Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Misono UX-10 Kitchen Knives (The Best!)

Yes, I'm an admitted gear geek and love knives...especially kitchen knives.  I'm often asked by friends, which knives to get.

While I have some pretty high-end custom knives and great production knives like Nenox, Hattori KD, etc...the one that I most recommend to friends and family is the Misono UX-10 series.

The UX-10 series are Misono's top-of-the-line.  The knives are made out of a mystery Swedish stainless steel called UX-10 and manufactured in the famous Japanese knife making centre of Seki City.  What this means is that the steel is very hard (Rockwell hardness of 59 to 60), made very well, and can be made very sharp with an edge that stays that way.

Regardless of metallurgy theory and history, a good kitchen knife has to work well.   The Misono UX-10 works very well for me in practice and hold up even in commercial kitchens.  As a result, there are quite a few celebrity chefs that are using them.  I don't really care about their endorsements, but if you are interested, you can Google this and know that I'm not just making it up.  :-)

The knife blads are sharpened in the traditional Japanese style where the right side is sharpened and polished to a fine edge, while the left side of the blade is more flat.  This approximate 70/30 bias may not be obvious when you first look at the blade, but it is there.  It is different than the normal european grind that you may be used to which is the same on both side.  As a result, there are right-handed and left-handed knives.  Misono makes both.

Misono is a Japanese brand that is almost unknown in North America outside of professional cooking circles.  This is really too bad.  Misono UX-10 is easily one of the best production kitchen knife on the market today.  It isn't cheap, but for a tool that will last a lifetime, it is pretty reasonable.  Unlike a custom knife that will likely break the bank and be out of reach for most home cooks.

In terms of suppliers, I love dealing with Paul at Paul's Finest

Paul is an upstanding guy that stands behind his products.  I'm not being paid to say this, I'm just a happy customer.  In fact, I have a UX-10 petty knife on order from him as I type.  Great guy to deal with, good inventory, and reasonable prices.  Check him out, you'll be glad that you did.

Long time...

Long time no post.

This will be remedied shortly...

Monday, September 25, 2006

Soup Nazi...Now In Stores Near You!

I went grocery shopping on Saturday. To my surprise, Seinfeld's "Soup Nazi" has a line of soups in the refrigerated soup section.

I've been in his line ups at the NYC store a few times in the mid-eighties. I think they've since moved to 56th and Lex. Holy! I just checked out their website, and he has multiple locations!

How was the soup from the store? Not bad, but not as good as I remembered. There are comparable locally produced soups that are as good or better.

And, oh by the way he WAS intense at his shop, but I just thought that it was because he was busy. I didn't remember him being rude in any way. Maybe I figured out his code quickly? Soup AND bread for me! :-)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The New Best Recipe

This one is for Bryan from Knife Forums.

"The New Best Recipe" is by the Editors of Cook's Illustrated. It is an update of "The Best Recipe", and has over 1,000 recipes in the same format as the ones in Cook's Illustrated. This means that not only do the authors indicate how to prep and cook a recipe, they will explain why they chose that cooking method, detail the blind alleys that they explored, and even debunk various cooking myths as they go.

Some of the recipes and methods are a bit unorthodox, but that appeals to the geek in me.

The recipes are reliable and work well. The cooking technique are interesting and makes you think about the way you've been doing things all along. The only bad part of the book is the index. The index is too basic for such a large volume. It works better for me as in the "browse mode"

Good read for a cookbook.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Field Guides for the Market

Two more books that I find useful. "Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini" by Elizabeth Schneider and "Field Guide to Meat" by Aliza Green.

With these two volumes, I can go to the market, wander around picking out what looks good, and know that I will be able to find something yummy to do with my picks. For me, these are vital reference books.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Out Of The Mouths Of Babes...

Out of nowhere, my kid who'll be 3 years old next month, pipes up and says: "Dadda...you COOKER! You COOK!!!"

Where did THAT come from?!?!

Needless to say, I had to start laughing and told him that yes, his daddy is a "cooker". After I gave him a kiss, he wanted me to take him to the kitchen to watch me prepare a cappuccino with perfect pourable microfoam for his mommy.

The beginnings of a food geek for sure...now if I can only get him to stop saying that all new foods are "yuckky!" hahahahaha

Sunday, July 23, 2006

How Cooking Works

Seeing as you're reading a blog by geeks who cook, you'll probably realize that we're probably pretty interested in the underlying processes behind what actually happens to food when you cook.

The seminal work on this is "On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen" by Harold McGee. It is a facinating anthology of the hows and whys of cooking. This book first appeared in 1984 and has become the bibal to which foodies and professionals turn for "an understanding of where our food comes from, what exactly they're made of, and how cooking transforms them into something new and delicious."

Other books that we've enjoyed lately are:

"I'm Just Here For the Food: Food + Heat = Cooking" by Alton Brown of Food Network fame. This is a pop review of food wisdom, history, science and common sense. The book is organzied by cooking method and includes recipes that epitomize the technique being described. He also has a book on baking, "I'm Just Here for MORE FOOD: food x mixing + heat = baking"

"What Einstein Told His Cook" by Robert L. Wolke is an amusing volume from a professor emeritus of chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh. He bridges the divide between chemistry and cooking and explains everyday cooking phenomenon and debunks old wives tales through actual experimentation. A joy to read. There is also a second volume called, of course, "What Einstein Told His Cook 2" :-)

Read on geeky cooks. I think food science is underemphasized in culinary curricula. Knowing the theory WILL make you a better cook by making you more comfortable with the processes involved and allow you to troubleshoot your way out of a food disaster!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Kitchen Knives and What To Do With Them / eGullet

A knife is the most basic of tools in the kitchen. If you have nothing else, you'll have a knife. If you don't have a decent knife, you'll have to stay tuned for another installment on how to select and acquire one...no, I don't mean stealing one out of your mom's kitchen drawer!

Assuming you have a decent chef's knife, how do you take care of it and where do you learn the basic kitchen cuts?

In print, I think the best book to show you the basics is The Culinary Institute of America's "The Professional Chef's Knife Kit". It is an expanded from the knife section of their 1,200 page reference tome "The Professional Chef". The paperback covers knife history; basic care; the cuts used in the kitchen for veggies, meat/poultry, and fish--basically everything you need to know about knives in the kitchen.

Online, I just found some GREAT resources that are part of eGullet. eGullet Society is an excellent forum for foodies especially for those that happen to be writers. There are a LOT of resources for the professional or home cook as well. If you haven't been there...check it out. It'll be worth your while. If you like it, join! It costs a few bucks but it is well worth it for the quality of content and discussions.

Anyway, there is an excellent article on the maintenance and sharpening of kitchen knives and another illustrated article on knife skills.

Hmmm...Chinese Copy of Henckel Can Opener

Apparently there are Chinese made copies of the Henckel can opener design that I love (below). I'll see if I can track one down and do some testing...so you don't have to! :-)