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Knives, Pans, and Kitchen Gadgets
Guest_Vitamin X_*
post Mar 4 2009, 12:56 PM
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As for carving, it just takes some practice. I usually push my knife into the center of the back until I find the bone. From there I move an inch to the left (if you're right handed) and make a cut with an inward sweeping motion. Repeat on the other side. If you brace your knife correctly you should be able to remove the breast in one nice cut. Doesn't hurt to have a nice, sharp chef's knife either.

I'm kinda embarrassed to say this, but my favorite knife at the moment isn't particularly sharp- it's been dull for quite some time now but I've kept it that way because I bought this four knife set from IKEA for super-cheap a while back and all five have a purpose. The four knife set included a paring knife, a bread knife (REALLY indispensable), and the other two I use one for meats and another for tougher veggies. Basically my workhorse chef's knife- which I forget now where exactly I got, but it was probably Wal-Mart over two years ago when I was buying all my starter kitchen stuff- is a chopper and mincer, which I've used to practice technique while making sure I don't cut myself like a dumbass (which I've done a couple times with the paring knife).

A carving knife would just add a whole other complexity to the party, but would probably be quite useful.
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Guest_Agent of Oblivion_*
post Mar 5 2009, 07:36 AM
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I have a nine inch Wusthof with which I could probably behead a large struggling animal. It was more expensive than my microwave, but it's so well-balanced I could probably juggle it, and it's been lethal sharp for a couple years with minimal maintenance. I have a pretty decent no-name cleaver that I use all the time, too. The rest of my knives are crap, but I hardly ever use them anyway. Steak knives and paring knives, mostly. I think people get way too into blade specialization. Especially if you're not doing seriously precise professional-level shit.

QUOTE (VX)
a bread knife (REALLY indispensable)


Really? I have one, but I almost never use it. I just rip off chunks.

The most underrated piece of vital kitchen equipment: a big heavy cutting board.

Y'know what. This is it's own topic, I think.
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PILLS! PILLS...
post Mar 5 2009, 10:25 AM
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PILLS! PILLS! PILLS!


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My favorite little toy right now: Chef’n Garlic Zoom Garlic Chopper.

(IMG:http://img156.imageshack.us/img156/8324/garlic.jpg)
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Lord of The Curr...
post Mar 5 2009, 10:52 AM
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It's called a knife, ya pussy. You use it to chop garlic. Not some futuristic robot bullshit.
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PILLS! PILLS...
post Mar 5 2009, 10:53 AM
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I don't have time for that shit.
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Guest_Vitamin X_*
post Mar 5 2009, 01:26 PM
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QUOTE (Agent of Oblivion @ Mar 5 2009, 05:36 AM) *
I have a nine inch Wusthof with which I could probably behead a large struggling animal. It was more expensive than my microwave, but it's so well-balanced I could probably juggle it, and it's been lethal sharp for a couple years with minimal maintenance. I have a pretty decent no-name cleaver that I use all the time, too. The rest of my knives are crap, but I hardly ever use them anyway. Steak knives and paring knives, mostly. I think people get way too into blade specialization. Especially if you're not doing seriously precise professional-level shit.


I've been dying to get a high qualty blade; Wusthofs are an excellent brand. Been thinking about getting one myself for a while. I mainly like having a couple different knives because of cross contamination, and some cut things better than others. The workhorse knife I mentioned earlier, being that it's a bit dull, is really good at just doing basic chopwork for veggies, while I'll use a sharper nicer blade for slicing up meats and other things.

QUOTE
QUOTE (VX)
a bread knife (REALLY indispensable)

Really? I have one, but I almost never use it. I just rip off chunks.

I like making or buying bread and slicing it to make sandwiches and toast. I know a couple bakers in town who'll sell me big, fresh unsliced rolls which are excellent for stuff like burgers. I mean, I don't think I'd spend a lot of money on a bread knife like I would a chef's knife, but it's really nice to have.

QUOTE
The most underrated piece of vital kitchen equipment: a big heavy cutting board.

Agreed. I just broke some awful IKEA cutting board 'bout a month or two ago, probably through a combination of overuse and washing it improperly. But if I had a real nice heavy butcher's block, it'd still look good, I bet.

QUOTE (Lord of The Curry @ Mar 5 2009, 08:52 AM) *
It's called a knife, ya pussy. You use it to chop garlic. Not some futuristic robot bullshit.

