Looking for advice on setting up my kitchen

Discussion in 'Cooking Equipment Reviews' started by bluefrog87, Dec 21, 2015.

  1. bluefrog87

    bluefrog87

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    I've been working on setting up my kitchen post college student. I am part of the clueless generation that never had any sort of good home economics course. They cut it out of my high school for budget reasons and my husband had the bad home economics which was make a cake from a box version. I learned how to cook a lot of things from my grandmother but she can't help me with this. My mother says she doesn't have a clue about this and is a self admitted bad cook. I'm trying to go off my grandmother's kitchen but I'm having to do it from a very old memory. I'm doing this over the course of months. My cooking style is mostly asian (mostly korean and japanese). german, irish and american food with a lot of baking. I know this sounds like an odd combo but this is how the cards fell with where I lived and how I grew up. I bake bread bi weekly. Also bagels, cakes, frosting and other things.

    My biggest issue is trying to figure out what I need on utensils. I'm at the point where I don't want to do this again for a very long time 

    My blender is in it's final stages of life. It fought valiantly for a cheap blender but it's no longer doing basic blender task. I'm thinking Vitamix 7500 will be a massive upgrade and the right one that hits most the check boxes. My goal is basic but really good blender with no touch pad. Pulse is important to me because i have recipes that call for it. I want it made in the US with a good warranty and reputation. Would the Vitamix 7500 in black be a good blender for me?

    I have a kitchenaid 6 qt stand mixer. I'm thinking about getting the food processor attachment and food grinder. Food grinder because I like hamburgers, meat loaf and tacos and other recipes that require ground meat. My grocery store is not the best on ground meat but decent for others like chuck. It seems like they took the worst of the worst on the cuts I want and turned it into ground beef. Food processor attachment because it does help on large prep days but I don't want it on the counter or taking up alot of storage space. The last item i'm thinking about is a second mixing bowl. Does anyone have any positive or negative reviews on these items. Are there any other attachment you would recommend?

    This is the part where I feel really lost... Utensils.... I'm somewhat clueless

    Going off what my grandmother had from absolute memory. General utensils everyone need are small and large mesh colander, wide range of wooden spoons (slotted / non slotted various shapes and  sizes), whisk both flat and ballon, tongs (12 in?), some sort of spatula, some sort of turning spatula, ice cream scoop. garlic press, grater, spice grater, soup ladle, pasta fork, vegetable peeler, measuring cups and spoons, food mill, potato masher, apple corer, mortar and pestle, can openers, scale, mixing bowls, a  pastry brush, a basting brush, a citrus juicer (reamer?), board scrapper, pastry blender, pie bird, melon baller, rolling pin, and thermometers (oven and meat?). 

    I don't even know where to go to get the nice versions of these. I don't want to try and find these again. The walmart specials are really starting to fail me. I want to avoid made in china (or similar country with a poor quality manufacturing reputation) where possible. I really appreciate any and all advice on how to obtain nice versions of these items. 

    I appreciate any help or advice given.
     
  2. chefwriter

    chefwriter

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    Much depends on where you live and how close a restaurant supply store is located. That would be the best place to buy what you need.  Places like Sur La Table sell good quality merchandise but are often overpriced. 

    I think for much of personal, at home cooking, you find out what you need by cooking. Certainly some items are universal like bowls, strainers and a scale but items like a garlic press can end up cluttering the kitchen drawer-useful for some people but not others.

    Target, Boscovs, Macys and other department stores also carry perfectly useable kitchen ware. Comparing items by handling them in store can help you recognize a well made product vs the cheap version. 

    Buying in advance of knowing what you need can cause you to waste money. So don't buy a bunch of stuff and then figure out a use for it. I have several pairs of tongs I use all the time.  A friend who enjoys cooking has none and doesn't see the need. He has a different style in the kitchen and makes perfectly fine food. 
     
  3. neworleanscookj

    neworleanscookj

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    My home kitchen is quite small so if I dont use something in a couple months I usually give it to someone who thinks are going to use it but don't either lol.

    Essentials, first off a decent chefs knife, steel and paring knife, preferably 2 boards of different sizes. Heavy bottomed stainless saute pan and sautior with glass lids, cast iron skillet, nonstick pan, sauce pan and pot. Several types of cooking spoons by material and functionality, spatula, whisk, ladle, tongs, spider, can opener, grater, peeler brush. Measuring cups and spoons though I rarely use them. Mixing bowls, colander, strainer. Sheet pan, possibly hotel pans... PILFERED KITCHEN TOWELS!

    Outside of that everything else is just either icing on the cake or some piece of junk in the way.

