Tools to help you make the most of your summer bounty

La Belle Cuisine-Fine Cookware has been around since 1977. In fact, next year we will celebrate our 40th anniversary. During the course of those years, we have diligently researched the variety of kitchen tools and gadgets on the market so that we can make the most informed decisions about what to offer customers in our store. We want our customers to have the best cooking experience in their home kitchen. So, where products are sourced from, the materials used, and the quality of craftsmanship are a few of the criteria we use when choosing products. Each month in our blog we highlight a few favorites. And since we’re in the midst of gardening season, we chose tools that can help you make the most of your summer bounty.

Our Japanese Benriner-Mandolin is a seriously sharp, high performing slicer – perfect for onions, zucchini, eggplant and just about anything else that needs to be prepped. Because this lightweight slicer is one you’ll reach for often, keep it close for the times you need just a few slices of onion or a large pile of mushrooms. The benriner comes with three variable sized shredding blades that create matchstick size and larger. This slicer is fun to use, and we urge you to always use the hand guard: It is extremely sharp.

For larger quantities of vegetables, our Deluxe Mandoline Slicer/Grater may be more helpful. This slicer stands on an angle for your fruit or vegetables to slide downward as they are prepped. This larger slicer also has a thickness adjuster and includes blades that will shred, grate, and crinkle cut. A finger guard and instructions are included.

Moving from slicing and shredding to chopping, we just introduced the Zyliss Easy Pull Food Processor. This small chopper operates manually with just a pull of the handle. The sharp blade on this food processor will chop uniformly and even blend and puree your ingredients while leaving as much texture as you’d like. It’s a good tool to use for making salsa out of your fresh tomatoes. When you don’t feel like getting your heavy electric food processor out of the cabinet, this lightweight tool is a good choice. And clean-up is much easier.

One of the most versatile tools in our store is a Food Mill. It has so many uses! This is a tool that has been around for decades, and most likely used in your grandmother’s kitchen during gardening season. Some of the foods that can be prepared with a food mill include fluffy mashed potatoes, tomato sauce, pumpkin puree, and applesauce. When my children were babies, I never bought jarred baby food, opting instead to cook veggies from my garden and run them through the food mill. It was my way of knowing exactly where their food came from and what was in it. We carry two stainless steel food mills: One with a wooden handle that has three coarseness disks, and one that is all stainless steel with two coarseness disks.

Finally, what would gardening season be without herbs! We carry a few unique tools that you might find helpful for processing your herbs. The first is our Herb Snippers. Made by Zyliss, this scissor-like tool is sturdy, lightweight, and perfect for snipping and mincing. The herb snipper is designed with notches in the handle. If you find removing thyme and rosemary leaves from the stem to be as frustrating as I do, this tool works well in removing the delicate leaves, leaving them intact. This little tool is a gem and is comfortable and easy to use.

Another herb preparation tool is the Microplane Herb Mill. This herb mincer will cut – not tear – herbs easily to a uniform size. What emerges from the mill are beautiful pieces of herb without bruises or blemishes. The herb mill works best on herbs that have been cleaned and thoroughly dried.

Our best wishes for a great gardening season. Bon appétit!