This is true. Unless you're mixing garlic with some other things, in which case a food processor is useful, I just like to peel garlic by chopping the tips of it off, peeling the skin off, and then just mincing it or crushing it with the side of my knife.
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Guest_Vitamin X_*
post Mar 5 2009, 01:42 PM
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Oh and since this thread is also about pans (and presumably pots), what do you guys have in your arsenal?

I have a couple really crappy skillets and pots I want to replace with some good quality nonstick stainless steel shit. I have an 8 inch and a 12-inch skillet, the latter of which is nonstick and a lot more useful than the other one which is some junker aluminum thing I got from Walmart. In that set I also got a small medium saucepan and a joke of a stockpot- like 3.5 quarts or something. I got a big heavy cast-iron dutch oven this past Christmas which is a lot larger than both of those, so I'm using that to make stock now.

My favorite skillet right now is a 10-inch cast-iron where I cook pretty much all my pan-fried meat and eggs, and sometimes I'll do my pan fried fish on there. If I clean it a bit, I can get some really good sears on salmon, chicken, and steak as well.
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Cheech Tremendou...
post Mar 5 2009, 01:50 PM
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Most of pots and pans are shitty. Standard fare bachelor stuff that I bought when I got my first place.

The most indispensable pan in my arsenal is my 12" cast-iron skillet. I know that cast iron gets a bad rap because of the weight and the assorted problems with seasoning the surface, but damn is it flawless for the preparation of any sort of meat. I can't imagine trying to cook a decent steak or burger in the home without one.
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Lord of The Curr...
post Mar 5 2009, 02:16 PM
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I share with the two roomies but between us we've got

- Foreman grill
- Cast iron frying pan and non-stick frying pan
- Dutch oven
- Three med-large pots that are used for pasta's, vegetables, gravy's...

Item in the kitchen that gets used the most is the big-ass frying pan one of us got last Christmas.
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Guest_Vitamin X_*
post Mar 5 2009, 04:01 PM
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I'm really working on getting a huge ol' stockpot with a pasta basket for making mass quantities of italian noodles as well as a lot of stock.

Funny how Cheech and I basically made the same post up there. I really should get a bigger cast-iron, though.

Oh, another advantage of cast-iron: It doesn't need to be heated anywhere near as much as other skillets do. Once they get hot, they stay hot for a while, even while applying a lower burner setting to them.

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Cheech Tremendou...
post Mar 5 2009, 04:07 PM
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QUOTE (Vitamin X @ Mar 5 2009, 02:01 PM) *
Oh, another advantage of cast-iron: It doesn't need to be heated anywhere near as much as other skillets do. Once they get hot, they stay hot for a while, even while applying a lower burner setting to them.

That residual heat can also be used to clean the pan easily. If you wash it down with water while it's still screaming hot all of the bits and fats will jump right off. Use a paper towel to wipe up the excess moisture and you've got a clean pan without having to worry about messing up the pan's "seasoning."
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Edwin MacPhisto
post Mar 5 2009, 09:14 PM
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If you want to upgrade your knives a bit without breaking the bank, I highly recommend Forschner/Victorinox. The swiss army knife people make extremely sharp and nicely weighted knives on the cheap. It might not be a $100 blade, but for $16 or so, the 8" chef's knife is hugely better over anything I've found even in the $30-$50 range.

I love my cast-iron skillet, though I've only got a 10". Ought to upgrade that. I get a ton of mileage out of a huge 12" Anolon non-stick skillet I picked up on sale a couple years back, especially for breakfast stuff or big wok-ish stir fry type projects, but I do most of my cooking in stainless steel. Have a full set of saucepans, pots, and skillets, some department store brand that's held up well.
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the max
post Mar 5 2009, 09:16 PM
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- 2 good lightweight frying pans. One has sloped edges, good for omelets.
- 2 good medium/large saucepans for heating quick spaghetti sauce for quick dinners.
- 2 3 or 4 quart stock pots. Have 2 for making big batches of sweet tea. Plus it's good for boiling the fuck out of potatoes when 1 is in the dishwasher or something.
- Dutch oven and cast iron skillet. I mostly fry meats now. Last thing I made in the dutch oven was salisbury steaks.
- Electric griddle. Great for pancakes and grilled cheese and whatnot.
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Guest_Vitamin X_*
post Mar 6 2009, 01:17 AM
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See, I want to go for a cast iron griddle. That's the shit right there.
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Red Baron
post Mar 6 2009, 01:33 AM
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I just use the knives they provide at work, which are Sanelli's. I hate the rubber grip and the weight to them. A couple of co-workers have a few Global Knives and the grip is excellent, but the boning knife is way to flexible. Henckles are nice too.

