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Kitchen Equipment Ideas


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Hey First post on here!

 

Getting very into cooking and over the years I have acquired the following:

 

Pasta maker

Sous Vide

Vaccum sealer

Whipping Siphon

Kenwood chef mixer

Chinois

 

 

All the other usual bits 

 

Need present ideas for about £300-£350 total for Christmas

 

So came up with the following

 

1)Mandoline

2)Smoking Gun

3) Konro grill I have access to a basic bbq

 

So just wondering if I could one of these or anything else you can think off and your personal experiences of the above!

 

 

 

 

 

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Welcome to the forum!

 

Mandolines are useful, inexpensive, and don't take up much room. A good addition to any kitchen arsenal, and a very giftable item for Christmas.

In my opinion, the Smoking Gun is more of a novelty than a useful cooking tool, unless there's some specific application you'd be buying it for. I have one but it mostly sits around. In fact, I gave it as a gift but the person didn't use it so gave it back to me... and now I never use it. I love smoked foods and hot/cold smoke outdoors all the time. But the Smoking Gun doesn't really provide significant smoke flavor on proteins. Cheese and butter, on the other hand, almost seem to take up too much smoke flavor. Cocktails are a wash. It can be fun to smoke herbs/spices and trap the smoke under a glass, but honestly how often are you going to do that at home?

Konros are fun, but they're not great general purpose grills. Because you're grilling so close to the coals, anything with significant amounts of fat is a potential grease fire bomb. They work best cooking lean proteins like fish and chicken, and many vegetables also do well. The capacity is limited, and it can take a long time to get binchotan lit. They're not great for feeding crowds, and if you use binchotan (even the cheap stuff) it takes a hot minute to fire up the grill. If you're interested in getting into yakitori, though, there's no real substitute for a konro.

 

As for stuff not mentioned on your list, a nice Japanese chef's knife can be a revelation. But be warned: nice knives are potentially an expensive rabbit hole. 

I'd also consider a pressure cooker. They're fantastic for making stock and quite useful for getting braises and beans done in a hurry.

 

 

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24 minutes ago, btbyrd said:

Mandolines are useful, inexpensive, and don't take up much room.

 

I think this depends on the mandoline.

 

24 minutes ago, btbyrd said:

I have one but it mostly sits around. In fact, I gave it as a gift but the person didn't use it so gave it back to me... and now I never use it.

 

There's a thread for this, I believe! Recent, too.

 

What about a really nice rice cooker? If you are at all a rice fan, they're great.

 

What about a subscription to something like a coffee delivery monthly, or natural wine, or something like that?

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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Speaking of which, do you drink wine? Do you have nice wine glasses? 

 

If you have a liking for wine, there's always a Durand or a Coravin.

 

Further on the beautiful knife thing, knife sharpening system?

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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I have a smoking gun that I recieved for Christmas one year.  I never use it.  I bought a Bron mandoline that I hated.  I called the Shepherd's of Good Hope and asked if they wanted it for their kitchen and they were happy to get it.  I got myself an inexpensive Oxo one that I'm really happy with.

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Personally, I'd like to see the knife collection. Because every single person I know who is "very into cooking" is into their knives. The most basic kitchen tool. And often they add to their collection before throwing in a Bamix.

 

It's fine to have all those toys, but first you need to know what those toys can do for you.

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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I have been sequentially seduced by expensive mandolines, sold each to a friend who has a used kitchen toy shop and finally found joy in several Kyocera hand-held ceramic models that I seem to use multiple times daily.    Also a Bamix-pro immersion blender which seems to be controversial here.   Some people like me use them everyday, others once a year if that.  

In other words, know yourself before you invest.

eGullet member #80.

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Hello @daniel123456789876543, welcome to eGullet. I have many of the implements described herein. Regularly use: Japanese knives, sous vide, vacuum sealer, mandoline, Instant Pot, chinois, and, courtesy of the nudging from folks here, a Bamix immersion blender. Am finding the pasta maker makes very superior pasta. My niece just bought the new Instant Pot, either Duo Evo Plus or Duo Nova which looks like it has a simplified interface and 15 psi. So a good choice.

 

I am a person who loves bread and has used a bread machine since about 1990. I'm on my third machine which is a Zojirushi machine from King Arthur Flour.

 

Belonging to eGullet, you will never be deprived of occasions to spend money on (well deserved) toys, er, appliances!

 

 

 

 

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Welcome. 

 

I'm not particularly a fan of mandolines. My Sweetie gave me a nice SS mandoline and I used it maybe twice. My Sweetie, with my blessing,  took possession of it to make very thinly sliced cucumbers. I did give her a kevlar glove to use with it. Good knives are always appreciated by me.

 

If you're inclined to learn good knife sharpening skills, an Edge Pro knife sharpening system is a good lifelong investment. 

 

It's hard to give to many suggestions without knowing what direction your cooking interests lie.

 

And again,  welcome.

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

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None of the items you listed would be on my short list of indispensable kitchen items.   The mandolin is the most practical of the three, and very useful if it suits your style of cooking.   The smoking gun and grill will sit and collect dust.     
 

The Kyocera slicer Margaret Pilgrim mentioned would be a nice stocking stuffer type gift.   I’ve used one for years and find it does 90% of the things I would do on a mandolin. They are inexpensive, don’t take up much space and would let you get a sense if a real mandolin is something you would use often.    If the slicer sees a lot of work, you could look to upgrade to a real mandolin later.
 

Items I personally find very useful:

 

1) If you don’t already have a high quality sauce pan and frying pan I would upgrade.  Demeyere, which I like very much ,goes on sale around Christmas.

