Japanese Chef’s Knife 101

You may not be aware of it but in the world of professional cooks and chefs there is a continuing debate as to which country makes better kitchen knives. This industry has long been dominated by European companies, most commonly German. However Japan is making a name for itself by manufacturing knives that have clear and distinct qualities over their European counterparts. So what actually makes a Japanese chef’s knife stands out among the rest? Are they really any better than knives made by the established and experienced Western companies?

Most chefs would say that Japanese knives have their own strengths and weaknesses but pretty much the choice depends on which one will feel ‘right’ in the cook’s hands.  And at the end of the day it will come down to personal preference because at the basic level Japanese, German, or French knives can all deliver the kind of excellent performance that seasoned cook’s require.  It’s about the quality of the knife, not the country of origin.

How Is A Japanese Chef’s Knife Different?

Japanese Chef’s KnifeThere are unique and distinct attributes that distinguish Japanese knives over the others and those will be pointed out here. The method used to make Japanese knives is strongly rooted in Japan’s age old traditions and culture and is very much influenced by the techniques used in making the famous samurai sword. Thus a Japanese knife is known for its sharpness and efficiency.

However knives manufactured by Japanese makers differ on the main material used to make the blade. These knives are made using a harder but more lightweight steel with a very acute edge which makes them extremely sharp. On the other hand, those made by European manufacturers use a softer but stronger and heavier steel which makes the blade solid and tough. This makes them more durable and heavy duty. The edges of their blades are thicker but are easier to hone.  European  knives will never be as sharp as a Japanese one, but European knives will hold the sharp edge for far longer.

When it comes to the look and design of Japanese chef’s knives they are traditionally defined by a single-edged blade and rounded handles with no grip marks. The handle of Japanese knives are also smaller compared to Western knives like those made by German companies. These features make the knives more ideal for chopping, dicing, and slicing. However the latest innovations and developments in  Japanese knives are incorporating more Western like styles such as hand grips and double edged blades thus expanding their cutting capabilities.

Japanese Chef’s Knife Top Picks

There are many Japanese kitchen knives to choose from these days, however we believe that the following are the best of the best without going through the trouble of getting a custom made knife.

Global G-2 Chef Knife

Global Chef Knife G-2The Global G-2 chef knife is made using a combination of materials including chromium, molybdenum, vanadium and stainless steel making it strong, lightweight, sharp, stain resistant, and able to maintain its edge for a long period. The blade is hand crafted in Japan and ice tempered in order to allow the blade to keep its edge longer. Chef’s and cooks gave this knife positive reviews for having a special steep grind with a gradual curving edge that makes cutting easier and eliminates the tendency of food ingredients to stick to the blade’s surface.

Another excellent design from the Global chef knife is that the blade and the handle are all made from a single piece of steel. To provide balance, the handle is made hollow and filled with either sand or metal materials.  The handle is also smaller in size when compared to more traditional knives thus making the Global an ideal knife for people with smaller hands.

Shun Classic Knives

This is another great example of an outstanding Japanese knife that provides effortless slicing and dicing with a comfortable and solid hold. The blade of a Shun Classic knife is made extra strong through the use of stainless steel clad with as many as 16 layers of high carbon stainless steel.  This knife’s design displays the beautiful Japanese craftsmanship that has been around for thousands of years.

The Shun Santoku knife for instance is particularly designed to deliver excellent performance when dicing, slicing, mincing and chopping various ingredients. It has a D shape handle made from Pakkawood which fits securely in the user’s hand for a firm and solid hold. This means accidental slipping will be greatly avoided.

Shun classic knives may cost more when compared to other brands, but the excellent quality of this knife means this could very well be the last chef’s knife you ever purchase.  Maybe the beauty of the knife blinds us, but because of its high quality and durability, we like to think of the Shun classic as cost effective, especially when compared to cheap infomercial knives.  Just ask Alton Brown.  The Shun is his go to knife.

Top 5 Brands of Small Kitchen Appliances

Are you looking to buy that new toaster, coffee maker or food processor? It can be an overwhelming process choosing between the many brands of small kitchen appliances that are on the market today. We can help you make sense of it all, by reviewing the Top 5 Brands of Small Kitchen Appliances for you.

