Basic kitchen tools? Yeah, if I can figure out how to make chicken in a microwave, that’s pretty much the only tool I need. I used to “cook” mash potatoes from a box. The thought of that now makes me cringe.
I really have to thank the Food Network for this one. When we moved to NYC we didn’t have cable, but for some reason we had this channel. I figure it was because their studios are right there, but I never knew the real reason.
I remember watching 30 Minute Meals and thinking, wow, I can do that too. I would watch the show, then buy ingredients I wasn’t familiar with (molasses?) and others I may have been familiar with but, I probably hadn’t tried before (celery, for example). Eventually I developed an obsession for cooking and that’s the only thing I wanted to do. I even thought about going to Culinary School, but ended up going to business school. I still regret not taking formal cooking classes. Over the years, after spending way too much money on kitchen tools, I can say that there are some that are the minimum that anybody should have to make their lives easier in the kitchen. Here are my basic kitchen tools:
- A sharp Chef’s knife. This is to me, the single most important piece of equipment. You can do anything with it. Granted, there are other specialty knives, but when you start, you just really need this one. You don’t need to go ultra fancy, but a good piece will last you a long time; I bought mine 11 years ago.
- A wooden cutting board. The bigger the better, although they can be a little bit difficult to clean. Wood is better than plastic for the knife. Plastic will dull the blade.
- Plastic cutting board. This is mainly for raw meat. It’s easier to sanitize and you can also throw it in the dishwasher.
- Measuring spoons and measuring cups (dry and liquid). These are important for baking since you have to be very precise. They are less important for cooking, especially if you are an experienced cook. If you are just starting out, take the time to measure everything until you get the hang of it.
- Mixing bowls. Making meatballs? Cookies? You’ll need these bowls. I prefer glass to metal because I can put them in the microwave if I need to.
- Baking sheet. It can be used both to bake cookies or your favorite salmon recipe.
- Grater. Great for grating and zesting lemons, oranges, limes, nutmeg, etc… There different kinds for cheese too.
- Food processor. Use it for pesto, hummus, purees, almond butter. What I like about a food processor over a blender, if you can only have one, is that it can deal with both dry and wet ingredients. A blender needs liquids.
- Vegetable Peeler. You can always use a small knife but this tool will make your life easier. It can also be used to make “vegetable ribbons”.
- Whisk. Use it to make sauces, scrambled eggs or whipped cream.
- Wooden spoon. I love this spoon because for some reason I feel professional, but any spoon, wooden or silicon, will work.
- Can opener. Self-explanatory.
- Tongs. Perfect for picking up food from a distance without piercing it.
This list is by no means exclusive, or mandatory, to come up with some awesome dishes. But I could go on and on in regards to kitchen essentials; pans anyone? What are your basics in the kitchen?