This is the big ticket recommendations from last year because, well, the best equipment 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.
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 Kindle Fire HD 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.
© 2013 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2013 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.