm blunt anything broiled could be grilled. And I love the grill. When I do rarely use the broiler I use a plain old broiler pan with the raised surface and drip pan.
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: fritz_monroe on January 11, 2018, 12:26:23 PM
Yup, larger households will have to multiply. I could see some fun uses for smaller cast iron with a big family. What jumps to my mind is a potato bar dinner (I love but my wife hates) where each kid gets a cast iron pan and potato. Fill it up and put it under the broiler. Awesome melty cheese with bacon and burnt broccoli on a potato... sooo good.
So for this potato bar thing, are you talking that you bake up a bunch of potatoes.  Everyone grabs a pan and a potato then adds their stuff.  Then into the broiler.

For the Dutch oven, how much of a value drop off from the Le Creuset to a Lodge version?  At 4-5 times the cost, it has to be something remarkable.  I can justify dropping $80-90, but $300-400 is a tougher sell in front of the Family Budget Committee.
There's a LeCreuset store in an outlet center near me.  Those Dutch ovens are really nice.  I don't have a porcelain coated Dutch oven, I would bet that the quality/price difference between the Lodge and this is the coating.  What I'd do is get one of the porcelain coated Lodge ones and see if you make use of it.  If you find it is used often, then there's your way to justify the cost of the LeCreuset.
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: Smurf Hunter on January 11, 2018, 12:47:38 PM
years ago someone bought this as a gift for us:

https://www.ebay.com/i/173085529817?chn=ps

It's not as nicely made as the L.C. model, and doesn't clean up as well (it's a decade old at least).
It absolutely has capability that a traditional uncoated cast iron dutch oven does not have.
When I have a one-pot dinner that starts with sautee and ends with a simmer, this is my pot.

I'm wondering if this is like a Toyota vs. Mercedes thing.  What I have can get the job done, but would I get 6x value from the premium product?
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: David in MN on January 11, 2018, 12:48:12 PM
So for this potato bar thing, are you talking that you bake up a bunch of potatoes.  Everyone grabs a pan and a potato then adds their stuff.  Then into the broiler.

In a nutshell.
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: bigbear on January 11, 2018, 01:17:43 PM
If you use it, the fancy Dutch oven is well worth it. It caramelizes food yet releases easy. The flavor is better, the cleanup easier. But if you pull it out twice per year maybe not worth the price tag. Plain old cast iron actually does some things better as well. If you don't feel a pot is worth the same as a new rifle and it'll spend most days on the shelf I wouldn't fault going to cast iron.

Fair point.  But I meant a cheaper version of the enameled Dutch oven. 

Le Creuset ($330 - 5.5 quart)
https://www.amazon.com/Creuset-Signature-Enameled-Cast-Iron-2-Quart/dp/B0076NOGPY/ref=sr_1_3?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1515701369&sr=1-3&keywords=le+creuset+dutch+oven

vs. Lodge ($50 - 6 quart)
https://www.amazon.com/Lodge-EC6D33-Enameled-Dutch-6-Quart/dp/B000N4WN08/ref=sr_1_8?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1515701369&sr=1-8&keywords=le+creuset+dutch+oven

Both are enameled.  The Amazon reviews show Le Creuset has 90% 5-star and Lodge has 80% 5-star.  So it seems the Le Creuset is better.  But 6x better?
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: Smurf Hunter on January 11, 2018, 02:07:59 PM
Fair point.  But I meant a cheaper version of the enameled Dutch oven. 

Le Creuset ($330 - 5.5 quart)
https://www.amazon.com/Creuset-Signature-Enameled-Cast-Iron-2-Quart/dp/B0076NOGPY/ref=sr_1_3?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1515701369&sr=1-3&keywords=le+creuset+dutch+oven

vs. Lodge ($50 - 6 quart)
https://www.amazon.com/Lodge-EC6D33-Enameled-Dutch-6-Quart/dp/B000N4WN08/ref=sr_1_8?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1515701369&sr=1-8&keywords=le+creuset+dutch+oven

Both are enameled.  The Amazon reviews show Le Creuset has 90% 5-star and Lodge has 80% 5-star.  So it seems the Le Creuset is better.  But 6x better?

Something about cast iron in general is while it draws and retains heat well, they often do not heat evenly.

Check out this video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thR7hUnG50o

Now, I won't lose sleep over that, BUT perhaps the Le Creuset does heat perfectly?
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: David in MN on January 11, 2018, 04:53:43 PM
I love the banter and keep it coming but I've got a little time so onward...

2) Hand Tools:

This will be VERY opinionated. My solutions might not work for you. Tastes vary. If I post something it is because I believe it to be the best of breed. That doesn't mean I haven't missed something, so feel free to add. Also a lot of kitchen tools just don't matter that much to me (like my set of old crappy measuring cups). Also, I'll avoid specialized stuff like my spaetzlepresse. I will provide links as possible. Slight different format than last time.

Knives.

I need 3. 2 Chef knives and 1 paring knife. That's it. The massive block is a waste, you'd be better off buying one really nice knife. About knives... I like big, beefy German made chef knives. Both Henckel and Wusthof are great. I can't stand the trendy lightweight Japanese knives. This is 100% subjective but to me a chef knife needs to be heavy to break down all the veggies and hack through bone as need be. If you can't afford these brands, I would recommend a Victorinox chef knife as a budget option. It won't hold an edge ass well and being less beefy you can't pound on the back of the blade with the off hand to power through tough stuff. But it works.

https://www.amazon.com/Victorinox-Fibrox-Chefs-Knife-8-Inch/dp/B000638D32/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1515711736&sr=8-4&keywords=victorinox+chef+knife

I use (but do not recommend) a 9" chef knife as well. It gets a little "sword-y" and is too big for most cutting boards.

Boards.

Buy a good cutting board from a woodworker. I am biased but they are better and look good. Enough said.

Spatulas.

There are two. Dexter (who makes restaurant supply and really good stuff) and Matfer (a French company that caters to specialized supply). Both are companies that do not f___ around. The Dexter spatulas are amazing for all things cast iron and grill while Matfer is great on softer cookware and actually is made for fish.

