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Top 10 Kitchen Tools

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

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For Julie Andrews, it was "raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens." For me, these are a few of my favorite things, in the kitchen, anyway. I go back to them over and over again for most of my tasks.

1. Knives

(c) 2008 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
You don't need the 30-piece knife set you received as a shower gift. There are four basic knives that will get the job done. A 10-inch chef's knife is the workhorse of the kitchen and is good for just about anything but cardboard! A flexible boning knife is what you need for removing meat from a turkey carcass, for instance. A paring knife is used for smaller, more delicate jobs. And a long, serrated knife is essential for cutting breads, cakes, and things that are at risk from crushing when using a conventional knife.
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2. Microplane

(2008) Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
A microplane is like a rasp and is the best tool, in my mind, for everything from grating zest from citrus fruits, to producing a fine shred of chocolate or cheese. It seems to stay perpetually sharp!
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3. Pizza Wheel

(c) 2008 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
A pizza wheel is not only good for pizza, it's perfect for getting the sharp, crisp lines required for "pierogi," strudels, pastry doughs and other applications where using even the sharpest knife could cause stretching and warping. A pizza wheel is essential for gingerbread house making, for example.
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4. Wooden Reamer

(c) 2008 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
A wooden reamer is the perfect tool for quickly extracting the juices from lemons, limes, even oranges and tomatoes or any other juicy fruit. Just cut the item in half horizontally, hold a half over a sieve and twist the reamer.
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5. Scoops

(c) 2008 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com
Scoops in graduating sizes are perfect when consistent sizes are important for presentation. They're great for scooping out cookie dough onto a sheet pan or dumplings into a pot of boiling water.
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6. Spoonula

(c) 2008 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
A silicone Spoonula can withstand the fires of hell (or at least up to 500 degrees) and its curved bowl makes it easier than a flat spatula for scooping food product.
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7. Tongs

(c) 2008 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
I use my tongs for everything and if they're tipped in silicone, they make slippage less likely. I use them to grab cabbage rolls, fry dumplings or meat or any task that requires a good grip.

8. Slotted Spatula

(c) 2008 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
A stainless-steel slotted spatula is terrific for lifting multiple cookies from pans, transferring cakes to presentation plates, removing whole roasts from the pan and leaving the grease behind (that's what the slots are for!). It's a multifunctional tool.
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9. Whisk

(c) 2008 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
I use my stainless-steel whisk for beating eggs and cream, mixing soups, sauces, just about everything.
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10. iSi Cream Whipper

(c) 2008 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
So many Eastern European recipes call for whipped cream as an ingredient or garnish. This tool from iSi cuts down on the whipping time instantly. You just insert a cartridge of nitrous oxide, pour the cream into the cylinder, shake and you have whipped cream! You can even make mousses with it.
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