Anyone a sucker for Kitchen Gadgets? Say 'I'
This blog is for all YOU foodies, home chefs, quarantined cooks, and wannabes. This is the time of the year when a lot of energy is invested in FOOD. You may have received some kitchen gadgets for the holidays, you may have perused the kitchen stores revealing massive markdowns of leftover holiday inventory, you may have been forced to cook at home due to restaurant closures from the pandemic, or you may have made a New Year's resolution to eat healthier requiring you to take control of the ingredients and cook more! I absolutely love to cook and am a total sucker for kitchen gadgets. As a result, I have accumulated A LOT more gadgets and accessories than I really need or use. When I surveyed MY kitchen inventory I noted that there are a few staples that I use VERY FREQUENTLY, sometimes every day. So, I put together a list of those items and will share my Top 10 Favorite Kitchen Gadgets and Accessories (in no particular order).
Unlike many other blog sites that you may encounter, I have absolutely NO affiliation with ANY of these companies (unfortunately) and receive NO kickback (even more, unfortunately.) I simply have experience using these products and love them!
Le Creuset Dutch Oven
Dutch ovens are thick-walled, heavy, tightly-lidded cooking pots. They are usually made of either seasoned or enamel-coated cast iron. I love them because they retain and distribute heat evenly and thereby cook evenly. They are ideal for quickly searing meats at a high temperature or for maintaining a steady low temperature for a long, slow cook. They can be used on the stovetop or in the oven. They are durable with handles that don't loosen or burn. They are particularly ideal for braising meats, stews, chilis, and soups. They can also be used for roasting, frying, bread making, and casseroles. While they come in various sizes, I particularly favor my 5.5 qt. Le Creuset Dutch oven and use it ALL of the time. They are a great investment and will last a LONG time.
If you love to cook, then a food processor is a must! I rely on mine REGULARLY to assemble marinades, emulsify salad dressings, make creamy hummus, create pesto, pulse foods that need to be broken up a bit, grind meats or nuts, grate or shred hard cheeses, crumble crackers or cookies, slice vegetables, among many other chores. It is my GO-TO appliance and significantly simplifies and expedites my chef tasks. I have a KitchenAid brand and I am happy with it. It has held up well for several years.
Curved Olive-Wood Spoon
One of my favorite kitchen utensils is my wooden spoon from Greece ... specifically from the Plaka in Athens. There, I purchased a wooden spoon made of olive wood that has a unique shape. It is curved on one edge and pointed on the other. I love this design because the pointed end beautifully hugs the rounded corners of my pots and pans. It has a broad concave surface to easily spoon liquids. The dense olive wood also holds up very well to the repeated abuse of heat, oils, and washing. I am right-handed and therefore prefer the spoon with the point on the right side. They also sell such spoons with the point on the left.
You will never find me cooking in my kitchen without an apron on. This may look "old-fashioned" on my part but I have ruined way too many clothes with splatters of olive oil, tomato sauce, or some other staining liquid. I have come to the realization that time is precious and that I would rather be spending my time eating and drinking than removing stains from my clothing. So I collect many aprons and wear one EVERY DAY when I cook.
Chef'n Silicone Measuring Cups
Measuring cups are an everyday kitchen necessity. But, I particularly love my silicone measuring cups because they are pliable. They can be pinched for easy, accurate, and drip-free pouring. They come in three sizes (1 cup, 2 cups, and 4 cups) and are labeled both in metric and American units of measure showing gradations in ml., fluid oz., and cups. They neatly nest together to minimize storage space and hold up to countless dishwashing cycles without any wear to the gradation and volume markings on their surfaces.
5" Santoku Cutco Knife
A Santoku knife is a Japanese multipurpose chef knife. The shape of the blade is very unique and different from a Western-style chef knife. The blade on my knife measures only 5" long which I really like because its short length is easy to handle and control. The blade has an ever-so-slight curve to it but does not come to a point like a traditional chef knife. It is designed to be used with a push-cutting technique, involving lifting of the blade between each cut. I use mine nearly EVERY DAY to chop vegetables and fruits. The Cutco brand is excellent and one that I highly recommend. They have a 'Forever Guarantee', where you can return your knife anytime you want to have it sharpened for free. At that time they carefully inspect the knife and if it doesn't satisfy their quality requirements, then they replace it free of charge. This is FOREVER! You just can't beat that!
Pampered Chef Stone Baking Pans
I use my Pampered Chef stone baking pans A LOT and have several of them in varying sizes. I particularly love them because the stone distributes and maintains heat very evenly. They crisp the surface of the food that they are in contact with. I use them for bread, bruschetta, strudel, biscotti, cookies, roasting vegetables, roasted potatoes, baking fish, roasting meats, among many others.
Breville Coffee Bean Grinder
I will admit that I am a bit of a coffee snob. I really love my coffee FRESH, HOT, and DARK. After trying many different coffee machine brands and styles throughout my life, I have finally found one that I am very happy with. More importantly, however, I use quality whole beans which I FRESHLY GRIND before each brew. To me, pre-ground coffee tastes stale VERY, VERY quickly. Upon choosing among burr grinders, it is ideal to select one that grinds the coffee into uniform-sized grinds. Our Breville Coffee Grinder does the job and has served us very well ... EVERY morning for several years! The bean hopper is of adequate size, but not too large. We typically exhaust the bean hopper quantity every 4 days. I also recommend storage of the excess beans in a vacuum-sealed bag for prolonged freshness.
Microplane Classic Zester/Grater
I use my coarse microplaner frequently to grate hard cheeses, lemon zest, orange zest, garlic, and ginger root, for example. Super easy and super handy!
For some reason, I don't see this handy gadget in most American kitchens but growing up in my mom's Hungarian kitchen, this was a staple to making smooth creamy sauces or soups, WITHOUT ANY BITS! I don't care for eating skins, seeds, firm pulp, small bone or cartilage pieces, and the like. If you have read some of my food blogs you will have seen my food mill's repeated star appearance in the preparation of several of my dishes, such as Chicken Paprikas, Gazpacho, and Hungarian Fruit Soups,
So this is my list of kitchen gadgetry that I hold most dear and rely on regularly to prepare great and tasty dishes for MY family's table. I would LOVE to hear from YOU and more importantly to LEARN from YOU in the comments section below. I invite you to engage and leave your top 3 favorite kitchen gadgets and why. I'm looking forward to reading YOUR lists! You may entice me to add to my gadget collection. 😉 👩🍳