Title: Alton Brown's Gear For Your Kitchen
Author: Alton Brown
Published: 2003 by Stewart, Tabori & Chang
If you're a fan of Good Eats, you'll dig this book. But be careful. It's not a cookbook, so if that's what you're looking for you'll be disappointed. Instead, it's a book full of what A.B. recommends for your kitchen. Quite a bit of it you could guess at from his show. Some of it is straight out of the show, actually. I guess he can only have so many opinions.
I was quite intrigued by his recommendation for how to get rid of extra hardware. First step is to move everything to a single spot. As you use things, put them away. Eventually you find what you use and what you don't. Well, it's a little more involved (read the book!) but that's the gist. I just can't see myself doing that, though. I did suggest it to my wife, but she was not interested. How could we get ride of the ice cream maker we've only used once in the 6 years we've been married?
The section on pots and pans was great. We've got a set that my wife has had since she went off to college. They work, but before too long I'd like to replace them. Given the info in this book, I've decided I want a nice anodized aluminum set. He sold me on the idea of moving sauce pans to the oven, anodized is tough as diamonds, there's no worries of aluminum leaking into the food, and aluminum responds quickly to heat. Now I just have to save up.
There were a few things that I disagreed with.
Rotary graters have too many moving parts for my taste: They're hard to clean (lots of crevices where those parts meet) and hard to store (the separate blades are cylindrical, and sharp).
My wife got one from her dad for her birthday a while back and we love it. Nothing is better for going through a couple pounds of cheese. And to clean, just pop it in the dishwasher. We use it all the time.
If you were hoping for some recipes, A.B. hasn't let you down. 29 of them in fact. I've only tried one so far, Grill Friendly Pizza Dough.
1 packet instant yeast
1 pound AP flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 cup hot water
2 tablespoons olive oil
Mix and knead until dough takes on a "silky texture", whatever that means. I found the dough doesn't actually come together like most bread dough until after it rises. It needs to be pretty tough to hold up across the grill, so that makes sense. Let it raise 1 1/2 hours, then roll with a rolling pin. Grill one side, flip, add sauce and toppings and then grill until the second side is done. Pretty good stuff. I cooked mine on an electric skillet since my grill died this summer. I cooked it at 300, but I think 350 or 400 would have been better.
Lots of good stuff in the book. I don't think most people buy enough hardware to really need it around all the time, so you may want to just check it out from the library.