So what do you guys use to sharpen your blades? A regular steel, or do you go and buy a nice stone?
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Guest_Vitamin X_*
post Mar 6 2009, 02:53 AM
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There's a couple grocery stores around in the area that'll do a professional job of it for free, which is pretty cool. That's why I say I just haven't gotten around to it yet, but I think I would really prefer a whole new knife entirely. In pursuing one, however, I think I am more into going for what Anthony Bourdain recommended over the Wusthof in the Global:
(IMG:http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21NrkcbLttL._SS400_.jpg)
Seriously, look how sexy that guy is. Love it. That's a good 8 incher.
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Guest_Agent of Oblivion_*
post Mar 6 2009, 07:14 AM
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(IMG:http://www.silvernutmeg.com/newspics/news137.jpg)

Slice.

I have some decent pans, too. My cast iron skillet was my great-grandmother's, and has probably had something like ten thousand meals cooked in it. I have an 8 piece Farberware (or is it Kitchenaid? I'll have to look) stainless steel set I got for christmas. Not too bad. Big nonstick skillet, too. No idea what brand. It's red. Also: a nonstick grill pan.

That little garlicmobile thing there is too cutesy for me. My kitchen is too small to have a bunch of doo-dads.

I have a stick blender, which is the greatest thing ever, and a crapass food processor that I'll probably end up shooting in the back yard, or else give it to someone for christmas.
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Guest_Agent of Oblivion_*
post Mar 6 2009, 07:38 AM
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QUOTE (Vitamin X @ Mar 5 2009, 02:26 PM) *
QUOTE
The most underrated piece of vital kitchen equipment: a big heavy cutting board.

Agreed. I just broke some awful IKEA cutting board 'bout a month or two ago, probably through a combination of overuse and washing it improperly. But if I had a real nice heavy butcher's block, it'd still look good, I bet.


Bamboo, dude.

Not necessarily from that site, but bamboo cutting boards are the shit.
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Guest_Vitamin X_*
post Mar 6 2009, 04:04 PM
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I like bamboo cutting boards a lot. Bamboo's pretty much the greatest plant on earth or rather, the second best grass anyways.

I do know that with heavy use of cutting boards in general you should try and keep them relatively well-maintained. Plastic/silicone cutting boards work really well for doing meats and all that, but for heavy chopping a good cutting board is essential. I especially like stuff like from that site Agent linked up there:

(IMG:http://www.totallybamboo.com/images/products/20-3475%203%20Bowl%20LG%20Prep%20board.jpg)

Yes! Prep bowls in cutting boards! If only it wasn't $160! The one I broke, by the way, was like cedarwood or birch or something. It was kind of funny how it just slowly got a crack, then I smashed some garlic the other day and one chop went BLAM through the whole thing.
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Red Baron
post Mar 6 2009, 10:52 PM
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I had a cedar cutting board at my apartment that I gave to my mom when I moved out to Alberta to work. Heavy fucker, but damn good board.
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Edwin MacPhisto
post Mar 7 2009, 12:04 AM
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It's time we all reached out for something new.


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QUOTE (Vitamin X @ Mar 6 2009, 03:53 AM) *
There's a couple grocery stores around in the area that'll do a professional job of it for free, which is pretty cool. That's why I say I just haven't gotten around to it yet, but I think I would really prefer a whole new knife entirely. In pursuing one, however, I think I am more into going for what Anthony Bourdain recommended over the Wusthof in the Global:
(IMG:http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21NrkcbLttL._SS400_.jpg)
Seriously, look how sexy that guy is. Love it. That's a good 8 incher.

