Public:Get your Kitchen in Shape

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Adam and Sean's Notes

  • Knife work:
    • holding the knife
    • claw grip
    • flat sides/making flat sides
    • dice
    • mince
    • chiffonade
    • julienne
    • cutting board not moving
    • knives you need
      • 7 or 8 inch chef's knife
      • a paring knife
        • anything else is luxury; bread knife, cleaver
  • Baking
    • mass not volume
    • oven thermometers
    • humidity
  • General Cooking Tips
    • dry food browns, wet food steams
    • cook to temp, not to time
    • things that are the same size cook in the same amount of time... so test everything, cut cleanly
    • you cannot, no matter what the recipe says, caramelize onions in 15 minutes. It takes 45 at the least.
    • mise en place is very, very important; it makes you ready to cook, able to respond quickly, and forces you to read the WHOLE recipe before starting
    • don't cook with "fakes"
      • margarine, "lite" foods, substitutes

Kitchen Wizardry

  • You can get Tomato Paste in a toothpaste tube. This is one of the most amazing, genius packaging decisions of all time. You almost never need a full can of tomato paste.

Video Tutorials

Since I know the knife usage demonstration during out unTED talk was difficult to see (and give), I wanted to share some videos from the woman who taught me how to use a knife correctly, Helen Rennie.

Claw Grip/Pinch Grip While Cutting

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Dicing an Onion

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Identifying Knives

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Sharpening Knives (using the Accusharp tool)

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Deglazing a Pan and Making a Pan Sauce

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Equipment Recommendations

Knives

Don't spend a lot of money on knives. For the most part it isn't worth it.

And you can keep them sharp with:

Just 4 passes each time you take the knife out of the drawer will keep it super-sharp. If it seems like its effectiveness has worn off, take it apart and reverse/replace the sharpening blades..

Thermometers

In-Oven Probe Thermometers

Instant-Read Thermometers

Refrigerator/Freezer Thermometers

Oven Thermometers

Pans, Pots, etc.

You primarly only need one non-stick pan, a skillet. You should spend short money on a good non-stick skillet and more money on several stainless-steel clad pans/pots. You are going to want to replace that non-stick skillet every few years as it gets scuffed/scratched, as the non-stick coating is generally toxic (not to mention it will not work effectively once it's scratched up). The best way to preserve the coating on your non-stick is to never use metal utensils on it. Stick with wood or heat-safe plastic, and it will last a long time.

A non-stick pan is great for things like eggs, pancakes, etc, but any time you are cooking meat, making a pan sauce, making soup, etc, you want to use a un-coated pan. The crust (or fond) that forms on a uncoated pan is fucking delicious, and if you know how to unlock it through deglazing, it will up your game tremendously. See the above video on Deglazing for more information.

Skillet / Frying Pan

  • Cuisinart Classic Non-Stick Open Skillet - This is the non-stick skillet I (grahams) use all the time. It is relatively cheap at $50, but is pretty sturdy and consistent. Mine is about 4 years old, and is starting to show its age, but I'll replace it with the same. I bought a generic 12" lid to use with it.
  • All-Clad 12" Stainless Fry Pan - This is an expensive item, but it is a work-horse that, unless violently abused, should last you forever.

Stockpot / Dutch Oven

Personally, I tend to use a Stockpot as a combination Stockpot and sauté pan (since, IMHO, most of the times someone reaches for a sauté pan they should be using a skillet). Because of this I tend to prefer the Stainless Pots (All-Clad) vs. the Ceramic-Coated ones (La Creuset or Tramontina) as you can build a better fond). If you're going to be using this as a more traditional dutch oven, mostly, you might want to go with one of the enameled cast iron pots, as they are heavier.

Lots of people extol the Le Creuset Enameled dutch oven, but it is a rip-off imo. I say go with either the Tramontina 6.5 or Lodge 6.0 quart dutch ovens. They are WAY cheaper and are basically the same.

Misc

Generally, for smaller things you can trust the OXO Good Grips brand. Don't go too far down the gadget rabbit hole, though. Remember Saint Alton's teaching about unitaskers.

  • OXO Good Grips 11lb Digital Scale - This is pretty great, a large work area and the display pulls out a bit so you can see it under large bowls. The 11lb/4.9kg capacity covers just about any use you can come up with.