• Favorite Large knives
    Cooks' Tools

    Buying, Caring, and Storing Knives

    As home cooks, our knives are one of the most valuable, instrumental tools in our kitchens.  Buying a cheap set of knives, encased in plastic, which ironically, you would need a knife to open, is just a waste of money.  Knives are the one tool where you get what you pay for.  Invest in  good quality knives, which have durability sharpness and an excellent reputation.  BUYING KNIVES Buying a knife should be very personal.  Brands and designs vary tremendously.  Some cooks like heavy knives, I actually do not, as I do not have a strong grip. Knives can weigh as much as 10-ounces, some as little as 6-ounces. Weight can…

  • Cooks' Tools,  Edible Gardening,  Healthy Eating

    Essential Tool for Garlic Adding Depth to Dishes

    My absolute favorite aroma from the kitchen occurs when I am sauteing butter, onions and garlic. Garlic is one – if not – the most versatile seasoning agent in the food world! A member of the lily family, garlic is a cousin to leeks, chives, onions and shallots. The edible bulb, or “head” grows below the ground.  The bulb consists of sections called cloves, each encased in its own parchment like membrane. Types of Garlic In the United States, there are three major types of garlic; Buying Garlic Fresh garlic is available at your local supermarket year round. Purchase firm, plump bulbs with dry skins.  Avoid heads with soft or…

  • Christmas Food,  Cooks' Tools,  Products,  Reviews

    10 Innovative Gifts for Home Chefs

    As a foodie and lover of kitchen gadgets, I annually compose a list of my favorite gifts for a home chef. Some of these I already own, but some are even on my Christmas wish list. These suggestions are for people like me, who would rather spend money at Williams-Sonoma, than at Loft. Let me know what is on YOUR kitchen wish list by replying at the end of the post. This article contains affiliate links. If you click and purchase, I will receive a few cents for each purchase.    1.ThermoWorks Thermapen Mk4 – The Mk4 takes all the accuracy and speed of the Classic Thermapen and adds a…

  • Cooks' Tools

    7 Important Kitchen Design Tips

    From personal experience of designing my own kitchen, here are 7 Design Tips anyone renovating their existing kitchen or building their dream kitchen, should consider. 1. Do Your Research Before you start the project, make a list of all the things you want in your kitchen. List the types of cabinets you like. Measure the square footage you have to work with. Consider what you like to do in the kitchen. Do you bake? Do you like entertaining? 2. Interview Your Cabinet Maker I considered three cabinet builders before deciding to use Cook’s Construction. I was very comfortable talking with him and even making changes during the process. He was…

  • Cooks' Tools

    Welcome To My Dream Kitchen

    I am finally returning from a month hiatus because my husband and I were moving into our new house, including my strategically designed kitchen. Things were just too crazy for the week leading up to the big move. However, I wanted to share with my fellow foodies how EXCITED I am over my new foodie kitchen. Follow me around and check out a few things I incorporated into the design. Dream Kitchen Video Tour   I created a sketch of what my dream kitchen would look like and this is very close. Thank you to Cook’s Woodworking, Inc. for having patience with me, during the designing process. I changed my mind…

  • Cooks' Tools

    5 Essential Kitchen Shears

    Good quality kitchen shears are essential in any chefs sharp object arsenal. I have 7 different pairs of shears in my kitchen – all different.  Each pair of scissors has a specialty, but can be used in various culinary situations; however, I have narrowed my list to FIVE ESSENTIAL kitchen shears. Top 5 Essential Kitchen Shears Herb Shears               These scissors are great if you like to use fresh herbs, as I do.  With one cut, a small bundle of chives are cut into small, garnish size tidbits. Great for cutting directly over a salad or pasta, instead of having to pick up debris…

  • Chicken,  Cooks' Tools,  Main Course,  Recipes

    Weeknight Chicken Enchilada Meal

    Looking for an easy prep, weeknight meal? Look no further than Chicken Enchiladas. I use the precooked, Perdue southwest chicken, which makes for simple prep work. Using my Pamper Chef chopper to cut up the onion and pepper. I cut the chicken down into bite size portions.  I do use a manual grater for my cheese prep. Do not buy the prep grated cheese, as it is loaded with chemical preservatives to prevent caking.  Buy block cheese and get a little exercise grating it up…it really does not take that long. There…your prep work is DONE. This makes about 4 servings and takes 55 minutes to prep and cook.  …

  • Cooks' Tools,  Dinner Party,  Formal Dinners,  Thanksgiving Dinner

    5 Non-Food Thanksgiving Tips

    I am lucky, I have been invited to my dad’s house for Thanksgiving, which means, I do not have to prepare the traditional meal. However, I hosted a huge family Thanksgiving several years ago. There is more to it, than just cooking a turkey and few trimmings..   I wanted to give you my 5 non-food Thanksgiving tips. Use biodegradable plates, utensils and napkins Just because Thanksgiving is a bit more special than a weekly, family Sunday dinner, does not mean you cannot use disposable items. Beyond the convenience of not washing plates and flatware till Christmas, using disposable plates allows for quick clean up, so you, the hostess, can…

  • Canning & Preserving,  Cooks' Tools,  Edible Gardening,  Pasta,  Recipes

    EASY Freezing For My Summer Garden

    As of today, my garden has rendered a great harvest, more than enough for my husband and I.  I have been doing research and I am trying several methods to “preserve” my summer harvest. All fruits and vegetables have enzymes and bacteria that can destroy the nutrients, change the color and texture of the food.  Blanching is a heat treatment that will destroy these enzymes. My first harvest I tried the blanch then freeze method. Although not difficult, it did take most of an evening to complete the process for all my squash and peppers.  Do not allow the vegetables to sit on the counter more than 24 hours before…

  • Canning & Preserving,  Cooks' Tools,  Edible Gardening,  Reviews

    Free Proper Protein Temperature Chart

    Ok, my memory is not what it used to be. Last night, I am grilling chicken breast and could not remember the proper cook temperature – uggg.  So, I decided to make a user friendly chart for me and my fellow home cooks. [table id=1 /] The best way to test for doneness is using a reliable instant read thermometer.  I highly recommend ThermoWorks Super-Fast Thermapen (Red) Professional Thermocouple Cooking Thermometer The thermapen is reliable and gives an accurate temperature reading in less than 3 seconds.  I own 3 of these.  One of which we use during barbecue competitions, Smokin J’s Barbeque.  You might think the Thermapen is expensive, however, it…