Have you recently started taking more interest in baking? Do you love baking cookies and cakes at home? Then it is important that you have the proper tools and equipment for it so that you can make the best out of your baking experience.

A lot of people avoid investing in kitchen tools as they think these tools are not necessary for a good bake but it is untrue. You need to own a set of important kitchen tools if you want to bake the best damn cakes in the world! If you are willing to take it to the next level then I’d recommend you join a baking school like trufflenation.

Here is a list of kitchen tools that every baker must have in their kitchen:

1. Oven thermometer

Sometimes ovens might show you wrong temperature which could ruin your favorite batch of cookies or cake so it is always better to be prepared and use an oven thermometer instead.

2. Hand Mixer

This is yet another essential kitchen tool for every baker as it allows you to prepare dough and batter for your baking quickly and efficiently. Also, you don’t have to tire yourself too much by mixing the ingredients manually.

3. Food Scale

You definitely need a food scale to get the exact measurement of the ingredients. Sometimes you might need to get a particular ounces or grams of an ingredient in your baking recipe and you cannot use a cup for it!

4. Cooling Racks

Another must-have equipment for every baker is the cooking racks. You just cannot cool your cookies or cakes on the counter or in the baking pan, it won’t cool your food item evenly. That is why a cooling rack is essential, to ensure that your baked item cools evenly and properly.

5. Rolling Pin

Another important kitchen tool that a baker needs is the rolling pin which comes handy when you are preparing bread or pizza dough!

6. Baking Pans

Yes, this is one kitchen equipment that you cannot miss out on. You need different sized baking pans to be able to bake cakes, cookies, muffins, pies, and so on. You will need at least 1 baking pan each for cakes, muffins, pies, and cookies.

7. Rimmed Baking Sheets

Want to place your batter somewhere where they won’t spread out of the oven? Then, you need to get the rimmed baking sheets. These sheets can hold a batch of cookie batter and don’t allow the batter to fall off the sheets, helping you in retaining the proper shape of the baked good.

8. Whisks and Spatulas

This is yet another essential kitchen tool which every baker needs to own. When you are baking food items, you will need a whisk or a spatula to mix your ingredients together. A spoon just won’t work and won’t give you the adequate consistency as these two tools.

9. Mixing Bowls

Obviously, you need the mixing bowls otherwise where will you even mix your ingredients? A mixing bowl is a tool which is needed by all the bakers to prepare their cookie dough or their cake batter. Without a mixing bowl, you cannot bake at all.

10. Measuring Cups

Another important kitchen tool that every baker should have is the measuring cups and spoons. This will make it easier to roll out the ingredients in the exact quantity required and will make your baking easier and better.

Stay tuned to The Cafe Allegro for more useful tips.

Cheers!

A food processor comes with a variety of attachments and accessories which can confuse you and make you wonder about their functionality. A lot of people think that if they get more attachments then they have made a better deal but if you don’t end up using those attachments, why waste the money on it? Btw, do check out Homeguyd.com’s reviews on the best food processors for 2017.

With the help of this article, you will be able to determine the different types of attachments and their uses and will be able to decide on which attachment do you need and which one you can pass.

1. Knife Blade

This multi-purpose attachment is a standard tool offered with all food processors and can handle the basic kitchen tasks like chopping, mincing, mashing, mixing, and so on.

2. Dough blade

A lot of food processors also come with a dough blade or hook which is useful for mixing food items with yeast like bread dough.

3. Shredding and slicing blade

Another common attachment that is included with a food processor is a shredding/slicing blade. You will find that these blades come in different sizes allowing you to slice and shred your food items into a fine, coarse and a medium finish. A lot of these blades are either separated or on single metal reversible disk where one side is for slicing and the other side is for shredding.

4. Grating blade

This attachment is similar to a slicing and shredding blade and can be used to grate vegetables and cheese to prepare a quick slaw. It works on both hard and soft food and is effective in its function. Trust me, this is one attachment which would not disappoint you when used with a food processor.

5. Blender

There are two types of blender attachments that are included with a food processor, one is a blender jug which is basically a replacement of the bowl and the other is a blender canopy which is attached inside the bowl and is in contact with the blade and is known to help in blending.

A jug blender comes handy when you are planning to make puree or sauce and can provide more versatility to your food processor without taking up more space in the kitchen. A blender canopy, on the other hand, is used in addition to the standard blade and is useful in providing a consistent and smooth blend.

6. Citrus press

Many food processors also come with a citrus press attachment which is useful is pressing fruits and vegetables to get their juice.

7. Mill

Many premium food processor models also offer a mill attachment which is handy in making little quantities of puree, grinding coffee beans and herbs, and so on. While a mill attachment is different from a bowl, many food processors also include a mini bowl attachment which performs the same task as a mill.

