}]; Noreen's Kitchen: 03/01/2015 - 04/01/2015

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Bringing Home The Bosch Universal Kitchen Machine

I recently had to replace my stand mixer.  After a couple years of anguish, much wailing and gnashing of teeth, I finally had to decide what to do.  I so loved my yellow Kitchenaid, which I still have sitting on the shelf and do employ to do lighter tasks,  however a bread kneader, she is no longer!  After much research I chose the Bosch Ultimate Kitchen Machine and boy am I ever glad I did.

At first glance this mixer is not like what you might be used to!  First off it is a marvel of German engineering.  The bowl sits on top of the belt driven motor instead of underneath the beater blades or dough hook.  It may look like something out of a mid century, post modern fairy tale, but I tell you, this thing is a beast in the kitchen!  I really don't mean to sound like a sales person.  I am simply singing the praises of what I hope, will be the last mixer I will ever need! 

The Bosch boasts an impressive pedigree.   An 800 watt belt driven motor with overload and restart protection, 4 speeds and a pulse /momentary switch, 6.5 quart bowl that will hold up to 15 pounds of bread dough, The basic model comes with a dough hook, wire whips and plastic driver, splash cover and lid.  The base has suction cups on it to steady the machine on your counter top and it won't "travel" down the length of your kitchen.  Everything is dishwasher safe, however I still hand wash mine and all it's parts.  The entire bowl and spindle are detachable for easy clean up and sanitation.  It comes with a 3 year warranty on the transmission.  Whew and WOW!!

The Bosch is an excellent choice if you are a bread baker like I am.  I love to make three or four loaves at a time and freeze for later use.  This baby can handle it. In fact, this mixer will mix up to 9 loaves of whole wheat, yes, I said whole wheat, bread dough!  I have shredded chicken breast in no time flat with the wire whips and made cookie dough and banana bread with the cookie paddles, which I highly recommend you get.

If you decide to take the plunge and get a Bosch Universal Kitchen Machine  here are a few suggestions I would like to make.  First get the attachments you are going to use and set the rest on the back burner.  This baby has lots of fun extras that you can add on over time, but right up front here is what I suggest you get:

Mixer with dough hook and wire whips
Cookie paddles with metal housing
Batter whisks because you know you're going to want to make cake!
The dough hook extender for mixing smaller batches of dough.
The bowl scraper which does what it says, scrapes the inside of the bowl so you don't have too!

The dough hook extender is a neat little attachment that Bosch put some thought into.  While many people are not going to make 9 loaves of bread all at once, although this baby can handle it, making just one loaf of bread was a problem for this beast.  So Bosch came up with a solution.  They made a small flared extension that slips over the inner spindle prior to installing the dough hook and then snaps in place hugging the dough blade which rides the inner spindle of the bowl.  This flared little addition helps the smaller batches of dough to ride the outer sides of the bowl and get full motion from the dough hooks, helping the bread to knead and incorporate more efficiently.  That is what you want in a mixer!  Design over decor!  That's all that matters in my book!

Other attachments that you can get include a meat grinder, cereal mill, juicer, slicer, blender, food processor, and flour sifter as well as replacement bowls, whips, whisks and paddles and you can even get a stainless steel bowl, which is on my wish list!

The Bosch may not come in all those pretty designer colors of the competitors, but when it comes right down to it, does your mixer really need to match your spatula?  I think not!  So I'll end it there.  I love my Bosch and if you are looking to upgrade or switch mixers, I highly recommend that you give this one a closer look!  It really does all that it says it does and more!

I have included a couple of my videos for you to enjoy where I am using the Bosch Universal Kitchen Machine.  The unboxing and the first "test" I put it through.  I will also include one of the most impressive publicity videos that I have ever seen for this mixer.  It is what finally sold me on this purchase and truthfully, I have probably watched it more times than I will admit to in mixed company! 

Spend your money wisely and this mixer is an investment that will keep on giving back to you!

I hope you find this information helpful!  As always if you should have questions, drop me a line here on the blog or on my website at info@noreenskitchen.com

Happy Eating!


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Perfect Pantry Starts with a List

I have had so many requests to share a list of items I keep on hand at all times for cooking.  Of course those would include staples such as milk, butter, eggs, flour, sugar, salt etc.  However we enjoy a wide variety of different cuisines and I like to keep a number of different ingredients on hand so that I can make what we like at any given time.  I am one of those people who absoultely hates to run out of things.  If I am sitting in my kitchen and decide that I want to make chocolate chip muffins and then gather all my ingredients together only to find that I am out of chocolate chips, I am starting the day in a bad mood.  

