Baking

Basic Equipment for Kitchen

These are some basic items that I have found to be useful in the kitchen. For those of you just starting out, this is a great list to refer to when setting up a kitchen.  I will start by suggesting the knives I use most frequently, followed by pots/pans/skillets and finish with miscellaneous items I frequently use. For those of you in New York City you can find many of these items at Zabar’s, 2nd Floor. For those of you not in New York City, I recommend searching on Amazon or JB Prince or visiting your local culinary or department stores.

Knives

Cooking requires preparation and to allow preparations go smoothly it’s important to have sharp knives. These are the knives that I use in my kitchen and they are good quality and inexpensive. A good place to buy the knives is at Zabar’s, 2nd floor. This is a less expensive option than the internet, but some can be found at your local department and culinary stores.

Victorinox Serrated Paring/Utility Knife 4 ½  inches – I use this knife all the time for cutting fruit and other small cutting jobs. I buy a new one every year because you cannot sharpen serrated knives.

Victorinox Straight Edge Paring Knife or WUSTHOF Silverpoint Straight Edge Paring Knife 3 1/4 inches – This knife is excellent for garnishes, peeling fruit and other small jobs.

Victorinox Santoku Knife 7 inches or Higher End Santoku 7 inch blade with or without granton (ridges) – These knives are great for cutting all vegetables.

Victorinox 10 1/4 inch Wavy Edge Bread Knife with Fibrox Handle –  It is important to have a bread knife for safety reasons and to preserve the sharpness of your other knives.

Dexter Curved Chinese Cleaver w/ Walnut Handle Stainfree High Carbon –  This knife is good for mincing vegetables and herbs, cutting poultry raw or cooked, and slicing raw meat.

Mino Sharp Knife Sharpener 440GB –  There are a lot of different choices for knife sharpeners, but I like the basic one with two slots for sharpening knives.

Pots/Pans/Skillets

I like to use stainless steel, iron and enamel. I never use tephlon. Aluminum is a last choice. For the stainless steel pots I recommend Sitram (French), AllClad (American), Paderno (Italian). For the enamel pots I like LeCreuset. And for the iron skillets I like Wagner or Lodge. Here is a list of essential pots, pans and skillets. Sometimes they have starter sets on sale in different culinary shops and department stores. If not here is a a good startup list of pots and pans I recommend:

7-8 inch Fry Pan

10 inch Fry or Sauté Pan

14 inch Fry or Sauté Pan

Small Rondeau Sitram Pot – This is a round pot with 4 inch sides, handles and a cover

4 to 6 Quart Stock Pot (which can double as a pasta pot)

1 ½  Quart and a 3-4 Quart Stainless Steel Sauce Pans

Iron Skillet – a small one (6 1/4 inches) for roasting nuts and small amounts of vegetables. I use this constantly. And then a 10 or 12 inch skillet for sautéing meat, poultry and fish.

14 Inch Oval Steel Fish Skillet – The size and shape allow for greater ease when cooking fish. I highly recommend if you sauté or pan roast fish frequently. There are two weights, get the heavier one.

5 Quart LeCreuset Oval or Round – This is perfect for rice and braising meat.

Miscellaneous

I acquired these items either through Amazon or Zabar’s, 2nd Floor.

Kuhn Rikon Vegetable Peeler –  This is sharp and fast.

Amco Stainless Steel Bowls: A variety of different sizes (at least 4 to 6) would be good for multipurpose in the kitchen. A much better choice than glass.

6 ½  Inch Chinese Wire Strainer or a French Spider – I use these for fishing out pasta or vegetables from boiling water. Or for lifting fried foods out of fat.

Stainless Steel Tongs

Krups Electric Coffee Mill – For grinding spices

Rubber Spatula – Find a flexible one, like Rubbermaid

14 Inch Flat Bottom Rolled Steel Single Wood Handle Wok – Amazon is the best place to find this item or bridgekitchenware.com

Wok Spatula

Wooden Spoons

Flexible Metal Slotted Spatula with Wood Handle

Solid Metal Spatula – I recommend 2 sizes, one small and large

Offset Metal Spatula – I recommend 2 sizes, one small and large if you are into baking.

Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons

Stainless Steel Graduated Measuring Cups

Pyrex Measuring Cup

Bottle Opener (Church Key)

Pastry Brush – I really like Ateco brand. But a small paint brush from a hardware store works well too.

Can Opener – Swing A Way is the only brand I use.