Dexter:
Big
https://www.amazon.com/Dexter-Russell-Burger-Turner-Stainless-Walnut/dp/B002CJNBQ2/ref=sr_1_3?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1515712023&sr=1-3&keywords=dexter+russell+spatula

Little
https://www.amazon.com/Dexter-Russell-Pancake-Turner-Stainless-Walnut/dp/B002CJNBTO/ref=sr_1_1?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1515712023&sr=1-1&keywords=dexter+russell+spatula

Matfer:
https://www.amazon.com/Matfer-Bourgeat-Exoglass-Pelton-Spatula/dp/B00004SZ6Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1515712120&sr=1-1&keywords=matfer+spatula

The Matfer will wear down over time but at $13 who cares?

Tongs

The extension of the hand. There is but one Vollrath (actually there are several models but this is the best). I have 2 sets and they are at home frying or grilling sausage. I can lift an 8 lb pork shoulder with one set. And they don't break. I own 2 sets because I frequently forget the one I am using and leave it haning on the grill. This is a must have for $10.

https://www.amazon.com/Vollrath-4781220-1-Piece-Scalloped-Black/dp/B002XYCVMQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1515712348&sr=1-1&keywords=vollrath+tongs

Pizza Slicer

This is one of those things that you just have to have. We all make pizza and we all buckle under and hit Papa Murphy's from time to time. A good pizza slicer is a must. I don't get into the giant scimitars but I insist on a 4" wheel. Again, Dexter.

https://www.amazon.com/Dexter-Russell-P177A-PCP-Sani-Safe-Handle/dp/B00BNQKZSC/ref=sr_1_3?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1515713040&sr=1-3&keywords=dexter+russell+pizza+cutter

Rubber (Silicone) Spatulas

Guaranteed flak here. I'm recommending Williams Sonoma (because I hate money) because my actual favorite, a local shop called Kitchen Window isn't selling right now. Same rubber heads and Kitchen window has better wood handles. Bot I have a set of the Sonomas and they work great, both spatula and spoonula.

https://www.williams-sonoma.com/shop/cooks-tools/turner-spatulas/?cm_type=gnav

I know they're pricey but they work great folding dough and cooking in the enameled cast iron.

Pepper Mill

Another case of only one. You can buy any size with any option to grind but you better buy a Puegot. Prices have come down since I paid over $100. It's well worth it  to have a good seasoning option at hand that cranks through the pepper easily.

Olive Oil

You don't really cook with olive oil, do you? I hope you drizzle it on as a finish... like the Italians. Cook with a neutral fat (olive oil gets bitter when heated) and finish with olive oil. I can't recommend a product. I use a cheapo ceramic jar fitted with a nozzle to drizzle on the flavor as cooking finishes. It's a must next to any range.

Beyond all that, most of the stuff in my kitchen is Oxo They make really good stuff. I can't imagine going back to the old arthritis inducing vegetable peeler. I like big beefy grips because I have big beefy hands. I also really dig a lot of Kitchenaid products that seem to also have an ergonomic bent.

Beyond that, just don't buy a stupid new-fangled whisk. Don't get a garlic press (pound the garlic with the flat side of the chef knife). And don't buy any gimmicks (think Slapchop). Learn to use the tools that work.

That's my day to day stuff. If you haven't tried this selection before I think you'll find it works. You might have found a few gifts for the family cook. Outside of Williams Sonoma I kept it pretty frugal. You don't need or want fancy tools. You want rugged utilitarian cookware. When the Dexter spatula flips your morning eggs and your grilled burger for dinner you have a powerful tool. Ugly and cheap as it may be it works.

I'm loving the follow up. Keep it coming!
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: AvenueQ on January 11, 2018, 05:13:36 PM
America's Test Kitchen has recommended the Victorinox chef knife for a while, I think they're better than most people think. Don't have one myself yet, probably will get one later this year. We also have a cleaver, which is nice for me as it has some weight behind it since at 5'4" there's only so much leverage I can, well, leverage sometimes.

I also really like having two pairs of tongs for raw/cooked meat applications. No cross-contamination in my kitchen.

We got some cheap all-silicone spatulas at...I want to say Kohl's? All our other ones that were plastic combos eventually wore out where they transitioned from silicone. They work great, we've had them a few years now.
EDIT: like these, only ours say "Food Network" on them: https://www.amazon.com/CookEasy-Premium-Non-stick-Silicone-Spatulas/dp/B013VFKDAW/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1515716063&sr=8-12&keywords=food+network+silicone+spatula (https://www.amazon.com/CookEasy-Premium-Non-stick-Silicone-Spatulas/dp/B013VFKDAW/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1515716063&sr=8-12&keywords=food+network+silicone+spatula)
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: Smurf Hunter on January 11, 2018, 05:16:43 PM
I'm not a blade expert, but even dating back to sword making the Japanese design philosophy is to slice, while the European philosophy was either chopping or stabbing.

Think of a medieval european broad sword vs. a japanese katana. The design of each assumes different uses.

If I'm slicing a tomato, a very sharp Santuko style blade wins.  However if I'm chopping onions, and carrots I could agree with adding some mass.
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: AvenueQ on January 11, 2018, 05:19:48 PM
I also use our rasp/zester quite a bit. Garlic, ginger, nutmeg, citrus, finely grated parm, etc. Just be careful, adjust your hand often so you don't take off a knuckle (like my husband did once).
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: fritz_monroe on January 11, 2018, 06:49:38 PM
I'm also not a fan of the Japanese knives.  It isn't the blade for me, it's the shape of the handles.  They are not comfortable to me.

I have a block set of Henkles.  I love those things.  I mainly use the 8" chef knife, but the 6" chef knife gets used a lot also.  Next would be the 8" slicer.  We also use the 8" serrated blade for cutting all things bread.  The block also keeps the steak knives in one place.

My wife used to sell Pampered Chef, so we have a bunch of that stuff.  Their pizza wheel is really nice.  Same goes for the large spatula that I use on the grill, they called it something like a Barbecue Boss. 

I'm also not a fan of wooden cutting boards.  The are gorgeous.  But the white plastic ones are so easy to clean.  I don't recall exactly what they are made of.
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: bigbear on January 12, 2018, 07:28:43 AM
I like our Kenckels and heavier knives in general.  We use our kitchen shears quite a bit (from chicken, veggies, pie crust, paper...). 

https://www.amazon.com/Zwilling-J-Henckels-Kitchen-Shears/dp/B0000CF3IA/ref=zg_bs_289860_13?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=9KD5SYRH2ZSE6RR139DY


Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: David in MN on January 13, 2018, 01:35:46 PM
Still pressing on.

