We all love a good shortcut. Or helpful hint to take our food to the next level. Well I have a lot of hints. But lets start with tools.
1. Metal rings (small): Plating something pureed? Potatoes, parsnips, celery root, what have you. Put it into a small metal ring for Instant height and clean plating. Obviously lift the ring off before serving.
2. Metal Rings (large): if you’re making a mousse cake, or want to line the outside with Bavarian cream or have strawberries lining the outside of your cake, you’re gonna need a bottomless metal ring. (ugh cake).
3. Squeeze bottle: Want to drizzle herb oil on that tomato soup you just made for contrast and flavor or drizzle sauce over a lovely plated dessert? Throw it in a squeeze bottle.
4. Silpat: These are life savers when working with sugar. Make some caramel decorations and they’ll peel right off. You can bake anything else you want on them as well.
Blowtorch: Aww yeah, lets get dangerous. Have guests over and want to flambee because you’re the fanciest? Also great for creme brulee, smores with no camp fire, softening butter (seriously) or adding color to anything that contains milk or sugar.
Cheese cloth: not only good for making cheese but for straining things that you want to be ultra smooth. Ice cream base, if you’ve made your own nut milk, etc. Also use to make purées thicker. At the restaurant where I he’d to work we would purée winter squash -for a maple squash pastry cream- and then hang it in cheese cloth to drain excess moisture. The flavor intensifies because there’s not as much water to dilute it.
Thermometer: You can’t guess medium rare. Or firm ball stage of boiling sugar. Invest in a thermometer you won’t regret it, and your dry chicken will thank you.
Brush: baste, brush excess flour off of doughs, swipe sauces on plates. Instant fancy.
Piping bags: Pipe whipped cheeses, frostings, macarons, chocolate. Instant clean presentation.
SHARP knife: A chefs knife is an extension of his or her hand. It’s a very personal choice. My favorite is my Global Sai 7.5 chefs knife. We’re in love. And keep it sharp! Your knife is an investment. Take good care of her.
With these tools you’ll basically be a pro. Or at least appear that way when you invite your friends over for dinner next time.
What’s your favorite secret weapon in the kitchen?