Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Kitchen Tip Tuesday: Favorite Kitchen Tools

Even though I'm not one to have all the latest and greatest one-use gadgets such as smoothie blenders and quesadilla makers in my kitchen cabinets, I do love good tools that make my job that much easier.

And when it comes to good kitchen gadgets, I find that buying quality and often more expensive tools last longer than their cheaper counterparts. While I often purchase items from yard sales or thrift stores and certainly look for a deal whenever I make a purchase, I figure that a well-made kitchen tool will serve me well for years to come.

My kitchen is small and storage space at a premium. What I choose to keep and store must be something that I will use on a pretty consistent basis. Of course, some things like canning supplies, Christmas cookie cutters and a large roaster that you only pull out during the holidays are the exception and are worth keeping. I think you know what I mean.

In no particular order, here are ten of my favorite kitchen items.

1) Pyrex mixing and measuring bowls. These were a wedding gift. I really think that I use them every day. My set of 4 includes a 1-cup, 2-cup, 1-quart and 2-quart sizes. You can measure, pour and mix right in these bowls. In simplifying my kitchen, I've decluttered a lot of my other various measuring cups and kept these.

2) Baker's Roller. This two-sided rolling pin from Pampered Chef is awesome. I get so excited about this product that some would think that I get a cut from every one they sell. I am not really brand-loyal for most things but this item from Pampered Chef is worth the money. I use it for pizza crusts and any desserts that require rolling or pressing a crust into the pan.

3)Pyrex 3-cup rectangular dishes. Ok, so this is not technically a "tool". But in the process of ditching most of the plastic in favor of better quality and safer leftover containers, I've found these to be very useful. This dish is just right for lunches-the right size for dinner leftovers such as meat and a veggie or two. They stack really nice in the fridge and can be put in the oven(minus the plastic lid, of course). I also really like the 9x13 pans that come with the plastic lids. They're so great for stacking and transporting.

4)3-sided Grater. Well before I was married I was given a small gift card to Belk's. Being the practical sort I headed right to housewares to see if there was anything that I needed. All kitchen items were on sale and I was able to get one of these graters. I will not go back to the little flimsy graters that slide and fall and scrape my skin off. For large amounts of food, I'll pull out my food processor. But for everyday use, this grater is awesome.

5)Crockpot. This wonderful servant gets plenty of use in my kitchen. Not only can I cook main dishes in it, but it is also used for making yogurt, chicken broth, applesauce and cooking beans.

6)Bosch mixer and blender. Regular readers will know that I mention my Bosch a lot. Yes, a Kitchen Aid mixer is great but a Bosch is even better, in my humble opinion and is made for heavy-duty mixing such as large amounts of bread dough. I was blessed to receive mine as a wedding gift from my parents. If you're looking for a mixer that will stand up to making batch after batch of bread dough as well as other mixing, then the Bosch is for you. It is expensive, but will last and last with regular use.

7)Skinny spatula. The rubber spatula or scraper, depending on what you call it is the frugal cook's savior. It gets the last of the pancake batter from the mixing bowl and scrapes every bit of peanut butter out of the jar. Again, this is a tool that I use every day!

8)Mini-whisk. This is wonderful for gravies, pancake batter, sauces, scrambling eggs, anything that needs to be blended until smooth. I've had this for many years. I believe my mom purchased it from a restaurant supply store so it's nice stainless steel. I also have a large whisk which I rarely use. If I could only have one whisk in my kitchen, I'd choose the little one.

9)Rada vegetable peeler. My dad sells Rada cutlery and gifted me with a full basic set. I like the way the knives feel in my hand and they do a good job of cutting, too. My favorite piece, however, is the vegetable peeler. It peels quickly and smoothly. The cheap ones from the store don't hold a candle to this one. Again, I hope I don't have to go back. With items such as these, every cook gets used to and prefers the kind that they use. If you're looking for a good peeler or set of knives, I would recommend Rada,though.

10)Large baking pans. Not just a cookie sheet, these can be used to bake almost anything. I wouldn't suggest using them for lasagna or thick casseroles, though. LOL!!! Pizzas, french bread, rolls, bar cookies, cookies, roasting vegetables, granola....the list could go on and on.

So there you have it. My top 10 kitchen favorites. At least the top 10 that I can think of right now! My list is always changing since I love cooking. I love being in my kitchen. I love kitchen tools. Tools that don't clutter up my home but actually make some aspects of my job as cook a whole lot easier!

What are some of your most-used kitchen items? Please share!

For more kitchen tips, visit Tammy's Recipes.


mub said...

My kitchen shears and staff mixer are two kitchen tools that I would be VERY sad without!

DarcyLee said...

You're right, it is better to buy better quality on things that you will be using for the next 20 years, especially if you cook and bake everyday like we do.

Shirley said...

Nice tips!! All these are best things for every kitchen...