3) Baking.

Baking has played a major role in my life. I spent almost 6 years working R&D in baking products in "big food". I'm the guy who did testing on new products, went to plant startups, and troubleshot consumer complaints. In this profession I have started too many fires to count, exploded a microwave, and had many other "fun" experiences. I know baking inside and out. I've toured multiple chocolate factories. I've spent an entire day on my back chiseling hardened sodium sterolactilate out of a pipe it hardened in. Fun!

Unfortunately for the Martha Stewarts of the world, bakeware follows one simple rule: cheaper is better. All the air baked, even temp tech, space age materials, and designer brands are a waste of money. You want basic cheap aluminum.

Cake Pan..

Cheap aluminum is best. If you insist on the fancy pyrex glass pans your cake will dome in the center and not have an even flat appearance. This is why all restaurant supply cake pans are thin aluminum regardless of shape.

https://www.amazon.com/Nordic-Ware-Classic-Metal-Covered/dp/B0006SGQFY/ref=sr_1_5?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1515872682&sr=1-5&keywords=cake+pan+9x13

Half sheet..

I keep at least two of these. They are great not only for baking but for grill prep and roasting. I also use them as a cover to my cast iron pans while reheating pizza on the iron. When I do dishes like pot roast or corned beef I dump the pot into one of these pans to finish in the oven. Makes a great pan pizza. So many uses beyond a jelly roll.

https://www.amazon.com/Nordic-Ware-Natural-Aluminum-Commercial/dp/B000G0KJG4/ref=sr_1_4?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1515872805&sr=1-4&keywords=half+sheet+pan

The rolling pin..

This may be the most fought over tool in the baking world. Some insist you need a solid granite pin to keep things cold. Others love the old school wood pin with handles. I like a traditional French style with tapered edges and a relatively thin center. It works better for me. I'm including a link for one I like but I'm such an uptight ass I had to make my own (easy with a lathe) to my specs. I prefer slightly more flat center and sharper taper. YMMV.

https://www.amazon.com/Ateco-20175-French-Rolling-20-Inch/dp/B000KESQ1G/ref=sr_1_4?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1515873191&sr=1-4&keywords=french+rolling+pin

Silpat..

Here's a tool you need to be a pro baker that the home cook could do without. That said, it's a giant oven-safe non-stick silicone mat you can use from forming a yule log to shaping a baguette. If you do a lot with dough or work with pasta frequently it's a good pick up. That's the sales pitch.

https://www.amazon.com/Matfer-Bourgeat-321005-Exopat-Nonstick/dp/B00005AXJ9/ref=sr_1_4?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1515873508&sr=1-4&keywords=matfer+silicone+baking+mat

Pie Plate..

The exception that proves the rule. Here I like Pyrex. I make quiche at least a couple times per month. What idiot decided men don't like quiche? it's eggs, cream, cheese, bacon, and herbs. Awesome. I also do a few pies every year with key lime being my favorite. These just work.

https://www.amazon.com/Pyrex-2-Pack-Glass-Plate-9-5-Inch/dp/B00LGLHZNM/ref=sr_1_1?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1515873859&sr=1-1&keywords=pyrex+pie+plate

Pie Server

You made the pie, now you need to slice and serve. Instead of some clunky silver coated 18th century garbage we're going back to Dexter Russel. Small but strong with a nice walnut handle.

https://www.amazon.com/Dexter-Russell-S244-Traditional-Knife/dp/B006WQJJFS/ref=sr_1_7?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1515874316&sr=1-7&keywords=dexter+pie+server

Bread knife

I'm not the man to ask here. I keep a Henckel's offset handle bread knife. That means once per year I set upon it with stones and files to keep it sharp. It's a waste. Buy cheap and replace often (I got this advice from Tom Colicchio who ran a sandwich restaurant). Again cheap kitchen knives are Victorinox. Friends who use this report you will love it. When I get burned out with my Henckel it tops my list. Not the cheapest but highly regarded.

https://www.amazon.com/Victorinox-Serrated-Fibrox-Handle-47549/dp/B000RLJTLS/ref=sr_1_4?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1515874657&sr=1-4&keywords=victorinox+bread+knife

There is one big hole in my game. I have never found a loaf pan worthy of recommendation. I have an ancient ceramic variant that bake bread well but fails at pound cake. I have a steel variant that does pound cake well enough but needs grease and parchment to release and rusts around the edges. I'd welcome recommendations.

I'm also not in love with my springforms. I have a set of nonstick Calphalon I've had forever and the work for cheesecake but I just don't love them. Happy to hear thoughts on these as well.

And that's bakeware. For a couple hundred bucks you can be set up as good as a professional. The dirty secret of baking is that it's more technique than tools. Give me a bowl, a sheetpan, and some flour, yeast, salt, and water, and I can make you a beautiful braided loaf with bare hands. Even advanced baking is pretty low cost as piping bags are cheap and decorating tools plentiful. When you watch a baking show on TV note how beyond the Kitchenaid and Cuisinart the tools are pretty basic. The pans are almost disposable. If you have what I've listed here you can do basic cake and bread baking.

Next stop, the MACHINES.
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: fritz_monroe on January 13, 2018, 01:43:18 PM
Have you ever made use of a pullman pan?  I'm just curious if they work well for making sandwich loaves.
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: David in MN on January 13, 2018, 02:08:18 PM
Have you ever made use of a pullman pan?  I'm just curious if they work well for making sandwich loaves.

I've never tried one. I'll have to look into it. There's a bias with pro bakers to try not to look like Wonderbread. You do your best to visually differentiate from the factory stuff. It sounds odd but people ooh and ah over my braided breads more than the simple boules even if they are the same. But I see a massive benefit to having a uniform bread loaf. We were just having for lunch grilled cheese on spiral herb bread I made to go with soup last night.

I'll put one in my Amazon account and pick it up in the near future. Good find, thanks.
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: redrider on January 13, 2018, 02:44:21 PM
Cake pan story:

I have a set of aluminum pro (thicker) grade, cake pans. When I made my 3 layer German Chocolate cake a few times a year for birthdays, they worked well.

