It comes as no shock to anyone that I am an amateur when it comes to the culinary arts. Going to school two miles down the road from the Culinary Institute of America and occasionally seeing a commercial for Le Cordon Bleu College does not a gourmet chef make. So it makes sense that I am a stranger to many of the tools used in making delicious fancy-shmancy meals. In fact, until recently, I believed a mandoline was a stringed instrument and that the scissors in the knife block were for arts and crafts not shearing poultry (ick!).
I came across this great infographic that illustrates the many, many culinary tools that exist. Click on the picture for a link to the site and a better look at the details. Instead of listing all of the below objects that I have NEVER used, I will let you try to guess which of them fall in this category. HINT: The answers includes about 98% of the featured tools.
But thanks to pinterest and the wide array of recipe resources available on the net, (do people still say “net”? They should.) I have been trying to widen my knowledge of the subject. Most recently, I’ve been stumbling upon a lot of recipes that call for a food processor. I have yet to make the plunge into the world of food-processor ownership but as of late I have been teetering on the edge of jumping.
One recipe of which I’ve seen many variations on the net (I’m bringing it back!) is hummus. It seems easy enough, right?Toss chickpeas, tahini something or other, garlic, lemon, etc. into a food processor and voila!
This evening, after taking a conditioning class that had me thinking I’d stepped back in time into the 1980s (think calisthenics, grapevines and a lot of clapping) I had worked myself up quite the appetite. And tonight, I wanted hummus. I knew I didn’t have any in the fridge because I had stopped buying it a few months ago after burning myself out following a month-long hummus binge. But I knew I did posess the following ingredients:
Leftover roasted eggplant
So, I decided to throw it all in my food processor and whip me up a batch of garbanzo goodness. What’s that you say? I don’t have a food processor. Au contraire, mon amis, (that’s french chef for: “think again, buster”). I did what I do best, not having the tools necessary to accomplish a task…I improvised. I had seen the following hummus preparation trick just once before but I thought I’d give it a shot.
I put my ingredients into a plastic sandwich bag and I got a-mushing. I kneaded the heck out of those beans and eggplant, smooshing (I believe that is a culinary term possibly coined by Swedish Chef but don’t quote me on that) and pinching, knuckling, and squeezing the combination into submission.
Maybe it was not the most efficient technique but it did have the cathartic effect of palming a stress ball or popping bubble wrap so score 1 for me.
I cut up some red peppers, (with a steak knife, mind you) and dipped away.
The outcome was such that it made me question my need for an actual food processor. Then I thought about trying the same method with a butternut squash soup recipe and I re-sided with my pro-processor stance.
For now, though, until I get better acquainted with the finer side of food preparation, I think I’ll keep on keepin’ on with my improvisational methods and start small with something like say, a melon baller, slotted spatula or if I’m feeling particularly adventurous, an egg timer!