Let's talk cooking gears!

Knives, peeler and scissors

I have two kitchens: one in Tokyo and one in Ohara, and I found really
silly to duplicate all my cooking gears. So to solve the problem, except
for a very few things, I have always decided to cook with little
equipment and keep it really simple, skipping all the goodies are
supposed to simplify your life but in the end just lay in cupboards and
drawers for ever (avocado cutter, spaghetti spoon etc…). But still
there is a minimum required that I must have in both places.So let me
introduce you my best cooking allies.

Measuring gears

First of all cutting gears. I have
exactly the same set of knives in both kitchens. It helps me preventing
cuts and bad surprises. Since we have excellent knives in Japan I use
two types of Japanese knives for pretty much everything in the kitchen: a small bamboo knife
that you can find in supermarket and that cuts very well, perfect for
peeling fruits, preparing soft vegetables etc… and when in a hurry. And I have a larger Japanese
knife that is a real danger to me, perfect for preparing fish, meat, hard pumpkin, sweet potato… that I only use when needed and in no hurry. I love the feeling of the wooden handle and the nice metal blade, so I don’t use ceramic knives, never even tried.
I also use a lot scissors not only to chop herbs, but also for bacon, thinly cut meat, smoke salmon etc… I find it very handy, some say it’s the Korean way, I never realized whether Korean use their scissors for meat cutting…
I love vegetables peelers (this one from Muji), it’s so quick and it peels such a thin skin
that it’s almost as having naked fruits and veggies!
I have a mandolin in Ohara that I love and I’d love to have one in Tokyo too, but yet with limited space in the kitchen I prefer pass.

Next measuring gears. Similarly I have exactly the same two instruments and use nothing else when I use a measuring instrument (which is not often the case except for bread and some patisserie!). I have only an electronic scale (1g precision) and a Pyrex measuring cup. I avoid plastic as much as possible, I am no good friend of Tupperware. So my mixing bowls are either Pyrex or metal. So are also my spoons, spatula etc…

Mixing spoons and spatulas

As for mixing I use a lot wooden spoons (bought in Milano), bamboo spatula (from 100Y shop), bamboo long chopsticks (100Yen the whole set, from 100Y shop), metal whip, metal ladle, natural hair brush (from Mitsukoshi), wooden rolling pin (from 100Y shop too!)… and that’s all… I must admit that in Tokyo I have an electric whip, but I almost never use it! I like to whip manually, the energy it requires and the result. Also because I never cook for more than 8 people at a time…

About shapes… I have a series of 3 or 4 Pyrex pie dishes of different size and shapes, a tart dish, and a few flower cookie cutters to make pretty plates, pretty cookies… Recently I’ve started using stainless circles (you can see how much I use them on the pictures!) and I am pretty addicted to them. I love the clean and neat finish they give to a plate. I love also that you can use them to cook, bake or just prepare the plates. By precaution, I never use silicon shapes, nor non-stick pie dishes except for a set of small tart dishes with removable bottoms prevented from using any tools that could damage the anti-adhesive layer.
I don’t bake cookies too often, but since my best friend offered me this cookie stamp I’ve started to make cookies more often.
As for cooking I use only gaz and I also use the same utensils in both kitchens: the T-Fal home chef series with 2 fry-pan and 2 saucer-pan. I think I wouldn’t be able to cook without them anymore! I have a beautiful Staub in Ohara that I use when we have guests, for two it’s a little oversize.
The final element to my collection that I use often is a blender. I love smoothies and soups, so a blender is a must have for me. In Ohara I am lucky enough to have a Kitchen aid blender. In Tokyo I have a smaller, cheaper one that works very well too (though for smoothies the KA is really great!). I have no robot for bread making, no bread machines etc… only my hands and patience! Recently I got an Atlas 150 pasta machine (see previous post), and that I must say makes a difference in the quality of the pasta and their regularity.
And you what are your best cooking allies? What do you think I should add to my collection?

Shapes and fun things

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