Tools of the Trade

In every issue of Evansville Living, columnist Eli Haddix entices readers with a new recipe. For this edition of Flavors, he reveals the top five tools he uses to create a culinary masterpiece. “My list is based on my belief that, given these five things, I can make a meal with 10 times more efficiency and precision than I would be able to without them,” Haddix says. “I also subscribe to the Alton Brown school of thought that if a gadget only can do one thing, I don’t need it. I need things that are usable for multiple functions.”

Stand Mixer: Preferably of the KitchenAid variety, this is a must-have when baking and also is helpful with other tasks. With all the attachments, a stand mixer can make mass amounts of slicing, grating, and whisking take much less prep time. Less time prepping means more time to eat. Another bonus: A stand mixer also can make ice cream.

Microplane Grater: If you’ve ever sliced your knuckle while using a box grater, you understand the appeal of a microplane grater: a long, single-surface tool with a handle. This gadget aids in grating fresh spices, citrus fruit zest, and hard cheeses such as Parmesan.

Immersion Blender: Also known as a stick blender or hand blender, but not to be confused with a hand mixer (for whipping batter), the immersion blender is wonderful for creamy soups and perfect sauces. By pureeing and incorporating all ingredients at the same time, it allows you to cook multiple ingredients into your sauces without worrying if the chunks will detract from the presentation.

Utility Knife: With a four- to five-inch serrated blade, this knife gets its name from the fact that it is utilitarian in nature. It works as a bread knife, a filet knife, a citrus fruit slicer, etc.

Santoku or Chef Knife: It doesn’t matter which you own, and stylistically, there isn’t much difference. I prefer the santoku variety for slicing, chopping, or trimming.

View an archive of Haddix’s recipes.

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