Stainless Steel Ice Cream Scoop

VacuVin – For resealing wine

2 Half Size Sheet Pans

Parchment Paper – This is used for cooking fish and lining sheet pans to cut down on the use of butter when baking cookies.

Cheese Cloth – I use this for straining and making dumplings.

Bamboo Chopsticks – I will discuss in my next blog the importance of Bamboo Chopsticks. Please stay tuned.

 

 

Turmeric-Cumin Fix For The Day

In a small sauce pan or skillet over low heat, heat 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil for 1 minute. Add 1 tablespoon of sliced garlic ( green stem removed), saute for 2 minutes or until garlic softens. Add 1/2  teaspoon  turmeric and 1/2 teaspoon cumin and continue to heat for 3-4 minutes over very low heat. If the bubbles are too rapid remove skillet from heat. The oil must stay green, so it does not become saturated. Use as a dip for bread instead of butter or you can spoon it over rice or a baked potato.

My Favorite Breads in New York City

Sullivan Street Bakery 47th Street between 10th and 11th Ave. north side of the street, opens 8am 7 days a week. (www.sullivanstreetbakery.com) Sourdough Pullman, Stirato, Stecca with Seasonal Toppings, Paninetto alle Olive (olive rolls) Integrale, Multigrani Paninetto (multigrain rolls) Pizza Bianca con Pecorino.

Whole Foods 59th St. and Columbus Circle opens at 8am 7 days a week (www.wholefoodsmarket.com) – Miche (sourdough whole wheat) made by Bread Alone Bread Bakery, Boiceville, NY. It comes in a big round but you can buy as little or as much as you want. Spring through fall you may find it at some of the greenmarkets such as the Union Square market. In Union Square it is sold by the loaf.

Amy’s Bread Ninth Ave. between 46th and 47th Streets, east side of Ninth Ave. opens at 7:30 during the week (www.amysbread.com) – Peasant wheat bread, 5 grain loaf, any of the twists, (BTW the cookies are great)

Hudson Bread (www.hudsonbread.com)  sold at Citerella in NYC- French rolls, olive pockets, pumpernickel bread. Hudson Bread also makes terrific 7 grain rolls or boule but they are only currently available at the Amish Market 731 Ninth Ave. Ninth Ave. between 49th and 50th Street or 240 East 45th Street.

Stuffing for Roast Turkey

This stuffing yields enough to stuff a 14 to 17 pound turkey.

Since I have called for a 10 to 12 pound turkey then use the balance of the stuffing to bake in a soufflé dish or baking dish greased with butter or olive oil. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes at 350 degrees. After 15 minutes drizzle with pan drippings from the roasted bird or moisten with a little turkey stock.

A stuffed 10 to 12 pound turkey will take about ½ hour longer to roast.  Remove stuffing from bird before refrigerating left over’s to avoid bacteria from forming.

I like to make the stuffing the day before , ie Wednesday.

Ingredients:

1 lb. of Italian chestnuts- make a crisscross in each chestnut. Place in a large iron skillet and roast in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes or more, peel while warm, then chop then set aside .

1 lb. of  cubed-bread Sourdough Pullman loaf from Sullivan Street Bakery 47th St. between 10th and 11th or Pullman loaf from Citeralla, made by Pain D’avignon or Tom Cat Brioche Rolls, purchased at Fairway.

Cube the bread in ¼ inch cubes 2 days before making the stuffing and leave out in a roasting pan. Cover loosely with wax paper or a sheet pan. If bread is not dry by Wednesday, then roast bread cubes in a pre-heated 250° oven, until dry with no color. About 15 to 20 minutes.

Heat 8 Tbsp. (1 stick or ½ cup of unsalted butter in a large skillet over medium heat until the foam subsides. Add:

  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 tsp. Bells poultry seasoning

Cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes. Optional-Add ¼ to ½ lb. ground pork and cook until pork is white, if using pork then use less butter.

Remove from the heat and stir in:

  • ½ cup minced fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme (or 2/3 teaspoon dried)
  • 2 tsp. fresh marjoram (or 2/3 teaspoon dried)
  • ¾ tsp. salt mixed with a pinch of cayenne
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
  • ¼ to 1/3 cup turkey stock (or chicken stock)
  • 1 large egg, beaten

Stir in the bread cubes and then 1/3 cup turkey stock and toss until well combined. Let mixture cool.  Add chopped chestnuts to the stuffing mixture. When the mixture has cooled, stir in the  beaten  egg.

Because the stuffing expands while cooking, do not over stuff the bird.