In my dream world, I have a massive kitchen decked out with gorgeous appliances, expensive copper pots, Le Creuset as far as the eye could see and a collection of Danish dinnerware that I personally picked out in Copenhagen and had white glove delivered to my doorstep.
In reality, I have a tiny NYC kitchen with a smaller than average fridge, a stove that clicks every time I use it, and a very very small collection of vintage glasses and hand-me-down dinnerware.
Although it would be fun to have all the newest kitchen gadgets that Williams-Sonoma sells, my space is limited so my kitchen tools need to be functional. When I am tempted to buy a new tool for the kitchen it has to pass my foolproof test: “how often will you use it?”.
If you are like me, or if you are simply intimidated by the wide world of kitchen tools and you don’t know where to start, here is my reliable kitchen tool short list.
- Global Chef’s Knife
The single most important tool in the kitchen is a good knife. If you invest money in one kitchen item, this should be it. My favorite brand is global, this is what I have been using in my own kitchen for about 15 years. I take very good care of my babies (ahem, knives) sharpen them frequently and never ever put them in a dishwasher (well, I don’t have a dishwasher so this is easy for me). A good knife will last a lifetime and cut down on your prep time dramatically… no pun intended. Please, please, please do not waste money on a “set of knives”, you don’t need an entire set. Just one good knife will do the trick. Random side note: I would love to take over the worlds wedding registry, I would never allow things like knife sets and espresso makers that collect dust in a closet.
- Boos Block Cutting Board A large cutting surface is essential for all the veggie chopping you will be doing! I prefer wood or bamboo boards over those small weird plastic cutting boards. To clean and disinfect your board simply pour kosher salt over the board and use a lemon cut in half to rub the salt into the board, rinse and dry.
- Large Cast Iron Skillet I love my cast iron skillet, I find that I use it more than any other skillet in my arsenal. Over the years I have slowly started to give away and throw away pots and pans that I don’t use. If you have a few hard working pots and pans you do not need an entire set of useless items that clutter your cabinets. Cast iron pans are inexpensive, you can buy them new or try to find one at a yard sale or tag sale because cast iron gets better with age 😉 Added bonus, cooking in cast iron fortifies your food with iron!
- Large Soup Pot (ideally Le Creuset) One large pot that you can boil grains, greens, or veggies and make soups, stews, and braises. Ideally, I would recommend investing in a dutch oven. This can be used both on the stovetop and in the oven. It’s versatile and also looks great in your kitchen. My beloved Le Creuset dutch oven is always on my stove top and I use it nearly daily. This is an investment piece! Again, if I could take over wedding registries… get one amazing item instead of 100 silly items you will never use. I saved up 3 years worth of holiday gift cards to buy my Le Creuset, I’m a gift card hoarder.
- The Best Little Peeler in the Whole Wide World This is one of my favorite stocking stuffer gifts at Christmas. I love this little peeler, it can peel through anything including tough winter squashes like kabocha and butternut.
- Vitamix Essential for smoothie magic! Also great for blended soups, dressings, nut-butters, and veggie purees. I personally use a vita-mix. It is expensive, but over the years I have wasted a ton of money on sub-par blenders that work for about a year and then need replacing. My vita mix is strong and sturdy and can literally blend anything in moments. It is also unsurpassed in regards to providing silky smooth texture for blended soups.
- Fine Mesh Sieve Necessary to rinse your grains before you cook them, this will cost you a few bucks and you will use it daily.
- Juicer This may not technically be an essential, but juicing is so extraordinarily health supportive that I recommend buying a juicer, putting it on your counter top and USING it! (TIP: juice at the end of the week, it’s a great way to use up all the leftover fruits and veggies in your fridge. better to juice them than trash them.
- Steamer Basket Super inexpensive, small enough to store in any size kitchen and the single most useful tool in the kitchen. My favorite go-to lunch, steamed onion, sweet potato, and broccoli. Mmmm.
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