SETTING UP YOUR KITCHEN

dvickers September 15, 2017 0
SETTING UP YOUR KITCHEN


SETTING UP YOUR KITCHEN

It is very important to buy the correct items when setting up your kitchen, especially if this is the first time. Every recipe calls for certain amounts of ingredients and you will need special tools to help you measure out the correct amounts. Those of you who have set up a kitchen before and/or have been cooking for a long time understand what I am talking about. Since this is for beginners, I want to make everything I say clear to you and make sure that you know what I am talking about.

I want to start with a list of the things that you absolutely will need to start up a kitchen to cook just about anything, but certainly the basics. Have attached some pictures that I have taken in various places for you to see what I am describing. The following list is the first 21 things that you will need, others will follow in future blogs:

  1. Measuring spoons, various sizes ranging from 1/8 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon (these usually come in sets) These can be plastic or metal

  2. Measuring cups, various sizes ranging from ¼ cup to 2 cups, these usually come in sets) Also usually in glass, metal or plastic.

  3. Mixing bowls, these also usually come in sets from large to small, about 4-5 bowls. These also usually come in glass, metal or plastic.

  4. A set of pans. Many people who cook have their favorite kinds of pans that they like to use to cook. Most of them have a copper core to conduct heat easier. You don’t have to have a very expensive set of pans, but at least buy a fairly good set that have some weight to them and are easy to clean. They may have different kinds of surfaces for non-stick cooking. These will sometimes come in sets and you can also buy them separately. It’s your choice. You can also ask the sales person to help you find the ones you like. You will need a large frying pan, a small frying pan, and a couple of pots, large and small. Medium sizes of both kinds of pans are also nice to have for that recipe that calls for something that is medium sized. That way you won’t have to use the big pan. They will save on energy and time. You don’t want to use a small pan on a large burner, it will probably burn your food and you will be wasting energy. Likewise, you don’t want to put a very large pan on a small burner. It will take a lot more energy to get your pan hot and take more time to cook your food.

  5. A set of kitchen utensils. These should include a pancake turner, a large slotted spoon, a ladle, a large meat fork, and possibly a medium sized whisk. These will help a lot to turn over, strain, serve and stir your food.

  6. A set of casserole dishes. These are usually glass and have about 3 sizes in them. One of them may be square.

  7. Cookie sheets are also handy to not only cook cookies, but to put flat things in the oven to cook that won’t be runny so they run off the edges such as bread.

  8. A set of baking pans. For those runny foods you will need the casserole dishes or also a set of baking pans. You can bake cakes, roasts or anything that you want to either hold their shape or not run out all over the oven.

  9. A hand-held or stand mixer. These will be needed to mix batter, or dough or some liquids.

A hand-held mixer is convenient and very handy to put away and get out. A stand mixer is bulky but when you have a big job or something that is going to take a lot of time to mix if you use a hand-held mixer, then a stand mixer will be the best. Hand-held mixers are of course least expensive and can be used for most things. Stand mixers are more expensive

and there are a variety of different brands to choose from for both kinds of mixers. For stand mixers I prefer a KitchenAide. They are certainly heavy but they really do the job when you need a good stand mixer. Be sure the beaters of either kind are sturdy and easy to clean. A stand mixer should come with a either a stainless steel bowl or a glass bowl, and a mixing paddle, and a dough hook and a mixing whisk. I don’t usually recommend particular brands, but I may every now and then if I think you need to know.

  1. Can openers. There are two different kinds of can openers, hand and electric. Needless to say a hand can opener is not electric and some of them are kind of hard to figure out. However, if you find a good hand can opener then that probably is all you’ll need to open cans. However, I also prefer an electric can opener. They are quick and easy and don’t wear out your hands opening cans. The only problem with an electric can opener is you may have problems opening very large cans as they are not usually tall enough to sit on the counter and get to the top of the can to open. You may have to put the can opener on the edge of the counter and hold the can below the edge to fit the can to the opener. This doesn’t happen very often in home situations unless you are making something for a lot of people, you will not be opening very large cans. So, I have both kinds of can openers in my house and I will use which one is handy and fits the job. Besides, if the power goes out, I will always be able to open a can.

  2. A blender. Many recipes will call for you to blend something. These are usually liquids, or even dry mixtures that you need to stir, puree, whip, grate, mix, grind, blend, liquefy or frappe’.

This can easily be done with an electric blender. These come from fairly cheap to very expensive. I would say to pick one that is sturdy and will do all the jobs easily. They can come with plastic or glass jars on top. I prefer glass, but the plastic ones can do the job just as well. It depends on how much you want to spend.

  1. Canisters. You will need something to store your dry ingredients in that are convenient to

get to and measure out of. Flour and sugar, are the two ingredients that you will store most, but there can be other things that you want to store there for convenience, such a coffee, or a different kind of flour such as wheat or bread flour. These need to be air-tight so air can’t get into the canisters and keep the bugs out. We will talk more about that later.

  1. Wooden spoons. These come in sets with several spoons in different sizes. These are needed for hand mixing things in the bowls you need, or stirring while you are cooking on the stove.

