The approach of fall means it’s time for me to break out the rain gear and turn my attention from baseball to football. It’s also the season when I give my Cuisinart cordless immersion blender a real workout. It’s ideal for puréeing autumnal soups such as butternut squash and black bean. I asked some of my co-workers at Sur La Table corporate HQ if they also have a favorite tool they use for fall cooking. “Leave me alone,” each of them told me, “Get out of my cubicle.” So I asked some other co-workers, and they were more amenable.
“My favorite thing about fall cooking is the seasonal changes you see at the farmers’ market—leafy winter greens, apples, pears, squash, and root vegetables make a comeback and I’m always excited to make new dishes that highlight these ingredients. One of my favorite ways to enjoy seasonal produce is with a hearty salad.
“I’ll start with washing up some greens, slice up some apples and pears, roast the squash and root vegetables with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and maybe some ras el hanout, then toss in some toasted pecans for crunch, goat cheese or feta, and then make a simple balsamic vinaigrette to dress it. All of the different textures and flavors make this an incredibly satisfying main-dish salad!”–Jennifer Mudge, Buyer, Cooks’ Tools and BBQ
“My favorite tool for fall is the Wüsthof Classic double serrated bread knife—it has a second layer of serrated teeth that keeps the blade crazy sharp because they never hit the cutting board. I use this knife for tough produce like gourds/pumpkins as often as I use it for slicing baguettes. Another must have is a good peeler—in fall I love cooking lots of root veggies, and peeling carrots, parsnips, and potatoes with a bad peeler adds prep time (and stress).”–Diana Gringle, Buyer, Cookware and Cutlery
“It sounds silly to say, but the one “tool” I use about five days a week is the Perfect Egg Timer. Who doesn’t love a hardboiled egg! It’s great because as I’m getting ready in the morning I don’t have to worry about setting a timer or feverishly running back to the stove to check on my eggs. That timer is 100% accurate. How? I don’t know, but every single time, whether I want my yoke medium one day or soft the next, it always comes out perfect. Hence the Perfect Egg Timer.”–Melissa Gaeto, Buyer, Glassware, Bar and Furnishings
“I’m a big fan of my OXO locking tongs. I don’t know how I ever cooked without them! They are lightweight enough to delicately handle tender vegetables, yet strong enough to transfer a roast to the cutting board. The nylon heads protect my nonstick cookware when sautéing vegetables or rendering bacon, and they really make cleanup a snap. These tongs often make their way from stovetop to table for serving a quick weeknight meal, for those times when I just don’t feel like breaking out the fancy serving utensils. When the tongs are not in use, the locking feature keeps them neatly tucked away to make the most of my limited storage space.”–Val Martin, Controller
“My favorite must have kitchen tool for fall is an apple wedger/corer. Apples are such a wonderful, healthy and quick versatile ingredient to cook with any time of the day. For breakfast, I love to stew them slightly with butter and sugar to serve with pancakes. For lunch, they are perfect on a salad with pomegranates, hazelnuts and blue cheese. For a dinner, I love to add apples into a vegetable medley of sweet potatoes, squash and sage. ”–Kristina Micallef, Culinary Program Manager, Content
“Fall is my favorite season. The air is cool and crisp, and that means I can wear a sweater every day. It also means that it’s apple season! Who doesn’t love warm apple crisp or spiced apple cider? But my favorite apple dish is an apple pie. My grandmother taught me her top-secret pie recipe long ago, and I make it every year. The recipe calls for eight apples, so to make quick work, I use the Peel Away apple peeler. It peels, cores and slices apples so efficiently! And that means I don’t have to wait as long to eat my apple pie.”–Sarah Hatridge, Assistant Buyer, Cookware and Cutlery
“My favorite tool for fall is the shredder attachment for my KitchenAid stand mixer. As you would expect, it shreds cheese with ease! I just used it last weekend when I needed to shred two types of cheese to make a delicious strata. The shredder attachment is so much faster than using a hand grater and surprisingly it’s more effective than my old food processor. Of course, it’s also great for shredding veggies to use in salads or for baking into breads or muffins. We even use this handy tool to make shaved ice for Moscow Mules and other cocktails. It’s so versatile!”–Beth Sullivan, Web Content Administrator
“When I was growing up, my mom would send us out on a mission. We would bundle up in coats and walk around our neighborhood searching for the prettiest leaves that had fallen from the trees. When we got back, a few hours later, the house would be filled with the scent of mulled cider: orange, anise, clove, allspice, apple. It was like a magic potion that we all had to be out of the house for mom to conjure up. There were too many secret spices and magic words involved to have us kids around. Her cauldron was a Le Creuset Cherry French Oven that I still see her using when I go back to California for a visit. Thankfully, she doesn’t make me go pick up leaves before she breaks out the cider anymore. She admits it was a good excuse to get us out of the house for a few hours so she could get some peace and quiet.
“Now, when I make it at home, in Seattle, I grab a bottle of Urban Accents Mulling Spices , some Regency Spice Bags for steeping, and a Kuhn Rikon Peeler for adding a few strips of fresh orange peel to the pot. After it simmers a couple hours, I’m right back to being 10 years old with a handful of leaves and a cold nose. Only difference is that now I add a shot of whiskey to my mug.”–Kyle Pryde Weber, Assistant Buyer, Cooks’ Tools and BBQ
These are some of our favorites. Do you have a particular tool or traditional dish you turn to this time of year?
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