A couple of years we moved from our larger house in town to my parents smaller house in the country. It still had all of my parents stuff in it. So, most of our stuff was/is stored in boxes. When the first birthday of the year came around, I couldn't find my professional cake pans. Oh no! you can't have a birthday without German Chocolate cake.

I found my mom's old, battered (I remember using them for science experiments, something to do with bluing?) cake pans. If you held them up to the light you could see pin holes in them, that's how bad they were.

I theorized, well, the batter can't leak out since you line them with wax paper, so I'll try them. The cake was excellent! as have been all of the succeeding cakes baked in them. I attributed the great cakes to the love that my mom had left in the cake pans. Now I find out that it is only 'cause they're thinner. Thanks David.

Just kidding. Even though I've since found my cake pans, I'll continue to use Mom's cake pans for as long as I'm able. You can't beat the extra love they add to a cake. And you sure can't buy it.

rr
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: AvenueQ on January 13, 2018, 09:24:18 PM
There is one big hole in my game. I have never found a loaf pan worthy of recommendation. I have an ancient ceramic variant that bake bread well but fails at pound cake. I have a steel variant that does pound cake well enough but needs grease and parchment to release and rusts around the edges. I'd welcome recommendations.

We got some from Cresco last year that I really like. I've only made bread in them so far, but I never have a problem with it sticking or rusting (so far). I think these are the same ones? https://www.amazon.com/Focus-Foodservice-Commercial-Bakeware-4-Pound/dp/B002P6BQFU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1515903728&sr=8-1&keywords=focus+food+service+loaf+pan (https://www.amazon.com/Focus-Foodservice-Commercial-Bakeware-4-Pound/dp/B002P6BQFU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1515903728&sr=8-1&keywords=focus+food+service+loaf+pan)

(That one says hand wash, but I throw ours in the dishwasher).
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: mountainmoma on January 13, 2018, 09:58:32 PM
I have a few extra bake pans from Norpro, bought here at Azure standard https://www.azurestandard.com/shop/product/household-family/kitchen/bakeware/baking-pans/loaf-pan/loaf-pan-85-x-45-x-2/8968?package=HA028

Works well, at least the muffin pan and bread pans we have bought as extras do.

other baking pans of mine are stainless steel revereware ( cookie sheets, square baking, muffin tins, round cake pans ) which is no longer made.  I always use pyrex for pies and a few glass pyrex rectangles, lasagne sized, round glass covered casarole.

Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: fritz_monroe on January 14, 2018, 01:02:03 PM
Part of the reason that I don't bake as much bread as I used to is we use most of our bread for sandwiches and it's kind of a PITA to make sandwiches with slices that are different sizes.  They just don't fit in a bag or sandwich container to take with me. 

I just don't bake enough to justify getting one unless I know it works like I would like it to work.
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: Applejack on January 15, 2018, 07:43:14 PM
I have several cast iron pans including dutch ovens, reversible griddle, several frying pans, and some other very large oblong pans. One thing for the kitchen I don't see listed is a good pressure cooker. That one is a must have for canning.
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: David in MN on January 15, 2018, 08:19:45 PM
This is it, the machine post. I'm sorry for those without the money to do this but this is where money matters. If you want to buy these tools, pay attention to online sales. I have bought most on cyber Monday at great discount.

These are the machines that make cooking easier.

The Kitchenaid.

The #1 tool. Buy the 6 Quart Pro model with lifting bowl, not the cheap articulating head model. The extra $100 will buy a lifetime of use.

https://www.amazon.com/KitchenAid-KP26M1XER-Professional-Bowl-Lift-Stand/dp/B000P9CWNY/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1516071444&sr=8-3&keywords=kitchenaid+6

But you need attachments as well.

The pasta roller is great. We make fresh pasta in 30 minutes.

https://www.amazon.com/Gvode-Kitchen-3-Piece-KitchenAid-Stainless/dp/B0721M32GH/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1516071545&sr=1-1-spons&keywords=kitchenaid+pasta&psc=1

And I love a meat grinder (but Kitchenaid's is not the best!)

https://www.amazon.com/Chefs-Choice-Attachment-KitchenAid-Dishwasher/dp/B00BVC0LC8/ref=sr_1_5?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1516071625&sr=1-5&keywords=kitchenaid+meat+grinder

Now you have a machine that kneads dough, grinds meat, and rolls pasta. Not cheap but great.

The Cuisinart

I love this tool.

https://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-DLC-8SY-Custom-11-Cup-Processor/dp/B01AXN5VUC/ref=sr_1_1?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1516071863&sr=1-1&keywords=cuisinart+pro+custom+11

For $150 you get a machine that slices and grates pretty well and makes the best hummus at home. I can grate 5 potatoes in 30 seconds to make potato pancakes. I joke with my wife that every time we grate cheese on it we save $1. It works.

Das Blender

OK, OK, my German side is coming out. I bought a Vitamix 5200 on Cyber Monday. It's demonic. It woulld eat my arm. But having my 2 year old drink kale smoothies is just awesome. We've done Oreo malts and homemade Gatorade. This is one of those tools you won't respect until you use it.

I'm sorry if you don't have $5k to buy all these. But they work and add a ton of value if you can get into it without breaking the bank. If you walked into my kitchen it does look like a nerd lab project. Makes me happy...
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: mountainmoma on January 15, 2018, 08:51:28 PM
Hey, that was only $700 for the kitchen power tools... in the scheme of things, not too bad. Stainless steel saucepans from goodwill, 2 decent cast iron pans, under $100 ....etc... couldnt it all be done for under 2k ?
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: Smurf Hunter on January 15, 2018, 10:46:31 PM
My mom is a big baker and uprgraded her old kitchen aid mixer with the Pro model about 15-20 years ago.  I still have her original circa 1982 off-white kitchen aid mixer.  I almost never bake, but it works if I need it.  I also have a tiny Cuisinart, but never think to use it.

The problem with all the machines is clean up.  If I'm preparing a large dish or a special occasion, that's cool, but I hate digging out all that hardware, making a big mess, cleaning it all up, and then realize for $10 more I could've got take out and saved myself 2 hours :( 
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: mountainmoma on January 16, 2018, 12:08:16 AM
My mom is a big baker and uprgraded her old kitchen aid mixer with the Pro model about 15-20 years ago.  I still have her original circa 1982 off-white kitchen aid mixer.  I almost never bake, but it works if I need it.  I also have a tiny Cuisinart, but never think to use it.

