On this page are some of my favorite things in and about my kitchen.
Pasta Drying Rack (clothes rack)
If you like making your own fresh pasta, then you’ve probably run across the problem with where to hang the pasta so it doesn’t stick together as you are making it. There are a whole bunch of fancy (and expensive) pasta drying racks out there, but I settled on something else to get the job done. I drafted a clothes drying rack. Does the same job. Plus, I find it entertaining. Oh, I think it probably goes without saying that I also really love my KitchenAid pasta attachments!
my KitchenAid mixer!
I grew up in a house with a stand mixer (ancient, but functional), so I never had to rough it with a wooden spoon the way some folks have. However, in college I was kitchenless for two years so I used to invite myself over to my friends’ apartment (thanks guys!) and usurp their kitchen. However, they didn’t have a mixer. I ended up buying them a hand mixer, because, by the time I got to making sugar cookies, I was well over the hand mixing. And now, as much as a handmixer can get the job done in a scratch, there’s nothing like a good stand mixer. My KitchenAid is a 5 quart lift mixer in a sassy fire engine red. I love the red. Her name is Roxy (yes, as in Roxy Hart) and she definitely does a lot of my heavy work when it comes to baking and making pasta. In the immortal words of Doctor Who: Hello Sexy!
When you have a whole mess of strawberries to get through, a strawberry huller is worth its weight in gold. I got mine at Crate and Barrel, but there are many varieties out there. Instead of slicing off a large portion of the berry or using a paring knife to circle around the hull, you just twist off the leaves, then push the little green button, insert the grabby blade thingies, release the button, twist and pull. It sounds more complex than it actually is. Then you are left with a nicely hulled strawberry you can pop in your mouth or slice up to your heart’s content. It’s just one of those gadgets that are completely unnecessary, yet fill me with joy.
Ah the digital scale. So crucial for so many things. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely have my moments, of, “well, I’ll just pour this in here for a bit. measuring is for wusses.” However, that’s just not an effective approach to certain things. The essential example of that is baking. Baking involves a lot of science with ratios and chemical reactions and stuff. The really cool thing is that other people have already figured out all of that stuff for you. You just have to follow the recipe. But here’s the thing, is your flour packed as heavily as mine? Is that tablespoon of salt rounded or scant? There’s a lot of variation in the standard way we measure things. A lot of the time this isn’t really an issue, but when making things like bread they become really important. It’s also great for using cookbooks that aren’t American. England, for example, measures things in grams and liters. There’s some tasty stuff out there in British cookbooks that you might want to make, but don’t know how to convert the recipes. A digital scale, my friend. do it.
When you’ve got a lot of nuts to chop up and you’re not feeling up to all the knife work, this is a great alternative. Why not just use a food processor if you have one? Well, you can, just be careful not to process the nuts too much if you want them chopped rather than powder. This particular grinder has the option to grind fine or rough depending on which way you turn the crank. It does a great job for grinding nuts up for candy or breads and whatnot.