For this week’s Friday Five, I’m sharing 5 of my must-have kitchen tools and an item I’m ogling for my dream kitchen. Thanks to BlueStar for inspiring this week’s theme. First, let’s touch on the basics!
- Bamboo spoons
For years, all I used was a spatula for sautéing, but the weird angle and sometimes flimsy nature of the tool wasn’t always ideal for recipes that require you to break up food in a pan. Then, I purchased bamboo spoons on a whim at one of those at-home cookware parties. And they’ve ended up being my most-used cooking tool. Whether I’m sautéing onions and garlic in a skillet, scrambling eggs, browning ground beef, or stirring soup, I always go for these spoons. They’re gentle on nonstick pans and really durable. My spoons have a permanent scent of onions and garlic for all the times I’ve used them to sauté. Find them here.
- French Oven
This one’s a bit of a splurge, but it’s so worth it in my opinion. Confession time. I have two of these babies, both given as gifts that I intentionally asked for. Bottom line…I can’t imagine making any soup, stew, or chili without my French oven. Side note, I’d been calling it a Dutch oven for the longest time, but this article from The Kitchn set the record straight. French oven it is! I also do all my braising in these pots. Think braised cabbage, tender beef roast, or chicken. Watch the recipe video for my Easy Sweet Potato Soup to see the bamboo spoon and the French oven in action. For purchase here: splurge or wallet-friendly.
- Chef’s Knife
A really good chef’s knife paired with the skills to use it can be a game changer for those looking to cooking healthy dishes. Growing up, my parents and I used steak knives to chop vegetables. **shudder** So imagine the intimidation and fear I felt, as a cooking novice with her first legit kitchen knife, when I was tasked with finely chopping garlic. Luckily, I soon became hooked on Food Network cooking shows, so I gained some solid knife skills by watching Giada and Rachael Ray chop vegetables. Watch any cooking show and take note of how they slice garlic and onions. It’s all about the wrist action and the placement of fingers. I think a lot of people shy away from cooking fresh veggies because of the chopping involved. But once you learn the basic motion, you’ll be well on your way to cooking healthy meals! For purchase here: splurge or wallet-friendly.
- Magic Bullet
This powerful, yet compact, machine makes a mean smoothie and amazing salad dressings. With all the big brands out there selling really sophisticated blenders, why would I chose the Magic Bullet? Above all, the blending literally takes seconds. A few pulses are all you need to get the ingredients moving and emulsified. Another benefit is the easy cleanup. There’s never any spillage from blending. Plus, the blending containers also serve as drinking cups! So I usually just grab the smoothie right off the machine and enjoy! The Magic Bullet is perfect for making your own dressings, especially vinaigrettes. The high-speed blending makes this balsamic vinaigrette so creamy. Find the Magic Bullet here.
- Food scale
This tool is especially helpful if you’re trying to cook healthier meals or if you’re on a diet. A lot of times, healthy recipes or diet plans will break down serving sizes, especially for meat, into ounces. Before I owned a food scale, I’d resort to Googling conversions or eyeballing it. A food scale will eliminate all the googling and guesswork! For purchase: here.
Bonus! My dream kitchen essential: A gas range
I’ve always cooked on an electric stove. BUT, in my dream world, a gas range would be one of my kitchen essentials. Aside from the aesthetics of these beauties, I’ve long admired the wide range of fancy cooking techniques that can be accomplished with a gas range. Charred peppers or roasted marshmallows, anyone? And how about those big griddles that you can place directly over the burners to make a batch of pancakes or grilled veggies? I’m also a fan of how quickly gas ranges adjust to temperature changes. You’re dealing with a real flame after all! The Blue Star range shown above is just all kinds of awesome with the customized pinkish purple exterior, the ample cooktop space, and the double oven. Swooning…
Now it’s your turn! What are your kitchen essentials? What does your dream kitchen look like?
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