This is a revised post from last year with one key difference being that my mandoline, above, is in need of replacing and so I am hoping that the photographer of the image can take a hint. Continuing holiday shopping week, here are my recommendations for modestly priced kitchen tools that are essentials in my kitchen. (All but one of the following links is to Amazon; I’m a part of its affiliate program—when you shop at Amazon via this site, it helps to support this site.) I own and love everything mentioned below. The above Benriner mandoline ($25) is one of my most valued kitchen tools for uniform slicing, julienning, and making brunoise (a julienne turned into a dice). By far my most valuable electric device in my kitchen is the hand blender—I use Braun that Read On »

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  Kitchen tools need not be expensive to be valuable. The above Benriner mandoline is one of my most valued kitchen tools for uniform slicing, julienning, and making brunoise (a julienne turned into a dice). By far my most valuable electric device in my kitchen is the hand blender—I use Braun that seems to be unavailable, but I bought this Cuisinart version for my mom  ($47) and it works well—these devices all do the job of pureeing soups and sauces, easy whisking, quick mayonnaise, and I make vinaigrettes in the cup attachment, which will even emulsify a great Caesar dressing will pureeing the garlic. Every kitchen needs a scale, the most reliable way of measuring, especially if you’re baking (which is why more cookbooks are including, if not leading with, metric weights, as does the ground-breaking Bouchon Bakery cookbook—another Read On »

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When it comes to small great gifts, kitchen tools can’t be beat.  Items like the above Benriner mandoline, a tool you’ll find in just about every professional cook’s knife kit, is perfect. But there are many many ridiculous small brightly colored kitchen items out there tempting those who don’t cook with promises of ease and convenience . Last year my mom got me these pink silicone trussing bands —I do not recommend! This is the kind of stupid product that makes me crazy. But a great pepper mill, that’s something truly valuable—there are good ones and bad ones. Pugeot’s are excellent. This one from opensky is top of the line with an adjustable grind. The side towels I offer at opensky (there’s lots of great stuff in my kitchen collection there). Any of the products Mac Read On »

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What are the most special things we can cook? I contend the most special preparations are not those that are most difficult, time-consuming, or use the most expensive ingredients, but rather the ones that result in food we can’t buy. I can make bread, and it’s really good, and fun to bake and fills the house with a great aroma.  But it’s not going to be as good as the baguettes I can buy at On the Rise bakery. A preparation such as mayonnaise, however, that’s different. You can’t buy mayonnaise that’s as good as mayonnaise you make. It doesn’t exist. Potato chips are another such food. I like Lays potato chips just as I like Helmann’s mayonnaise, and on a Saturday afternoon, if I want a quick sandwich and chips, I’m glad to have Read On »

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