2) A high quality Dutch oven.   Staub often puts a 3.5 quart oven on sale at this time of year.

3) Vitaprep/Vitamix 

4) Microplane grater

5) Unicorn peppergrinder
6) Japanese knives if you don’t already have a high quality chef’s knife

7) Thermopen or thermopop.    
 

After that I’d personally rather spend the money on ingredients I’d be excited about using than tools.

 

Edited by Dr. Teeth
Added thermopen (log)
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11 hours ago, TdeV said:

Am finding the pasta maker makes very superior pasta

 

What is a pasta maker? Serious question.

 

6 minutes ago, Dr. Teeth said:

Staub often puts a 3.5 quart oven on sale at this time of year.

 

I have to say that I reach for this Dutch oven a lot. Soups, braises, whatever - it cooks great, and cleans up miraculously easily.

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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5 minutes ago, MokaPot said:

Agree w/ @Dr. Teeth about the Microplane grater. I have the "Professional" series (all stainless steel) fine grater (~ $20). I mostly use it on raw garlic to make a paste with it.

 

1575091726_ScreenShot2020-12-12at8_01_53AM.thumb.png.3cbcdae5dfb100f44c040f89a38a65d4.png

 

I bought that.  In came with a set of something like three different blades.  The blades kept falling out so I never use it.

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Again beating my dead horse, it rained last night so husband is finally able to attack the burning pile, which is the size of s Tuff Shed.    It's pretty cold out, so I thought "mid-morning soup".          Boiled up a half head cauliflower, a potato and an onion.    Soft in 15 minutes, add milk and cream, a good spoon of curry powder.   Grab Bamix off the wall and in 2 minutes have a steaming velvety pottage which I took out to him in a large mug.   Pour a mug for myself.   Wash soup pot, rinse Bamix and DONE.    

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eGullet member #80.

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5 hours ago, weinoo said:

What is a pasta maker? Serious question.

 

 

What I meant to say, Mitch, was that I find fresh pasta tastes so much better than dried pasta. When I used to live in a metro area, I bought fresh pasta from the local shop. Now that I live in a smallish town, I have had to learn to make my own. I'm having some success! With this:

 

PastaMaker.png.c5e96a175004215f418aa8675057e71f.png

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I swear by my Le Creuset 5.5 qt round dutch oven. It is in use at least two or three times a week for beans or soups. No doubt other brands of enamel coated cast iron work as well, but I particularly love this size.

 

Does everyone love their Bamix? I've developed a hatred for my mediocre blender. So I'm considering asking for a Bamix for a gift. Would it  smooth puree a potful of say leeks and potatoes, say in the volume of my Creuset?

 

Oh, and while we are at it, which models are liked best? Pretty sure I'm not wanting to spend on deluxe or priciest models. Also not ready to spring for a high end blender like BlendTec or Vitamix. I've never owned a stick blender, so my knowledge of them is zilch.

Edited by Katie Meadow (log)
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5 minutes ago, Katie Meadow said:

Does everyone love their Bamix? I've developed a hatred for my mediocre blender. So I'm considering asking for a Bamix for a gift. Would it  smooth puree a potful of say leeks and potatoes, say in the volume of my Creuset?

By no means does everyone love their Bamix!    Vis a vis the number of posts telling of tossing it after not using it in a year.   Which is, of course, the crux.    i use mine often for these almost instant soups, for making sauces like Little Green Dress, Green Goddess and ranch, for milkshakes, for crushing/pureeing fresh or canned tomato, for bean dip.    The pro is a power horse.   So, yes, it will certainly handle the contents of your Creuset.   I love it because it is so easy to clean, one piece, unlike a blender or food processor.   

eGullet member #80.

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7 minutes ago, Margaret Pilgrim said:

By no means does everyone love their Bamix!    Vis a vis the number of posts telling of tossing it after not using it in a year.   Which is, of course, the crux.    i use mine often for these almost instant soups, for making sauces like Little Green Dress, Green Goddess and ranch, for milkshakes, for crushing/pureeing fresh or canned tomato, for bean dip.    The pro is a power horse.   So, yes, it will certainly handle the contents of your Creuset.   I love it because it is so easy to clean, one piece, unlike a blender or food processor.   

Thanks, yes I hate cleaning my blender as much as I hate using it. I'll read some Bamix reviews and see if anyone else chimes in here.

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30 minutes ago, TdeV said:

 

What I meant to say, Mitch, was that I find fresh pasta tastes so much better than dried pasta. When I used to live in a metro area, I bought fresh pasta from the local shop. Now that I live in a smallish town, I have had to learn to make my own. I'm having some success! With this:

 

PastaMaker.png.c5e96a175004215f418aa8675057e71f.png

 

Ahhh, the Atlas (or another brand).  Certainly a fine device, though I gifted mine a long time ago - bought a few attachments for the Kitchen Aid - rarely use those either. But if you like fresh pasta, by all means!

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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I love my Bamix.

 

Often I'll stick it into the Instant Pot for a whiz to mash up a few beans, in order to make the broth thicker. (Caution: messy things happen if there is cooked meat in there).

 

My Bamix gets used to add milk and mash potatoes (which I understand one is not supposed to do to potatoes). I want to, but have not yet, made mayonnaise.

 

My Bamix is a Pro-2. I did some research before selecting it which I can send you if you PM me.

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2 hours ago, TdeV said:

(Caution: messy things happen if there is cooked meat in there).

 

Like any immersion blender, when engaged, the working head MUST stay below the surface of the liquid or product being mixed or you will spray/shoot puree over the immediate area...and beyond only to be found a week later.

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eGullet member #80.

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