Cooking Hussy

Tasty

FAVORITES: Microplane Zester March 4, 2009

Filed under: Favorites — cookinghussy @ 8:55 am

I totally forgot that I’d been sharing my favorite kitchen devices with you until my friend Karla mentioned it on her blog. Ooops. Let’s pretend it was all a plan.

This post is about a favorite little tool called the Microplane Zester. See below:

zester

When I worked at the Chopping Block they used these all the time. It’s one of the first things I bought there since it was so cheap (should be around $10). I use my zester to: zest lemons/oranges and grate ginger. I don’t have many kitchen tools that only do a few select things, but this zester is one of them. I use lemon zest and ginger often, and this zester is by far the best way to break through all the tough fiber in fresh ginger. It also cleanly collects the lemon zest underneath.

There is also this larger microplane.

microplane-largerI never bought it since I can do the same things with the smaller version. But I think this may be the original microplane. While working at the Chopping Block, they’d tell a story about how some woman needed to zest something in her kitchen and went out to her husbands tools (women cook! men use tools!) and borrowed a sanding/grating tool that looks exactly like this. The story could be true too! The end.

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CSA Favorites August 17, 2008

Filed under: Favorites,Vegetarian — cookinghussy @ 4:49 pm

Mmm. Summer watermelon. Yellow summer watermelon! Our CSA share lets us try new produce fresh from the farm. This watermelon was in there a few weeks ago and I was surprised upon cutting into it that it was yellow. I had no idea there was yellow watermelon.

I actually cut this open after getting back from a long workout. If not for the sugar in watermelon, I think I could have eaten the vast majority of this melon. I didn’t, which just ment I had some to eat the next day too.

This big ol’ yellow heirloom tomato came in our share last week. I love the colors of heirloom tomatoes. This one was gorgeous.

I enjoyed a couple lunches consisting of this tomato, a little salt, crackers and some slices of cheese, along with some carrots and crunchy green peppers. I love summer!

 

FAVORITES: All Clad Grill Pan and Panini Press July 18, 2008

Filed under: Favorites — cookinghussy @ 7:41 am

I live in an apartment and do not own my own grill. When summer comes around and all my food magazines are featuring grilled food, I start to get a little sad that I can’t make them. But this past year Chris bought me this grill pan for my birthday. I like it for many reasons.

1. Non-stick

There are lots of grill pans out there. While I worked at the Chopping Block they always used these double burner, cast iron monsters.

Did they grill well? Yes, they did! Could you ever get them clean afterwards? No. And they were heavy and crazy hot and I was always terrified of burning myself on one of those things in front of the entire class. Anyway, I knew I wanted a non-stick grill pan so that I could actually clean the thing and use it repeatedly.

2. Dual Use

Another reason I like this is because it’s both a grill pan and a panini press (when you know how to use it). So, I can grill up some venison steaks one night using just the pan, clean it easily, and then use it the next night to make panini! The top press is heavy, made of cast iron I think (but it cleans easily). It took me a couple tries to get it to work correctly and brown both sides of the sandwich evenly. The trick is in heating both the grill and the press at the same time. The grill should heat at a medium to medium low temperature and the top press part should be on another burner with a high flame under it for a while, until it’s nice and hot. Then when you use it to press the sandwich, the press will have enough heat to continue cooking while the bottom part  doesn’t burn. It’s actually much easier than I’m making it sound right now.

Are good grill pans and panini presses cheap? No. They aren’t. But I have gone through so much cheap kitchen cookware that I am no longer swayed by the higher price. I’d much rather pay more now and have this grill pan around for many years than to buy something half the price that either breaks in a year, doesn’t heat well or is covered in toxic material.

What can you cook on a grill pan?

Cumin-spiked Tofu

Turkey, Gorgonzola, Apple and Caramelized Onion Panini

Pistou, Fontina, Mushroom Panini

Soy Marinated Tilapia

Grilled Zucchini and Sweet Potatoes

 

Favorites: Lemon Juicer April 4, 2008

Filed under: Favorites — cookinghussy @ 7:11 am

lemon-juicer.jpg

This shiny yellow lemon juicer is one of my favorite kitchen utensils. It’s just so efficient at what it does, juice lemons. There are many other juicers to choose from, but they are all inferior. Let me explain why.

Exhibit A: Hand held juicer

handle-juicer.jpg

This juicer is cheap, so cheap! But say you are in your kitchen, whipping up some dressing and you need the juice of two lemons. By the time you are done with this piece of crap, you are going to be covered in juice and the lemons will only be half juiced.