The problem with all the machines is clean up.  If I'm preparing a large dish or a special occasion, that's cool, but I hate digging out all that hardware, making a big mess, cleaning it all up, and then realize for $10 more I could've got take out and saved myself 2 hours :(

Food processor is in the cabinet for me but the vitamix and the kitchen aid mixer stay right out on the counter, that way it is easy for me to quickly use. Clean up is a breeze, mixer bowl and beater goes right into the dishwasher. Vitamix you just put in water and a drop of detergent, turn on for 30 seconds and rinse out. There is no cake I can buy ( well, not for a mere $10 or $20 dollars more) that can compare to the ones we make.
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: fritz_monroe on January 16, 2018, 05:06:37 AM
and then realize for $10 more I could've got take out and saved myself 2 hours :(
I hate to go out to eat and hate getting take out.  The main reason is most of the time whatever I make is FAR better tasting and healthier than whatever I get at the restaurant. 
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: Smurf Hunter on January 16, 2018, 10:12:57 AM
I hate to go out to eat and hate getting take out.  The main reason is most of the time whatever I make is FAR better tasting and healthier than whatever I get at the restaurant.

I know, I know.  I'm away from the house 12-14 hours on many week days. I'm lazy because I'm busy or perhaps the other way around?

I can get fantastic tasting thai food for $7 a dish.  So $21+tax to feed a family of 4 in a pinch is not terrible.  McDonald's would be almost as much, but at least we're getting fresh vegetables.
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: LVWood on January 16, 2018, 10:20:04 AM
Who can forget Tool Time's Man's Kitchen.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmZ5kmoICtw
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: fritz_monroe on January 16, 2018, 10:56:26 AM
I can get fantastic tasting thai food for $7 a dish.  So $21+tax to feed a family of 4 in a pinch is not terrible.
I'm not a big Thai food fan, but I understand what you mean.  For something "different" I have no problem going out.  I know nothing about making Thai food, so if that is what I wanted, I'd go out for it. 
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: AvenueQ on January 16, 2018, 11:07:48 AM
Totally agree with all of those. We had a cheap food processor and it sucked. We're saving for a nice one, I think it'll get some good use in our kitchen. I think our Kitchenaid is only gonna last another year or less (we got it used), then I'll replace it with one of the newer ones and get some attachments (the meat grinder and past roller were already at the top of my list, lol).
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: Smurf Hunter on January 16, 2018, 11:20:49 AM
I'm not a big Thai food fan, but I understand what you mean.  For something "different" I have no problem going out.  I know nothing about making Thai food, so if that is what I wanted, I'd go out for it.

I lived in east Asia for a few years growing up, and I eat a lot of food from that part of the world. I can eat pickled ginger like pickles and buy chili sauce by the case.

My mom got my siblings and I Instant Pots for Christmas.  At first I was apprehensive, but it's fantastic for stews, and curries in particular.  I'm working on a massaman curry that's darn close to restaurant grade. But if you don't dig fish/coconut/spicy, you wouldn't enjoy it.
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: redrider on January 16, 2018, 01:07:07 PM
What the heck is an instant pot? I gotta google this. I received a cookbook for instant pot from a relative but I have no idea what it is.

rr
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: LVWood on January 16, 2018, 02:50:14 PM
It's a cool countertop hot water heater. Holds about a gallon.
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: Smurf Hunter on January 16, 2018, 03:15:57 PM
What the heck is an instant pot? I gotta google this. I received a cookbook for instant pot from a relative but I have no idea what it is.

rr

Explained here:
http://lmgtfy.com/?q=what+is+an+instant+pot%3F
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: LVWood on January 16, 2018, 03:22:04 PM
Silly me.
I was thinking

(https://i5.walmartimages.com/asr/559bc46f-7070-4ff3-982a-1c46ac3618ce_1.0bbe46248a38b02d3c59f3210effc6b6.jpeg)
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: redrider on January 17, 2018, 07:45:06 AM
So it's a flipping pressure cooker! "Instant Pot" my foot, it's a programmable pressure cooker hardly different from Grandma's.

Marketing. :facepalm:
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: David in MN on January 17, 2018, 08:36:54 AM
On to #5 the extras. These are the couple oddball things I find necessary to have around. I'm avoiding some controversial stuff (like a French press vs. drip) because everybody already has their favorite. I'm also avoiding some heavy duty nerdy stuff like a sous vide setup. I have a janky homemade version (you can sous vide with little more than a cooler, hot water, and a Ziploc) largely based on my brewing liquor setup but I doubt most people find value here.

On to my "other" list...

Prep bowls.

I like a set of basic stainless steel prep bowls for setting up ingredients and doing basic mixing. These are great for mixing baking ingredients, breading fish, mixing a salad, etc. Very useful, cheap, and stackable to save space. A must.

https://www.amazon.com/Stainless-Mixing-Finedine-Polished-Nesting/dp/B01HTYH8YA/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1516199827&sr=8-4&keywords=stainless+mixing+bowl

Immersion Blender.

Another oddity I find use for. If you buy the Braun (my pick) it also comes with a whisk attachment that really helps with egg whites and a small food processor I use for making herbed oils and pastes for Thai food. I actually use the whisk when I make soap as well. Very usable little oddity.

https://www.amazon.com/Braun-MQ725-Multiquick-Blender-Black/dp/B01EA5ZLOU/ref=sr_1_4?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1516200313&sr=1-4&keywords=braun+immersion+blender

Gas Stuff.

OK, I'm leaving the reservation here. Yes, I find a lot of use for my soda siphon (I make soda) and a nitrous charger. If you've never tried whipped cream with a charge, it's awesome. Pour in cream, add a little sugar, a hint of vanilla or brandy, charge with nitrous, and boom. You have perfect cream. I also use the nitrous charge to do things like cantaloupe foam (juice the fruit, add gelatin, charge with nitrous) which is a great addition to a fruit salad especially if topped with Pop Rocks. This is super nerdy food stuff not for everyone. The company that makes these tools is iSi (not ISIS as Google will autofill) and while their tools are simply the best the website is also half in German so take some time and check it out with patience. Also bear in mind the cream charges are nitrous oxide so my restaurant supplier keeps them under the front counter and while I've never tried to get high off one I'm sure it's possible so keep it away from the teenagers.

https://www.isi.com/us/culinary/

Microplanes

From using fresh nutmeg to zesting a lime these are very useful. Once again, I tend to buy cheap and replace often. My father in law has a fancier set with interchangeable blades but I think it's a solution in search of a problem. The old school cheapo seems fine to me.

https://www.amazon.com/Microplane-40020-Classic-Zester-Grater/dp/B00004S7V8/ref=sr_1_1?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1516201744&sr=1-1&keywords=microplane

Pyrex Bakeware.