Each brand usually had its start with one core small appliance that they became known for and then added other small kitchen appliances to their brand name. Most brands have focused solely on their original core small kitchen appliance product, while updating and reinventing it over the years.

Top 5 Brands of Small Kitchen Appliances

Cuisinart

Cuisinart entered the market in 1973 with their revolutionary food processor which brought the ability to make deluxe meals in less time by speeding up the food prep time. To learn more about how the Cuisinart food processor can save time in the kitchen and is the best food processor for the money, read our food processor review.

Cuisinarts other kitchen products include: toasters, coffee makers, hand mixers, cookware and blenders.

KitchenAid:

KitchenAid was started back in 1919 with their iconic stand mixer which has maintained its original design over the years. KitchenAid stand mixers have been a great help in the kitchen with mixing up cookie dough, kneading dough, and whipping up cream. KitchenAid started adding colour choices to their stand mixers in 1955 to add to the aesthetic appeal.

Dishwashers were added to Kitchen Aid’s product line in 1946 , with gas stoves added in 1955. Since then KitchenAid has added refrigerators and blenders.

Keurig

Keurig was founded in 1998 with its specialty K Cup single serving brewing system. It offers a unique twist on coffee brewing, Keurig has quickly emerged as a leader in the coffee maker industry. With the ability to make a perfect cup of coffee from the many varied flavors to meet anyone’s taste , the Keurig single cup coffee maker is a great choice for the home or the office.

With over 200 different choices of K Cups there literally is something for everyone. Learn more here about the Keurig single cup coffee maker.

Keurig has never strayed from their original product, the single cup coffee maker and have enjoyed great success with their share in the coffee brewing market.

Breville

Breville was formed in 1932 in Australia and started out producing radios and mine detectors for the war. In 1956,with the war over, Breville turned its attention to small appliances for the home. Breville jumped into the huge North American market in 2002 emerging as a leader with its innovation and design of small kitchen appliances.

In the 80+ years Breville has been changing the way we do things in the kitchen with its innovatively designed products. Their product line up includes juicers, toasters and blenders.

DeLonghi

DeLonghi was started in the early 1900′s in a small craftsman’s workshop in Italy. The company grew over time because of their stylish and quality built products that stood the test of time. DeLonghi’s beginnings were with producing portable heaters and air conditioners and over the years have expanded to include coffee makers, cookware, toasters, slow cookers and many more to their product line.

Now Delonghi has earned its place as one of the top small kitchen appliances with its products taking care of just about every area of the kitchen.

Which Brand Do I Choose?

So now that we have narrowed it down to the top 5 brands, which one do you choose? As you can see, these top 5 small kitchen appliances all seem to specialize in one or two products so it really depends on what small kitchen appliance you are looking to purchase. To sum it up:

Guide to Sharpening – A sharp knife is a safe knife

Have you ever heard “A sharp knife is a safe knife”? I don’t know that to be entirely true, I’ve seen some real reckless folks wielding sharp knives, but for most of us, this statement bears true. A dull knife will drag and tug as you cut causing you to vary the pressure you’re putting on the blade. At the most inopportune moment the blade may break free and rapidly and in a less controlled manner, continue cutting through your material and possibly beyond! Late last year I had an occasion to be enjoying my morning Starbuck when an accident occurred. I like to enlarge the vent hole because the manufacturing process they use leaves a “hanging chad” to turn a phrase that partially blocks the airflow. I typically use a pen to enlarge this small hole to let my morning caffeine flow smoother, but on this particular morning I didn’t have a pen handy, but I did have my handy pocket knife. After retrieving it and deploying the blade one-handedly I began to try to poke through the lid. It gave some resistance so I pushed harder. Abruptly it broke through and sliced clean across my opposing thumb. The slice wasn’t bad, didn’t need stitches and I only wore a bandage through the day, however, it was a painful reminder that a properly sharpened edge is much safer.  Being proficient in sharpening your knife is a required skill for self-sufficiency and safety.

How Often?

The first rule of maintaining the edge on a knife is to remember that with normal use, a pocket knife will need to be really sharpened only a few times per year. It’s important to understand the how a blade is sharpened, as well as how the edge is maintained between sharpening. You’ll be maintaining the edge with a honing steel or strop much more than you will actually sharpen it with a stone or file.

