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Space is always tight in the kitchen, so I love tools that can be used for multiple applications. Just because the label calls the item a “zester” doesn’t mean it can’t be used for more than just zesting. Some kitchen tools are so useful that they have earned extra respect. Here are my favorite multi-use tools. These tools have “non-indicated uses” and would be great stocking stuffers for anyone who loves to cook.

1. bench knife. Designed by bakers for cutting dough, now every chef loves a bench knife for scooping up vegetables and cutting perfect brownies.

2. fish spatula. This ultra-thin bent turner is perfect for flipping thin fillets, but now I use it lieu of any other spatula because the shape is perfect for sauteing vegetables and frying eggs. Some chefs buy them by the dozen. Plus, this spatula is available for right or left handed users.

3. pitting spoon. This spoon has a sharp edge for removing the pits from plums, but I love to use it to scrape out squash seeds and remove artichoke hearts and scooping out orange shells or any other time I need a spoon with a sharp and pointed edge. It is sharper than a grapefruit spoon.

4. mozzarella slicer. The oversized Mario Batali designed an oversized egg slicer for even cuts of cheese. I love to use this slicer to make egg salad in a jiffy and slicing cooked beets. Turn the food 90 degrees and the vegetable is perfectly diced.

5. potato ricer. For smooth, light, and fluffy mashed potatoes, use a ricer. The ricer is also wonderful for squeezing the excess water out of spinach, cucumbers, and zucchini. Plus, the ricer will produce creamy sweet potatoes and butternut squash puree.

6. meat pounder. Yes, it pounds chicken and veal into perfect scaloppine, but it is also the easiest way to crack lobster and crab shells.

7. tart tamper. This wooden pestle is designed to press dough into small spaces, because tarts need to be tamped down! I also use the tamper to make compound butters, because the flat end beautifully creams the butter and incorporates flavorful ingredients.

8. Danish dough whisk. More than a wooden spoon, but less than a whisk, this special tool is designed for making bread, but I love to use it to make pancake batter and cream puff dough. It looks like a rug beater but it beats magic into lumpy batters.

9. pastry blender. This tool is essential for pie-making, but also is the best way to chop avocadoes for guacamole.

10. melon baller. Yes, it can make pretty pieces of melon, but it also can core an apple or pear.

11. gravy strainer. The pouring spout on this measuring cup comes from the bottom, which means that the stock –not the fat — is poured first. This strainer also works for ice water, because the cold water (not the ice) can be poured first into pastry doughs.

12. chocolate chipper. This sharp tool started life as an ice pick and then Martha Stewart discovered how well it works in chipping chocolate. I use it to cut chunks of hard parmesan cheese.

Please tell me you favorite “non-indicated use” tools.

2 Comments for “Non-Indicated Uses”  

  1. Alanna

    This is a great list!!

    I like those ‘pourers’ for liquor bottles, put them into empty wine bottles with different kinds of oils.

    Re the bench knife: while I really couldn’t imagine it being that useful when I bought it , now I love-love-love it and now keep it close at hand and use it several times a day. It’s just the right size to keep handy, goes into the dishwasher. It’s my favorite new every-day kitchen tool this year.

  2. Farmgirl Susan

    What a wonderful list! I can’t wait to try chopping avocadoes with my pastry blender–what a great idea. Thanks for sharing all these neat ideas.