Not for baking, but for a roast or a braise these really shine. Pyrex did the right thing making the handles larger and actually usable. The lids don't fit well and are frankly garbage but the deep sides and handles make this a dream for a simple braised chicken dish.

https://www.amazon.com/Pyrex-Easy-4-Piece-Glass-Bakeware/dp/B005JCZ11C/ref=sr_1_10?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1516201980&sr=1-10&keywords=pyrex+bakeware

Pyrex Measuring

Shouldn't need to mention this one, I assume everyone has it already. I use mine to reheat soup. It's a winner.

https://www.amazon.com/Pyrex-3-Piece-Glass-Measuring-Cup/dp/B00M2J7PCI/ref=sr_1_1?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1516202195&sr=1-1&keywords=pyrex+measuring+glass

And that about does it. If I haven't mentioned something it's probably because I haven't found a version I love. Anything I've posted here has stood the test of time in my kitchen and that's not easy. Brands like Dexter Russel, Matfer, iSi, and others I have listed are the industry leaders. Don't fall for gimmicky knock offs that don't function. And wherever possible you're almost guaranteed that buying the ugly cheap industrial model will be better than the brand with fancy marketing endorsed by a talk show host. My goal is to have a working kitchen that mirrors a professional version.
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: fritz_monroe on January 17, 2018, 12:20:30 PM
Nice addition to the thread.

I like to have both stainless steel bowls and glass.  I like glass for things that I really have to get in there to mix up.  The extra weight helps keep the bowl in place when I'm mixing.  I also like to use glass in place of metal for acidic stuff.  I know the warnings about acid and metal is about aluminum.
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: AvenueQ on January 17, 2018, 01:37:15 PM
I'm usually of the same mindset as Alton Brown when it comes to uni-taskers (avoid at all costs), but I really freaking love our rice cooker. Maybe it's because we're at altitude, but our rice was always either mushy or crunchy, no matter what we tried (and we tried A LOT). Our model also does quinoa and oatmeal, and has a slow cook function, so I guess it's not really a uni-tasker. However, I primarily use it for rice, and it's fool-proof for that.
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: PorcupineKate on January 17, 2018, 02:03:20 PM
I cook but I don't bake.  I do have extra cooking gear for 2 reasons I have a huge garden and physical limitations that I am always looking to hack to keep doing what I love. 

I like stuff that can go in the dishwasher or soak over night till I can deal with it.   While I love my cast iron it is heavy and high maintenance.   I have a beautiful hardwood cutting board that I don't use because plastic ones go in the dishwasher.  Most of my cook ware is Stainless Steel for ease of cleaning.  I love my Le Creuset but I need my husband home to use the large one.  I find myself using the smaller one more often due to the weight when full. 

I love dual functional items since I do a lot of canning and food preservation.

Stainless  Steel mesh colander is great for blanching veggies for freezing, using a colander, and also use to strain stock of all the bones and other bits.

Coffee grinder is great for spices and is easier to use than a mortar and pestle which I also own. 

Ice cream scoop and SS measuring spoons are great for removing seeds from various veggies. 

Canning funnel.  I use this to fill my Nalgene bottles. It is a perfect fit.

I use my largest stock pots for water bath canning and bought a canning rack to fit them. 

Canning jars are a must.

Since I am in a cold wet climate I love my Excalibur Dehydrator.  I use it to dry gallons of herbs, veggies, and fruits over the course of the growing season.  The dried goods go in canning jars. 






Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: AvenueQ on January 17, 2018, 03:25:57 PM
I like stuff that can go in the dishwasher or soak over night till I can deal with it.   While I love my cast iron it is heavy and high maintenance.   I have a beautiful hardwood cutting board that I don't use because plastic ones go in the dishwasher.  Most of my cook ware is Stainless Steel for ease of cleaning.  I love my Le Creuset but I need my husband home to use the large one.  I find myself using the smaller one more often due to the weight when full. 

Ditto on all this, also from someone with physical limitations.
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: David in MN on January 17, 2018, 03:57:11 PM
My wife does like to remind me that not all of us are over 6 feet and 250 lb former powerlifters. I do find that the old cast iron like Griswold is much lighter than modern versions.

I can't do the coffee grinder for spices thing. I prefer the control on a traditional mortar and pestle. I use a Coors variation I don't remember buying.

https://www.amazon.com/Mortar-Pestle-Porcelain-Coors-520/dp/B005MIQ6S0/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1516229430&sr=8-2&keywords=coors+mortar+and+pestle

But it's 100% preference and I get using a coffee grinder as a shortcut.
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: Smurf Hunter on January 17, 2018, 04:35:05 PM
I prefer the control on a traditional mortar and pestle. I use a Coors variation I don't remember buying.

https://www.amazon.com/Mortar-Pestle-Porcelain-Coors-520/dp/B005MIQ6S0/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1516229430&sr=8-2&keywords=coors+mortar+and+pestle

But it's 100% preference and I get using a coffee grinder as a shortcut.

says they guy who doesn't work out of the house.  Not saying you have nothing to do, but at 6pm when the family is hungry, they'd plan a mutiny if I starting grinding spices by hand or motorized ;)
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: AvenueQ on January 17, 2018, 06:28:52 PM
Oh yeah, I didn't see a kitchen scale mentioned at all. I didn't have one for a long time, but now I refuse to have a kitchen without one. It makes baking infinitely easier, and I also use it for soaping. The OXO 11 lb. one works great for me, I used to have the 5 lb. one but I found I was consistently overloading it (they even replaced it for me once when the display went bad).

https://www.amazon.com/OXO-Stainless-Pull-Out-Display-11-Pound/dp/B000WJMTNA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1516238876&sr=8-1&keywords=oxo+scale (https://www.amazon.com/OXO-Stainless-Pull-Out-Display-11-Pound/dp/B000WJMTNA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1516238876&sr=8-1&keywords=oxo+scale)
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: PorcupineKate on January 17, 2018, 06:41:10 PM
I have a marble mortar and pestle that got almost 20 years ago. I used all the time but my reality has dramatically changed in the last year and a half.

