I have a kitchen full of gadgets and gizmo's. Some things I use regularly, a few items make obligatory appearances during the various holiday seasons, and others are doing time in the back of the cabinet waiting to be paroled once every couple years. I try to buy only those things that I know I will use, and refrain from impulse purchases (well, I like to think that I do). Still, I find myself reaching for the same spoon or knife or pan for most meal preparation.
Today's post is the first installment titled My Favorite Kitchen Tools. Perhaps others find themselves also using the same pieces over and over. Maybe there are those out there who are more adventurous taking advantage of multiple pieces. I am very interested in learning what all those magnificent blog chefs consider to be their valuable, indispensable, favorite kitchen tools.
Today's "My Favorite Kitchen Tool": Wooden Utensils: Spoons and Spatula's
Several years ago, when I converted most of my cookware to non-stick pieces, I also switched out my cooking utensils to nylon or silicon. Not only did I cease using my metal cooking utensils, I also stopped using my wooden spoons. Those new safe-for-teflon pieces with their comfort grip handles caught my attention. Fast forward to about a year ago, I purchased a new wooden spoon by OXO and immediately fell in love with it. It was like greeting an old friend. That little wooden beauty handles both stainless and non stick cookware with ease, won't bow or buckle when mixing cookie dough, and can stir soup without the handle getting too hot. The folks at OXO are very good about incorporating comfort in their designs, and this one has a comfortable, wide handle. The wood doesn't splinter, hold odors, or get "fuzzy". The bowl portion and handle length are perfect. Ah, the perfect multi task tool. It's the one item I consistently reach for. It just keeps on keepin' on.
The one thing it doesn't do well is spatula work. Then today I saw the answer. Hanging on the utensil rack at Target of all places ... A wooden spatula made by OXO. I picked it up. For those of you who saw the Harry Potter movie, do you remember when Harry gets his first wand at Olivander's shop? Remember the dramatic orchestra music sounding out and how the wind blew and the light shown on Harry? Olivander told Harry, "The wand picks the wizard, Harry!" Well, that's what it was like for me and my wooden spatula. Really. Only without the orchestra and the wind, and ... ok, well, let's move on shall we ....
This wooden spatula, like it's spoon cousin, will be a great multi-tasker. I plan to use it for scraping up those luscious browned bits off the bottom of skillets, for scrambling eggs and flipping sausage patties, for two-fisted stir fries, and who knows what else.
Then, while still enjoying my state of glee at finding the spatula, what do I see? The cast iron skillet that I've been scoping out on line. I haven't used a cast iron skillet for about 20 years. I've always found the skillets to be way too heavy for my small wrists, and the iron itself was a pain to care for. Now, though, the newer breed of cast iron skillets come pre-seasoned and in a variety of sizes. This one is only 10", not very big by skillet standards and it will require me to use both hands to lift it when full of food, but it's the perfect size for the types of food I want to prepare in it. Plus, it will give me a chance to see how I feel about using cast iron. It will be rigorously tested on the stove top, in the oven, and on the grill.
Now I just need to season my new wooden spatula tonight with a couple coats of mineral oil and it will be ready to go. Tomorrow morning, prepared in the cast iron skillet and managed with the wooden spatula, it's sausage and eggs, baby!