If you want to enjoy your own Mediterranean cuisine, you have to learn how to cook. Fortunately, most of our recipes are rather simple and straightforward.
Also, in order to cook, you don't need high tech and expensive cooking equipment - most of our recipes are made using basic kitchenware, often found in almost every kitchen.
Kitchen board or kitchen cutting board is usually made from wood or from plastic.
Plastic cutting board is easier to maintain, easier to clean, doesn't absorb the moisture and odors, doesn't rot and has many other benefits when compared with the wooden boards.
However, I am yet to find plastic kitchen board, which has the 'feel' of the good wooden kitchen board. Call me biased, but my choose wood over plastic ...
Kitchen Knife Set
Knives can be purchased separately or as part of a set. Buying knives in the set is often cheaper than buying knives one by one. Also, kitchen knife sets come with the knife stand, which is used for storing knives - very practical and often very decorative.
Number of knives in the set varies from 4-5 to 15-20, or even more knives.
So, if you don't have room to spare, just buy 3-4 individual knives and you are good to go. If you do have a space which can be dedicated for knife set, go for it.
Steel, stainless steel, ceramic or titanium knives?
Steel knives are often more flexible than stainless steel with edge holding depending on the hardening process and type of the steel. But, most steels rust over time in aggressive environment like kitchen.
Stainless steel are easier to maintain than non-stainless steel knives. They are usually not as flexible as non-stainless steel knives, but thinner filleting knives made from 420J2 or similar stainless steel are both stainless and flexible, with acceptable edge holding.
Ceramic knives have exceptional edge holding capabilities, but if you drop them on the tile or similar floor, they will shatter to pieces.
Some steel knives have ceramic cutting edge - trying to combine best features of both worlds.
Anyway, ceramic knives should be used for slicing fruits and vegetables only and perhaps boneless meat and fish.
Personally, I don't like the idea of the knife shattering in may hands, just because I mistreated it for a moment.
Titanium knives are stainless knives, they are very durable, but their edge holding is not as good as in good steel knife.
Note: for the same mass, titanium is stronger than steel, and for the the same volume titanium is lighter and weaker than steel.
Recommendation - go for a good stainless steel kitchen knife set and you will do fine. Ceramic bread knife with serrated edge - looks cool and does it's job very well!
Dull knife is useless knife and all knives over time lose their edge.
Steel knives are easily sharpened using kitchen knife sharpeners within seconds.
If the knife is damaged and it's edge has become serrated because the knife hit the bone or something, such blade can be sharpened, too, but with great caution. If the blade is damaged, perhaps the best practice is to take it to the professional knife sharpener/blacksmith or simply order another knife.
When to sharpen knives? Whenever you feel that you are required to use extra force when cutting and slicing. Also, if you cook regularly, sharpening all knives, perhaps once a week, is a good practice in keeping your knives sharp!
These pans and pots have thin Teflon layer which helps food not to stick to the pan or pot (hence 'nonstick'). Although Teflon is rather durable, this thin layer must be treated carefully, especially when working with the food during cooking and when washing the Teflon dishes.
However, such Teflon layer enables one to cook or fry practically without the use of any fat or oil - excellent for keeping the calories in check.
Cast Iron Cookware
Cast iron cookware requires at least some oil or fat to prevent food from sticking. To improve nonsticking, these pots and pans are often seasoned with the oil for a natural, easy-release finish that improves with use.
It has excellent heat retention and even cooking and can be used on all cooking surfaces, grills and even campfires.
Cast iron cookware is exceptionally durable - just don't hit it with the sledge hammer and it will serve you well.
Steam cookers are great aid in any kitchen - just put the water into the steamer, put various foods into separate tiers, set the timer and that is all - your meal will be done soon.
Most of the parts are made using transparent plastic, thus are cleaned easily and they last for a long time.
However, steam cookers release some steam into the air and one requires good air ventilation (kitchen hood). Some models of steam cookers are designed to condensate the steam internally and to reuse condensed water for cooking again.
Mixers, Juicers and Blenders
Mixers, juicers and blenders come in various shapes and sizes. They range from simple manual citrus juicers to complex devices capable of blending or even pulverizing various foods into juices, puddings or whatever you plan to make.
Many companies sell fruit juices and promote them as healthy, but such juices can't be compared with freshly made home juices.
Note: Powered units have very sharp blades and one must be very careful regarding proper usage.
Microwave oven is excellent for fast defrosting and cooking of certain foods.
These days microwave ovens have many very useful features - different levels of power, controlled defrosting, delayed start, timer, keep warm mode, popcorn mode etc.
Also, microwave ovens come in various sizes and if required, often can fit into tight places.
Note: never, but really never use metal pots and plates with microwave ovens. Some models have auto-detect features and can prevent accidents, but don't, really don't do it ...
Although far from being needed, we had to mention breadmakers.
You want homemade bread? OK, mix flour, salt, yeast, add cold water (or warm, if you are in a hurry), mix everything, let it settle for few hours, put it in the oven, bake for 30 or so minutes and you have made your own homemade bread.
Well, breadmakers do all this for you. Even better - depending on the model, they can be programmed so that warm, freshly baked bread waits for you for breakfast.
Add 1-2 boiled omega-3 eggs, slice of low fat or cottage cheese, a glass of your favorite freshly made juice and you have breakfast for kings :)
Aren't we spoiled or what?!? :)
Note that there are many other little things in the kitchen which can help you with cooking. It is very easy, for example, to mince garlic without garlic mincer, but they are cheap, last almost a lifetime (or even longer), easy to clean and maintain, so if you need it, get one.
Not to mention spoons, forks, cups, glasses etc.
Breville BJE200XL Compact Juice Fountain 700-Watt Juice Extractor is just perfect when someone is too busy to be able to chop produce and juice, but still wants to juice. This juicer has a wide 3 inch feed chute which allows whole produce in saving users’ valuable time needed for cutting and chopping. Moreover Breville BJE200XL occupies only a small space; so, it’s good for those who have a small home or a small kitchen.
With its 800JEXL Juice Fountain Elite 1000-Watt Juice Extractor, Breville has come up with another chartbuster. Users love this mid-range model for many reasons.
Here are a few...
The Hamilton Beach Juice Extractor 67750 is an 800-watt dual-speed juicer. This budget friendly juicer is neither very impressive to look at nor the most powerful. Neither does it have all the smart technological features and attractive design that other, more expensive juicers have.
However, it has a strong value proposition as it can be perfect for those who long for natural juice but are on budget.
While comparing between Omega J8006 Nutrition Center Juicer and Omega J8004 Nutrition Center Commercial Masticating Juicer, it can be noticed that both models offer some common excellent features like two-stage extraction, low RPM, quiet operation and an automated pulp ejection system for non-stop juicing. Both of them are heavy duty commercially constructed juicers and juice high yield wheat grass and leafy greens easily leading to a very dry pulp.
Cuisinart Smart Stick CSB-75BC 200 Watt 2 Speed Hand Blender is very popular, corded and easy to use hand blender. It is excellent for preparing smoothies, shakes, puddings and all other foods directly in the pitcher, pot, sport shaker, bowl etc.
Breville JE98XL Juice Fountain Plus 850-Watt Juice Extractor is very popular and powerful, yet very simple to use, centrifugal juicer. It is medium size home juicer, with minimum maintenance and very easy to clean.
It comes with 1-year limited warranty, but if used properly, it can last for a long time.