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Basic kitchen tools to be a confident cook

November 28, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
What does it take to make great meals and goodies this holiday? For starters, your kitchen should be stocked with the basics.

We have some must-have tools and tips for making delicious dishes that won't break the bank.

I purchased a kitchen processor in the early 1990s and it remains a keeper today. To cook right, the "less is more" theme is pretty common with most sophisticated chefs.

Environmentalists say reduce and recycle. So check your pots and pans and pare down. Put extras in a box for your kid's future apartment or donate them.

To cover the basics, you need one big pot and lid, two sauce pans - medium and small - and a good fry pan or skillet.

The same goes for knives. You don't need so many! You just need one serrated for bread, a slicing knife, a chef's knife and one for paring. You also need a decent pair of kitchen scissors.

Cheap and cheerful is a fun saying, but it's also a smart one when it comes to culinary must-haves and good to ask for during the holiday gift giving season.

You also need a squeegee to clean that counter, plastic cutting board, an oven mitt and a strainer that's good for rinsing produce or draining cooked pasta.

Another must-have are loads of dish towels. Plain white means that it's easy to toss and bleach. They're great for drying hands, wiping plates and counters and keeping your cutting board from slipping.

A cookie sheet is essential, as is a good baking dish for casseroles.

Finally, most chefs say you can never have enough bowls. When it's time to cook, you want everything as the French say, mise en place, which means everything in its place.

To be an organized and confident cook, get everything you need all portioned out and in its place before you start. That way, you know you have all the ingredients and tools so you can make all the right moves to cook that meal.

See photos of basic tools to have in your kitchen.

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