It’s that time of the week again for The Cooking Class Files! Welcome back!!
In our previous sessions, we have covered common cooking terms, the five basic Mother Sauces that are the cornerstone of French cooking, and last week we broke down the anatomy of a knife and all the common knives that are useful in the kitchen.
So after a brief run through of some popular knives to use in the kitchen, let’s talk other gadgets and utensils.
But first, let’s define gadgets and utensils – I looked for tools that not only have a bit more design than the basic kitchen tools, think wooden spoons and pans; and looked for things that make your life easier in the kitchen as they help you perform better than you could with just a basic kitchen knife. I tried to stay away from gadgets that just make up for poor knife skills…egg slicer, I am looking at you!
This is where the fun begins. These gadgets have made my life easier and will hopefully make yours as well!
- Vitamix 5200s Blender or a high-quality blender – Hands down my favorite kitchen gadget! Mine gets used daily. Multiple times daily to tell the truth! Not only do I make my smoothies and frozen cocktails with it, I chop veggies in a flash, grind spices and coffee quickly, puree soups, make pesto, salsa, nut butters and one of our favorites, healthy banana ice cream! The possibilities are endless with a high quality blender!
- Spiralizer – My far my newest and favorite way to snazzy up dishes! I used the Paderno Spiralizer . Turn veggies into a low carb pasta dish within seconds. Some of my favorite recipe makeovers are Grilled Chicken & Bacon ‘Mac & Cheese”; Ahi Poke with Chilled Sesame Noodles; and Cucumber & Strawberry Poppyseed Salad!
- Garlic Press – A debated gadget, but when you are mincing an entire bulb of garlic, a press is versatile, quick and handy. Try the OXO Steel Garlic Press.
- Microplane Zester & Grater – the best way to not only zest lemons and limes, but also cheese and garlic into dishes. Try this Microplane Zester/Grater.
- Cast Iron Skillet – An all-around, useful cookware. They are durable, long-lasting and inexpensive. Add flavor to meat and veggies as you cook more with it. Try this Pre-Seasoned 12-inch Skillet.
- Oven Thermometer – Ensure your oven is cooking at the temperature you believe you are setting your oven to. Nothing is more aggravating than a higher or lower oven that turns your cookies into hockey bucks or a makes casserole take over an hour when it is supposed to only take 45 minutes. I love this inexpensive Stainless Steel Oven Thermometer.
- Meat Thermometer – No more overcooking or undercooking meats. Make sure your chicken is moist and flavorful by ensuring it reaches 165*F. This Quick-Read Thermometer is so helpful!
- Dutch Oven – A heavy duty Dutch oven is a ‘do it all’ kitchen cookware. With a heavy bottom and thick walls, they are durable, versatile and last practically forever. From braising, to baking, to making soups and stews, they have multiple uses. A 6 quart is a good start for most recipes. I adore this red Cast Iron Dutch Oven!!
- Heat Resistant Spatulas – A cook can never have too many spatulas! They are so versatile. Try to grab heat resistant so they don’t start to melt once submerged into hot foods! The OXO Good Grips 3-Piece Silicone Spatula Set are a staple in my kitchen!
- Slow Cooker – The perfect kitchen tool for busy cooks and families. Let the slow cooker do all the work and still pull together a delicious dinner with limited prep time! Slow cookers range from inexpensive to all out fancy with all the bells and whistles! One feature I love is the programmable timer – you are able to program the slow cooker for switch to warm once the cooking time is up. So no more worries about over cooked chicken if you aren’t around to switch the timer once the hours are up! My Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker is a our personal fav!
- Stainless Steel Bowls with Lids – Practical and extremely useful – as they go straight from mixing, to the table, to the fridge for storage. Cuisinart Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls with Lids are my top choice!
- Hand Held Immersion Blender – No need to switch soups and sauces to a blender; just use this immersion blender to puree right in the same pot. And also break down crumbled meat, make whipped cream and mayo in a flash. Try the Cuisinart Immersion Hand Blender
But don’t forget that as the gadgets listed above are my most useful gadgets, they may not be the next chef’s.
What are some of your favorite gadget’s and tools in the kitchen. Please share!!0