My biggest problem with Global knives is that they're crazy light. I feel like the chef's knife would just fly out of my hand. I hear the handles can also get very slippery, which could add to the "I am trapped in a knife fight in my kitchen oh god" experience.
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Guest_Vitamin X_*
post Mar 7 2009, 12:43 AM
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I guess the thing is, is that it's useful that it's light because it easier to wield and can get bigger tasks done quicker over time as a result. I hear it's also very well balanced, but yeah the handle seems a bit scary. Still, pretty fucking cool looking.

And I guess from looking at Amazon, Wusthofs don't get that expensive, I just hear they need a bit more TLC than Globals do.
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Guest_Agent of Oblivion_*
post Mar 7 2009, 07:09 AM
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It occurs to me that a cutting board would be an easy thing to make oneself. I'm in the early stages of building a house. I may do this!

You know what I'd like? A gigantic cutting surface on a kitchen island, with a garbage chute for onion skins and pinbones somewhere off to the side. Just push the junk over to the memory hole.
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Dandy
post Mar 7 2009, 08:45 AM
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I had an idea very similar to that for designing a custom kitchen, Agent. I wanted one section of the kitchen island to be the food prep area with a nice chopping block built in, with chutes for the cuts that don't get eaten. The only difference is (I think) you want the entire island to be of the cutting board material. I want granite with a decent sized area being the cutting board.

I have a good set of surgical steel cookware, which I clean with Barkeeper's Friend after each cooking session. They heat very evenly and are a joy to use. They came with lids that have steam valves, and allow you to do waterless/greaseless cooking if you desire. I enjoy doing that on occasion, and you wouldn't believe how much flavor the food retains, especially the vegetables. You can cook your meats in vegetables in the same pan with that method, and the tastes don't get mixxed together. Now I don't cook like that very often, but it is nice for a change of pace. Pretty healthy, too. The pans are 9-ply and heavy as shit! They have the handles made where they will not get hot, which makes it easy as hell to transport. You can also invert the lids and hang the pots/pans by the handle, and the lids will not fall off.

I have a high-quality knife set with a bamboo block for them to be stored in. I have 9 knives/cleavers/scissors, but still need to get the steak knives to complete the set. Every knife has a full tang, and has a very good weight distribution. I fucking love this knife set.

The cookware set and knife set both have 50 year warranties, which made the steep price a steal in my book.

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Guest_Vitamin X_*
post Mar 7 2009, 02:45 PM
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What was the brand of cookware you got, Dandy? Sounds like really good stuff. Link online?
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Dandy
post Mar 7 2009, 05:51 PM
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It's Royal Prestige, which you will see on the Price is Right from time to time. They don't have a store or online store, as you they only do direct sales and they mainly work bridal expos and such looking for marks. I was impressed by the craftsmanship and warranties, and figured it was a good buy considering I was guaranteeing it for 50 years. I doubt when I am pushing 80 I will give a fuck if the knives and pans aren't holding up anymore. Royal Prestige has a website, and you should be aware of the fact that there are a bunch of messageboards complaining that the company is a scam. Myself, I think it is a little over-priced and some of the salesmen are of the snake-oil variety. However, the product is solid if you take proper care of it and know how to cook.

http://www.royalprestige.com/ProductPages/...e_Cookware.aspx

All-Clad is probably the best cookware on the market as far as customer satisfaction and a tremendous product goes. However, it is expensive as well. I do believe it has a lifetime guarantee, though.

http://www.all-clad.com/
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Guest_Vitamin X_*
post Mar 7 2009, 07:23 PM
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Oh I am VERY familiar with All-Clad. Very expensive but very, very high quality stuff. If I were ever rich, that's pretty much the way I'd go with regards to cookware.

Here's something for the crowd: Where do you like going to buy kitchenware? As you can probably gleam from the topic, I like IKEA because they're cheap and it's there anyways when I'm buying other stuff, and I also like amazon.com. But another really, really excellent place to go are restaurant supply stores. If you can find one in your area, that's where all your local restaurants are going to buy their gear and seeing as how they abuse the shit out of their equipment and frequently need replacements, not to mention they sometimes need to expand and buy more, they have stuff for dirt cheap. I'm considering getting a stand mixer or something soon from one of them here, and also if I do end up opening a food cart, that's probably the first place I go after I get the cart itself.
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Guest_Agent of Oblivion_*
post Mar 8 2009, 02:39 AM
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The local Kohl's has a bunch of Calphalon stuff which is frequently on sale.

I got my knife at Bed Bath and Beyond.
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