Being prepared is always best.  I like to buy groceries when they are on sale and I usually stock up when the price is right.  That being said, I always look at this like a hedge against inflation as well because if I purchased chocolate chips during the holiday baking sales and I am eating them six months later then I am most likely saving money because it is very unlikely that chocolate chips are going on sale in June like they do in December.  I like to "go shopping" in my pantry and this is something I pride myself on.  Today I want to focus on a back to basics mindset of what I always have on hand to be able to make basic meals and treats on the fly.  So here is a basic list of what I like to always keep on hand.

Oils, Vinegars and Condiments
Oils:  sunflower oil, coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, sesame oil & toasted sesame
Vinegars: balsamic, cider, distilled white, white wine, red wine, rice
Ketchup (Simply Heinz)
Dijon mustard
Yellow mustard
Spicy brown mustard
Soy sauce
Chili paste
Hot sauce
Thai sweet chili sauce
Fish sauce
Sweet Relish
Kosher salt
Himalayan pink salt (used in place of table salt)
Tri peppercorn blend for my pepper grinder

Dried herbs and spices: garlic powder, onion powder, marjoram, thyme, dried basil, bay leaves, dried rosemary,  cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper, cumin, oregano, paprika, rosemary, thyme leaves, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger, nutmeg,
Spice blends: several Szeged rubs for chicken, steak, fish and ribs as well as their amazing pizza seasoning,  chili powder, Montreal steak seasoning, Italian seasoning
Vanilla extract, almond extract, Fiore Di Sicilla extract

                   Canned Goods and Bottled Items

Canned beans: black, cannellini, chickpeas, kidney
Olives calamata and spanish
Peanut butter
Preserves or jelly
Low-sodium stock or broth
Canned tomatoes

Tomatoes, canned and paste
Organic canned mushrooms
Evaporated milk
Sweetened condensed milk
Coconut milk
Canned pumpkin
Tuna fish
Canned salmon
Canned clams
Home canned chicken, beef and pork shoulder
Roasted red peppers
Chopped green chilies
Pickled jalapenos
Chipoltle chilies
Canned fruit such as peaches, pears or mandarin oranges
Bottled pasta sauce

Grains and Legumes
Breadcrumbs: regular, Panko
Pasta: long and short cut
Egg noodles
Par-cooked rice 

long grain rice
wild rice
Rolled oats

Dried beans,
Split peas
small red
dark red kidney

Baking Products

Baking powder

Baking soda
Dutch process cocoa powder

Powdered sugar
Brown sugar
Tapioca starch
All-purpose flour
Bread Flour
Granulated sugar
Lyle's Golden Syrup
Saf instant yeast
Dried milk powder
Instant potato flakes (for baking)
Vanilla beans

Refrigerator Basics
sharp cheddar, 
mozzarella Deli ham
Deli sliced chicken
Deli American cheese
Muenster cheese
Large egg
Heavy cream
Vanilla yogurt
Flour tortillas in soft taco and burrito size
Chopped garlic or garlic paste
Lemongrass paste
Ginger Paste
Chili Paste
Dill Pickles
Italian dressing
Grated Horseradish
Better Than Bullion, beef, chicken, vegetable and mushroom

Freezer Basics
Ground and whole bean coffee
Chocolate chips
Frozen fruit:
pineapple chunks, 
Frozen vegetables: 
green and wax beans, 
Grass fed ground beef
Ground Pork
Chicken breasts
Pork tenderloin
Tilapia filets
Salmon filiets
Local shrimp

Long Storage Produce
Yellow or Vidalia onions depending on the season
Potatoes, red, Yukon gold and/or russets
Dried fruit: raisins, apples, apricots, cranberries
Nuts or seeds: almonds, peanuts,  walnuts, pecans,sunflower, chia and hemp seeds

Don't let the list intimidate you.  These are things that I always have on hand to make a quick meal, or some bread.  This is a time saver and a security blanket for me during times when there is harsh weather like a freak snow storm or a hurricane watch.  When the kids are home from school and everyone else is scurrying around like a chicken with their head cut off trying to get what they don't have on hand, I don't have to worry about going to the store because I have everything I need to throw together a great breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert.
You need to pick and choose what you use the most.  Staples, like flour, sugar, salt, pepper,
eggs, butter, and milk are things everyone should have on hand.  Those things alone will help you to have a good source of protein and you can make at least six different things from those alone.  Add some cheese and you get even more.  We love Asian/Thai as well as Italian and Mexican food so we are heavy on the things we need for those flavor profiles in our pantry and kitchen.  If you like something different, you can absolutely adjust accordingly.  Everyone's "staple" list is going to vary depending on what they enjoy most. 

I hope this gives you some idea of what we love to keep on hand.  Also keep in mind that we make cooking videos for our YouTube channel on a nearly daily basis so while our list may be long, we have a reason for that.  This should give you a starting point if you want to get a better grasp on what to put in your pantry.
I hope that you enjoyed this little rundown and I hope it helps you!

Till next time, I'll see ya!