    There are a few things I'd like to get such as a wok, mortar and pestle or spice grinder but even that would clutter my storage situation. Never enjoyed baking save for bread but if I tryed to knead dough with my available counter space it would take a week to clean lol.

    My advice in general for utensils is not to buy unitaskers, and to buy things that are generally middle of the road rather than one extreme or the other. Good luck :)
     
  4. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    The Kitchenaid Food Processor seems underpowered and more work than it saves. Watching Youtube reviews, it seems jam prone, slow and just inadequate.  Note the slow food feed rate, the small size of the feed tube, the slow speed of the blade spin and so on. Seems really limited compared to the dedicated device.  I don't think it saves you much storage over the dedicated device either. 

    I have the grinder. It too is slow and best with 4 hands, particularly if you're trying to stuff sausage casing. It's OK if your volume need is on the low side. 

    Unless you see a specific need where both mixing bowls are in use, I wouldn't get a second. The bowl cleans quickly and easily. 

    I hear good things about the pasta rolling attachment. 
     
  5. bluefrog87

    bluefrog87

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     I agree with your assessment of William Sonoma and sur la table. I've been avoiding there unless my military discount is viable. I get a discount 10% discount (stacking with sales and coupons) at William Sonoma which can (not always) make it cheaper than Target on things like kitchenaid and other things. I know this is usually not the case for most but I appreciate this discount greatly.

     I live in Dallas, Tx and I haven't found a restaurant supply store I'm fond of. The only thing close I've found is a Japanese fish market and sushi supply store. I've never heard of Boscovs and I'll have to check them out. I avoid target because they aren't that great in my area to put it kindly.

     My main sources have been amazon.com, cutlery and more, Japanese knife imports (for regular chef's knife, santoku for occasional space issues, and petty), and le creuset outlet specials but they don't seem like good spots for utensils. I think i'm going review and cull my list a few times. The definite ones are variety wood spoons and tongs. These are the items I keep going to in the back of my mind and think "I wish I had this" more than once in a week.
    I'm not fond of kneading dough. I like all the other aspects. That's why kitchenaid stand mixer with dough hook and I are such good friends. I don't think it's possible to love an appliance more than I love that mixer. I have most of knives, the pots and pans you described. The one exception is paring knife but I have a 5 in petty knife instead. I got used to doing all my paring work (to include intricate fruit carving like apple turtles) with a really bad 8 in chef's knife so using a petty knife as a paring knife is a breeze.  That and the paring knife feels awkward in comparison to the petty. Of course this must sound incredibly weird (or like a really bad cut-throat kitchen sabotage) but it works for me. I've been trying to avoid things like the "pineapple slicer," or "avocado tool." I have a couple but I use those often, like rice cooker or toaster I use about 5 days a week.

    The only pot on my wishlist is something called a "goose pot." It's basically a 15 qt oval dutch oven that has a wide range of uses that I can see my self using a couple times a year. My grandmother roasted her turkey in one and then would use it to make soups, chilli, brisket and etc. I got her 5.5 qt le creuset dutch oven (which is the work horse of my kitchen) but wish I got the le creuset goose pot too.
    I really appreciate this review of it. I think with this killed any remaining desire to get the kitchenaid food processor. The first reason is because I haven't used one in a long time and rarely miss it. The times I do miss it are like for carrot cake, large amounts of cheese grating or thanksgiving dinner. The second reason is I hear mixed reviews. Third this might be an appliance I need to go on the cheaper side because I won't use it often. I'm thinking maybe well reviewed $30 food processor could also really fit my needs and usage a lot better.

    For the food grinder my volume is 1/2-1 pound range (small quantities of ground meat). The average being more the lesser. It will probably be used with me and my husband. The sausage stuffer might be something I pass on unless I get it for free. I just don't see an easy way of getting the sausage making supplies (veggie or kosher).

    I'm interested in the pasta rolling and other pasta attachments but I'm trying to think when I'll use them and other considerations. I might get the pasta stuff instead of the food processor. My husband and I eat a lot of pasta (mostly the very american style ones like macaroni and cheese, and spaghetti with meatballs) 

    I really do appreciate any and all feedback. I really appreciate any and all comments. They are very helpful to me to make sure I don't make a huge mistake. I'm gonna think about this for about 2 months or so before I do anything. My little list will get shorter and more precise as I go thru it.
     
  6. mojak

    mojak

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    Did you know you can purchase a reverbished Vitamix 7500 for several hundred dollars less than new.
    I've had mine for 5 years with no problems of any kind....Google it.

