Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Random Kitchen Accessory Reviews

I like shopping in general, so it's no surprise that I enjoy buying kitchen stuff.  I'm wholly convinced that the right tools actually can make food taste better (and definitely makes cooking easier), so I've been enjoying upgrading my kitchen accessories over time.  It definitely helped to get married; I spent a lot of time researching, testing, and getting recommendations from friends who actually know how to cook (Jim), so I was able to outfit my kitchen with all sorts of nice gadgets.  I love everything that I got, but my favorite gifts that I use pretty much everyday and can't live without are my Global knives and Henckel steak knives, my Le Creuset enameled ovens, my Le Creuset stainless steel cookware, my Kitchenaid 7 cup food processor, my John Boos cutting board, the Oster toaster oven (I think this K.'s favorite), and my everyday dishes from Crate and Barrel (another K. choice).  However, I really started cooking a lot after I got married, so I still find that I need to pick up random odds and ends occasionally.

Earlier this week, I went to Bed Bath and Beyond to buy a new dish rack and knife block.  I ended up buying the Simplehuman steel frame dish rack (pictured above) and a Henckels "super" knife block.  I thought $69.99 (before the 20% off Bed Bath and Beyond coupon) for a dish rack was pretty insane, but two of my friends also recommended it so I went with it.  It is quite sleek and nice looking (for a dish rack) and hopefully won't leave rust stains on my nice white dishes.  The high sides are useful for keeping dishes in the rack dry while I'm washing dishes in the sink next to the rack and splashing water around, and the knife block is a great way to keep my nice knives out of the way while they are drying, although I still would hand dry knives that are longer so that the tips don't dull against the bottom.  It also looks like the draining mechanism is quite sophisticated, although I haven't fully put it to the test yet.  I am even excited about the Henckels knife block (I know, strange thing to be excited about); it was only $29.99 and fits all my Global knives and Henckel steak knives and poultry shears perfectly, filling 19 of the 20 slots, and is a really good deal compared to $149.99 for the matching Global knife block which I was about to purchase.  All my knives are nice and secure and easily accessible, as opposed to when they were in their former home, the Kapoosh universal knife block, which was terrible: it was impossible to stick all my knives securely in the block.  I like shopping at Bed Bath and Beyond; they've recently been mailing out a lot of their 20% off coupons so I've been stocking up, and it's great that they never expire.  Things are generally always the cheapest at Bed Bath and Beyond after the 20% coupon, but I always shop around just in case.
I also stopped by Sur La Table yesterday to pick up a new chef's knife for my mom.  I cook a good amount of the time at my mom's place and trying to chop with her dull, small knives has been driving me crazy.  Based on my brother's recommendation as well many chef's recommendations, we bought her a Forschner by Victorinox 8-inch chef's knife.  $29.99 is a great price for a good knife; the comparable Global chef's knife is closer to $100.  I tested the new knife out yesterday prepping a ton of vegetables and today by cutting sashimi.  I still have to get used to gripping it; it is supposed to be held using a "pinch grip" which is not how I usually hold knives.  It was nice and sharp and enabled a decent rocking cutting motion.  I find the handle a little plastic-y feeling and it didn't feel as balanced or solid in my hand as my Global knives, but all in all, not bad for a great price.  I hear they are good at keeping their edge, so we will see!

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