A Peek in Our Pantry
Gadgets we can't do without
By Alain Bossé Photography by Steve Smith/VisionFire
2020 will go down in history as one of the most challenging years ever. It forced us to re-evaluate everything we thought we knew.
The Kilted Chef team are usually travelling, participating in trade shows, festivals, doing catering and generally being the most social of butterflies. Like the rest of the world we found ourselves grounded for the unforeseeable future.
To pass the time we started a 3pm (Atlantic) Facebook Live cooking show. We hoped that our family and friends might tune in and be entertained.
The show took on a life of its own. People often tell us that the show helped them through a dark time; they did the same for us with their comments, questions and appreciation.
One of the questions we’re most often asked is “where did you get that gadget that you used on the show?”
Readers of Saltscapes will be familiar with our “gadget for the foodie in your life” series—here are the top 10 most requested gadgets from our show.
- Bench scraper
Where to get it: kitchen supply store.
This tool makes transferring chopped food into a pot or pan a breeze! The wide surface allows for moving large quantities of goods at a time. We also use it for scraping the counter after we have rolled dough, and as a tool to keep pizza crust and pie dough from sticking to the counter while we’re rolling it out.
- Glass bowls
Where to get them: IKEA
The secret to executing a great recipe is organization. There’s no better way to organize than set out a mis en place, which is just a fancy way of saying “prep” everything ahead!
This not only allows you to stay organized and tidy, but it also ensures that you won’t miss any ingredients in your recipe. We use three types of bowls: small for spices and condiments, medium for oils and liquids, and large for chopped vegetables.
- Knitted dishcloths
Where to get them: Your mother, your favourite aunt, or just about any craft sale, anywhere.
We love these dish cloths for several reasons: it’s hard to pick one up without thinking of the person who took the time to make it for you. We love the nostalgia, the bright colours, and the fact that it’s just a great dishcloth!
- Multi-sided grater
Where to get it: Any kitchen supply that carries Microplane brand kitchenware.
Each side of this grater has a different size from very fine grate to large shred. The rubber handle and feet make it easy to grip and ensure that it doesn’t slide. Each of the four sides can easily be removed and used individually.
- Dough cutter
Where we got it: Big Eric’s Restaurant Supply, Dartmouth, NS
How many times have you tried to cut a pan of squares and ended up with different shapes, different sizes, and that little half inch piece at the end that doesn’t fit in anywhere?
This tool is perfect for scoring all different types of baking: squares, oatcakes, cookies; and it even works for cutting lattice strips for pie.
- Cooper Atkins thermometer
Where we got it: Vegadirect.ca
The worst thing you can do is cut into a piece of meat, a chicken, or a turkey to see if it’s done. Valuable juices are lost. A good quality thermometer inserted at the right point (which is always the thickest part of the meat) will tell you exactly what stage the cooking process is in.
- Ninja blender
Where we got it: Costco
When I got this blender, I wasn’t sure that I would love it. We’re fortunate to have some very high-end blenders in our kitchen and I wasn’t sure how this one would compare. It blends just as well as others that I have paid much more for. I love the fact that the blender stick has blades in 3 different positions: it chops at the bottom, the centre, and the top at the same time. The canister is very easy to clean and the suction cups on the bottom of the machine ensure that it does not move while running.
- BBQ condiments and accessories
Where we get them: barbecue shops. For those who love to grill all year long BBQ accessories will never be a miss. My favourite sauce is Blues Hog; several flavours available but my personal go to is Original and I love their Meat Church line of rubs. They’re one of the few rubs that have managed to get the salt content just right. I’m also including a silicone mop brush for basting and slathering as well as a grill mat in my barbecue package. The mat is perfect for grilling fish, vegetables, or smaller items like shrimp and scallops.
- Vegetable peelers
Where to get: any restaurant supply store
Just about everyone has a basic potato peeler in their kitchen. It’s a very functional tool, and sometimes gets used for other tasks. It’s perfect for chocolate curls when garnishing desserts, or for making zucchini strips for vegetable lasagna. But if you want to make julienne strips of carrots or cucumbers for salads, fresh rolls, garnishes, or any other application you can think of, you need a julienne peeler. Even I am surprised at how much I reach for this tool!
- Measuring plunger
Where we got it: Pampered Chef
Measuring out sticky foods such as peanut butter, molasses, or even soft butter can be a messy endeavour. That’s where this handy measuring tool comes in. Simply adjust the plunger to the correct measurement desired, add your food item, then simply slide it out and into your bowl, no muss, no fuss!