I have been thinking about the basics of kitchen utensils and necessities that I have and use daily. Writing for this cooking blog and sharing the end result is one thing, but I have an arsenal of pots, pans, knives, mixers, spices etc. that make the job easier. Below are what I would call my “Kitchen Essentials”, the items I use weekly, if not daily, to create my kitchen alchemy.
I am not paid by any brand to endorse them, these are just my preferences from years of the “got-to-haves” to the “these-work-just-as-well” items. Use what works for you and keep cooking and baking!
Le Creuset is known as a valuable asset for any kitchen and indispensable for heavy duty cooking and baking recipes. They come in colorful, long-lasting exterior enamel that resists chipping and cracking. The interior enamel is engineered to resist staining and dulling and is similar to a stoneware for it’s ease of cleaning ability. These are made of cast iron and can be used on gas, electric, ceramic, halogen, induction, oven & outdoor grills, are dishwasher safe and come with a lifetime warranty. They may be expensive, but are an investment in your passion for quality cookware and results. The 3 1/2 qt. round “French oven” is perfect as an indispensable introduction purchase!
In the big pull out drawer you can find my set of non-stick pans, Pyrex measuring cup, Pampered Chef 2 quart batter bowl with lid (very multi-purpose), strainers and sieves, a citrus juicer, and some heavy duty metal kabob skewers for the BBQ.
The trusty Pressure Cooker (my brand is Fagor with it’s easy steam release), a major time saver and can always help turn a tough, inexpensive piece of meat tender in no time. It’s prefect for Corned Beef, too.
The Vitamix is a blender on steroids. This baby can blend, chop to puree in seconds and it’s powerful engine helps the cook create salsas, to hot soups to cold sorbets. Worth the investment.
KitchenAid – a kitchen staple for mixers with a great brand name reputation. Enough said.
As it states on their site “WÜSTHOF knives are adored by many of the world’s most famous chefs due to their extraordinary feel and sharp edge.” I agree as these “feel” right in my hands. Ever wonder if you should hang the knife point side up or down? I have seen these hung both ways, but I like to keep mine with the knife point on top because, if for whatever reason they get knocked off the magnetic rack, the weight of the handle should hit the granite countertop or ceramic tile floor first therefore avoiding breaking a knife tip. Hopefully!
The usual suspects here: Whisks, tongs, wooden spoons, spatulas, and brushes. The ice cream scoop is amazing with no moving parts to “freeze up”.
The microplane is amazing for grinding nutmeg, fresh ginger, zesting lemons, limes and other citrus and Parmesan cheese! The board scraper is used daily for scraping and scooping after chopping and the candy thermometer helps with knowing the exact stage of a cooking sugar and measuring hot oil for deep frying.
Then we come to my trusty mandoline food slicer, which features a thick and thin slice and julienne blade. This makes slicing vegetables quick and easy, just be sure to watch your finger tips!
The handy meat tenderizer, olive oil sprayer and stove top kosher salt and red pepper flake containers.
Plastic squeeze bottles are perfect in assisting the final touches, adding icing, caramel and chocolate drizzles to desserts and Mexican Crema on Latin dishes.
Some good stand by Chinese Five Spice, Annato Seed Oil, a shaker of cinnamon, bottle of star anise and my trusty soy sauce.
The spice cabinet above the stove top for any ethnic flavor. I keep the same containers and make my own like my version of Montreal Seasoning and refill from smaller batches of fresh. Herbs and spices do date and lose flavor so buy or use often.
My spice drawer pull out for the smaller versions of spices and herbs and utensil drawer. I love my nutmeg grinder!
And finally the cabinet of my oils, vinegars, honeys and other various flavorings.