ESSENTIAL KITCHEN cooking/ baking EQUIPMENT revisited…

Today I want to tell you my idea of the best equipment for a kitchen.  You don’t need all the fancy gadgets to be a successful cook and most kitchens don’t have the space to store them so here are my ideas.  Remember that many tools and equipment are versatile and can be used in many ways.
  • A cast iron pan is a MUST! And it MUST be well seasoned.  Cast iron retains the heat AND distributes is evenly.  Chris over at Nibble Me This has a great process for re-seasoning any cast iron that you might have.
  • Large stockpot or two.  I have a 6, 8 and 10 quart that nestle together well.
  • 5-6 quart dutch oven.
  • 1,2,3, AND 4 quart sauce pans.
  • 10 and 12 inch saute pans.
  • 8, 10 and 12 inch skillets.
  • Heavy Wire Racks for cooling.
  • 8 AND 9 inch square and a 9×13 ceramic stoneware baking dishes.
  • Stainless steel cookie sheets.
  • SILPAT baking mats for the cookie sheets.
  • Bundt pan.
  • Loaf pan – I prefer glass or ceramic.
  • Angel Food Cake pan.
  • Deep dish ceramic pie plate.
  • Regular and Texas Muffin pans.
Tomato Bisque

2 tablespoons butter
1 medium Vidalia onion, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped small
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups fresh Roma tomatoes, peeled
4 cups chicken broth
3 or 4 sprigs fresh parsley
5-10 fresh basil leaves
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Sea salt and white pepper to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese for serving

  • Melt butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. 
  • Add chopped onions, carrots, celery and garlic.
  • Cook stirring often until soft, about 8-10 minutes.
  • Add chicken broth and tomatoes, stirring well.
  • Tie herbs together in cheesecloth and drop into the soup. This makes it easy to remove later.
  • Season with sea salt and white pepper to taste.
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer covered for 30 minutes.
  • Remove herbs and discard.
  • Add whipping cream and blend until smooth.
  • Ladle into bowls and top with freshly grated cheese and fresh basil.
Pairs really well with Tuna Melts.
1 large can white albacore tuna packed in water, drained and drained again!
8 sweet pickles, chopped fine
2 green onions, chopped fine
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 hard boiled egg, chilled, peeled and chopped fine
2-4 tablespoons butter
1 slice Muenster cheese
1 slice extra sharp cheese
4 slices frozen potato bread

  • Drain the tuna in a fine mesh sieve and then use a spoon to mash all the water out again! Drying out the tuna is crucial.
  • In a mixing bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  • Chop the sweet pickles and green onions extremely fine.
  • Fold tuna, pickles and onions into Mayonnaise mixture.
  • Chop egg finely and fold into mixture.
  • Melt 2 tablespoons butter on griddle over medium high heat. Add more as necessary to keep from burning.
  • Toast all 4 slices of bread while still frozen*.
  • When butter is melted lay all 4 slices in butter and top 2 slices with muenster and the other 2 slices with the sharp cheddar. Allow them to heat through, melting the cheese.
  • Add the tuna to 2 slices and close them up.
  • Continue cooking until golden on all sides and heated through.

*Using frozen bread makes the bread lighter and more easily toasted golden.