Monday, September 7, 2009

Martha's Favs Mondays: Silicone Spatula

Happy Monday!

I've been on the hunt for the ultimate kitchen tools & equipment for our new home. I have some essential ones already for compact living, but since we'll have more room for storage, I have been looking to expand my essentials collection so I can do some real (and time saving) baking and cooking. So I thought I would share the essential tools & equipments that I can't live without (or would like on my wish list) in a weekly feature called "Martha's Favs Mondays
" on this first Monday of September. Silicone spatula kicks off this series.

Image from Williams-Sonoma

Silicone spatula is by far the busiest tool in my kitchen. I use it for both cooking and baking. I admit, I have reservations about using silicone even though it is heat resistant up to 450° F (some even over 800
° F, as Williams-Sonoma claims for theirs) but I made an exception for the spatula because it is so useful for scraping my bowls/pans clean without scratching my non-stick and stainless steel pans. The paranoid part of myself will not use silicone for baking in the oven though. Hence, I've only used my Silpat, a silicone baking mat, once.

I have 2 spatulas - one for cooking and another for baking, so it would be impossible to transfer garlic flavors to my baked goods. I love using the spatula for making pasta sauces, sauteing onions & garlic and especially making scrambled eggs. For baking, I like how I can use it to scrap my bowls clean so only a minimal part of my mixture or cookie dough goes to waste. Here's what I look for in a silicone spatula:

  • Long handle for cooking so you don't burn yourself while working on a hot pan and for baking so the spatula can reach into a deep 5qt mixing bowl
  • A nice sturdy handle, which is why I prefer wood over plastic (on top of that, plastic may melt when in contact with the rim of a hot pan)
  • Flexible (not flimsy) head for easy scraping - I would say that making scrambled eggs is the ultimate test
  • Head features one curved side, like the WS ones, to scrape the often curved bottom of a bowl or pan

In terms of brands, I can't recommend one because I don't remember mine (our cooking spatula is more than 4 years old, bought from the now defunct Linens n'Things). I don't think you can go wrong if you look for those features I listed above. I know that the Rubbermaid recommended by America's Test Kitchen has a pretty hefty price tag for a spatula (about $11) and I have not given in (yet) since my existing cooking spatula is alive and well. I do, however, love the spatulas from Williams-Sonoma because they make the perfect gift as they can be engraved! I own a small one (not engraved) from WS for baking, and I have no complaints. Same goes for my full-sized Kitchenaid spatula for baking.

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