The kitchen is a magical place to be. Like a scientist’s laboratory, or an artist’s studio, or an author’s cabin in the woods, or a CEO’s office, it’s where, no matter your proficiency, you bring to life your culinary creations.
Some days the things you create in the kitchen makes you feel like a gastronomic genius. Like the Food Network will be calling you up tomorrow to share your brilliance with the nation. Other days, you wonder if McDonald’s would even hire you to cook.
Regardless, the kitchen is a sacred place where you create and sculpt the outcome of your health and that of your family through the meals you create. But just like any artist needs tools to bring their ideas to life, we too need tools to take our ideas to the plate and eventually our tummies. With that in mind, here are 11 kitchen tools that make my life easier. They make my cooking life easier and more enjoyable so I can focus on the good things in life.
You can buy a more expensive knife, and certainly a better looking knife, but it’s hard to beat the bang for your buck that you get out of these guys. They are extremely light with an easy swing weight, and they have a nice sharp, thin blade.
This little piece of magic makes slicing a breeze. Seriously. I got one of these this last year, and I honestly don’t know how I lived without it for so long. If you ever have to do a lot of thin slicing (and I know you do because you cook), then you need to have a mandoline. It takes a slicing job that would take minutes and it’s done in seconds.
You know how Gollum feels about the Ring of Power? This is how I feel about my Le Creuset. My Precious…This is my baby. My love. As far as kitchen tools go, this is the creme de la creme, the pinacle of brilliance. I use it all the time. Its enamel cast iron means perfect distribution of heat every time. Perfect cooking. Perfect meals. Perfect food. Always. If you have one, you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t own a Le Creuset, you’ll soon be a believer. They’re worth every dollar. Here are just a few recipes that I’ve made with it: Oven Roasted Bacon Wrapped Chicken with Cipollini Onions, Braised BBQ Beef Brisket, and Vegetarian Moroccan Tagine.
This handy tool makes my life so much easier with soups, sauces, and even desserts. It takes care of 60% of what I’d need a food processor for, with a fraction of the cleanup. Oh, and did I mention it makes pureeing soups fast? I use it to make some of my favorite ones like Creamy Chickpea Soup with Chili Oil and Comforting Curried Yam Soup.
As great as an emulsion blender is, sometimes you need a food processor. Ever tried using an emulsion blender to chop 2 onions, a carrot and a head of cabbage? Don’t. That’s why they created food processors. Make your own nut flours, sauces, and such in a flash with one of these. This is a mandatory kitchen item. Don’t skimp here. There’s nothing worse than a lousy food processor that doesn’t chop. I know. I’ve cheaped out here before, and basically threw $40 away, not once, but twice. Bleh.
Whoever invented this little tool is a genius. My spiral whisk makes my life so much easier when making sauces, especially cream sauces where you need to keep stirring them. Say goodbye to lumps baby! I use this gem to make the cream sauce in my Flank Steak with Wild Rice Quinoa Cakes and Mushroom Cream Sauce in my cookbook, The Whole Food Revelation and so many others.
We get so much great use out of our bakeware. We’re always roasting up veggies and other goodies as we prep for the week. Lagostina makes a high quality product that cooks well, is durable, and a breeze to clean up. Seriously, a good non-stick baking pan will save you more in time than it will ever cost you. Ours cost $10. Sweet!
These get used as often as my Victorinox Knives – multiple times a day. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I’m cooking with these babies. The thing I love about them is that they have great heat distribution and they clean up very easily. I’ve used a lot of other brands, and their non-stick layer gives out far before they should. We used to have a set of Curtis Stone cookware that was awful. The frying pan was worthless after a couple of months. Frying pans are like the work horses of cookware, so they better be able to stand up to repeated use. I’ve been happy with the Lagostina ones.
This classic mixer makes baking and mixing so darn simple. There is a reason that this design has been minimally changed over the years. They last forever and are super reliable. I used to kneed dough by hand, but now I just throw it in the mixer, put on the appropriate attachment and let my hands relax. I also use it to make homemade butter and loads of other things (cakes, muffins, etc.). My second kitchen love!
Call me old school or snooty, but we make coffee in our house with a French Press. It just tastes better. The water and coffee sit together, making a stronger and bolder cup of coffee. Plus, it’s completely portable and makes just the right amount. I’ll never go back to drip coffee.
Two friends of mine took a trip to Mexico and brought me back a stone mortar and pestle. I love it! This tool is key to making the spiced roasted peppers in this recipe go from okay to outstanding. It has proved quite handy in all my Tunisian and Moroccan recipes as well. Plus, it’s just so much fun. Work out your frustrations in the kitchen on your mortar and pestle.
If you own a glass cutting board, can you not hear your knives screaming? Don’t believe me? Listen closely the next time you chop an onion. There are so many great bamboo cutting boards out there that don’t cost much. If you’re going to spend money on a good knife, a cutting board will protect your investment. You wouldn’t buy an expensive car without taking care of it. You shouldn’t buy a great knife without a proper cutting board.
What makes your list of must have kitchen tools? Let me know in the comments below.
I’m sharing this with Real Food 101, Monday Mania, Meatless Mondays, Fat Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesdays, A Little Birdie Told Me, Fat Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesdays, A Little Birdie Told Me, These Chicks Cook, Allergy Free Wednesday, Cast Party Wednesday, Tasty Alternative, What’s Cooking Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday, Food Friday, Friday Food Flicks, Fight Back Friday, and Foodie Friday.
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