Kitchen instruments and gadgets! I love them, and Anthony knows it and often indulges my desire for new kitchen goodies. For an early Christmas gift this past year, Anthony bought me one of my most treasured kitchen items – a gorgeous 7-inch Shun Cutlery Santoku Chef’s Knife. I timidly pulled the beautiful knife out of the package and was awed by the craftsmanship and how natural the knife felt in my hand – as if it were an extension of my body somehow. It was clear that Shun Cutlery’s craftsman were masters at their art, and that is exactly what this knife was – a working piece of art. According to their website:
The Shun Premier 7-in. Santoku is a beautiful, Asian-inspired chef’s knife. “Santoku” means “three virtues.” Depending on who you ask, this relates either to the three types of food with which it works exceptionally well—vegetables, poultry, and fish—or to the three types of cuts at which it excels: slicing, dicing, and chopping. In truth, a santoku is a knife of many talents. Some cooks prefer a santoku to a chef’s knife. Your choice depends on how the knife feels in your hand and how it works for you. We think you’ll find that the Shun Premier 7-in. Santoku works beautifully and fits your hand like a glove. The slight belly curve enables the cook to rock the blade slightly and makes this santoku as easy to use as a chef’s knife. It is especially well suited to a down-and-forward cutting motion (push cut) and many cooks swear by their santoku for top performance.
The Shun Premier Santoku is part of the beautiful Shun Premier line, which calls to mind the hand-forged knives of ancient Japan. While each knife still takes at least 100 handcrafted steps to complete, the materials Shun uses are among the most advanced in the industry. Each blade has a cutting core of Shun’s proprietary VG-MAX “super steel” to take and hold a precision edge. The layered Damascus cladding supports the core and provides additional stain resistance. Near the edge of the blade, where the steels meet, an undulating line is formed—similar to the hamon formed when samurai swords are tempered using a traditional clay-baking technique. The hammered tsuchime finish acts like a series of hollow-ground cavities to reduce drag. The handles nestle comfortably in the hand, while the embossed end cap adds balance and beauty. – Shun Cutlery Website verbiage.
I love this knife! The craftsmanship is incredible, and Shun Cutlery certainly was not kidding when describing these knives to sword-like super steel instruments. My knife is sharp – so sharp, in fact – that it can swiftly cut through paper, and if you tap the sword, er…knife on the counter-top, it sounds like a sword meeting its target. Before I digress too much, I’ll get back to the reason for this post. Peas for Two’s Top 5 Coveted Kitchen Gadgets. I am a sucker for gadgets: from new curling irons and hair crimpers in the 1980s (my teen years) to new iPhones and food processors and printers and cameras! A girl can grow into a woman, but her desire to shop can last a lifetime! Today, I count down my top 5 coveted kitchen gadgets. (Don’t worry, honey. I’m not asking you for these!)
#5 Hamilton Beach 6708A Big Mouth Juice Extractor
With a desire to eat more healthful foods, a juicer certainly fits in as a high priority kitchen gadget. I had a Juiceman juicer in the very early 2000s, and I remember that the days I made fresh juices and smoothies instead of drinking a cup of coffee and eating a scone for breakfast, I felt more energetic and prepared for my day. I didn’t experience a caffeine crash two hours into my workday. In fact, I felt as if I had more zip in my step than I’d had in years. I juiced and I juiced and I loved it. Sadly, I was also extraordinarily busy night and day with community theatre and work, and I also hated cleaning the juicer. Oh man, if I wasn’t pulling pulp out of the sieve, I was scrubbing it off the sides of the container. Thus, after a year or so, I stopped using it and it found its way into the back of a cabinet and then shuffled from new apartment to new apartment until the pieces were separated and lost over the years.
Now that I am in my forties (and much wiser with a more focused attention span, I think…SQUIRREL!) I would love to juice again. No, it’s not just because my sweetie does the dishes, and I wouldn’t have to wash the darned machine. Well, sort of, but I love drinking fresh fruit juice without the additives/preservatives we find in store-bought juices. I’d also like to use freshly-squeezed juices in the cocktails I prepare as well. Fresh juice always makes a cocktail or a smoothie taste far better than average, and I find that many of the top bartenders use fresh juices. The juicer is definitely high on my kitchen gadget priority list. Find it here on Amazon.
#4 Cuisinart CSB-75BC Smart Stick 2-Speed Immersion Hand Mixer
I love this handy gadget! It’s perfect for blending drinks, soups, or sauces with a convenient and quick push of a button. I’ve watched professional chefs use similar hand-held blenders on cooking shows, and the results have always been amazing. Their soups and sauces blended so nicely without having to remove the food from the stove and place it in a blender or a mixer and lose heat and cooking time. How perfect to be able to simply add a rue to a sauce and use the hand-held blender to thicken it perfectly without removing the food from the heat source. It’s also great for blending fresh juices and sorbet to create a fantastic smoothie – just don’t use it to chop the ice. Find it here on Amazon.
#3 Zenith Digital Kitchen Scale by Ozeri
Most of us measure ingredients with measuring cups or measuring spoons; however, there is always room for error when using these methods, and we know that precise measurements are key in many recipes. While I often prefer to cook by taste, there are times when I need to be absolutely precise, thus we come ’round to the digital scale – which is touted to be the most precise way to measure ingredients. The Zenith digital scale is light and thin, and easy to store, and it can accurately measure the weight of items up to 12 pounds. Find it here at www.amazon.com.
#2 PL8 Professional Mandoline Slicer PL8 1000
While I love the entire process of cooking, I do grow weary of seemingly endless slicing and chopping. Further, precise cuts with consistent size is essential to evenly cook your food. The mandoline slicer makes this a lot easier, and definitely helps protect our fingers from slices and dices – just be sure to use the safety features. Find it here on www.amazon.com.
#1 Kitchen Aid 5-Qt. Artisan Series Stand-Up Mixer
At $279.98, I am crazy about this mixer, and it reigns supreme as my #1 coveted kitchen gadget. Not only is the persimmon color gorgeous, but the mixer is sturdy and useful in the kitchen. I love cooking and baking, but I find that continuous mixing can a bit painful on the arms after awhile. Food processors and stand-up mixers sort of act as prep cooks doing the chopping and mixing for us – but without the sassy talk. With multiple settings and attachments, this baby can kneed dough, mix batter, blend ingredients, and more! If you intend to do any serious baking, you need this machine. It’s #1 on my want list. Someday, someday! Find it here at www.amazon.com.
Do you have any kitchen gadgets you particularly love? Comment below and let me know!