Born in "THE" Bronx, raised on Long Island...stints in Rochester, NY; Manhattan, NY; Andover, MA; Montclair & West Windsor, NJ and now Memphis, TN., our cuisine of birth is Italian, but we enjoy cooking Chinese, Mexican, American and hodge-podge.

Our recipes will be as accurate as possible, but you see, I rarely measure things. I prefer to combine based upon taste.

Also, I will use brand names on occasion, but am not sponsored by any company and these mentions do not put cash into my pocket.

Music is my other love & we will share music related to food (in even the smallest sense) with y'all with every new post.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Tools Of The Trade - Part 1

Cornbread & Chicken
Alan Jackson

Hope y'all had a grand weekend. It is baseball season and that means more meals at the complexes than at home. Did not have any opportunities to cook this weekend, though Saturday evenings game and then the games on Sunday all got washed out.

My most excellent friend LIZ of "Bluegrass Foodie" showed us some of her kitchen essentials in Part One of her ongoing series HERE. Saturday early afternoon as Nancy was out on her run, I grabbed the camera and decides to show you the tools I use when preparing my meals.

Today we will begin with what I call the CORE. I believe the core are those items you use on top of your stove. The pots and pans that are essential to preparing a meal.

All photos will go biggie by clickie and have call-outs.

Leading off the roll-call are my oldest tools. My Regal Ware set of four pots. I received these some 25 years ago and they have been with me ever since. The are extremely well made, distribute heat wonderfully and all four comes with its own lid. They are all oven proof, so they can go from stove-top to oven without worry. A 1 Qt. sauce pan, a 2.5 Qt. sauce pan, a 5 Qt. sauce pot and a 11.5" saute pan.

Next is my set of cast iron. I am a firm believer that every kitchen should have some cast iron in it. I know it is not cool and PC to fry, but nothing fries food like cast iron.

I have four pieces. A 6.5" frying pan, an 8" frying pan, an 11" skillet griddle pan and the grand daddy of my collection, a 14" fry pan. All but the large fry pan are Wagner Ware, the large one is by Lodge Cast Iron. Cast iron is not as troublesome as it used to be. Today it is cured when you buy it and as long as you follow the manufacturer's recommended care instructions, they will last for generations.

Then there are the additional pieces needed to be able to prepare meals. My 11.5 Qt. gravy pot. It is large enough for two 128 oz cans of Italian peeled tomatoes and the required meatballs and sausage that go along with my gravy.

Behind that is a griddle pan Mom Joan and Dad Vince gave to me and it is used often. Living in an apartment, it is very difficult to grill outside. Though not perfect, this gives you the opportunity to do a steak or chicken breast on your stove-top and not have to cook it in the fat.

Front left is my daily 12" saute/fry pan and behind it an 8" saute/crepe pan with a non-stick coating.

One tool that does not get the use it once did, my wok. I used to use it much more, but then I lost touch with it. I think it is time to break it back out, cure it once again and start whipping up some simple wok meals.

Finally, what I believe are the most important tools in your kitchen. Cooking can be an incredibly difficult task if you are constantly struggling with the one operation you do no matter what the recipe. That is chop, slice, julienne, mince, cube or whatever operation is needed to portion your ingredients. KNIVES folks. If your knives are dull or you are trying to cut with the wrong kind of knife, your cooking life will be made much more miserable.

As the time goes on I will show you the other tools I use in the preparation of my meals.

7 spices added:

Liz Hill said...

Thanks for the mention--I'll be doing the 'core' pretty soon. I agree that above all else knives are what matters most. I can adapt to most any cookware if necessary but you can't 'adapt' to dull knives. What is your favorite--the one you always want to pick up first?

Vinny "Bond" Marini said...

LIZ: I think I reach for the 8" chef's knife first more often than not.

Maggie Moo said...

I'm impressed that you have a Bird's Beak knife! Do you use it?

Vinny "Bond" Marini said...

MAGS: Not often enough!

Desert Songbird said...

I recently disposed of all my mish-moshed cookware and purchased hard anodized cookware. Love it so far (except that you have to hand wash all the time). I need to buy some cast iron, though. It's good not just for frying but baking great stuff in the oven.

Vinny "Bond" Marini said...

SONGBIRD: You should always hand `wash your pots and pans and the covers...they last so much longer...
yes, cast iron in the oven is also great...

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