Tools Needed:

For the periodic deep sharpening, a sharpening stone is required. You may have heard this called a whetstone, an Arkansas stone, etc. If the blade is extremely dull and abused you may need to use a metal file to work the blade back into a basic shape. You will need coarse grit and fine grit sharpening stones. For most work, a two-sided stone with a coarse side and a fine side will do the trick. For more advanced sharpening, progressive levels of fine-ness may be advisable.

Another basic item required is a honing steel. This is the cylindrical tool you’ve probably seen chefs on television using before they begin chopping. A honing steel can be found anywhere that sells quality whetstones. Think of hardware stores, kitchen supplies stores or specialty knife shops.

Another recommended item is a leather strop. You’ve probably seen barbers (mostly on television these days) run their razor over their leather strop before starting a shave – I’ll explain why a little further on.

These tools are not prohibitively expensive.  The Smith’s Arkansas Tri-Hone above has 3 grades of stone and retails for about $20. The top-of-the-line Henckel’s Sharpening Steel is less than $20 and the hanging leather strop pictured above can be had for about $8. Finally, a lubricant such as 3-in-one oil, mineral oil or a specialty sharpening oil can be used to lubricate the whetstone.

the Sharpening process

Sharpening a knife correctly starts with understanding the geometry of an edge. Folding pocket knives used for every day carry (EDC) have a blade thicker than a kitchen knife and should have a primary and a secondary edge.

For a dual-angle edge, start with a coarse-grit stone. The primary angle should be about 22 degrees. It’s safest to set the stone on a firm surface and work the blade along its length. To position the blade properly lay the blade flat on the stone facing away from you. Now raise the back edge of the blade until it forms an approximate 22 degree angle with the cutting edge still touching the stone. Angle guides can be purchased, but there’s a simple and quick trick to make one from a simple square of paper. Make sure the piece is truly square, then fold one of the 90-degree corners in half, leaving a 45 degree angle. Fold in half again to create a 22.5-degree angle. This can serve as a simple visual guide to match the angle of the blade to the sharpening stone.

Primary Angle

Initially you will want to prep the stone by putting a couple of drops of oil directly on the stone. Next, slide the blade along the stone maintaining the 22-degree angle. After a few passes turn the blade over and make the same number of passes to make sure you’re removing the same amount of material, microscopic though it may be, from each side.  Repeat the process on each side several times, always maintaining the proper angle to the stone. Now stop and look at the cutting edge closely under a bright light – you will see flats and valleys, dull spots and bright spots that should begin to even out as you make progress sharpening along the entire length of the blade. You’ll want to repeat this process on each of the grades of whetstone you have, going from coarse to fine.

Secondary Angle

For the secondary angle, you’ll need to maintain about 10 to 12 degrees between the blade and the whetstone. To visualize this angle, fold your 22.5 degree paper guide along it’s center to form an 11.25 degree angle reference. The secondary angle is honed with the finest surface of the sharpening stone. You will make several passes on each side of the blade with much lighter pressure than the primary angle. The key is to make sure you’re maintaining full contact with the blade along its entire length from hilt to tip.

Honing Steel

The next step is insuring the newly sharpened edge is completely straight. In addition to being the next step in putting a fine edge on a blade, this is also a great for maintaining the relative sharpness of the blade and can be done throughout the year as a touch-up. Most knives are not dulled because the sharp edge is blunted but because the leading edge has curled over. A finely honed edge is prone to bending under even a light pressure. That’s why a barber runs his straight razor across a strop several times each day and a chef hones his knife on a honing steel.

To start, hold the honing steel vertical with its tip against a chopping block or other softer horizontal surface, place the blade on one side of the steel rod near the handle with the blade at about 11-degrees – just like before. Make a swipe down the rod drawing the knife toward you as you go so that the tip is honed before the blade reaches the bottom of the rod. The movement is as if you are trying to slice a very thin piece off the rod, making sure to use the entire length of the blade. Now switch the blade to the opposite side of the rod and repeat. You can do this process several times alternating sides with each pass while maintaining the proper angle. Doing so will straighten any microscopic curls along the edge of the blade.  The last step in the process is what takes the edge to its final razor sharpness.