8. Whisk

Another popular food processor attachment is a whisk beater or a paddle. These food processors include twin beaters and metal beaters are found to be more effective although they won’t be as good as a stand mixer.

As you can see, here at Cafe Allegro, we’re serious about our food and our coffee and when it comes to delivering a great dining experience we make sure we leave no stone unturned.

Recently, we ran a huge rundown of the leading single-serve espresso makers and shortlisted the top 3 coffee makers that we personally use to brew the perfect cup of joe for all our customers.

Here, we share our results with you to help you find the right coffee maker for you.

Black and Decker CM 620B – Thermal single serve programmable coffee maker

This is quite the beauty of simplicity. This automated coffee maker comes with a quick touch technology which helps you get the best cup of coffee every time.

A few of the key features which are both necessary and unique of this coffee maker include:

  1. LED display with a complete programmable control panel.
  2. The machine can brew both grounded coffee and Pods.
  • This one comes with its own thermal travel mug which is indispensable as far as 21st-century coffee drinkers are concerned.

Black & Decker SDC850 Space Maker 8-Cup – Under counter Programmable coffee maker

More than coffee, this 8 cup coffee maker reminds you of a good sci-fi movie with a lot of space action. It has its own thermal carafe and has a removable water tank and brew basket. The brew basket comes with a freshness indicator to help you estimate the freshness of the coffee brewed.

More than the tech-specs, this UFO-style coffee maker makes space in your kitchen. It fits inside your kitchen cabinet saving a lot of space for other equipment. If you are tired of struggling for space inside your own kitchen, the Black & Decker SDC850 Space Maker 8-Cup coffee maker is the one for u!

Cuisinart EM-200 Programmable 15-Bar Espresso Maker

According to the North American electrical standard, this one is THE perfect automated, programmable espresso maker for a coffee lover’s house. This has the power to brew single as well as double espresso shots with its 15 bar pressure nozzle. It also has its own steel frother nozzle for making cappuccinos and mochas for the occasional guilty pleasures.  Even this one can brew using both pods and coffee grounds.

Key features:

  • It comes with a 64 ounce, removable water reservoir with 2 options for refilling.
  • A cup-warming place and a portafilter are two crucial additions to the Cuisinart EM-200 Programmable 15-Bar Espresso Maker.
  • The frother definitely helps you to sample a number of fancy brews inside the comfort of your home.

As far as functions and features are concerned, these coffee makers are the best in the market. They offer both functionality and variety along with amazing coffee every day, the moment you wake up.

Cheesy Beef-Stuffed Peppers

  • 3 large green peppers, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 cup creamed cottage cheese
  • 1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 TB Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup shredded cheese

-> Place peppers in 2-quart [12×7] glass baking dish; set aside

-> Combine remaining ingredients, except shredded cheese, in medium mixing bowl; mix well.

-> Spoon mixture into green pepper halves. Cover with wax paper.

-> Microwave for 25 to 30 minutes on Medium-High (Roast), or until meat is well done (about 140 degrees F).

-> Top with shredded cheese and continue cooking on Med. High until cheese is melted.

Note: Cooking time is for microwave ovens manufactured in the early 1980s. Adjust accordingly.

Serves 3 – 6

Sesame Noodles with Prosciutto

I shamelessly stole this from Food and Wine magazine. It is absolutely packed with flavor. My kids liked it with just a touch of red pepper flakes, Mr. RT threw on a few shakes more, so adjust it to your own preference. Do not try to substitute ingredients if at all possible; the combination of sesame, peanut, garlic, balsamic vinegar and fresh ginger is what makes this dish.

  • 12 oz Chinese noodles or dry spaghetti
  • 1 TB sesame oil
  • 2 TB peanut oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1 TB balsamic vinegar
  • 1 TB soy sauce
  • 2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/8 – 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (depending on how much heat you like)
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth salt
  • 1 1/2 ounces prosciutto, sliced thick (1/8 inch) and cut into matchsticks.
  • 1 scallion (green onion) sliced thin
  • 1 seedless cucumber, peeled and cut into matchsticks (about 3/4 cup)

-> In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the noodles until al dente, about 8 or 9 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Return the noodles to the pot and toss with the sesame oil.

-> In a medium skillet, heat the peanut oil until shimmering over medium heat. Add garlic, stir just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add peanut butter, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, sugar and crushed red pepper, stir to form a paste. Add chicken stock and stir until smooth. Taste, add salt if desired. Add the reserved cooking water 1/4 cup at a time, stirring until the sauce is creamy.

-> Pour the peanut sauce over the noodles. Add the prosciutto and scallion, and toss until the noodles are coated.

-> Transfer the noodles to a large bowl, garnish with the cucumber and serve.

