Thursday, January 22, 2015

20 Essential Kitchen Tools

20 ESSENTIAL KITCHEN TOOLS

During the holidays you visit a lot of your friends houses and invariably you end up in their kitchens, well I do anyway because my Culinary challenged friends always need a bit of assistance in the kitchen.  While everyone has special skills I have realized that there are a lot of people that are clueless in the kitchen and don't really know what they should have and how to use it.

I know a lot of people grew up having their mothers cook everything for them and they never participated in the cooking process.  That was not my experience.  I was the gatherer, stirrer, measurer for my mom from an early age.

After seeing a lot of my friends kitchens lately I thought it might be helpful to compile a list of the 20 Most Essential Kitchen Tools that will make you look like you know what you are doing in the kitchen.  Even if you don't know what you are doing you will help people that visit that do know what to do with these things.  If you are single and meet the person of your dreams and they like to cook and eat good food then this list is for you.   If you are moving into a new place and don't know what to buy then take this list with you to the store and buy some of these things as much as you can afford.

If you have decided to start a new diet and you have to cook your food instead of microwaving something from a box then this list will get you started in whatever you need to do.

This list goes from the inexpensive basic tools to some high end super tools.   None of these are useless gadgets and they are all plucked right out of my kitchen and they are tools I use all the time.  Ok you are saying I cook a lot,  well I live alone and don't cook everyday but when I do I can count on these tools to help me do the job more efficiently and a whole lot easier.

Here's my 20 Most Essential Kitchen Tools list:

1. 
A wooden cutting board is essential for cutting your food and not ruining your knives.  You can also roll pastry and other things on the board.

2. 
 A Chef's Knife. This one is a Wusthoff knife which is one of the top names in Knives.  Buy the best you can afford and sharpen them often.  If you get some great knives they should last you a very long time and make cutting things a breeze.  Let the tools do the work.  I wish I could afford to buy a couple of really high quality knives.  Stay away from the million tool butcher block unless you know you are going to use everyone of those knives.  Just buy the best of what you will use.

3. 
 A great non-stick frying pan is something you might use everyday.  If you like bacon and eggs for breakfast then this is the best investment for you.  I just bought this amazing T-fal Ingenio frying pan.  It's a great pan and washes up really easily, but the best part is the removable handle so you can store the handle inside the pan if you don't have a lot of cupboard space and it makes it a whole lot easier to clean since you can submerge the pan in a sink of soapy water.

4.  
 Tongs, not thongs, one you use in the kitchen and the other one you put on your booty.  This tool is one of those cheap utensils that come in very handy for turning things over and I use them for pasta because you can grab the pasta easily out of a pot and put it neatly on a plate.  You can find them at a dollar store or get a fancy one from a kitchen supply place.  Some have silicone on them.  This is where you can spend less.  As long as the spring that opens and closes them works.

5.  
 A silicone spatula.  This is one of my favourite tools.  As you can see from this one I use it a lot.  It's great for stirring in a non stick pan and also great for scraping mixing bowls clean.  This is another cheap tool that is really great.

6.  
 A colander.  If you cook pasta or make salads then you need this essential tool.  This one isn't very large but it does the job.  I don't have a salad spinner so I use this to wash vegetables and to drain and strain foods.  This is another inexpensive tool.  You can get them in all kinds of sizes and colors these days.  I like the basic stainless steel one.  It never goes out of style in your kitchen.

7.  
 This little baby has been in my life for probably over 25 years.  It belonged to my mother and is one of the things I took with me when I moved that I am so happy to have.  I can make chicken soup, pasta sauce, stews and slow cook whatever I like in this heavy duty pot.  This one is a Le Creuset and they are pretty expensive but you can find similar things for a bit less.  But it's a great investment.  I don't even know when my mother bought it but all I can tell you is that it's been in my family for many, many years.
8.  
Anyone that is clueless in the kitchen might think this is a shop tool or a spa tool.  Nope it's a great tool called a Microplane or rasp.  You can use it to grate fresh Parmesan Cheese, or chocolate for your coffee or cocoa or you can zest your lemons to add flavour to all kinds of sweet and savoury dishes.

9.  
 This artsy looking thing is called a Speed Peeler.  Not like a stripper but it's a quick vegetable stripper.  Need to peel potatoes or carrots quickly then this is the tool.  But think outside of the vegetable peeling and you can shave chocolate curls for a fancy dessert, or shave parmesan for your caesar salads, or you can use it to cut vegetables into thin strips.  It works great on cucumbers and zucchini's.  Try it.  It's also a tool that doesn't cost a lot but makes your food look really professional.

10.  

This is the mother of all kitchen tools.  The designer and chef favourite KitchenAid Stand Mixer.  If you ever watch cooking shows on the Food Network or design shows that showcase kitchens on HGTV then you will probably see one of these babies on a kitchen counter.  They come in so many amazing colors now but this is the classic silver one that I picked up at my local Canadian Tire.  They start at about $299 but they have different sizes and different motors and also all kinds of attachments that either come with it or that you can purchase separately.  If you can only get one kitchen appliance then get this one.  You can get attachments to make pasta, grind meat, make ice cream and there are a bunch more.

