17 November 2007

Killer New Cooking Tools

Well, really, I hope they aren't actually "killer", but I am talking about knives, and spinning blades...

I recently attended a knife skills class, and during the class got to try a slew of different types and brands of knives. I came away very impressed with Shun knives. Great feel, cut briliantly, and the food just falls off - no need for the hokey hollow ground divots, etc. Also, I was able to try the "Ken Onion" Shun knife in particular. This knife has a specially designed bolster/handle area, where your fingers can sit in the proper style. It also rocks really well while cutting. And technically, there is a whole range of Ken Onion knives know, it just seems that this one was the first and thus is what folks refer to as the Ken Onion.

A few weeks later I picked up a Ken Onion, a paring knife, and their cool new serrated "Ultimate utility knife" (I couldn't find this on Shun's site, so the link is to the online store of the place I bought it from). I also took in my Wusthof Grand Prix knifes to be sharpened. These have been great knives, but I actually think I will sell the two cook's knives and paring knife now that I have the Shuns. Eventually I will replace the others as well.

I returned a bit later to pick up my Wusthof's, and low and behold, the Shun rep was there for the day. I talked to him for maybe 10 minutes (I was actually in a hurry at the time). Luckily he clued me in that "diamond fingers" sharpeners, which work rally well on German/stainless steel, shouldn't be used on VG10 steel of Shun knives. I thus got Shun's sharpening steel, which handily has a properly angled bolster on it to help you be certain you are maintaining the proper angle on your edge.

Finally, somewhere in all this, I also picked up a Viking immersion/hand blender. I got a chance to use it for the first time tonight, and WOW, that thing rocks! Made itself worth it in one use. I was making potato leek soup, which needs to get pureed, and previously I had to do this by taking stuff out in batches and putting it in a food processor/blender - a total pain. With the immersion blender, obviously, you just pop the thing in the soup pot, and blend for seconds (it probably took me 20 seconds). This is going to be one nice addition to the kitchen tool chest.

Oh, one note on the Viking vs. others. The Viking is extra powerful and has two speed settings. The first speed setting is what most immersion blenders can dole out, the second is turbo. Also, it's blade guard/bottom area is a nice design that lets the food flow out much better than many of the others that have holes, but where those holes aren't open to the bottom. It also comes with a whisking attachment, and others are available (I got a mini-chopper one with mine due to a current promotion).