Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I'm not lazy.......really!!!

Just because I'm not writing to help you wonderful people (all 9 of you) to learn how to cook everyday, doesn't mean that I'm not working on food related projects. Why, within the last few weeks I have had a couple of articles come out on the Metromix Baltimore site. I've been writing for them for just over a year and I am going to start linking the articles I write to this blog. The first link deals with an Absinthe tasting I went to and the second link is a guide as to where to find daily food specials in the Mount Vernon section of Baltimore from Monday through Friday. If either of those sound like anything you would want to read, then click on the links. Check it out (or I will kill you, I mean please):


Mount Vernon

I also have a "first look" piece on Mekong Delta Vietnamese restaurant coming up on Metromix in a few days. I will post a link when they post it.

Hope you are all well.
rock out with your crock pot out.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Shit you will need part two: Utensilitis

So now that you have a few pans it is time to get cooking. The egg is in the pan, its time to flip that little sucker but you don't have the correct tool to do it. Watch out, you will burn your dumb ass if you try to use your hands. Now it looks like you need to buy a tool to flip foods properly in your hot pans; but what to buy? Fortunately for you there are thousands of utensils you can buy and use in your kitchen. Unfortunately for you, most of these utensils suck like a hooker with the rent due. There are only a few indispensable pieces in every kitchen, so fear not, you will not have to buy a bunch of drawer cluttering crap.

Spatulas are not the only tools you will need in the kitchen. This list is a little long, but unlike the pan list in the previous post, most of the items on this list cost under twenty dollars.
Remember that there are links provided for every item. The links will take you Amazon.com so you can see a picture of the item and how much it will cost.

So Lets get started....

1.Spatula- All right smarty pants, now that you have bought your spiffy spatula, what do you do now that you have your spatula? You're gonna flip shit of course! Grilled cheese sandwiches, pancakes, hamburgers, quesadillas, and obviously, your perfectly cooked sunny side up egg will all get the toss treatment with this indispensable tool. This item will get a lot of use.

Spatula #2- Yes, there are two different types of spatulas. One flips, the other scrapes and wipes. This is your omelet spatula. This is what you use to get all of that lovely hollandaise out of your bowl after making it. This is what you use when you need to get all of the coleslaw our of your cuisinart.Its also a huge help in sauteing vegetables and stirring together ingredients.You will more than likely use this more than any other utensil in your arsenal so make sure it is a good one.

2. Whisk- Whisks are great for getting your aggression out. If you are making scrambled eggs or a vinaigrette, a good whisk will beat the shit out of them all. I am amazed at how often I use my whisk. Just don't be fooled by those junky whisks that have balls in the balloon part or the type that look like a bunch of metal rods tied together. Just go for the traditional whisk and you will be whipping ass in no time.

3. Grater - I hate graters. they are a pain in the ass to clean, take up a ton of space, and you really only use on of their four sides (Do you know who has ever used the semi-circular bladed side?). So it is with trepidation that I endorse this product. Not everyone has a cuisinart with the grater disk attachments, so ol' boxy is getting the nod. Good for making hash browns, cole slaw, and of course, grating cheese for your pizza (please tell me you do that).

Of course there are the now ubiquitous micro planes. These things kick so much ass its incredible. Used for shaving things gossamer-fine, these rasps are great for nutmeg, lemon zest, and they were practically made for Parmesan cheese. Its one of the most beautiful things in life to have a hot steaming bowl of pasta, and then shave Parmesan cheese over top of it like god trying to put out the fires of hell with snow. Also, next time you try making a grilled cheese, shave a little hardened salami over the cheese before grilling....... yeah you know you can't wait to try it.

4.Peeler- peelers are the unsung heroes of the kitchen. They get used and abuse constantly and never are given credit for their work. They are the item that nobody ever wants to touch and probably hear more curse words that any other utensil ("goddamn, stupid fucking carrots"). Luckily there is a newer more ergonomic version with a wider blade to make it less of a chore for your ungrateful asses. I'm not saying that its going to make it fun for you but next time you need to peel a carrot, try peeling with a knife and then you will have a little r-e-s-p-e-c-t for this diminutive tool.

5. Strainer - Colanders are not just for straining. They are good for steaming food, cheese making, and in a pinch you can use it as an ersatz robot helmet. If you get one of the finer, wire mesh strainers, you can use it as a flour sifter. Strainers are a must have in a basically stocked kitchen. Try straining your pasta through your hands next time and you will understand.

6. Tongs- Tongs have been gaining popularity in the modern kitchen for the last couple of years. Usually relegated to the backyard for the grill, the tong is finally being recognized as a big player in the kitchen drawer. Pan frying, deep frying, boiling, steaming, and braising, it will handle all foods in all cooking climates. Have you ever tried to flip a piece of chicken being browned in a cast iron pot with a spatula? After you recover from your 3rd degree burns the first thing you will do is buy tongs. Tongs are dead useful for keeping you away from the burn unit, go buy some now.

7. Can opener- Do I even need to explain this one? Unless you want to rock that 1930's era, bugs bunny opening a suit of armor, busted ass "ye olde" can opener, you should own a good can opener. This can opener in particular. It cuts the sides of the can top and that is great for two reasons. One, you will never cut yourself on these opened can lids and two, you won't have to worry about having a filthy, nasty, germ infested can opener. The first time you use it makes you feel like you're in the future, how cool is that?

8. Spoons- This is another utensil that doesn't need too much thought. Its cheap, its big, and its a spoon for chrissakes. If you don't know what to use a spoon for, just stop fucking reading and start punching yourself in the throat until you pass out.

9.Bottle Opener- More and more beers are being sealed with caps instead of screw off tops lately, so its now time to break out the bottle opener. This bottle opener is a no frills professional model. It does what it does very well and will last you forever. It also doubles as a billy club.

But if using your strength to leverage the tops off of bottles is too much for you, you can always use your house as your load. This opener goes on the wall and will beautify any home bar or kitchen. It also opens bottles.

And if that still isn't good enough for you to have to walk across the room there is always this. Its good for couch potatoes and totally unbelievable drunks.

10. Digital Thermometer- A good digital timer will make you a deity in the kitchen. Never again will you have to eat dried out meat ever again. Just stick the probe into the roast or bird, set the alarm to the desired temperature and then go and make yourself a salad while you wait for the thermometer to let you know when its done. Seriously, this will make you feel like a Jedi master version of Julia Child, like you are one with the meat. It also has a timer built into it so you can set time limits for food just in case you are outside enjoying a frosty beverage and need to know when its ready to go.

11. Measuring Spoons- Measuring spoons are the training wheels of the home cooks kitchen. There is a lot you can learn from them. The more you use them, the more equated you will become with cooking itself. How you salt and pepper your food, how you season your food with herbs and spice is the most essential (and most easily ignored) part of proper cooking. After a while of following good recipes you will pick up how to properly season your food. Hopefully you will get to a point where you can take the training wheels off, when you will be able to pinch out a teaspoon of salt or eye up in your palm a tablespoon of dried herbs. When you get to that point, you will officially be a bad ass cook, then you will only need the measuring spoons for when you bake. Unlike cooking, you will always need the spoons for baking, so hold on to them even though you will think you are too good to be using those childish spoons.

12. Ladle- Soup has to get into a bowl somehow.

So now you have a good starting point for getting your kitchen well stocked and ready for you to spend some quality time with them making meals for your loved ones.

Now peel me some potatoes!!!!!