Cooking Without Crepe Pans and Other Expensive Kitchen Tools
I like kitchen gadgets as much as the next girl, but I just can’t justify splurging on a crepe pan (or other tool) that I’ll use maybe once a month, at the most. So which kitchen utensils can do double duty and pick up for that missing crepe pan? I know these are just a few examples — please add yours in the comments!
Skip the garlic peeler. $9.00 for a garlic peeler? I don’t think so! To remove that papery skin on a clove of garlic, just take a wide knife and place the flat of the blade on the clove. Give the knife a sharp whack. The clove will break open and you’ll be able to remove the skin easily.
Crepes without the crepe pan. I’ll be the first to admit that cooking crepes isn’t easy, and a good crepe pan can make it easier. But what is a good crepe pan? They’re small griddle, sometimes with a deeper lip. As long as you have a good non-stick griddle, you have a big crepe pan. Same goes if you have an electric griddle, which I’ve heard can make the crepe process even easier. I haven’t tried an electric griddle out myself, though.
The all-in-one sifter-colander-strainer! What do sifters, colanders and strainers have in common? They’re a way to carry around a bunch of holes. I keep just one hole-y instrument in my kitchen: an 8-inch strainer. I sift flour by taping the strainer over a bowl, drain pasta and strain anything that comes along.
Potato mashers. I hate mashing potatoes by hand. My grandmother doesn’t even make her mashed potatoes with a hand masher. I have a mixer that handles well-boiled potatoes admirably well.
Lettuce knives, bagel slicers and other sharp implements. I made it through college and living in my first apartment with exactly one kitchen knife and one steak knife. I’m not advocating that level of kitchen austerity, but it convinced me that I don’t need specialized cutting knives for every single ingredient. I have a good set of knives and generally avoid specialized cutting instruments. The one exception: the pizza cutter. I think that every baker needs one! I have used my pizza cutter for all manner of unusual purposes — it’s the key to cutting homemade marshmallows.
Variations on the corkscrew theme. I like the corkscrews with the two levers that look something like rabbit ears. They’re a bit upscale from the twisty bit of metal I have on my pocket knife, and they’re under ten bucks just about everywhere. I actually got mine for free, when my step-dad upgraded to a $50 Rabbit Corkscrew that happens to include a foil cutter. He was a little sad, though — he had really wanted the $150 Screwpull Satin Wine Opener.