Cold Lobster and Vanilla Bean Salad 

  • 2 vanilla beans, split in half and pulp removed
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon leaves
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 pound cooked fresh lobster meat, diced 1/2″ thick
  • 1/2 pound Idaho potatoes, peeled, diced 1/2″ thick, cooked until tender and cooled
  • 1/4 cup small diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup small diced celery
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1/2 pound fresh maiche ( aka “corn salad” ) greens, cleaned
  • 1 tablespoon chopped, fresh parsley leaves
  • 12 toasted French bread rounds ( 2″ by 1/4″ thick )

1.) In a saucepan, over medium heat, combine the vanilla bean, pulp, and oil. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, cool completely and strain.

2.) In a food processor, fitted with a metal blade, combine the egg, mustard, tarragon, and lemon. Process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. With the machine running, add 1 cup of the vanilla oil slowly, in a steady stream. Process until the mixture is thick and creamy. Remove and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Can be made a day ahead of time.

3.) In a mixing bowl, combine the lobster, potatoes, onions, celery, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Toss well. Fold in the vanilla bean emulsion. Mix well. In another mixing bowl, toss the maiche with the remaining vanilla oil. Season with salt and pepper.

4.) To serve, place the greens in the center of each serving plate. Mound the lobster salad in the center of each plate of greens. Garnish with parsley. Serve the croutons with the salad.

Cream of Squash and Garlic Soup

  • 2 medium acorn squash
  • 4 TB maple syrup (or maple-flavored)
  • 4 tsp butter
  • 1 head garlic, cloves separated and peeled
  • 1 carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 onion, cut into wedges
  • 4 cups chicken broth (vegetarians can substitute vegetable broth)
  • 1 cup whipping cream (I just use milk unless I’m feeding company)
  • snipped fresh basil or Italian parsley (optional)

-> Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Place each squash half, cut side up, in a shallow roasting pan.

-> Place 1 tablespoon maple syrup and 1 teaspoon butter in each squash half. Arrange the garlic, carrot, and onion around the squash in the pan.

-> Pour 2 cups of the chicken broth into the pan (not into the squash halves) and cover tightly with aluminum foil.

-> Bake at 350F for 2 hours until all of the vegetables are very tender. (Sometimes I need to add a little more chicken broth and bake another half hour so the onion and carrot are soft enough.)

-> Cool slightly and scoop squash pulp from the shells and stir into the vegetable mixture. Discard shells.

-> Place half of the squash mixture into a blender and blend until smooth (make sure to cover blender first…hee hee). Repeat with the other half of the squash mixture.

-> Put all of the blended squash mixtures into a large saucepan and stir in the remaining chicken broth.

-> Bring just to a boil and then drop the heat and stir in the cream or milk. (don’t let it boil again)

-> Season to taste with S & P and cool for later or garnish and serve. It thickens as it cools, so add more broth or cream/milk to taste if needed.

A loaf of crusty bread is good with this.

Blackened Shrimp with Sunshine Salad

Sidenote: feel very privileged that I am sharing my infamous super-secret salad recipe with you! Seriously though, I’ve only given it to one other person, my sis-in-law, and only because my 6’2″ 300 lb bro-in-law threatened my life for it!

The Salad

  • 1 package Spring Mix salad
  • 1/2 package (more or less to taste) Athenos brand Crumbled Feta Cheese with Basil and Tomato
  • 1 8oz. can Mandarin Oranges, save the juice (well, actually a bit less than a can. I help myself to some of the slices and that makes a perfect amount left over!)
  • A generous sprinkling of Praline Pecans (Nut House sells big jars of them)
  • A generous sprinkling of dried cranberries

The Dressing

  • 1/4 c. Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (note: use Extra Virgin, not Extra Light! Extra Virgin has a more robust flavor.)
  • approx. 1-2 T. Worcestorshire Sauce
  • approx. 1/4 -1/3 c. Dijon-Spicey Mustard (I like Emeril’s “with Horseradish”)
  • approx. 1/4 c. sugar or sugar substitute
  • Honestly, I just mix all the above to taste. Sorry for inexact measurements. If it comes out too thick, syrupy-like, I enjoy adding the mandarin orange juice to it. You can also just add water.
  • The dressing will last for 2-3 salads, depending on coverage.

Blackened Shrimp

Coat the shrimp lightly with Extra Light Olive Oil. Sprinkle (as generously as you dare!) Chef Paul’s Seafood Magic Seasoning, covering all sides of the shrimp.

Get a cast-iron skillet white-hot. If you don’t have good ventilation use the grill outside on HIGH heat. Scoop some margarine and when it hits the skillet it should “dance” and sizzle.

Immediately add the shrimp and keep flipping/stirring. They don’t need to cook long, only a few minutes before they’re done.

Top off the salad with the shrimp, serve some rolls alongside it, and yummy!!! That’s what I will be enjoying this evening!

As an entrée will serve 2, as a side will serve 4.

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