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Things from the professional kitchen that every home cook should have


Fat Guy
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Commercial plastic wrap deserves its own shrine.

Of the many commercial doodads I like, sheet pans are the most indispensable. I have a pile of half sheets and have recently discovered the 1/4 sheet. Surprisingly useful.

I would love to have room for a big roll of commercial wrap.

Amen to the 1/4 sheet pan! Don't know what I did without them.

Also amen to the precut parchment paper, dishers (every cookie is exactly the same size as every other cookie!) and tongs.

To this excellent list I would also add a large pot-rack (I guess they're not in every professional kitchen) - frees up room in the kitchen cabinets and makes selecting and storing often-used pans (and anything else that's hard to store but can be hung on a hook - right now I'm looking at my copper egg bowl, my big colander, various ladles, etc. - and whisks.

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For example, I think every home kitchen would benefit from having a big roll of commercial food film (what we home cooks call plastic wrap). The large-format commercial rolls make a mockery of the ones you get at the grocery store.

Word. I buy the huge industrial sized box of aluminum foil at Costco. It's a bit pricey right off the bat but it seems to last forever.

As an aside, I stumbled across a double-sized box of Glad Press and Seal in the grocery store and just about wept for joy. I use that stuff just about everyday.

flat sheets of parchment, as opposed to the crappy rolls which never stay flat.

You should PM andiesenji. I recall she previously posted in another discussion that she has purchased a box of pre-cut parchment sheets (bought online I believe). That would be one way to get past curling parchment.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Something I forgot to mention: Cambro containers. They are superior to all consumer-grade storage containers, especially the big ones that I use for flour, sugar, cornmeal, etc. http://bigtray.com/cambro-camsquare-food-storage-container-6sfscw-sku-cam6sfscw-c-13420.html

I've been meaning to buy a bunch of these. Is there any reason to pay the markup for clear containers over the white ones? Is seeing inside them that much of an upgrade?

--

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For example, I think every home kitchen would benefit from having a big roll of commercial food film (what we home cooks call plastic wrap). The large-format commercial rolls make a mockery of the ones you get at the grocery store.

I agree. I buy the Reynolds Film 904 food service wrap 1000 ft that comes in a sturdy box with a secured roller and a very sharp cutter. This wrap is easier to handle than the thinner ones and clings well to itself and can also be heat sealed.

I also buy butcher paper on the large roll - I find a lot of uses for it.

Ditto aluminum foil.

Parchment paper in sheets.

I used to buy the full size sheets when I still had the big Blodgett oven and cut them in half when I got rid of it until they were used up.

I recently bought another supply from the ebay source that I have used several times.

1000 sheets 1/2 sheet size

I use a lot of it and buying 1000 sheets, compared to 500 sheets, saves almost twenty dollars.

I no longer use the full size sheet pans for baking but as they fit perfectly on the industrial wire shelving, I have placed them where I am storing bottles, jars and etc., that do not set securely on the wire shelving.

HPIM2820.JPG

(And if a bottle cracks or leaks, there are no drips onto stuff on the lower shelves.

I have a couple in a lower cabinet where I have some liquids stored (vinegars and etc.) also to catch drips and leaks to protect the wood.

Also have a few in my small pantry.

Dishers or ice cream scoops - me too.

Cambro containers - you bet. I have been writing about them in various topics for years. I have mostly the translucent ones - in my opinion they seal better and the cost is much less. They can go from freezer to microwave for defrosting and heating food and even my oldest ones are still in good condition.

I have every size from 1 quart/liter to 22 quart/liter.

I have a few of the square clear ones but as noted above, I have found that they do not seal quite as well as the round ones.

There are many more items that I have purchased over the years. I am very fond of Star Restaurant Supply in Van Nuys, Calif. I have been shopping there since 1967.

I also am a big fan of Smart & Final.

I did have a certified commercial kitchen for nearly ten years, did some catering and contract baking for some local cafes and a tea shop, so I did have a legitimate excuse for having the commercial items. However, I agree with some of the previous posts that many of the commercial utensils are made better and sturdier than the consumer types and are cheaper to boot.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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In the impractical category, I would love a commercial fridge. Not a lowboy or walk in, just a standard upright model, with racks for sheet pans instead of shelves. Such a superior design to home fridges. And no space wasting features like vegetable crispers and butter cozies.

Notes from the underbelly

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I'd exchange members of my immediate family for a deep freezer.

This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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flat sheets of parchment, as opposed to the crappy rolls which never stay flat.

Readily available to the UK domestic kitchen from Lakeland.

Different sizes of pre-cut circles and squares as well as rectangles ...

They do ship abroad, but not exactly cheaply, I'm afraid.

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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Another vote for sheet pans...and not the kind you get at Target. I have a roommate moving out this weekend, and we each bought one 1/2 and one 1/4 sheet pan a couple years ago. She's taking hers with her, so I was saying to my other roommate how I have to run to the restaurant supply store to replace them. She said "well I have that (target, maybe even cheaper) sheet pan I brought when I moved in that's hidden somewhere in the kitchen". I just wanted to tell her that the one she brought is shit, and I'm buying new ones anyway.

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You should PM andiesenji. I recall she previously posted in another discussion that she has purchased a box of pre-cut parchment sheets (bought online I believe). That would be one way to get past curling parchment.

I buy pre-cut 1/2 sheet-size parchment on the internet. After the first purchase I knew I would never mess with rolls again.

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

;

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I don't just use the flat 12 x 16 parchment sheets for sheet pans.

I use them for "slings" in loaf, rectangular and square cake pans to easily remove the sticker type quick breads and etc., neatly and cleanly from the pan.