Exhibit B: Electric juicer

electric-juicer.jpg

If the hand held wooden juicer was cheap and inefficient, this is the exact opposite. Over $400, this electric juicer can juice about a billion lemons, or oranges, in mere minutes. But really, who wants to spend that much money? Not me. And I also never need a billion lemons juiced. Just one or two.

Exhibit C: Table top juicer

table-top-juicer.jpg

This is probably the most common juicer, besides my favorite one above. It’s cheap, can come in plastic or metal, has some sort of juice capturing device and can come in many colors. It’s not too difficult to use, as you can use gravity to help you, but it may splatter a bit. It won’t get as much juice out of the lemon as, say, the electric juicer, but it’s better than that crap hand held device. It’s just an average juicer.

So why is my beautiful yellow juicer the best? Because it’s cheap, very effective at getting out all the juice, does not splatter all over as there are only a few holes in the bottom, cleans up fast, will last forever (cast iron) and is easy to use (leverage!). You can buy it here, if you’re so inclined. I’m sure it’s at lots of kitchen supply stores.

 

Favorites: Scanpan March 3, 2008

Filed under: Favorites — cookinghussy @ 9:02 am

scanpan.jpg

I have a full on cold and was out of town this weekend, attending my perfectly hilarious nephew’s first birthday. He went face first into the cake several times. Perfect.

So I haven’t been cooking, but I’ll fix that tonight. For now, let me share my favorite, all purpose pan. My beloved Scanpan.

This 10 inch non stick fry pan does everything for me. Caramelize tofu, saute spinach and brussels sprouts, cook cauliflower and peas, make the best skinny egg omelet and so on.

I vaguely remember the chefs at the Chopping Block telling me something about the Scanpan coating, and how it’s different and better than others. Non-toxic comes to mind and no teflon… But I can’t remember the specifics and only remember “Scanpan is better than others!” Hurray for Scanpan!

It’s not cheap, but I consider it an investment that will be in my kitchen for a long time and that won’t need replaced every few years.

 

Favorites: Pure Vanilla Extract February 19, 2008

Filed under: Favorites — cookinghussy @ 3:22 pm

While working at the Chopping Block, I discovered the wonderful world of pure vanilla extract. Previous to working there, I had always used imitation vanilla extract.

imitationvanillaextract.jpg

No longer! Wikipedia tells me that “imitation vanilla extract is usually made by soaking alcohol in wood, which contains vanillin. The flavor of imitation vanilla extract can best be described as Coney Island.” Okay. Coney Island is out.

I now use pure vanilla extract and you can immediately tell the difference when you open the bottle and smell. Pure vanilla extract comes from actual vanilla beans, those long, brown, crazy expensive pods that come from orchids. Madagascar is the largest producer of vanilla, which is why you may find many bottles of “Pure Madagascar Vanilla Extract” for sale. This is the brand I use.

pure-vanilla-extract.jpg

Mmmm. Lovely vanilla. This stuff is not cheap, but you do not have to use as much pure vanilla extract as you would imitation vanilla extract.  And seriously, your desserts will thank you.

 

Favorites: Global Santoku Knife December 19, 2007

Filed under: Favorites — cookinghussy @ 10:04 am

We’ve been eating left overs to clean out the fridge before leaving for Christmas, so I haven’t made anything new since Sunday. So let me share with you another one of my favorites.

Global Santoku Knife

global-knife.jpg

This is my multi-purpose, do anything, favorite knife. Global is my favorite brand, as I really like the look, the weight and the grip of the handle of the knives. I like the santoku style, which originated in Japan, because of the angle of the blade, the length (shorter than the average chef’s knife, although I know they come in all sizes), and the balance. And I like to say santoku.

I also use an 8 inch Global Chef’s Knife and a Global Bread Knife. I have a paring knife that is made by a different brand and Chris hates it, so I won’t recommend it.

8-inch-global.jpg

bread-knife.jpg

Having a well made knife is great in the kitchen, but it doesn’t do any good if you don’t keep it sharp. I purchased a Global sharpener that uses ceramic wheels and water and is basically fool proof.

sharpener.jpg

I try to sharpen my knives once every couple weeks, and I can tell when they are starting to wear down and need to be re-sharpened. Working with a dull knife is far far more dangerous than working with a sharp knife. The extra force needed to use a dull knife, coupled with the dull blade that may slip instead of slice, is bad for fingers and hands!

The last thing I need to add to my cutlery is a honing steel.

honing-steel.jpg

This is often mistaken for a knife sharper, but its purpose (most often) is to hone the edge of the blade, or make it true and straight.  This should be done after sharpening with the ceramic sharpener and each time before cooking. My knives are in need of a honing steel, as the blade tends to bend in on direction from the way that I hold and knife and cut, making it less perfect than it should be.