What would you do if you became disabled? How would this change your kitchen and cooking habits.  Are your long term prepping plans based on you always having a fully functional body? 

I am currently working on getting rid of the stuff that I don't use anymore and finding replacements that improve my functionality.  My situation is dramatically changing the way my husband and I are looking at homesteading, prepping, and retirement.  Being able to age in place it something I need to address now in my 40's. 
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: David in MN on January 17, 2018, 07:37:17 PM
Oh yeah, I didn't see a kitchen scale mentioned at all. I didn't have one for a long time, but now I refuse to have a kitchen without one. It makes baking infinitely easier, and I also use it for soaping. The OXO 11 lb. one works great for me, I used to have the 5 lb. one but I found I was consistently overloading it (they even replaced it for me once when the display went bad).

https://www.amazon.com/OXO-Stainless-Pull-Out-Display-11-Pound/dp/B000WJMTNA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1516238876&sr=8-1&keywords=oxo+scale (https://www.amazon.com/OXO-Stainless-Pull-Out-Display-11-Pound/dp/B000WJMTNA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1516238876&sr=8-1&keywords=oxo+scale)

I have an old Salter I wouldn't recommend. If the Oxo is a better fit, I'll add it to my list for the future. Much thanks.

I have a marble mortar and pestle that got almost 20 years ago. I used all the time but my reality has dramatically changed in the last year and a half.

What would you do if you became disabled? How would this change your kitchen and cooking habits.  Are your long term prepping plans based on you always having a fully functional body? 

I am currently working on getting rid of the stuff that I don't use anymore and finding replacements that improve my functionality.  My situation is dramatically changing the way my husband and I are looking at homesteading, prepping, and retirement.  Being able to age in place it something I need to address now in my 40's. 

That's a hard discussion and I don't mean to treat it light. I've known alzheimer's patients who forget about the turkey in the oven. I have the beginnings of arthritis. So it's knocking at my door. My initial solution is to keep the heavy tools out and open. I don't move the Kitchenaid because it's hard to move.

Rockler has some crazy options to make the kitchen more usable. I'll find one here...

http://www.rockler.com/rev-a-shelf-heavy-duty-mixer-lift

It's a question of how to make your tools more accessible. There are options to make life easier.
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: PorcupineKate on January 17, 2018, 08:21:21 PM
We need to redo our kitchen since it is from 1986 and is showing its age. We are planing to add  some features to it so I can sit and cook or use a wheel chair if I follow my sister's path of decline. Not only will this be for me as I decline but we may have my in laws move in with us when they get older.   We bought a ranch house 15 minutes out side a small city for this reason. It also happens to be zoned agricultural.  8)

When we redo the kitchen I will be designing it to be used sitting or standing.
We will have drawers on all the lower cabinets. 
The cabinets below the stove top and sink will open up to the floor and slide into the side of the cabinets so I can pull a stool or chair  and work while seated. 
I will also have a siting height counter as part of the kitchen.  This may be a pull out island that slides under part of the counter when not in use.
A french door wall mounted oven slightly lower than average.  I may put the microwave above or below it.  I use the oven way more than the microwave but I don't think my husband will go for getting rid of it. 
A shallow depth french door fridge
The kitchen will not have a fixed island so I can use a wheel chair if needed. 
Pantry cabinets with pull out shelves will extend into the dining room so I will have plenty of easy to use storage. 

 

 
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: fritz_monroe on January 18, 2018, 04:56:03 AM
Rockler has some crazy options to make the kitchen more usable. I'll find one here...

http://www.rockler.com/rev-a-shelf-heavy-duty-mixer-lift

It's a question of how to make your tools more accessible. There are options to make life easier.
My 110# sister had one of these put in her kitchen when they redid it a couple of years ago.  She can move that heavy mixer with a touch of a finger now.  Works wonderful
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: AvenueQ on January 18, 2018, 08:37:59 AM
Rockler has some crazy options to make the kitchen more usable. I'll find one here...

http://www.rockler.com/rev-a-shelf-heavy-duty-mixer-lift

It's a question of how to make your tools more accessible. There are options to make life easier.

Ooo, neat! We are buying a house this year, and we'll have enough money left over from the sale of our old place for some improvements...*runs off to plan dream kitchen*
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: AvenueQ on January 18, 2018, 01:27:22 PM
I thought of one more thing as I was cleaning the kitchen today: the faucet. I never thought about it until we got to our new place and I really don't like it (if it wasn't an apartment I'd replace it today). It should be easy to turn on and off and adjust with a forearm, so when your hands are covered in ground beef from making meatballs you don't have to touch it. The one here has separate hot and cold handles, and they're small, which is really hard to use with messy hands. I'm also not a fan of the ones with the small, single handle on the side. I don't recommend the touch-sensitive ones either, my cousin has one and it's temperamental as hell (not to mention expensive). The ones with the large, single overhead handle work best for me, like this one (https://www.amazon.com/KINGO-HOME-Brushed-Stainless-Escutcheons/dp/B01FDBJZFQ/ref=lp_680341011_1_12?s=kitchen-bath&ie=UTF8&qid=1516307036&sr=1-12) (a larger handle would be better, but they're getting hard to find).
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: David in MN on January 18, 2018, 01:44:39 PM
Ooo, neat! We are buying a house this year, and we'll have enough money left over from the sale of our old place for some improvements...*runs off to plan dream kitchen*

Be very careful. We started planning out a remod and stopped when I hit $10k in nothing but hardware from Rockler. Even with me buying rough lumber and making all the cabinets, installing a counter myself, and doing all the plumbing work myself it was the exotic hardware that really got pricey.

I thought of one more thing as I was cleaning the kitchen today: the faucet. I never thought about it until we got to our new place and I really don't like it (if it wasn't an apartment I'd replace it today). It should be easy to turn on and off and adjust with a forearm, so when your hands are covered in ground beef from making meatballs you don't have to touch it. The one here has separate hot and cold handles, and they're small, which is really hard to use with messy hands. I'm also not a fan of the ones with the small, single handle on the side. I don't recommend the touch-sensitive ones either, my cousin has one and it's temperamental as hell (not to mention expensive). The ones with the large, single overhead handle work best for me, like this one (https://www.amazon.com/KINGO-HOME-Brushed-Stainless-Escutcheons/dp/B01FDBJZFQ/ref=lp_680341011_1_12?s=kitchen-bath&ie=UTF8&qid=1516307036&sr=1-12) (a larger handle would be better, but they're getting hard to find).

