At the moment, I am avoiding doing the dishes. I forgot to run the dishwasher last night, and then again this morning, and after running around all day, I came home to find a dishwasher full of dirty dishes (you don't ever do that, do you?). Ugh. Now the dinner dishes await me.
Why not blog instead?
I have been meaning to have a chat with you about cutlery. Sometime during the summer I ran across a survey on a favorite food blog (can't remember now which one) and the question that was posed was (more or less): Which kitchen item could you not live without? a) food processor, b) Kitchen Aid mixer, c) knives, d) immersion blender. Prior to receiving a really nice knife from my brother this year for my birthday I would probably have said b) Kitchen Aid mixer. But after using a really good quality knife for several months, I truly can not imagine living without it. While I use my mixer almost every day, and I use the food processor at least once a week, I absolutely use my knife at least once a day and often much more. I can not imagine making a meal without it. If you do not currently have one really good knife, please put it on your Christmas list. You deserve it.
The knife my brother bought me is a 7-inch Henckels Santoku (isn't he a nice brother?). It was not cheap, but then it's not as expensive as good knives can be. It fits my hand well, and I have small hands, so it would likely fit most women's hands. It's very sharp, and I sharpen it about once a week (we'll talk sharpeners in a minute). I have, a few times, cut myself on the lower edge (the sharp part sort of comes around the bottom and I've just nicked myself). But, by and large (and I know you've heard this before) you are less likely to cut yourself with a really sharp knife than a dull one. Partly that's because you are more careful. But mostly it's because you don't have to work so hard to cut. This knife slices onions like a dream, and cuts through tomatoes like butter. It has no trouble with tough skins, like those you find on peppers, and it's long enough that I can cut across a couple of zucchinis at once and cutting potatoes or other large objects is never a problem.
While this magnetic strip is not a necessity in the kitchen, I love the space it has freed in my drawer. Plus the kids don't accidentally reach in and grab something sharp.
Now, the cutting board is another issue. I used to use glass and acrylic, but I suspect I was dulling my knives by using them. My husband bought me a wooden cutting board (pictured above and sort of like this one) for my birthday (it was quite the kitchen birthday) and it's such a great kitchen tool -- I never even put it away. It's large -- 16 x 20 -- and I just leave it on the island all the time. It has little rubber grippers at the corners, so it doesn't slide around. I do have a "veggies only" rule for the wood, however. I don't use it for meat at all -- not even cooked meat. I have a couple of smaller wooden boards that I use exclusively for bread, too.
The last item I want to chat about is a knife sharpener. Most cooks' issues with knives are related to sharpening. Even a good knife gets dull and needs sharpened (I sharpen about once a week). My brother (he really knows his knives) recommended this AccuSharp knife sharpener and for the price (less than $10 on Amazon) you'll never have to buy another sharpener. Just four or five swipes along the edge and it's sharp as new. It will take care of even old knives (just follow the directions).
Dinner prep used to be a pain for me. I would dread chopping onions, celery, peppers, potatoes, but now it takes me a fraction of the time and it's a pleasurable chore. Of course, a nice glass of red while I'm chopping never hurts either.