Monday, September 17, 2007

Nicolette's 1st sharpening


So I got my knives back Friday and they are nice and sharp once again. Looks to me though like that's an overly acute bevel they put on Nicolette's heel, and the return seems a bit more rounded than before. I'm not complaining. Should I be?

My family surprised me by buying me that 2nd chef's knife that I needed! So Nicolette now has a twin but I haven't named her yet. Suggestions?

Call me crazy but I've been looking into getting names etched onto the blades. I actually thought of engraving at first but worried about food residue in the grooves. Been doing some research on electroplating. I think maybe Jep sensei & I will MacGyver this project hehehe.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Tools of the trade Part 2

I am finally getting my knives back tomorrow. I brought Nicolette (yes, I named my chef's knife hehehe) and two other knives to Zwilling Henckels (SM Megamall 5th level) Friday last week to have them sharpened. I was told to wait two weeks for them (a long time to be without my knives!) but thankfully they're ready for pick-up.


Over the past few weeks I've been acquiring new tools to add to my chef's kit: Heat-resistant (600°) silicone spatulas by Oxo. Silicone baking mats by KitchenAid. Digital instant-read thermometer by Polder. Grater/zester by Microplane. Tourne knife by Zwilling Henckels. And another set of Edge-Guards for the second set of knives which I have yet to buy. Thanks to Ate Sandy, and to Jep for getting me the stuff from the States.


The other day Steph & I were at Japan Home Center (Robinson's Galleria 3rd level) aka the 88-Peso Store and was pleased to find they were having a sale: about a third of the items were priced at only PhP55.00! I immediately went for the kitchen stuff: flexible knife mats, el-cheapo sauce pans, kitchen shears, and so on. Looking at the labels though, Steph pointed out that a lot of them were marked "Made in China". Now I don't mean to generalize, but with all the recent controversy about lead content in chinese-made products I've gotten a bit wary of them, especially if said items are going to be used on food. I sadly put the items back on the shelves. I did buy the 3-piece level set (line, torpedo and and mini) for my other toolbox. An aside: an item I have yet to buy is a handheld blowtorch, and it would belong equally in my chef's toolbox and my handyman's toolbox hehehe.


when I got home I checked the gear my friends had bought me in the States. Polder has their stuff manufactured in China. So do Oxo and KitchenAid. What's a chef to do? Ah well, I trust these brands have good quality control.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Tools of the trade

"To a chef, there is nothing more important than his knife. It is not only an extension of his hands, it is an extension of his very personality. The knife is a chef’s paintbrush."


Everyone knows knives are dangerous things, but knives need protecting, too. Blades can go dull from getting knocked around in storage. I wanted to get edge guards: available anywhere - and el cheapo! - in the States, but they weren't available here. I wasn't very happy with the protection my knives were getting from our standard-school-issue chef's kit. If the kit happened to tip the wrong way while slung by its shoulder strap, the knives would slip out of their pockets and knock against each other. On one occasion, walking in the mall, Steph frantically pointed out that my knife's blade was sticking out of the kit! It could've sliced somebody's thigh open! I had to do something about it.

Cue MacGyver music... Read the rest of this post...

"To a chef, there is nothing more important than his knife. It is not only an extension of his hands, it is an extension of his very personality. The knife is a chef’s paintbrush."


Everyone knows knives are dangerous things, but knives need protecting, too. Blades can go dull from getting knocked around in storage. I wanted to get edge guards: available anywhere - and el cheapo! - in the States, but they weren't available here. I wasn't very happy with the protection my knives were getting from our standard-school-issue chef's kit. If the kit happened to tip the wrong way while slung by its shoulder strap, the knives would slip out of their pockets and knock against each other. On one occassion, walking in the mall, Steph frantically pointed out that my knife's balde was sticking out of the kit! It could've sliced somebody's thigh open!

Solution: makeshift edge guards made from inexpensive plastic folder spines (or whatever you call those things you slide onto file folders to secure the contents). I don't have to describe how I did this. You get the picture. My makeshift edge guards worked ok; they protected both blade and person from damage. They couldn't stay on the blade all that well though, and the curved edge of the 8" chef's knife posed a problem. I attempted to curve a long piece of the plastic folder thing by heating it on the stove but it wasn't the right kind of plastic, and wouldn't shape well. I had to use two segments. Wasn't crazy about the looks but it served its purpose.

Next, I had to customize my kit. All the solutions I came up with involved sewing (not my strong suit hehehe). I considered individual retaining straps for each knife handle sewn onto the kit's body. I considered retaining elastic loops sewn onto each pocket's edge. Finally Mama suggested one long loop that I could wind around each knife handle. I went for this idea because it involved the least amount of sewing hehehe. In the end though it worked beautifully!









And then a friend gave me a couple of edge guards. Oh yeah!



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Friday, February 02, 2007

Remodeling

MacGuyver's Kitchen has seen more MacGuyver out of me recently than it used to. Or I should say a different kind of MacGuyver. I've always tried to bring as much creativity resourcefulness into the kitchen (anybody remember spaghetti in Lipa?) -- the same creativity and resourcefulness that I try to bring to bear whether my current project is food, home repairs, electrical, telephone or cable TV wiring, lighting & sound design and whatnot. The past two months, because we've been remodeling the house I've been less involved with cooking and more occupied with everything else. Fettuccine, rigatoni, penne, fusilli and caserecce, olive oil and parmesan gave way to tekscrews, U-bolts, uPVC pipes, THHN wires, enamel paints and red oxide primer.


Sometimes I have a little fun with both worlds. That's me cracking chestnuts open with a pair of slip-joint pliers last Christmas eve hehehe.

nutcracker


Now that the bulk of the work is done I'm ready to cook again. I've been doing occasional test runs in the new kitchen, and acquainting myself with the new layout. The other week I made a simple quattro formaggio pasta (for the curious, it was edam, parmesan, romano, and blue cheese (not gorgonzola--I wish!)) and last week I made chicken provençal (thanks again for the herbes de provençe, Margie!) and polenta.

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