No kidding. I have a hunk of junk Moen I've replaced the gaskets on a few times. I actually priced out putting in a restaurant style dish station. Big, all-stainless and a dishwasher with a 2 minute cycle. Not to mention the elephant trunk spray hose and industrial dispose-all. That got a quick veto from the Mrs.  :'(

I still want a big UNDERMOUNT sink with an spray faucet. Anything else is not ideal.
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: AvenueQ on January 18, 2018, 02:23:21 PM
I still want a big UNDERMOUNT sink with an spray faucet. Anything else is not ideal.

Oh yeah, undermount for sure. I also prefer a single, large basin versus the more common 2-basin sink since I don't really do much hand washing, and even when I do I want more space to maneuver in the sink.
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: LvsChant on April 22, 2018, 01:51:07 PM
So... what types of things do want in the kitchen?

I have found these things particularly helpful:

1) Commercial-style spray faucet (Pro-style) like THIS (https://smile.amazon.com/Kohler-K-R10651-SD-VS-Pro-Style-Single-Handle-Pull-Down/dp/B06WGLP5VV/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1524426218&sr=8-7&keywords=faucet+kitchen+pull+down&dpID=41BrdWbt2OL&preST=_SX342_QL70_&dpSrc=srch)
2) Pot filler over the stove
3) Gas or propane cooktop (great for power outages)
4) Very tall upper cabinets (to maximize storage)
5) Large pull-out drawers for pot storage (much prefer over regular cabinets with shelves)
6) Baking pan cabinet (fairly narrow but room enough for all those cookie sheets, pizza stones, etc)
7) Extended cabinet over the refrigerator (the full 2 foot depth) so that you can place your cook books toward the front with room for seldom-used items behind. This prevents the need for a step stool each time you use this space.
8) Large center island/work center (This has become a standard requirement for me... great for baking, especially) with nice overhead lighting.
9) Pull-out garbage pail (hidden inside a cabinet).
10) HUGE pantry

Other things we have tried, but don't really use much:

1) warming drawers... we just hardly ever use them. I suppose if we entertained more, it might be nice...
2) appliance garage. Don't like them. I prefer to have my extra appliances in the pantry area.

I'll think of more...
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: Cyd on April 22, 2018, 02:44:28 PM
We recently remodeled the kitchen.  Two separate work spaces each with its own sink has worked out really well.  I'm also happy with my decision to have a wall of closets with shelves rather than expense cabinetry with more counter space or an eating area.
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: LvsChant on April 22, 2018, 02:52:47 PM
@Cyd: Not sure I understand... Your wall of closets, what do you use them for? Storage of food, pots/pans, appliances, china? Do you mean that you have more counter space because you opted for this wall? I intrigued by this idea...

Thought of one more thing I always want to have:

11) Commercial-style hood. I have had homes with the simple microwave oven/hood combo and also with a very decorative hood that wasn't really very functional. I have often made a particular recipe that calls for cognac and lighting it... those smaller hoods are a bit scary with that type of cooking. Never caught the kitchen on fire, but didn't make me happy...

We now have a 60" commercial-style hood with the actual fan unit placed up on the roof, so that the sound in the kitchen is minimal even when it is running on high. Really happy with that.
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: Morning Sunshine on April 22, 2018, 05:04:54 PM
I love my pan rack.  All my sauce pans and stock pot (well, the 40-qt lives with the canning supplies in the basement) and cast iron pans hang above our heads and dry there.
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: LvsChant on April 22, 2018, 10:20:29 PM
@MS: That is one thing I haven't ever had in my kitchen -- a pan rack... will have to consider it next time around...
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: Cyd on April 23, 2018, 02:22:01 PM
@Cyd: Not sure I understand... Your wall of closets, what do you use them for? Storage of food, pots/pans, appliances, china? Do you mean that you have more counter space because you opted for this wall? I intrigued by this idea...

I could have added a long countertop with cabinets above and below (expensive) but instead we framed it in as a closet (it's about 10 feet long and has 6 doors) with shelves.  I keep appliances, canning supplies, the pans that I don't use as often (the bottom shelf in each closet pulls out), spices, and lots of other stuff in it.  I like it better than an extra counter because the appliances don't get dusty or splattered.

Cyd
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: Morning Sunshine on April 23, 2018, 03:50:35 PM
I like the idea of kitchen closets, but I like my counter space.  Maybe I won't have to choose?  Can I do both when I get a new kitchen?

do the doors swing open or accordion open?  Can you post pictures so we can see what you mean.
My uncle is a cabinetry maker, so my aunt's kitchen has lots of cool cabinets.  She has three levels that all open like this: (https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSEmcU6i0K-kOmKE--2CZukI16TlbIyYP4jNiEcCCUF4pIW2K5fdQ)  They are of varying widths, so some have room for #10 cans on both sides, and some just enough room for spices.
Title: Re: Outfitting the Kitchen
Post by: LvsChant on April 23, 2018, 10:58:37 PM
@Cyd: Not sure I understand... Your wall of closets, what do you use them for? Storage of food, pots/pans, appliances, china? Do you mean that you have more counter space because you opted for this wall? I intrigued by this idea...

I could have added a long countertop with cabinets above and below (expensive) but instead we framed it in as a closet (it's about 10 feet long and has 6 doors) with shelves.  I keep appliances, canning supplies, the pans that I don't use as often (the bottom shelf in each closet pulls out), spices, and lots of other stuff in it.  I like it better than an extra counter because the appliances don't get dusty or splattered.

Cyd

Ah, I get it. Sounds very nice... And your idea of two workspaces is very nice. I never used to need more than space for my own cooking, but my husband gets in there and does quite a bit of cooking now that he is retired, so I definitely see the need for more space now than in earlier years...

@MS: Those pull-outs look nice... I don't know if I would want them, since I tend to have most of the food storage in a big pantry and am used to that type of system... but it is very attractive...