Part One–What Do I Need in My Kitchen?

imageFirst, if you are a gadget person I suggest you take all the gadgets, put them in a box and set them outside your kitchen door. When you need the gadget, get it from the box, use it and put it back into your kitchen. After a few months, donate anything that is left in the box.

For breadmaking:

I have learned to make good, healthy bread over the past several months. I had been making sourdough (which is delicious) but after receiving a loaf of whole wheat bread from a sweet friend who mills her own flour I was ready to convert. I watched her more than once as she put her bread together and then enjoyed a bread baking class with her and another sweet friend for our Daniel Plan study. Then I began to accumulate what I would need to duplicate the breads they make. A couple of things were slightly expensive machinery—a Nutrimill grain mill and a Zojurushi bread machine.

The Nutrimill is for grinding wheatberries into flour. The flour is then stored in the freezer to keep it fresh. Flour with the wheat germ in it will become rancid if not kept in a refrigerator or freezer.

The Zojurushi bread machine is a wonderful machine. I add all the ingredients in order of the recipe I use and then let it do the work of kneading. I then punch down  the dough and shape the loaves and put them in the pan for the second rising before baking. This bread is both healthy and delicious.

For any cooking:

Measuring cups—dry and wet

In the process of learning to make bread I learned what had somehow escaped me for year. There are measuring cups for dry ingredients and measuring cups for wet ingredients. Too use the measuring cups for dry ingredients you spoon the dry ingredients into the cup, tap the cup to remove an air pockets, and then level the ingredients with a knife. To measure wet ingredients I love the slanted measuring cups that are easy to read. Oxo makes a great line of these measures. In using any other measure of wet ingredients look at the cup from eye level, looking from above will not give you an accurate measure. Accurate measures give you good and consistent results.

Timer

A timer will help you keep your focus on your food and help you get it out of the oven, fridge or stovetop on time. As with measuring cups—accurate measures (of time) will give you good and consistent results.

Knives

You only need a couple of knives, and good knives are pricey. A good knife will hold its edge. I invested a little over a hundred dollars for my cook’s knife and paring knife—and they were on sale and far from the most expensive end of the spectrum. It is so much easier to slice, dice, mince, and just about anything else with a good knife. Start where you are and work your way up to a good knife and keep it sharp. Dull knives cause more injuries than sharp ones.

Baking stones especially a pizza stone

They are good for baking biscuits, cookies, breads, and pizza. I once saw one at a yard sale and explained to the lady how to use it and how handy it is. She took it back into her kitchen. Read the materials that come with the baking stone and never wash it with soap. Rinse and scrape.

Stainless cookware

There are reportedly health problems that come with using aluminum cookware. I bought a set of Calphalon that I love. Stainless steel works well, too. I have a Revereware pot that I have had for almost 45 years and it still is almost like new, especially when I shine the copper bottom (Relax, I don’t do that often.)

A vegetable steamer

A vegetable steamer helps keep the nutrients in the food that go out with the water you cook them in.

Cutting boards

I love my Epicurean cutting board, but I also have several plastic boards. Cutting boards save your counters, they save your knives, and using different boards for different items like meat and veggies is good for sanitary reasons, too. The Epicurean board has rubber edges that keep it from sliding when I am slicing or dicing.

(to be continued)