I use an adjustable circle cutter Purchased at a scrapbooking store

(Where I found a lot of other gadgets that are handy in the kitchen )to cut various-sized circles to use in round cake pans.

I cut them down and form them into cones for baking spirals or cone-shaped "horns" out of puff pastry (stuffed with the wadded trimmings, they hold their shape just fine.

I use them to line trays or sheet pans under a grid rack on which drippy stuff is placed.

I use them in the dehydrator when drying pastes, chopped herbs and etc.'

I use them to separate my fine china platters so they won't get scratched. Ditto large bowls and etc.

I find all kinds of uses for them and the stack is always handy (in a jumbo plastic Zip-Lok storage bag to keep them dust-free.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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A Salamander eye level grill with some real heat

A great big freezer

And not items of kit but as I have a Galley kitchen some more prep space would be good.

I can do my own washing up but i'd love freshly laundered towels delivered daily.

I want to say a steam oven and a blast chiller but I am just getting over excited...

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I have a single rack that holds up to 20 full size pans. I a few pans to store commonly used items like silpats, caramel rulers, sheet pans, and other small items. I stack my pans 3 or 4 deep to keep space clear. Since I mostly use 1/2 pans, I get 6 - 12 pans to a "slot". My wife made me get a cover for it so anything I leave won't get assorted airborne fluff all over it.

When I'm really working on something, having all that space is great. Sliding pans in and out as I need them (or at least what they're holding). It rolls around easily so I can just stash it in a corner when I'm finished or simply need it out of the way.

I think I paid a little over $100 for it and it took 20 - 30 minutes to assemble. The cover cost almost as much as the rack itself.

Definitely one of the best and highest utility purchases I've made.

Steve Lebowitz

Doer of All Things

Steven Howard Confections

Slicing a warm slab of bacon is a lot like giving a ferret a shave. No matter how careful you are, somebody's going to get hurt - Alton Brown, "Good Eats"

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In my kitchen I created two long "rails" suspended from the ceiling, and all my cookware hangs from these on hooks. I bolted ceiling plates directly through into the studs, screwed in lengths of threaded bar, and fastened black pipe to the bottom using screw-together threaded O-rings. Has a kind of industrial-but-finished look to it that I like. And there's certainly nowhere else I could put all that stuff!

Edited by slkinsey (log)

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For those near a Smart & Final, the one by me has stacks of full-size parchment for some ridiculous fraction of the cost of a roll that actually contains less product. I just fold (actually, it's already folded) and cut it all in half to fit my sheet pans.

 

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Plastic "to go" containers. They beat the hell out of tupperware, they come in packs of 50 in up to a quart size for less than $10, and every size uses the same lids. You can use them to prep all of your mise and throw dinner together in about half the time. Plus if you forget one in the back of the fridge and rediscover it 6 months later you can throw it away with a clear conscience. I also agree with the commercial half sheet pans, and would like to add commercial round cake pans in varying sizes from 6 to 12 inches, as I'm a baker and none of the specialty pans work as well as a commercial aluminum pan with a parchment circle in the bottom.

I think the whole concept of mise en place is one that can really serve you well in a home kitchen, dishes turn out better when you have everything set up and ready to go before you get started with the cooking. It's a different state of mind.

If you ate pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry? ~Author Unknown

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I have to second the sheet pans. I bought a set of two at Sam's Club and was so happy with them I went and bought another set no more than a month later. I use them for just about everything, from crisping up some bacon in the oven to flipping it upside down to melt the cheese on my burgers when I make them on the griddle.

A salamander would be wonderful too, if we're dreaming.

edited: to correct some funky scentence construction.

Edited by Shamanjoe (log)

"...which usually means underflavored, undersalted modern French cooking hidden under edible flowers and Mexican fruits."

- Jeffrey Steingarten, in reference to "California Cuisine".

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I've never found use for hotel pans at home. Maybe someone can enlighten me.

I mostly use them on a charcoal grill for steaming, holding, brazing, and other uses like brines, marinades, and soaking items. Most home ovens cannot accomodate for a full size hotel pan sadly. I can fit a turkey or chickens and soak in salt water with herbs or for thanksgiving grappa marininated turkey.

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Higher gas pressure? Not really sure what the correct phrase is. Even on the hottest gas burner at home my stir-frys are never really stir frys, they're stir-boils. I have always assumed that the difference in taste between Asian style food from a restaurant and that cooked at home is not due to ingredients, but simply the temperature of the wok.

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Higher gas pressure? Not really sure what the correct phrase is. Even on the hottest gas burner at home my stir-frys are never really stir frys, they're stir-boils. I have always assumed that the difference in taste between Asian style food from a restaurant and that cooked at home is not due to ingredients, but simply the temperature of the wok.

Chris,

Not to stray off the subject at hand, but I bought this wok

http://www.amazon.com/Eastman-Outdoors-37212-22-Inch-Carbon-Steel/dp/B0002OOMRG/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1281144936&sr=8-2

at Amazon (free shipping) because I was having the same problem. You have to use it outdoors, but propane burns so much hotter than natural gas. The thing throws 65,000 BTU's and is like cooking on an afterburner. It works.

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Ahhh the giant plastic wrap that you just bump your bowl etc right against and can wrap over and under and around in 2 seconds flat...even better with the slide cutter installed on the box, I miss counter space.

And that sweet kid from work that followed me around with a broom, I loved the look on my mothers face right after I sliced some bread at her house and swept all the crumbs on the floor with my arm :huh:

Exhaust fan huh? Yeah I could use one of those...

I would really just like a tiled space that be hosed down :rolleyes:

tracey

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

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