Braised-Lamb-Shank-parchmen

Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman

 

This is the big ticket recommendations from last year (and the year before) because, well, the best equipment, lke fundamental technique, doesn’t change. Hope everyone had a happy and festive thanksgiving!

It’s time again for my picks for the big-ticket items, those expensive appliances and pots that are game changers, but real investments.

I’ve just started a relationship with Le Creuset, the company that makes the best enameled cast-iron cookware on earth. My go-to pot is the 7-quart Dutch Oven (they’re made in France and the company wants me to call them French ovens, which I find interesting since there really should no longer be a nationality attached to the thing; my preferred name for this one is “My Favorite Pot”). It’s what I bought my beloved Dad long ago; now, sadly, I have two of them. My other favorite is the braiser, the everyday pot in which you can cook just about anything. (Here’s one of the videos we did, where I use this pot to make an easy cassoulet.) I’m also partial to the smaller “ovens”—the 3.5-quart version is perfect if you cook for only one or two people.

For stainless-steel cookware, All-Clad is the best, and they aren’t paying me to say so. Here are their saucepans, plus a big sauté pan and a small oneMy favorite All-Clad pan is the saucier.

I recommend these Wusthof knives. You don’t need a ton of knives, but you need at least two: a chef knife (big) and a paring knife (small). A serrated knife comes in handy for slicing bread, and a flexible boning knife is helpful if you do a lot of cutting.

The Vitamix blender is an awesome machine.

The KitchenAid stand mixer. Far more important than a food processor, this is the workhorse in my kitchen.

Here’s the food processor I used to use, but the lid broke so now I have to turn it on manually and put a plate on top, which is kind of a pain. In professional kitchens, all the food processors are Robot-Coupes. They’re great, and until their marketing company contacted me and sent me one to try, I didn’t know they made one for the home kitchen. They do, it’s called a Magimix 3200, and while I don’t like the name, it’s a fabulous machine, with three different-sized bowls. Alas, available only at Williams-Sonoma.

The iPad2 and Fire HDX 8.9 are going to be game changers in the kitchen. These are the most exciting kitchen tools to come along in a decade. If you have one already, have a look at my bread baking app (on iTunes and Kindle Fire) and also the app for smart phones called Ratio (on iTunes). I personally use Ruhlman’s Twenty on my iPad via the Kindle app: below, the finished braised lamb shank, from Twenty.

Cooking is a craft, and good tools are a must with any craft.

Braised lamb shank

 

© 2014 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2014 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.