There’s nothing that annoys me more than not having the right tools for the task at hand. There are enough stresses and headaches cooking for Passover that I make sure my kitchen is equipped with everything I need. Here is a list of the tools I must have in my kitchen. To some they may be superfluous but for me each item is very important. The one thing I haven’t listed here that is probably the most important thing to have in your kitchen is a good set of knives. Without good, well-sharpened knives it’s hard to do anything.
1. Potato Ricer
If you haven’t used or seen one, a potato ricer is like a giant garlic press – you just place cooked (boiled or baked) potatoes into the ‘bowl’ of the potato ricer and press the handle down, squeezing the potato through the small holes that line the bottom of the press. Out comes smooth, lump-free potato. It’s perfect for mashed potatoes, making filling for potato blintzes or topping Shepherd’s Pie or Chicken Pot Pie – two of my favourite meals for Chol Hamoed.
I love my rasp. Use it for zesting citrus, finely grating ginger and ‘crushing’ garlic.
3. Small (8-inch) Non-Stick Frying Pan
I have one 8-inch non-stick frying pan that I use for blintz wrappers (bletlach) and nothing else. Non-stick is important because it releases the wrappers every time. The size is important because it makes the perfect round for a blintz.
4. 10-12 Quart heavy Dutch Oven/ Pot
Important for braising briskets, cooking meatballs and in a pinch it can be used for chicken (or other) soup.
I know that some people use a food processor for shredding vegetables, but unless I’m making 20 dozen or more latkes at once, I’d rather use a box-grater. For latkes (which I’ll often make for Pesach), kugels, soups and salads, use a box greater for shredding vegetables. If you don’t have my #2 favourite item (microplane), in a pinch you can also use the side with tiny holes for zesting citrus and finely shredding ginger.
A perfect kitchen has sets of bowls and blades for pareve, dairy and meat. Then use the processor for chopped liver, blintz fillings, crusts, chopping nuts, making mayonnaise, grinding fish for gefilte fish and so much more.
7. Ice-Cream Scoops
I have a few ice-cream scoops that I pull out each year. The large scoops get used for portioning blintz filling and dough for Passover rolls. The smaller scoops get used to portion meatballs, macaroons and almond cookies. They’re perfect for ensuring every little meatball is the same size.
8. Stand Mixer
For me, it’s not Passover unless I’ve made several batches of meringue cookies. For whipping egg whites, making icings and mousse or cake and cookie batters, the stand mixer is a workhorse in my kitchen.
9. Immersion (stick) Blender
This is one of my favourite tools. It’s great for pureeing soup right in the pot it’s been cooked in (quick and easy vegetable soups are great at Pesach) and it can be used for sauces or liquefying fruits for drinks.
10. Digital Scale
I use my scale for everything in my Passover kitchen. For baking, weighing out vegetables or meat -- weight measurements are more accurate than volume. It’s also easy and quick to use a scale.
CONTEST!!Sur La Table is giving away a 14 inch Stainless Steel Skillet to one lucky reader of JoyOfKosher.com. Pam is also giving that same lucky reader a copy of her Passover a Kosher Collection Cookbook. In order to qualify please leave a comment telling us what your favorite kitchen tool is and why. [Contest open to US Residents only. Winner will be picked at random on Wednesday April 13 2011 at 9am.]