Monday, May 10, 2010

Monday's Tools To Use

I know you don't care one bit about five things I ate over the weekend, so Monday? She's no longer about that...instead, I'm making Monday an ode to things I really can't--won't--live without in the kitchen.

Here's the scoop. I could be called frugal. And I've spent a lot of money, I bet, buying stuff that was...subpar for the kitchen. Until I finally discovered some good quality pots and pans, a real mixer, etc. Now? Now if someone asks my opinion, I don't hold back: If you cook a lot--or even a little, but if you are serious about what you are doing in the kitchen, buy the best you can afford. (Of course, shop the deals--you would not believe what you can find in TJ Maxx, for example...can anyone say All-Clad??? Tune in for that post next Monday.)

I have been cooking professionally for decades now (koff koff!..Decades? Can it be? Ssshhhh)...I gamely struggled through el cheapo hand mixers...less than good stand mixers...and none of them ever made the grade...All I could think of? The great mixers I'd used when I worked in restaurants...Now I wonder why I didn't just get that from the start. It is, after all, much needed equipment with which to do my work (if you don't know by now, when I'm not blogging I am developing recipes for fabulous clients or testing recipes for fabulous clients...or writing about said development and said testing...).

So I finally succumbed about...7? 8? years ago to the lure of the Kitchenaid mixer, and I've got only two things to say about it: Why didn't I do it sooner? and Why didn't I get the bigger mixer (the one with the lift handle as opposed to the tilt head..)--because truth be told, I am overtaxing even this sweet machine.

I have made myriad cookies, batters, tart doughs (sweet and savory), mashed any number of potatoes and rutabagas in the bowls, mixed pasta dough and, with the hook, kneaded some of the best bread this side of the Atlantic (I brag, but it wasn't my recipe; it's Carol Field's from The Italian Baker...)...and and pizza dough after pizza dough after pizza dough (hmm...I think this reminds me of dinner tonight...let's have homemade pizza...)

Just this weekend I had a Costco coupon in my hot little hands...$30 off (I think) a bigger version, the "pro 450" version. Remember Tim Allen in Home Improvement? That was me in Costco, gazing at the shelves: More power!!!!!

But I put the bigger mixer back. Because even though I really want that bigger machine, the "little" one is still doing its job (if I could sell it, that money would go to my "big" machine...maybe that's the route to take...) and...well, you know... the economy and all.. Sigh.

Anyway, this post is all about the Kitchenaid stand mixer, my ode to something I would not do without. Ever. Again. Big or small version...get the best tool for the job. This is the one. (No, I am NOT paid to say anything good OR bad about Kitchenaid...)

(Bonus round: I found the BEST thing at Sur La Table--a scrapper/paddle that cleans the sides of the bowl AS YOU MIX...brilliant!) (note: my link isn't to the one I bought, but I couldn't find one...this one, called the SideSwipe, gets a lot of great online reviews...)

Ps. Late note that I remembered..oh, I dunno, around 5 a.m. when I couldn't sleep today--buy an extra bowl for yourself. Not for every recipe, but for MANY, you will be so glad of an extra bowl!


Alexandra Grabbe said...

I used to have a mixer like this when I lived in France. It was one of the first purchases I made when I moved there. In fact, I think it was a wedding present. That is someone gave me money and I bought the mixer. I had to leave it behind when I moved back to the USA. Now I use a hand mixer and a food processor .... not the same.

Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial said...

I could not agree with you more. Don't buy crap kitchen gadgets and appliances - ever. If the only thing you can get is crap, do without. Like you, I learnt the haaaard way! I have a Kenwood mixer, which I adore, but I work that poor little baby within an inch of its life. Worth every cent I spent on it! :)

Babette said...

I just edited the post, too! I meant to add--BUY AN EXTRA BOWL. So worth it!! And buy the one with a handle..even better...

Sue Dickman said...

I adore my kitchen aid mixer. It makes me so happy. Not that I make bagels all that often, but the first few times I made them, because of the high gluten flour, the kneading took like 45 minutes, and I'm not even exaggerating. And I don't even really mind kneading, but not for 45 minutes. They're so much more manageable with the mixer.

I got an extra bowl with the mixer as a bonus, and I'm glad to have it. I'm going to look for the scraper thing. And my new favorite thing about my mixer is the ice cream maker attachment! I got it last summer and made many different kinds of delicious ice cream. The ice cream bowl lives in my freezer, and I'm looking forward to the first batch of the season.

Babette said...

Ooh, Sue, check out the burnt sugar ice cream we did on Tuesday w Dorie...May 4 I think. Yum.