Monday, January 26, 2009

My Favorite Knives

After having several conversations regarding kitchen knives in the past few weeks, I feel compelled to throw my two cent's worth out into the world.  I'm not saying you should rush out and buy all new knives, or continue on using that set of knives you got as a bridal shower gift 10, 15, or 30 years ago.  However - be forewarned, I very likely will bring my own kitchen knives with me if I come to your house to cook!
I actually have quite a few knives, but more and more often, I fall back on these same five knives.  Honestly, I'm thinking of getting rid of my drawerful of still-very-good-but-I-don't-use-them knives.  I just like these five and use these five over and over and over again, with complete disregard for all the others, and would highly recommend each of these knives to anyone.
First off, I have a bunch of pairing knives.  And I am a sucker for bright, colorful little knives.  Blue!  You Bet!  Red!  Hooray!  Yellow!  Fantastic!  Useful?  Not really.  I'm not really into the "color-coded" tool movement (use red for poultry, blue for beef, etc), as I usually forget what color was for what food, and usually just use the yellow one for cheese because cheese is kinda yellow, etc.  Sorry, got on a tangent there.  Here is my favorite pairing knife:

It has a nifty little case, is bright red, and is stinkin' sharp.  It is a 
Kukon Rikon Colori pairing knife, and costs about $10.  This is a great little knife for slicing cheese, cutting and coring apples, and doing more detailed work, like separating broccoli florets for a veggie tray.  
Next up is my utility knife:

  I really like this knife.  It is a Kyocera micro-serrated utility knife with a ceramic blade.  Prices range from $40-$70.  It is just a little bit bigger than a pairing knife and a little smaller than a chef's knife, so this is kind of a catch-all-jobs type of knife.  This is one that I'll throw in my bag if I'm heading over to a friend's or family member's house if I'll be doing any sort of cooking.  It is lightweight, a good size, and crazy sharp.  And the ceramic blade doesn't dull like steel knives - definitely a plus.  It doesn't come with a knife/blade guard, but they're easy enough to find online.

If you've seen Rachel Ray cook, or read The Pioneer Woman blog, you're probably familiar with a santoku knife.  It is a combination between a chef's knife and a butcher's knife.  I have two of these, which I go back and forth between pretty often, depending on my mood.  

I have a Wustof Classic Santoku knife ($70) with a 7" blade and 

a Komachi Fish Knife  with a 4 1/2" blade ($25).  If I'm chopping a bunch of onions, carrots, celery, potatoes, etc, I'll go with the larger knife.  And if I'm only dicing half an onion to add to something, I go with the little one.  My thought - big job = big knife, little job = little knife.  The Wustof knife is THE one that got me through culinary school.  Oh, and I don't just use the Komachi one for fish.  
However, if I were to combine these two knives into one, I've been eyeing up this knife.  Awesome blade - check.  Great size - check.  Price - errr.....

Last up is my bread/serrated knife.  

I just got this one with a gift certificate for Christmas. It is only $20 and is also made by Kukon Rikon and is their Non-stick Colori Bread Knife.  It is by far the sharpest bread knife I've ever had.  I love when knives come with sheaths, as this one does.  This one came in handy for our "Bread and Blankets" day at my aunt Ruth's house.  
I won't talk about Ruth's knives.  My culinary soul is saddened when I open her knife drawer.
Also, a note on sharpening knives.  I have one of these sharpeners and love it.  It is cheap, easy to use, and is magnetic so it sticks to my fridge.  After I use a knife four or five times, I run it through the sharpener 6 or 7 times.  That keeps the knives sharp and ready to use with minimal effort.  These only cost between $5 and $10, and I find them at ShopKo or online.  I usually replace it each year.

So there you go!  I hope you have enjoyed this tour through my knife drawer.  
Oh!  I realized I forgot to mention one of the most important ones!

Got to get butter on my toast somehow!


Ruth said...

That is quite an arsenal of knives! I hope Big Brother isn't reading! OK - so maybe I need a new knife or two. Since you've seen my knives, which one do you recommend be my first purchase?

Angie said...

Sharp post Julie! Personally I like the ruler in the photos for scale. It reminded me a a geology project. ;-)