Posted by: njbrown | October 5, 2009

The tools of the trade

October 5, 2009

The lovely thing about returning to cooking is that I am able to replace old equipment with new.  Like so many other things, almost forty years has brought major improvements in kitchen implements.  Today I bought an instant-read thermometer for meat, and a much sturdier hand-held grater that makes grating orange and lemon rind a dream.  I never hoped it could be so easy!  On our trip to New England, we stopped at an outlet mall, and I bought a hand mixer to replace the wedding gift one from thirty-seven years ago, and can’t wait to use it.  It is a Cuisinart, and the beaters have no central shaft so they should be much easier to clean.  I also bought wonderful, heavy baking sheets and cake pans.  Last year, I bought new Wolfgang Puck stainless steel pots with glass lids, and really enjoy being able to see what is cooking.  Fortunately, I did not give away all of my enameled cast iron cookware.  I still have the orange Le Creuset casserole that Julie and Julia used, and expect to use it for the rest of my life.  I also had the good sense to keep my knives.  As I have gone into cooking stores in the last few months, I have been stunned by the prices of Le Crueset and Henckels today.  Cooking is a serious investment.

I am a fan of mysteries, and mysteries that combine cooking and sleuthing are favorites.  Diane Mott Davidson’s character is always whipping up something when under stress, and her chocolate cherry cookies that I read about some years ago have stayed in my mind.  Today, to use my new, gleaming stainless bowl for my stand mixer and my new baking sheets, I decided to replicate them, although I’ve lost track of which mystery the recipe is in.  I resorted to the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, and modified a recipe from it, using dried cranberries and pecans.  Again, I used
Ghirardelli chocolate chips, and after using two cups plus 2 ounces of unsweetened chocolate, I found the recipe too chocolaty even for me.  (That’s twice in a couple of weeks.)  Perhaps old age is changing my palate.  If I do them again, I will omit the second cup of chocolate chips.  The new baking sheets were wonderful, and all of the cookies slid off without a problem.  Having the right utensils really makes this fun!  Wish I didn’t have to go to work tomorrow…




  1. StarryGift | Wedding gifts and collectibles of Chinese and Western styles…

    Nice post. Thanks for sharing….

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