    Mike
     
  7. bluefrog87

    bluefrog87

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  8. neworleanscookj

    neworleanscookj

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    Appliances like a rice cooker or toaster are always a welcome addition to my kitchen, although they occupy the corner of my counter in a very odd fashion.

    My crockpot is atop the toaster oven which is atop the microwave which is next to the toaster. I dont run any of these appliances in that configuration, but if they were all side by side I'd have literally zero space for prep work, or a board, or mise, ect.

    The things I try to avoid are small things that would clutter my storage where by the the time I get to something I need, my caramelized onions are scorched, soup is boiling over, and the bread under the broiler is on fire. Streamlining things for efficiency is the main thing, but if you have the storage for niche items for baking or pasta making or grinding meat I say go for it. There are many projects I want to pull off at home that I've done in a commercial kitchen, just cant do it in 100ish sq ft ;)
     
  9. bluefrog87

    bluefrog87

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    I actually thinking about doing this. I'm a penny pincher at heart.
    The small things is where I'm worried. Garlic press sounds nice but right now it's the first thing on the chopping block for the list. I'm going thru every recipe and trying to see if I have at least more than 3 recipes that call for it or if there are definite times I would use it

    My kitchen is a poorly laid out 1950s kitchen.   
     
  10. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    I bought a few hand crank can openers for the Y2K apocalypse and have kept 2 in rotation ever since.

    Fits in the drawer and I don't have to think twice before tossing at the first sign of rust/funk.

    My only indulgence lol.

    mimi
     
  11. cerise

    cerise Banned

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    Welcome to CT. Since you are fairly new to cooking, my advice is to hold off on purchasing more cooking tools.Sounds like you already have duplicates in multiple sizes.

    I would take some time, and focus on cooking skills. Everything else will fall into place re what you need for your kitchen.

    I use a colander quite often. Mine is large, metal, and takes up too much space. Recently I saw a silicone collapsible colander/strainer that takes up very little space, can withstand high temps in boiling water etc., even the handle folds up. Still thinking on it.

    My suggestion is, to set up your kitchen with gear that best meets your cooking needs. May the cooking force be with you.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2015
  12. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Have you ever checked out your local ValuVillage or thrift stores for stuff? Not electric items, but for decent and cheeeeep pots,pans, gadgets, and crockery
     
  13. cerise

    cerise Banned

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    Good ideas. Check out Ebay, as well.
     
  14. annieskitchen

    annieskitchen

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    I love my Kitchenaid mixer and find it to be OK for my home kitchen. I have the grinder attachment, dough hook, juicer attachment.

    I use the grinder to grind turkey breast for turkey sausage patties. It goes fast as I am not stuffing casings.

    A non-digital crock pot is used in the traditional manner and as sous-vide equipment. I frequently use the crock pot for effortlessly making ghee, too.

    A pressure canner for canning stock/soup from bones.

    A dehydrator to prevent waste when there is too much of anything that will go bad before it can all be used (mushrooms, green onions, celery, parsley, etc),

    Food saver (vacuum packaging)

    An electric knife sharpener

    Cast iron pan for finishing meats (after sous vide treatment)

    Instant read thermometer

    Food processer

    Bullet blender

    Blender

    Spice grinder

    Digital kitchen scale

    Plus all of the small, everyday things such as measuring cups and spoons, spatulas, etc. etc.
     
  15. mojak

    mojak

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    Wow Annie!
    I thought I had a lot of kitchen appliances! You've got me beat by a wide margin! Now I won't feel so bad when my Girlfriend gets on me about it. LOL!
     
  16. annieskitchen

    annieskitchen

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    ;)

    I forgot the meat slicer and microwave egg boiler. :)
     
  17. cerise

    cerise Banned

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  18. cerise

    cerise Banned

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    One of the gadgets that I enjoy (and costs next to nothing), is my wonton maker. It crimps and cuts the dough or wonton wrappers perfectly, and you can use a variety of fillings, (depending on the size), i.e. dumplings/wontons/goyoza, calzone, pierogy, meat pies - or whatever you have on hand.


    I have been tempted to buy this all-in-one dumpling maker, but it's a little pricey. You place the wrapper and filling into the gadget, crank the handle, and out comes the wonton.


     
  19. annieskitchen

    annieskitchen

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    Bass-o-matic! Hilarious!
     
  20. loomchick

    loomchick

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    I have been able to purchase some really amazing things at thrift stores . . . casserole dishes, skillets, crystal, china, serving dishes, and more.  Even some kitchen knives that allowed me to practice my sharpening skills and serve as back-ups for my better knives.  The other thing I think thrift stores are good for is to see what people get rid of.  These are often the single-purpose gadgets that sound like a good idea (or gift), but turn into something that just takes up space.