11.  
 Measuring cups are a no brainer.  Need to follow a recipe?  How are you going to measure the ingredients?  While I can wing it in the cooking department it's not as easy in the baking department.  Want to make cookies, a cake or bread?  You need measuring tools or even a scale to get it right.  I have a few sets.  I have these metal ones, these ceramic ones and I have plastic spoons and glass measuring cups.  I use them all because some times you just need them to get all of your stuff prepped before you start cooking.  These are a dollar store or department store purchase.

12.  
A paring knife is a little tool that is essential for peeling things like apples or cutting small things.  You can use them to cut your strawberries or to cut your tomatoes.  Fancy professional chefs can do all kinds of magical things with this little knife.  This one is a Wustoff one again.  Great sturdy handle and solid knife.

13.  
 A good sized casserole dish can be your friend in so many ways.  I just picked up this Denby one at Homesense recently.  It's a great size for a small lasagna and I have used it for Mac and cheese and you can even roast a small chicken in it.  It's great because it's pretty easy to clean and it can go from the oven to the table.  If you go to Potlucks and want to bring a casserole at least you won't be embarrassed by an ugly dish.

14.  
 Good quality spices are one of my favourite things.  What is good quality?  If you can buy them whole and grind them then that's even better because you will always have it ground fresh.  If you have some never used spices that you can't remember when you bought but are just sitting in your pantry taking up space then they are probably not so good anymore.  I was at a friend's house and tried to show her how to kick up the flavour of a roast chicken and potatoes.  She didn't even know what spices she had and never used them.  Use your spices people.  They not only make your food taste better, some of them have health properties.  Cinnamon is great for regulating blood sugar and tumeric is great for inflammation and the brain.  These bottle are organic spices but the most important thing is to try and keep them for less than a year for optimal flavour.

15.  

I have gotten compliments on this fancy little Trivet.  It's made in Portugal and I picked it up at Homesense.  I have a few different Trivet or (pot holders).  I even have a hand painted ceramic tile that I got at a craft fair in Peterborough.  They can be made of silicone, cork, ceramic or metal.  The point is where are you going to put that hot pot when it comes out of the oven?  Want to put it on your dining room table right from the oven, then this is a little thing that will be an important tool.

16.  
 Sometimes you don't even need to spend money to get a kitchen tool.  I got this oven mitt for free at a Food show this summer.  You can get cheap oven gloves at your dollar store or you can get fancy ones that show off your decor or personality.  But get some instead of using kitchen towels.  I bet more people have burned up their kitchen from dropping hot pots or having tea towels catch fire or get stuck on the stove.

17.  

A metal spatula is great for flipping pancakes, omelettes, burgers etc.  This one is a huge metal one.  You can get some nice silicone ones that won't scratch your pots.  Another favourite tool is the angled spatula the is used for fish because it has slits in it to drain off the fat before you remove it from a pan and the angle makes it easy to get under the food to pick it up.

18.  
 Ice Cream scoop.  But you can't eat ice cream anymore... well it's not just for ice cream.  I use mine for cookie dough and for making meatballs and even portioning muffins into a muffin tin.  It makes it a lot easier to get everything the same size and to release it easier.

19.  
 Get yourself a kitchen thermometer if you plan on cooking meat so that your don't kill anyone or break their teeth on the shoe leather meat that you cook on the stove, grill or oven.   Cook your chickens at the perfect 165 Degrees by using this tool.  There are even ones that will send notifications to your Iphone.   This one is under $20.  They come in all kinds of shapes, sizes and prices.

20.  
And how to you get your soup, stew or tomato sauce out of a big pot without this tool?  I don't know either.  I use it to pour pancake batter into a frying pan too.  You can dump your soups and stews from the pot into a bowl or plate but use this tool and you won't be spending hours cleaning up your whole kitchen.

SUMMARY

As you can see I am not recommending standard sets of pots, knives or kitchen gadgets but more of a what you need to do the job right tool list.

I hope this is helpful for some of you.  Let me know if it is.   Probably a lot of you reading this might thing it's a no brainer but after what I have seen in my friends kitchens I realize that some people don't know  these things so this is for them.

All of these tools came out of my kitchen and the opinions of these tools are my own.


3 comments:

  1. Great Post. Thanks for Share such a useful information. All kitchen tools are needed every Kitchen.

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    ReplyDelete
  2. I know a lot of people grew up having their mothers cook everything for them and they never participated in the cooking process. Kitchen tool expert

    ReplyDelete
  3. Amazing and Creative Gadgets and Tools of Kitchen

    The kitchen is one of the most fun rooms in the house; your chance to be innovative on a daily basis. Owning these amazing and creative gadgets and tools would make the time spent there that much better just, and might send you running to the actual oven to cook much more often!

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