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Heatproof Silicone Spatulas

I still love my wooden spoons, but honestly I reach for silicone spatulas much more often these days. Silicone spatulas are versatile. It is worth owning a few in different sizes and shapes, because they can scrape out containers with various contours (even blender jars), mix ingredients for baking, and stir hot ingredients. They are also …

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Mandoline – Preferably an Inexpensive Japanese Model

Benriner Japanese Mandoline

A mandoline is simply a sharp blade mounted on a flat platform, with adjustable screws to set the depth of cut, allowing you to make thin, consistent slices very quickly. Extra attachments allow for a variety of julienne cuts. The inexpensive Japanese models are just as good as, if not better than, the $100-plus European …

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Microplane – The Grater That Changes Everything

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Microplane graters are one of the greatest kitchen inventions of the late twentieth century. Originally developed as woodworking tools, they are covered with tiny, ultrasharp teeth that make crazy-quick work of grating hard cheese, ginger, citrus zest, nutmeg, and just about anything else you can think of. They come in a variety of shapes and …

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Paring Knife, Bread Knife, Tomato Knife

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Besides your chef’s knife, you’ll want to have a small paring knife and a good serrated bread knife. If you were to add just one more knife, especially for vegetarian cooking, I would make it a “tomato knife,” which is a little larger than a paring knife but serrated to slice easily through the tough …

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Chef’s Knife

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No other kitchen tool is more important or personal than your chef’s knife. Whole books have been written about what makes a great knife. I can’t tell you what knife to buy, because it is a very personal decision that depends most importantly on how it feels in your hand. But I will tell you …

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Sharpening Steel

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You should have a metal or ceramic “steel” that can be used in between sharpenings to keep an edge on your knife. Sliding the edge of your knife against the steel removes any burrs and realigns the cutting edge. A sharp knife is a safer knife, because you don’t have to use excess force that …

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Phyllo Wrapped Feta and Chard with a Citrus and Olive Salad

Phyllo Wrapped Feta and Chard with a Citrus and Olive Salad

One of the really cool things about working at Cafe Flora is the open menu, where any employee can propose seasonal dishes to be added to the quarterly menu, and then a manager’s meeting selects the best ones. The picture above is an item I’ve …

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