By Anthony Sobotik and Chad Palmatier, of Lick Honest Ice Creams
I am definitely the one who does the vast majority of the cooking and all the baking in our household—and that’s just fine by me, as I’ve always enjoyed my time in the kitchen. When Chad does cook, it’s usually when we prepare brunch together on Saturday mornings. Brunch is, hands down, our favorite meal, and it’s the one meal we compose together almost every weekend. I typically do most of the heavy lifting while Chad makes coffee and prepares beverages. There is one exception to that general rule: Chad makes excellent scrambled eggs and has recently become quite the expert egg poacher. I’m not complaining one bit! He uses his grandmother’s decades-old egg poacher and the results are perfect every time. So, although our hearts are in the crafting of artisan ice creams, we decided it’d be appropriate for us to share our list of go-to tools for brunch. —Anthony Sobotik
1. Wagner’s 1891 Original Cast Iron Skillet. This is one of my absolute favorite items to work with in the kitchen. You just can’t beat biscuits and pancakes baked in a cast-iron skillet. The simple act of browning butter to add to recipes such as baked pancakes can’t be replicated in any other skillet. I have two of these vintage skillets, both given to me by my mother many years ago.
2. OXO Pastry Blender. It’s hard to imagine our weekends without freshly baked biscuits, and that’s primarily what I use my pastry blender for when preparing brunch. I look forward all week to not only the sweet reward of eating the biscuits, but the equally satisfying process of preparing them. Each and every time I make them, I think of my Granny Hazel, who used to make them by the dozens for my cousins and me.
3. Kuhn Rikon 12-Inch Balloon Wire Whisk. This tool brings so much to the brunch table. Just think about it—scrambled eggs, whipped cream, griddle cakes and pancakes all benefit from this simple contraption. What would brunch be without this useful tool? I shudder to imagine such a world. It’s a great go-to whisk that does a nice job for various purposes.
4. Large Stainless-Steel Bowl. This might seem like an obvious item for any kitchen, but you’d be surprised by how many people don’t have a large stainless-steel bowl in their kitchen arsenal. This piece makes the preparation of biscuits, pancakes, whipped cream, quiche and frittatas a breeze. Having a large enough bowl also makes cleanup much easier because there’s less spillage. You can find these bowls at almost every big-box store, but I recommend checking out your local restaurant supply store for the best selection.
1. Demeyere Stainless-Steel Egg-Poaching Pan. As Anthony already mentioned, I’ve discovered I possess the skill of poaching eggs. I inherited my grandma’s egg poacher when she passed away almost 12 years ago. It sat in storage for years until Anthony discovered it this past spring and brought it home. The poaching pan by Demeyere is very similar to Grandma’s pan and it makes perfectly poached eggs every time.
2. Zyliss All Cheese Grater. Cheese-grating is another task I’m regularly assigned when I help in the kitchen. With brunch, there are plenty of dishes that benefit from freshly grated cheese. For example, I always grate fresh Parmesan into my scrambled eggs. Anthony swears he’d never experienced scrambled eggs like this before he met me—but now he insists on making them my way.
3. Williams-Sonoma Open Kitchen Cocktail Spoon. I love a good bloody mary for brunch, much more than Anthony, actually—he’s more of a screwdriver guy. While Anthony prepares the bulk of the meal, I’m mixing up the libations. One of my favorite tools for making my bloody mary, as well as other cocktails, is a cocktail spoon. It might seem like an unnecessary utensil, but it’s far superior to using a regular spoon. The slenderness and length of a cocktail spoon allow you to fully incorporate all the components in your glass. Also, you don’t run the risk of getting your fingers in your drink!
4. OXO Good Grips Silicone Flexible Turner. Anthony might prepare all of the batters, but I sometimes get to do the flipping. This tool is perfect for that, and it comes in handy when I make scrambled eggs. Although not a spatula, the width of the turner does a nice job pulling the egg from the pan, and the flexible silicone helps remove the egg from the sides.