Wednesday, April 27, 2016

My Top 5 Kitchen Tools

I've ran the gammut of kitchen tools. I've had so many come through my kitchen drawers and cabinets over my years of cooking (er...learning to cook). But I've finally come to the conclusion that less is more. Oh wait, isn't that pretty much the norm with most anything in life??!!

So I decided to go through my drawers and cabinets, and pick out my very favorite kitchen tools. I've thrown out a bunch of tools I've purchased through the years and just didn't get any use out of. But this group, has stood the test of time.

1. John Boos Reversible Maple Cutting BoardThis baby has only been in my life for a couple of months. It was a gift. It arrived on my counter top and has not occupied another spot since it's appearance. It's a work horse. I realize this is NOT a kitchen "tool" in my drawer, but it's a new favorite I just cannot ignore. I've never taken such a liking to a cutting board before. This one is reversible maple wood board...MADE IN THE USA! It has grips on the sides, making it easy to grab and transport to the sink. It's heavy, so you definitely need the grips. It is recommended it be treated with John Boos Mystery Oil and Board Cream Set.

2. Lemon/Lime Squeezer- Another work horse in my kitchen. Yes, I know it's just as simple to press on the lemon on a flat surface with your hand as you roll it, cut in half and squeeze with your hands. But with this bad boy, you get every last drop of juice out, keeps the seeds from dropping in, AND, have you ever had a cut on your hands when you squeezed a lemon? Case made.

3. Pampered Chef Avocado Peeler- This is the only avocado peeler I have ever used, and the only one I ever want to use. I have no need to try any others. I've had this very same peeler for 10 years and perfectly cuts right through my avocado, I pick the pit out with the tip and scrape all the creamy avocado out of the peel in one perfect half avocado shape. It's perfect when I want to serve it with some salssa in the middle or a corn and tomato concoction...makes for a very beautiful presentation. I never can quite get the same results with just a knife and a I end up getting two items dirty instead of just the one.

4. Kitchen Shears- I did not grow up with shears you could actually use on food in the kitchen. I was introduced to the concept of shears for food at a William Sonoma cooking class I attended over a decade ago, to open up a whole chicken and cut off unwanted parts. I purchased my shears and have used them for everything from cutting meat, opening packages, chopping herbs in a small bowl, I've even cut through pizza before. And again, I've had the same pair for over 10 years. One small investment, for an item that gets used almost daily.

5. Garlic PressI am sure this tool has paid itself over several dozen times. Garlic is fairly inexpensive to buy, and squeezing fresh garlic as needed with this handy tool is very easy and efficient.

What are some of your favorite tools? I'd love to hear if there's anything else out there I'm missing out on.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Homemade Guacamole

Today was a beautiful sunny day in California. My BF made a trip to Costco and came home with 5 large ripe avocados and asked for guacamole. My baby wants baby gets guacamole (reference to movie The Breakup here..)

So here's the quick and delicious recipe:

2 large ripe avocados, mashed**
1 tomato chopped
1/4 onion chopped
1/4 bunch of cilantro chopped
1/2 lemon juice
3 garlic heads diced
salt to taste

Mix it all together together, chill for about an hour and serve up with your favorite tortilla chips, or over tacos, or just spread over toast for lunch.

If you want to be everyone's hero, try making your own tortilla chips. Just cut up corn tortillas into triangles and follow the homemade tostada instructions. Don't forget to sprinkle sea salt over them as soon as they come out of the fryer.

**Tip to mash the avocado just perfectly...use a molcajete!! Just place the peeled avocado in the bowl and start mashing away. You can even use the molcajete as a bowl for your guacamole.

It was a perfect snack with organic tortilla chips and margaritas out in our patio.