  2. Spatulas. Spatulas are usually rubber or plastic with a plastic or wooden handle. They are shaped sort of like a blade and come in different sizes that come in handy when you are trying to get things out of bowls, such as when you are emptying liquid out of a bowl and need to scrape the sides to get it all out. Many people will call a pancake turner a spatula, but a true spatula is a kind of scraper. These come in handy for a variety of reasons as you will see when we talk about different recipes and utensils that you will need to make.

  3. Knives. Knives come in many different sizes and kinds and many have very specialized uses. You have knives that you eat with at the table, and steak knives to cut meats while you eat. There are lots of different kinds of kitchen knives for different kinds of uses. For instance, there are bread knives to cut loaves of bread, butcher knives to cut raw meats, cleavers to cut through bones and joints of meats, paring knives to cut up fruit and cut the skin off of the them as well as some vegetables. These are just a few of all the different knives that exist. Most knives come in sets and many will come in a butcher block kind of container where they are stored with the knives in the block and the handles are out to grab them for use. Others are sold separately. Just like anything else, they go from very cheap to extremely expensive. Of course the better ones are the more expensive ones, but just starting out a kitchen I don’t think you need to have very expensive knives. A couple of good butcher knives, a bread knife, a paring knife, and a meat clever probably will suffice to start out with. These should get you started with cooking almost anything.

  4. Tongs. There are different kinds of tongs but they all have the same use, to pick up things. Tongs, just like almost everything else come in plastic and metal. Plastic tongs are used for mixing salads etc. Metal tongs are usually used to pick up, turn, and serve hot foods, such as steak and other meats, or hot vegetables. These will save your fingers a lot of grief using them to pick up hot foods and keep your foods from getting germs on them when you use them instead of your fingers and hands. Very useful tools. You’ll use them a lot.

  5. Small kitchen gadgets. There are a variety of very helpful small kitchen gadgets that really are a necessity when you are trying to cook different things. Of course, some of them are really not a necessity, but are more of a convenience, but really help to make things go faster and help you to save your food. Things like potato peelers. Of course you can peel a potato or other vegetable with a knife, but if you are not pretty adept at peeling with a knife you will find that you have peeled away most of your potato or veggie with the knife. A potato peeler will peel the skin off a potato or carrot very easily and quickly and it saves you time and a lot of your potato or carrot. There are other things like whisks and other hand held gadgets that will save you so much time, make your food much smoother and prettier if you use them. Go to your favorite store where you like to buy kitchen stuff, and look around. You can spend hours in a kitchen store looking at all the gadgets. All are pretty useful, many are not necessary but are nice to have if you can afford them. It’s up to you.

  6. Graters – There are several kinds of graters. Cheese graters, mincers, box graters, hand crank graters etc. I suppose the most versatile and useful would be a box style grater since it has several different sizes and surfaces to grate things all in one grater. You can grate cheeses, and vegetables and fruits etc. all on one type of grater with different degrees of grating. I also love my mincer which is a hand held grater that is flat and only has one size to grate which is very fine. This is usually for mincing garlic, onion, or hard cheeses that you want to be very fine. You will definitely need at least a box grater but a mincer is nice too.

  7. Food processor. – Food processors, I guess, are really a luggury item for the kitchen in some ways. You can usually do everything a food processor does with other utensils but it sure is nice to have one, especially when you have a lot to process and not much time to process it in. It can take the place of a blender, chopper, grater, and numerous other utensils.

  8. Hot pads and trivets. – Hot pads are very important to have in order to handle hot pans, and other utensils. You can’t take a pan out of the oven without a hot pad to protect your hands. They come in gloves and flat pads as well as long with a pocket for your hands on both ends. Of course you can use a towel, but this is not safe for a couple of reasons. Towels are not insulated, so they may not be thick enough to handle the heat of a pan coming from the oven, and if you only use the end of a towel and it touches the bottom of the oven you can catch it on fire, so let’s not use towels to remove hot pans from ovens or stoves. I’m embarrassed to say that I have found this out from experience and just leave it at that.

Trivets are a very welcome products when you need to put a hot pan on a surface that you may end up burning. Hot pans can ruin wood furniture like a dining room table in a very short time. Some counter tops are not very resistant to heat and you can leave scortch-marks on them very easily. Trivets come in a variety of different materials but wood and metal are usually the most used. Some have very short legs on them to elevate them from your surface and some are flat but usually thick to keep the heat from going through to the surface.

  1. Chopping/Cutting boards. – It is very important that you get a good chopping board. Butcher block boards are very nice and you can chop a variety of things on them. You just need to be sure that they are properly cleaned. If not cleaned correctly, you can get you and or your family sick from things like botulism and other germs that get caught up in the cracks in the block. There are a variety of different types of chopping/cutting boards. You want one that will help you to get a clean cut and easy to clean up.

These are the first 21 things that you will need to start to set up your kitchen. I don’t want to overwhelm you with the entire list, so let’s just start with these. In some of the pictures you can see that are so very many things to choose from while you are shopping for the items for your kitchen. Have fun looking at them all and choose the ones that you think you can use personally, and what you can afford.

In my next blog, I will talk about dishes, flatware and table settings. Of course you will need these unless you have decided to use paper plates for the rest of your life. Not only will that be expensive, but not very ecologically sound. If you have any questions, please feel free to make a comment and I’ll try to help you with whatever I can. In the mean- time, Happy Shopping!

Donna

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