12 Kitchen Tools That Make My Life Better

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.

1. Victorinox Chef’s Knife

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.

2. Oxo Mandoline

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.

3. Le Creuset French Oven

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.

4. Emulsion Blender

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.

5. Food Processor

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.

6. Spiral Whisk

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.

7. Lagostina Baking Pans

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!

8. Lagostina Frying Pans

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.

9. KitchenAid Mixer

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!

10. French Press

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.

11. Mortar and Pestle

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.

12. Wood Cutting Board

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 101Monday ManiaMeatless Mondays, Fat TuesdaySlightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Tasty TuesdaysA Little Birdie Told Me, Fat TuesdaySlightly Indulgent TuesdaysTasty TuesdaysA Little Birdie Told MeThese Chicks CookAllergy Free WednesdayCast Party WednesdayTasty AlternativeWhat’s Cooking WednesdayReal Food WednesdayFull Plate ThursdayFood FridayFriday Food FlicksFight Back Friday, and Foodie Friday.

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27 Responses to 12 Kitchen Tools That Make My Life Better

  1. Ellen March 23, 2012 at 10:01 am #

    Love this list. The baking pans are now on my wish list plus the mandolin. I would add several sizes of heat resistent spatulas. Williams Sonoma has a great set. And lots of cheap wooden spoons! Almost forgot, cooking tongs that lock and spring open with a tap on the counter.

    • France Morissette March 23, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

      Ellen, great suggestions! You’ve got to get a mandoline. They’re wonderful.

  2. Cheryl Z March 23, 2012 at 12:36 pm #

    I think life would come to an end at my house without a crockpot! That plus my Vitamix, Whispermill and Electrolux DLX mixer.

    • France Morissette March 23, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

      Cheryl, I feel the same way about my Le Creuset as you feel about your crockpot :) I haven’t used the DLX. I’ll have to check it out sometime. Thanks for the great suggestions!

  3. Cheryl Z March 23, 2012 at 12:38 pm #

    That’s not to dismiss the Kitchen Aid! That was the love of my kitchen life for years, but now that I have 8 children and need more than 2 loaves of bread at a time, the DLX fits the bill better. Someday, when it’s just me and my husband again, I’ll probably downsize back to the Kitchen Aid.

  4. Jill March 23, 2012 at 12:40 pm #

    I definitely use my Kitchen Aid stand mixer and my food processor the most. Both are so versatile and I find that I use one or the other almost every day. I have a big cast iron skillet that I often pull out as well.

    • France Morissette March 23, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

      Jill, the Kitchen Aid mixer is amazing. I love that they are so reliable. Glad to hear you get such great use out of yours!

  5. Joanne March 23, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

    I definitely agree with these kitchen must-haves! And can’t believe I don’t have a mandoline. FOR SHAME.

  6. Kim Daly March 23, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

    I recently got a tofu press that I adore; it makes life so much easier!

    • France Morissette March 23, 2012 at 11:04 pm #

      A tofu press…That one is new to me. I’ll go look some up!

  7. Laura March 23, 2012 at 5:18 pm #

    Great List! I couldn’t live without my emulsion blender (same one as pictured) and I use my french press every morning. I will never go back either… love it!

  8. Becky March 24, 2012 at 3:01 am #

    Lots of good stuff! I definitely need to get one of those mandolines! I use a magic bullet blender in place of the emulsion blender, though. And I would add a high quality burr coffee grinder to the list with the french press. A good, fresh batch of beans (less than 10 days since roasting) and a good burr coffee grinder will make an enormous taste difference in a cup of coffee.

  9. Karen (Back Road Journal) March 24, 2012 at 5:04 pm #

    I love my silicon pot holders. So soft and flexible when holding the the hottest pot and easy to clean.

  10. Shelia March 24, 2012 at 8:43 pm #

    Love reading your list. I do have the Le Cruset dutch oven and just love it. I looked at it for over a week before I could cook any thing in it! 😉 Just too pretty! But it’s broken in now.

  11. Katie March 24, 2012 at 9:57 pm #

    Ohh! I’ve really been wanting an emulsion blender for the convenience factor. I love my food processor and my bread maker comes in quite handy for making dough :)

  12. The Café Sucré Farine March 24, 2012 at 11:24 pm #

    Frances, what a great list – I love everything on it! I have some of these but you definitely have me drooling for some of these lovely items!

  13. Chrissy March 27, 2012 at 1:06 pm #

    Used to love my mandoline until, through my own fault because I wasn’t using it properly, i cut the tip of my finger off. I’ve tried to use it since, properly of course, but I’m a chicken, just makes me cringe. Thank goodness my finger healed well and my pointer finger is not quite as pointed as it was after the accident. 😉
    Great list! A mortar and pestle are next on my wish list.

    • France Morissette March 27, 2012 at 8:44 pm #

      Oooh Chrissy, That thing is sooo sharp. The thought makes my tummy curl. I always use the guard (even though some would laugh at me for it), but the thought of losing the tip of my finger keeps me using the guard almost all the time (with the exception of a cucumber or something that has my hand several inches away from the blade). I’m glad to hear you healed well.

  14. Elsa March 28, 2012 at 2:13 am #

    I can’t live without my: kitchenaid mixer, Vitamix blender (I use this daily), wood butcher block, tagine…. and I don’t own a Le Creuset, but it’s killing me. I need one. :)

    • France Morissette March 28, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

      Hi Elsa, I have 2 more things on my wish list too! A vitamix and a juicer and a tagine. All of which aren’t cheap but I’ll get them! So little bits by little bits!
      The butcher block is so amazing. I had to get rid of mine recently do to ( shhh) mistreatment…so sad.

  15. Barb @ A Life in Balance March 29, 2012 at 8:03 pm #

    You’ve covered almost everything I love. I don’t have a mandolin and haven’t needed one. Ditto the mortar and pestle. We have the French press and a coffee maker.

    In addition, I love my cast iron pans; I have a big and small one. I also love a wooden spoon that I found at Reading China and Glass. I always saute with it!

  16. Miz Helen March 30, 2012 at 9:16 pm #

    France,
    This is a great list of Kitchen tools. I have most of them but my treasure is my Red Le Creuset! Hope you have a great week end and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  17. mjskit April 1, 2012 at 2:26 pm #

    Great list! From your list I give strong support to the emulsion blender, the French Oven and a good skillet (or frying pan). I have to admit that I gave my food processor away! :) I love the zen of chopping things and I found the food processor a pain to use and even more of a pain to clean. I hate cleaning! :) So what I don’t chop by hand I put on the chopper attachment to the emulsion blender and use it. Love it! In fact, that’s my number 2 necessary kitchen item, with a good knife as number 1. Hope you’re having a great weekend.

  18. Jenn/Rook No. 17 April 2, 2012 at 9:32 pm #

    I agree with each and every one of your recommendations. I have most on the list. All except the Lagostina cookware. On my way to check them out and add them to my wish list. Pinning your post for future reference too.

    Jenn

    • France Morissette April 2, 2012 at 11:07 pm #

      Thanks Jenn! We’ve been very happy with Lagostina. Hope you enjoy their cookware as much as we do.

  19. Amber April 3, 2012 at 9:26 pm #

    What a fun post for us! Thank you for sharing your favorites! Great list.

    And thank you for sharing this information with us last week on AFW! Be sure to check back this week for reader favorites and hostess picks.

    Happy Eating,
    –AFW Hostesses

  20. natural healing remedies February 23, 2015 at 11:00 pm #

    Thank you for this information about kitchen tools that make life better..

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