Stropping

The leather strop puts the final straightening on the blade edge. It may be preferable to use a stropping compound to enhance its effectiveness – something such as jeweler’s rouge works well. Stropping is done by drawing the blade down the piece of leather, blade spine first with a light to medium pressure and about a 5 degree angle. Make a pass, then lift the blade from the leather and flip it over before and make a pass on the opposite side of the cutting edge. Always lift the blade completely from the strop before rotating it to the opposite side at the end of a pass.

Conclusion

Following the stropping I recommend taking a moment to put a light oil on the blade and lubricate the pivot points as well as checking for loose fittings or screws. This is preventative maintenance so it’s worth taking the time to remove the clip, if any, and thoroughly clean the knife all over. This way, it will always serve you well when needed.

How To Choose Kitchen Appliances

Nowadays with so many available in terms of styles, feature, excellence and expertise options, go for the best appliances for your new or modernized kitchen can be overwhelming, even if you’re working with an interior design or building professional. It all starts with creating a design plan and showing well-versed appliance research before you start shopping can make sure that you make a trendy, useful kitchen for your household and lifestyle while outstanding on budget.

There is no doubt that the right kitchen cabinetry can make or break your kitchen’s functionality and style — not to mention your budget. No pressure, right? Don’t strain yet — online guides can walk you through the entire process, right from start to finish. The resource guide’s online covers all from Shaker to flat piece, from corbels to aprons, from glass knobs to sunken pulls, are all itemized herein are quite simple and easy-to-access fashion.

Once your choice of fittings and resources, visit specialty design showrooms for applications, lighting, flooring, cupboards, etc. You’ll also get a real impression of what’s available in the market, and you can talk to the professionals who work there about your ideas and what products will attain your objectives.

It all boils down to your goals, floor plan and budget in mind, you must reflect all of the prospects you can comprise in your kitchen and emphasis on selections that meet your desires.

Start With a Plan

Like we mentioned, it all starts with a plan. Based on evaluating your needs and goals for your new kitchen in numerous key parts will help you make an accurate appliance-before making any purchasing strategy.

Layout and Budget

Whether you’re working with a current kitchen layout for which you need spare appliances, makeover to change your existing design or making your dream kitchen as part of a new structure scheme, the plan of your kitchen directives a lot about the applications required to purchase. Be definite to reflect how you use your kitchen and the stream and traffic designs it makes with attached rooms, in addition to any architectural or physical restraints. You can also take a look at common kitchen layouts for orders and visions on space preparation — the layouts you select can whichever recover or limit the types and sizes of applications that can be housed. And be aware that you may have to make certain negotiations.

Function and Lifestyle

Whenever you plan your new kitchen, also consider the lifestyle of other family members. Also makes notes on how presently you’re using your kitchen and the way you want to make changes.  If you also like to entertain, reflect adding specialty appliances like a warming drawer or ice maker or connecting a larger volume oven. And busy relations might want to add a speed cooking oven to save time. Drafting a comprehensive wish list will make it easier to match your needs and wants with appliance features once you start spending.

Style and Finishes

After you settle the budget and functional requirements you can narrow down your choices by picking the style and finishes that match your kitchen design. In modern-day kitchen luxury kitchens, stainless steel is the supreme popular finish choice — in addition to being ongoing and tough, stainless steels sleek superficial is also easy to maintain. Additional treat trend is mixing appliances with cabinetry using custom panels. This includes having panel’s custom made by a cabinet maker rendering to the builder’s conditions.

The Ultimate Ideas for Improving the Overall Look & Feel of Your Kitchen

kitchenproducts

Whenever you move on to cook something in the kitchen, you at the time would be thinking of the one or two things that you might like to change so that cooking process can be easier or more relaxed. They might be related to your cooking, the placement of your utensils, the spices or veggies, or the equipment or the type of storage that you have in your kitchen.

Therefore, today we have come up with a few genii or advanced tips and tricks which would definitely make you crazy as of why didn’t it came to my mind. These ideas would help you give a makeover to the whole arrangement of your kitchen and hence enhancing the overall cooking process. So, read along and jot down the changes that you would like to make in your kitchen going through our given tricks.

Debris Hole in the Counter

In case you’ve visited Subway once or any other custom sub store, you will are going to see that they possess a hole on their cutting board that permits them to simply drop the cast-off food into. While you’re cutting the fruits and veggies, this is a rapid and stress-free time saver. It assists you to prepare the dinner faster and diminishes the time for cleaning.

Magnetic Knife Holder

In case you’ve at any time tried to delve through those kitchen drawers to find the required knife, you categorically require this. One really a genius method to keep your knives systematized and stress-free to locate is by hanging those on the wall making use of a magnetic band. Another tip we would like to give you is to be sure to hang them at a height where your kids won’t be capable of reaching.

Hidden Fridge

If you have a big family, you are going to perhaps require a hefty fridge. Therefore, even after buying a fridge which is capacious, there is always going to be times whilst there only isn’t sufficient storage space in your refrigerator. Why might you not install a neat and compact fridge below the vacant counter space!

Consume Wall Space

The time we talk regarding small kitchens, we further need to bring up the wall space into consideration. The wall space in your kitchen is your best companion while you possess a small kitchen. You might leave your kitchen counter organized by making use of the hangers on the walls. Assemble or organize the whole kit and caboodle in an organized manner, and you are not going to just save space, but possess a super exceptional kitchen.

Wall Cubbies

Wall cubbies are a pronounced space saving technique since you are again making use of the space on the wall. In case the cork board doesn’t suit you, then the cubbies are the subsequent good thing. It’s the definitive method to be stylish whilst increasing the storage space at the same time. Additionally, you might simply see what utensil you may use or which ones are in the sink for washing.

Prestige PGMFB 800 – Watt Grill Sandwich Toaster Review

Prestige PGMFB 800-Watt Grill Sandwich Toaster is a money-spinner cum chart-topper in the category of sandwich makers. The sandwich maker or toasters are very common and are present in nearly every home for arranging sandwiches or toasts. Prestige is a dependable brand and recognized for the competence.

Introduction

Prestige PGMFB 800-Watt Grill Sandwich Toaster is a best acquaintance for all relatives with small kids as you can make your favorite cheese toasts in minutes without wasting money on eateries. This is very accessible, easy to clean and benign and can be even used by kids. You can prepare grilled snacks with it in minutes. It improves the dignity of your kitchen.

Why we recommend it

Prestige PGMFB 800-Watt Grill Sandwich Toaster contains the following features:

  • The fixed grill plates which benefit from fast heating.
  • Nonstick heating plate so the food doesn’t switch
  • Stylish black finish body
  • Warranty: 1 year on product
  • It is Powered by 800 watts; Operating voltage: 220-240 volts
  • The package includes Sandwich toaster, Instruction manual, and Warranty card

Performance

Prestige PGMFB 800-Watt Grill Sandwich Toaster is not only a toaster but an appropriate sandwich maker and can make a crunchy grilled sandwich in no time. It is an impeccable home appliance and is completely worth the price. Service and product superiority is totally up to the mark. Consumers give it a five on five.

Conclusion

Prestige PGMFB 800-Watt Grill Sandwich Toaster is impeccable to make breakfast for you and your family. This small handy dandy home machine is a must for your kitchen. Operators from all everywhere have chosen it as their preferred product. If you love sandwiches, then you are in the precise place.

How to use a Sandwich Maker

Step 1

Clean the cooking surfaces of the sandwich maker using a moist cloth. Spread a thin layer of vegetable oil on the sandwich maker’s cooking surfaces.

Step 2

Plug the sandwich maker in and close by it. The sandwich maker will heat up habitually.

Step 3

Place the sandwich on the bottommost cooking surface when the pointer light brightens green. Close the sandwich maker lid over it and secure the lock.

Step 4

Cook the sandwich for 3 to 6 minutes; 3 to 4 minutes casually toasts the bread, 4 to 5 minutes temperately toasts the bread and 5 to 6 minutes gives the bread a dark golden-brown color.

Step 5

Open the sandwich maker and eliminate the sandwich using a spatula. Open up the maker and let it cool totally, and then smear the cooking surfaces with a humid cloth to clean.